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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Democrats: It's All About the Net

Sanders won the Wisconsin primary by a wide margin, about 55-43 percent.  Because of proportional allocation, he won 47 delegates to Clinton's 36.  That means he reduced Clinton's delegate lead by 11.  That's not much of a dent.  Clinton aide Robby Mook explains:
Hillary Clinton has a lead of nearly 230 pledged delegates — and with each passing week, it’s becoming increasingly unlikely that Senator Sanders will be able to catch up. In order to do so, Sanders has to win the four remaining delegate-rich primaries — New York, Pennsylvania, California, and New Jersey — with roughly 60 percent of the vote. To put that in perspective: Sanders has thus far won only two primaries with that margin: Vermont and New Hampshire. Needless to say, the size and demographic makeups of New York, Pennsylvania, California, and New Jersey are decidedly different than Vermont and New Hampshire. And these figures don’t even include superdelegates, where Clinton has an overwhelming lead.
Ironically, this very dynamic defeated Clinton eight years ago.  Obama built a persistent delegate lead that proportional allocation prevented her from erasing.  As Adam Nagourney reported at The New York Times:
By any measure, Mr. Obama is in a much stronger position on Wednesday than he was just a few days ago and in a significantly stronger position than Mrs. Clinton thought he would be at this point. That is because Mr. Obama not only won a series of states, but also won them by large margins — over 20 percentage points — so that he began picking up extra delegates and opening a lead on Mrs. Clinton.
And that is the problem for Mrs. Clinton going forward. If these were winner-take-all states, Mrs. Clinton could pick up 389 delegates in Texas and Ohio on March 4. Now she would have to beat Mr. Obama by more than 20 percentage points in order to pick up a majority of delegates in both states.
“We don’t think our lead will drop below 100 delegates,” David Plouffe, Mr Obama’s campaign manager, said in an interview. “The math is the math.”
Eight years ago, superdelegates  worked to Obama's advantage against Clinton.
Mrs. Clinton’s aides said the delegates should make their decision based on who they thought would be the stronger candidate and president. Mr. Obama argues that they should follow the will of the Democratic Party as expressed in the primary and caucuses — meaning the candidate with the most delegates from the voting.