In most presidential primary campaigns, the battling ends at some point, and the frontrunner just runs up the majority. And the winning candidate gets stronger and stronger as the primary season ends. Look at Donald Trump. He started off as a joke, became a phenomenon, there was serious talk about a contested convention, even running a Republican as a third-party candidate, and now one after another former foe is endorsing the billionaire.

Not so on the Democratic side. Hillary Clinton was the “presumed nominee” before the race began. Her lightweight opponents didn’t last long, and Bernie Sanders was a joke—before he became a phenomenon. Now, he clearly has the excitement and the momentum, even though he’s over three million popular votes behind, and if she can hang onto her Superdelegates, Hillary should be way over the mark after Tuesday.

But there are still those who say Bernie could beat her. This from the Independent:

US election 2016: Hillary Clinton could lose Democratic nomination to Bernie Sanders

A big win in the 7 June California primary could hand Mr Sanders hundreds more delegates, which would call into question Ms Clinton’s candidacy. . .

Mr Sanders will be looking to the state to boost his campaign with news of a further 1.5 million people registering to vote since January this year.

The latest statistics from the Institute of California will be encouraging to Mr Sanders as a big win in the 7 June California primary, where the candidates are currently virtually deadlocked, could hand him hundreds more delegates. Mr Sanders currently has 1,501 pledged delegates to Ms Clinton’s 1,769.

Up to now, Bernie has been seen as just an impediment for Hillary. There has not been serious talk of Bernie actually getting the nomination. But now, there is increasing talk that a loss in California—where she won in 2008—could undermine Hillary’s status as a winner against Donald Trump.

And a former Bill Clinton polster says Hillary really could lose California, according to Townhall.

Hillary’s campaign is doing all it can in the remaining days to avoid an embarrassing loss in the Golden State, jamming 30 events into the few days leading up to the primary.

“If she loses California, which is now increasingly likely,” Douglas Schoen, former pollster and political adviser to Bill Clinton, said on Fox News. “She’s behind Donald Trump in a number of polls, we’ve got the Justice Department likely to render a judgment that finds some culpability somewhere, don’t you think … that the Democratic Party will say ‘Why do we need this? Why do we need to risk a defeat with Secretary Clinton?’”

Schoen expanded on the theme in the Wall Street Jourmal.

A Sanders win in California would powerfully underscore Mrs. Clinton’s weakness as a candidate in the general election. Democratic superdelegates—chosen by the party establishment and overwhelmingly backing Mrs. Clinton, 543-44—would seriously question whether they should continue to stand behind her candidacy.

There is every reason to believe that at the convention Mr. Sanders will offer a rules change requiring superdelegates to vote for the candidate who won their state’s primary or caucus. A vote on that proposed change would almost certainly occur—and it would function as a referendum on the Clinton candidacy. If Mr. Sanders wins California, Montana and North Dakota on Tuesday and stays competitive in New Jersey, he could well be within 200 pledged delegates of Mrs. Clinton, making a vote in favor of the rules change on superdelegates more likely.

Another problem: In recent weeks the perception that Mrs. Clinton would be the strongest candidate against Donald Trump has evaporated. The Real Clear Politics polling average has Mrs. Clinton in a statistical tie with Mr. Trump, and recent surveys from ABC News/Washington Post and Fox News show her two and three points behind him, respectively.

Then there is that other crack in the argument for Mrs. Clinton’s inevitability: Bernie Sanders consistently runs stronger than she does against Mr. Trump nationally, beating him by about 10 points in a number of recent surveys.

The rumblings on the Democratic side are getting louder. If Bernie is not the nominee, Hillary may not be able to count on many of his supporters. Many highly educated Democrats have decided they cannot support Hillary.

And they don’t come by these views casually. Their conclusions are the result of careful study of her record and her policy proposals. They believe the country can no longer endure the status quo that Clinton represents—one of crushing inequality, and an economy that is literally killing off the less fortunate—and any change will be better. One reader writes:

“If Clinton is the nominee 9 out of 10 friends I polled will [do one of three things]:
A. Not vote for president in November.
B. Vote for Trump.
C. Write in Bernie as a protest vote. . .

