Hillary Clinton took a victory lap Sunday after her victory in the Nevada caucuses. Reporters have begun asking Senator Sanders if he is dropping out of the race. Pundits are saying that it is almost over for the Sanders campaign after only three of the fifty states have voted. This drove Director Spike Lee to endorse Sanders Tuesday morning telling voters to “wake up.”
When one looks at the results thus far, however, Sanders has actually beaten Clinton in the popular vote by nearly 51,000 votes. Yet, Clinton and Sanders are essentially tied in delegates with Clinton having won 52 and Sanders 51.
So why do pundits and the media insist that it is near the end for Bernie Sanders? Perhaps it is wishful thinking on their part. Some, like MSNBC’s Chris Matthews, no longer pretend to be neutral. The media has unanimously ignored the fact that among Democrats who have participated so far, Bernie Sanders is their top choice—55 percent to 45 percent. Just as the Electoral College elects the president, delegates, not Democratic voters, actually choose the Party’s nominee. The DNC has tilted that process towards Hillary Clinton.
Clinton won the caucuses in Iowa and Nevada whereas Sanders won the only primary. Far more people voted in the primary than in either of the caucuses. Sanders lost the two caucuses by relatively small margins, but he blew Clinton away in the New Hampshire primary.
Sanders lost Iowa by a mere 513 votes out of 171,109 votes cast. He lost Nevada by 5,040 votes out of 84,000 votes cast. In New Hampshire, however, Sanders trounced Hillary Clinton by 56,332 votes out of 246,836 votes cast. That is nearly ten times Clinton’s margin in Nevada. All totaled, Sanders is leading Clinton 55%-45% after three contests. One would not know that by watching the news.
A major reason Sanders has not swept all three contests is that young people did not turn out in the caucuses. Bernie Sanders leads Clinton in the under-30 demographic by over 70 percent. Caucuses are notorious for low voter turnout in general. Most Democratic voters have never attended a caucus. So far in this election, many young Sanders supporters have stayed home from caucuses, but they voted in the primary. Young people work weird hours. Many are away at school and the concept of a caucus is new to them.
Pundits are proclaiming that it is almost over for Sanders because of the way the Democratic Party allocates delegates. Even though Sanders has a 10 point lead in the popular vote, Clinton has one more delegate. Proportionally, Sanders should have been awarded 56 delegates to Clinton’s 47. This tilted delegate selection process will only get worse in the next round of primaries and caucuses.
To make the matter worse, the Democratic Party has a group of so-called “Super Delegates” who are designated by the Party not elected at primaries or caucuses. These Super Delegates comprise 30 percent of all delegates. Even though Hillary won 52 delegates thus far, she actually has 67 delegates because the 16 super delegates in the three states thus far are committed to her. So far 497 Super Delegates pledged to vote for Clinton regardless of how well Sanders does in their states.
In the next three weeks, nearly all the primaries and are in Southern states with the exception of Colorado, Vermont and Massachusetts. The primaries in the more liberal states come much later—after the race could be decided. In the southern states, African-Americans comprise a larger percentage of Democratic votes than in the nation as a whole. This favors Hillary Clinton because she has overwhelming support among African-American leaders and elected officials. High African-American turnout in Las Vegas resulted in Clinton’s victory in Nevada.
There is no doubt that the Southern primaries will be difficult for Sanders. He is likely to do better in Midwestern states, and places like California. If young people, including young black and Latino voters, decide to show up and vote in primaries and caucuses, however, Sanders has a strong path to victory. If they stay home, the establishment might decide for them.
Meanwhile, it helps to put the election results in perspective. Sanders is the choice of the majority of people who have actually voted. It is the rigged system that makes it appear otherwise.