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Any fortuneteller knows Bernie will bust, but do his supporters?

| Friday, April 8, 2016

“It’s the math, stupid.” That phrase is as simple an explanation of how to nominate a candidate or win an election. Numbers matter, and who votes in a primary or general election decides whether the electorate endures obstruction, chaos, gridlock and dissatisfaction from their government for years or decades to come. In baseball, a player is only as good as the next at bat. In politics, it matters most if a disappointed voter actually steps up to the plate during the next election.

Our presidential primary process for both major political parties is straightforward: The candidate who reaches the party threshold with the requisite number of delegates wins the party’s nomination. As candidates compete through the various regions nationwide, the campaign clock compresses the calendar and narrows the winning path. Calculating the winning threshold through milestone wins is an easy task when only two candidates compete.

On the Democratic side between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders — as in the 2008 clash involving Clinton and Barack Obama — the leader at this point in the process is the likely nominee. I dread serving as the fortuneteller of political doom so soon in the presidential primary cycle, but this writer is constrained by a semester publication schedule that draws near its end. It would be a scam if I claimed to be reading tealeaves or gazing through a crystal ball — or consulting the Mattel Magic 8 Ball on my desk — when I predict that the delegate quest “Bern” will officially become a mathematical fizzle in mid-May.

Clinton won this nomination in March when she bested Sanders in a string of net delegate victories: South Carolina (25), Virginia and Mississippi (nearly 30 each), Alabama (35), Georgia (45) and Texas and Florida (70 each). Clinton appealed to a wider cross-section of voters in highly populated states. Texas cast 1.4 million votes; Clinton won by 460,000 votes. In Florida, Clinton earned 1.1 million votes, beating Sanders by 531,000 votes. Moreover, Clinton netted on average 20 delegates in a half dozen other states to bulge her lead.

On the other hand, Sanders’ “huge” New Hampshire landslide victory netted six delegates. His “gigantic” Vermont win shutout Clinton by gaining “all” 16 delegates. Until this week, Sanders’ greatest net single gain was Utah (21) winning by 46,000 votes out of a total 77,000 cast. Unfortunately, Sanders trails by nearly 250 delegates, which is much larger than Clinton’s deficit against Obama at the same time in 2008. Despite the media hype surrounding Sanders’ current streak of wins, including his shellacking Clinton in Wisconsin this week — where he only netted a couple dozen-delegates at best — he has few lifeboats left on his Titanic campaign voyage.

The question begs whether disappointed Sanders supporters will back Clinton in November like Clinton supporters helped elect President Obama. The stakes are so critical during every election that it is important for Sanders’ supporters to vote during the remaining primary contests and not to “bust” away from voting in the fall regardless of how much the eventual party nominees appear to be a choice between the lesser of two evils. Following Nate Silver’s live blog during Tuesday’s Wisconsin election night tabulations, the Facebook threads bristled with Bernie-Bots proclaiming that they vote on principle and will not vote for Hillary in the fall.

As a consequence of apathy or disappointment causing a low voter turnout in 2010, our nation and many states stand today suffering through gridlock and chaos. The anti-establishment fervor sweeping both parties this election cycle is a result of prior uninterested voters. Our congress is locked into a decade of GOP dominance in the House of Representatives until new districts are drawn in 2022, directly a result of an anti-Obama low voter turnout in 2010. That election tilted many state governor’s houses and legislatures into total Republican control that in turn rigged congressional districts through gerrymandering antics that cannot be changed until after the next census redistribution six years from now.

Far-reaching legislative antics stem from elections when only party activists elect governors and state legislatures. Since the total GOP control of several states in 2010, all manner of ways to “take back” the past through assaults on unions, abortion procedures, anti-discrimination laws and voting rights initiatives keep percolating throughout a number of states. North Carolina, Mississippi, Georgia and Kansas have flirted with ways for private entities to discriminate in the name of religion. Despite more than 90 percent of Planned Parenthood offerings for women that are other than abortion, these legions of legislators march to completely defund the entire organization and disenfranchise women seeking healthcare services. Best of all, Texas has prioritized a constitutional amendment bestowing the right to hunt and fish as their way to “take back” their past.

Sanders is correct that revolutions ignite change. But voter participation is a revolution unto itself that prevents a further need for dramatic change. Regardless of how bleak the candidates on the ballot, or how disappointed one might be when a beloved candidate fails at the ballot box, voter participation during every election creates better candidates. My crystal ball indicates that when Bernie’s campaign cannot march on, his backers will vote on.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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  • Agatha Kristy

    Bernie started the election behind because of those nice little superdelegates the Democrats inserted into their primary process. If Bernie were actually trying to win, you would probably know about them because it fits exactly into the elite power narrative he’s been pushing.

    • what no really

      …what? He is behind in pledged delegates because fewer people have voted for him. Superdelegates are irrelevant as long as one candidate meets the threshold through pledged delegates. And! Bernie is now saying that even if he has fewer pledged delegates, superdelegates should ignore that fact and vote for him. So. ?

