Deck Stacked for Hillary, but Bernie Could Win. Maybe.
It’s hard not to “crown” Hillary, considering that she is ahead in the delegate race, and currently has a large portion of Superdelegates. But Jeb Bush started the race seeming just as inevitable. Why is Hillary up and Jeb is out?
Observer says it’s because officials of the Democratic Party stacked the deck for her:
Jeb Bush was at one point predicted to be a shoo-in for the Republican presidential nomination. His name recognition and the vast amounts of funding behind his campaign should have made him a viable contender to win. Instead, Mr. Bush couldn’t gain steam, and his desperate attempts to appear relevant provided the media with an almost comical outlet of coverage in the primaries. The Establishment-backed Republican never stood a chance. But Mr. Bush’s failure is not just symptomatic of Donald Trump’s rise—rather, it is indicative of a larger backlash fermenting against Establishment politics. . .
Any of the Republican presidential candidates, representing various ethos of the Party, could have won the nomination. But Donald Trump, who capitalized on the anti-Establishment movement, essentially derailed all of his opponents—and instead of obstructing Mr. Trump, at least some members of the Republican Establishment have embraced his candidacy. At this point, they have little choice beyond the political suicide of backing Senator Marco Rubio, which is alienating voters in states Mr. Trump has already won. And therein lies the difference between Ms. Clinton and Mr. Bush: the Democratic Party protected Ms. Clinton from the pressures of anti-Establishment criticisms.
The only challengers to Ms. Clinton were unknown outsiders the DNC didn’t take seriously. Lincoln Chafee and Jim Webb never had a chance to garner a support base, and Martin O’Malley’s exit from Iowa was so embarrassing his Facebook and Twitter account have gone quiet ever since. Nobody counted on Senator Bernie Sanders to have any impact on the Democratic primaries. Even as he began to surge, Establishment Democrats like former Congressman Barney Frank plead with voters to support Ms. Clinton. “Republicans fear that if Hillary Clinton is nominated fairly easily, while they are locked in a bitter, lengthy, ideologically-charged series of primaries with a large cast of characters of varying degrees of plausibility, she gets a head start for the real fight,” Mr. Frank speculated. This is an undemocratic argument, and the DNC should be ashamed to have propagated it to their base.
Those of us, who have watched politics over the years, have been amazed by this year’s campaign. The Republican Party was always the “organized” party, which chose its standard bearer quickly, and were behind him whole heartedly. It was the Democrats whose fight for the nomination was tooth-and-nail. It was always a wild battle. In fact, humorist Will Rogers used to say, “I’m not a member of ANY organized political party … I’m a Demmycrat.” But this year, the deck has been stacked.
And it’s a dangerous precedent. Future leaders come from today’s political battles. The article points to Al Gore, John Kerry, and John Edwards, all of whom gained stature by running for president.
In this election year, Ms. Clinton made sure there would be no John Edwards or any other Establishment Democrat competing for support. Unlike the extensive debate schedule of 2008, the co-chair of Ms. Clinton’s ’08 campaign and current DNC Chair, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, ensured only a few debates for the 2016 race would occur—and she scheduled them for wildly inconvenient times. Emails were released showing Clinton staffers blackmailing journalists for coverage, while Ms. Clinton herself is notorious for avoiding the press altogether. Her super PAC, the Hillary Victory Fund, raises money on her behalf, gives the DNC a cut and then doles the rest out to State Democratic parties of Ms. Clinton’s choosing. Nearly every Democrat in office has endorsed Ms. Clinton, and most of those who have not are remaining neutral in lieu of risking retribution.
In fact, the article says that Joe Biden could have been a viable challenger to Hillary, but “Mrs. Clinton’s bullying” kept him out. In fact, he “admitted to a local Connecticut TV station he regrets every day not having gotten into the race.”
Of course, the game’s not over. As people have commented on our site, Superdelegates moved over to Obama, once his momentum showed. Could that happen to Hillary again this year? FiveThirtyEight says, maybe, in an article entitled, “Superdelegates Might Not Save Hillary Clinton.”
Clinton leads 362-8 among superdelegates, who are Democratic elected officials and other party insiders allowed to support whichever candidate they like.
If you’re a Sanders supporter, you might think this seems profoundly unfair. And you’d be right: It’s profoundly unfair. Superdelegates were created in part to give Democratic party elites the opportunity to put their finger on the scale and prevent nominations like those of George McGovern in 1972 or Jimmy Carter in 1976, which displeased party insiders.
Here’s the consolation, however. Unlike elected delegates, superdelegates are unbound to any candidate even on the first ballot. They can switch whenever they like, and some of them probably will switch to Sanders if he extends his winning streak into more diverse states and eventually appears to have more of a mandate than Clinton among Democratic voters.
In theory, for example, a candidate could lose elected delegates 58 percent to 42 percent — equivalent to losing the average state by 16 percentage points — and still win the nomination through superdelegates.
My guess, especially given what we saw in 2008, is that superdelegates wouldn’t feel comfortable weighing in anywhere near that much on Clinton’s behalf. In the case where she’s won only 42 percent of elected delegates, she’ll have lost to Sanders all over the map, and any conceivable “electability” gains from nominating Clinton would be outweighed by alienating at least half of the Democratic base.
So, even with the game rigged in her favor, including minimizing debates, and scheduling them when few people would be watching, Hillary could lose the nomination if Sanders “caught fire.” But the Democrats don’t have “winner-take-all” states, so he’d have to have some overwhelming wins to do so.
It could be possible for Bernie to come from behind to win. But not probable…
Filed in: 2016 Tagged in: 2016 Presidential Election Bernie Sanders democratic primary Hillary Clinton superdelegates