As another reader puts it:

“I don’t want to vote for Trump. I want to vote for Bernie. But I have reached the point where I feel like voting for Trump against Clinton would be doing my patriotic duty. … If the only way to escape a trap is to gnaw off my leg, I’d like to think I’d have the guts to do it.”

. . . Some of them also have very reasoned arguments for Trump. Hillary is a known evil. Trump is unknown. They’d rather bet on the unknown, since it will also send a big message to Team Dem that they can no longer abuse progressives.

In “the year of the outsider,” even Democratic Party stalwarts are beginning to question whether the establishment candidate is a wise choice. The talk about Hillary’s inevitability is long gone. The chuckles about a contested convention have subsided. For the first time, there is serious talk of Bernie Sanders actually becoming the Democratic Party candidate for president in 2016.

8 COMMENTS

  1. As things stand Clinton leads by ~300 pledged delegates (9%), changing the rules to allocate superdeleagates according to state votes will only replicate this, not change the outcome. Even if it could change the outcome, would the party vote for system that hands the nomination to the losing candidate (losing by popular vote and delegate count)?
    The article seems absurd to suggest a Sanders “takeover” at the Convention. the proposed change would also render the concept of superdelegates pointless.

    • It’s my understanding that causus votes are not included in the popular vote count so the argument of HRC having the popular vote holds true but not in the margin that is being depicted. Also… aren’t superdelegates a stupid concept to begin with? From the very begining of the elections Hillary already had around 400 superdelegates before anyone else entered the race… that’s not very democratic is it? It’s almost like the establishment is favoring a candidate over the other on purpose breaking it’s supposed neutrality.

      • Yes, it’s true that the caucus “votes” are not counted, but you could only count relative handful of “votes” of people who show up, anyway. You couldn’t count people who didn’t vote.

        And look at the state caucuses Bernie won:
        Wyoming–the 51st state, by population;
        North Dakota–number 48;
        Alaska–number 47,
        Maine–number 41,
        Hawaii–number 40.

        He also won Colorado, Kansas, and Minnesota–but then, they would be partly offset by Hillary’s wins in Nevada and Iowa.

    • I love Bernie, but I personally think it is over for him. The system was against him – as an independent running as a democrat, he appealed to many independents who were not permitted to vote in a lot of states.

      That being said, I am pretty sure Hillary won the popular vote in 2008. But Obama ended up with more delegates and then the supers backed him too. I think.

      • RealClearPolitics gives the totals as
        17,535,458 for Obama, and
        17,493,836 for Hillary in 2008.

        They then added the estimated caucus votes of Iowa, Nevada, Maine, and Washington, and came up with
        17,869,542 for Obama, and
        17,717,698 for Hillary.

        That’s a difference of about a half-million. There really are not many votes in caucus states.

  2. So, I have heard Debbie Wasserman Schultz, head of the DNC, say multiple times that superdelegates would not be allowed to determine the nomination. Yet here we are, as of 6/8/2016, with Bernie having 1800 pledged delegates and Hillary having 2179 pledged delegates. 2383 delegates are needed for the nomination, and only the District of Columbia is left in play – voting will occur there on 6/14. The Democratic DC primary does not have enough pledged delegates (20) to put either candidate over the mark on pledged delegates alone. There are a total of 715 unpledged “super” delegates, about 619 of whom have already expressed a preference. Adding all of these unpledged delegates to EITHER Bernie’s total of 1800 or Hillary’s total 2179 pledged delegates gives either candidate enough delegates for the nomination. Hillary is declaring victory and the nomination to be hers, but if that is so, then the unpledged “super” delegates are being allowed to decide the nomination. Not all is right in Whoville. If the DNC is playing by the rules that it has already set out, the superdelegates would still be in play and the Democratic Convention would be considered “contested” and the nomination would be settled there at the convention.

    • The 2383 figure only exists because of the super delegates. if you consider the contest in terms of pledged delegates the winning number would be around 2050. Clinton has won the popular contest, Sanders would need to present a very compelling case for super delegates to back him over the candidate that the public has chosen.

      • Interesting thought. If we just outlaw ALL the Superdelegates, make them disappear, I figure the magic number is 2056.

        Hillary has 2203
        Bernie has 1828

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