Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Daily Kos: Bernie Sanders Isn't "Winning" Dem Primary Season With 43% Of Popular Vote

Sen. Bernie Sanders (L) and Hillary Clinton (R)
Daily Kos ran this yesterday, and I think it speaks a lot to the animus some Bernie Sanders about the primary process so far.

According to Real Clear Politics there have been 21, 951, 362 votes cast in the 2016 Democratic primaries and caucuses. Of those votes Sen. Sanders is getting 43% of them while Clinton is getting 57% of them. Folks that is definitely not winning. In fact it is losing in a landslide. In 2008, for example, Clinton got around 47.8% of the vote while Obama got around 48.1% of the vote. For all of the talk about how Sanders is energizing the Democratic Party a significant majority of voters have not responded to his message.

Yet despite her lead in the popular vote there are many Sanders supporters who act as if her lead in delegates is somehow illegitimate. That somehow Sanders is being deprived of a victory by the way the rules are being applied.

Look Clinton’s lead in delegates is actually less than her lead in the popular vote. Right now she leads in delegates who are pledged to one candidate or the other, 1716 to 1433. This delegate count does not include super delegates. This means that Sanders is getting 46% of the delegates while only getting 43% of the vote. Clinton is getting only 54% of the delegates selected while she is receiving 57% of the vote. If anyone has a complaint with how delegates are being selected it is Clinton not Sanders.

Indeed it seems to be the position of the Sanders campaign that it doesn’t matter how big Clinton’s lead is in terms of the popular vote Sanders should still get the nomination. Why? Why should a political party nominate a person who is not winning the majority of the votes cast by that party’s primary and caucus voters?

The fact of the matter is that Sanders is losing the popular vote in the 2016 Democratic primaries and caucuses and unless that changes he should not be the Democratic Party’s nominee. On the other hand if he can overcome Clinton’s lead in the popular vote then he should be the Party’s nominee.

It's also worth noting that while Sanders supporters are up in arms about "closed primaries" being unfair somehow, the fact is there have been 19 primaries open to independents, but Sanders only won 6 - two of which were his home stage of Vermont and New Hampshire. So, I'm not sure that "closed" primaries have been his biggest hurdle thus far.

Most importantly, I think folks should remember Clinton and Sanders are on the same side when it comes to the big picture.

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