  • Gary Smith

    The following message is brought to you by Puppets for the Establishment Parasites (PEP), who want to encourage you to let them finish off America so they can move on to their next host…

    “You let us get this far…throw the red pill in the trash; stop trying to struggle against the hypnosis now and let us just take the last few drops of blood…it will all be over soon”

    “And please remember that free trade helps America; illegal immigration helps America; policing the world is America’s responsibility; super PACs are free speech to help poor unwitting candidates; there are no paid protesters; the news media we fund is unbiased; lobbyists are good; politicians and bureaucrats cannot be bought; those idiotic concerns about the debt and bubbles are unfounded; our education system is the best; your privacy is always protected; the war in Iraq was necessary; Russia is evil; your government listens to you…anyone who disagrees with this reality is a xenophobic, isolationist, ignorant, racist, nutjob!”

  • Gary Smith

    Super-PACs MUST be banned! They give a few wealthy exploiters the ability to shape our entire political system; they allow for absurdly unequal representation! The people and corporations funding these PACs have acquired their wealth from selling out America through political favors, endless wars, unfair trade deals, exploiting foreign labor, exploiting illegal labor within our borders, creating insurmountable debt for our children, and maintaining a rigged election process that ensures nothing will change. Super-PACs are a direct conflict of interest and an absolute corrupting force!

    In my opinion, any candidate who doesn’t demand their super-PACs disband in the name of democracy and the people is a flat out TRAITOR to America! Exploiter puppets Clinton and Cruz will never do this like Trump and Sanders have; instead, they will continue feigning powerlessness and ignorance regarding super-PACs. Anyone who votes for these conniving two-faced lawyers is voting to continue selling out America!

    If someone with Trump’s resources can’t run without being shredded by exploiter-funded super-PACs and media pundits, how does someone like me or you have a chance? The answer is that, unless we are lackeys like Clinton and Cruz, whom those same exploiters also fund, we don’t! The process is rigged; you can watch a great example of how the media takes things out of context and falsely demonizes non-controlled candidates like Trump by searching for and viewing “The Untruth about Donald Trump” video.

  • Gary Smith

    Trump has benefited from a corrupt system and understands what must be done to fix it. It would be far easier for him to just continue buying politicians if he wanted to keep taking advantage rather than running for POTUS. As such, I have to believe he actually wants to help America more than he wants to continue taking advantage. He made his riches and now I think he wants to focus on his legacy, and wants to be remembered for righting America’s ship (who cares if that’s ego driven; I would happily help build him a statue if he succeeds). Consequently, those who want to continue exploiting are scared and doing everything they can to stop him; they are even hiring thugs through craigslist to disrupt his rallies.

  • Gary Smith

    If you think Trump is a racist who sees any color other than green, you are a gullible fool subject to exploiter-funded media influence. Take a look at his life and career; he has always hired and worked with people of all walks of life.

    If you think Megyn Kelly isn’t an exploiter (establishment) tool who tried to take down Trump, and you think Trump is a misogynist because of the bloodlust comments he made regarding her (while making bloodlust comments about Chris Wallace at the same time) then you are a gullible fool subject to exploiter-funded media influence. Just like any true capitalist, Trump states “I’m just oblivious to a person’s gender” when dealing with people.

    If you think Trump is an isolationist because he wants fair trade, you are a gullible fool subject to exploiter-funded media influence. “Free-trade” comes at a huge cost to workers in developed countries! The end result is that America will produce nothing and will provide no services outside our borders because services and products will always be cheaper from poorer countries. Anyone who says anything else concerning free-trade is either lying through their teeth, or is completely clueless!

    90% of the cocaine here comes through our southern border; 80% of the meth and heroin here comes through our southern border! If you think Trump, who continually says “I love Mexican people,” is a xenophobe because he wants to secure our southern border, you are a gullible fool subject to exploiter-funded media influence. Trump’s negative comments were targeted at a subset of illegal immigrants; NOT Mexicans! Illegal immigration is destroying our society (illegal immigrant children are almost always below grade level so teachers have to spend most of their time teaching at that level which hurts our children; illegal immigration keeps wages low; and the drugs from south of our border are ruining our children’s lives).

    If you think Trump wants to punish women for having abortions, you are a gullible fool subject to exploiter-funded media influence. Trump said he made a gaffe during convoluted conversations about hypothetical situations. He has clarified that in the real world he would like to see abortion regulations left up to each state.

    If you think Trump is ignorant because he thinks it might be more pragmatic for Japan to have a nuke rather than having 54,000 U.S. troops stationed there at our expense, you are a gullible fool subject to exploiter-funded media influence. The simple fact is that nothing ensures sovereignty like having a nuke. No country with a nuke has been or ever will be invaded. We would have never invaded Iraq if they had a nuke; in fact, the best evidence that we knew they didn’t really have any WMDs was the fact we invaded them. The 54,000 troops we have in Japan are absolutely no deterrent for North Korea, China, or anyone else; what deters them is the fact we have nukes. Furthermore, what would happen to Japan if they can’t defend themselves and we go bankrupt over the next decade or so?

    • Punta Venyage

      Thank you Gary for your posts. Very clear and objective

    • João Pedro Santos

      “If you think Trump is a racist who sees any color other than green, you are a gullible fool subject to exploiter-funded media influence.”
      Poor Trump, he’s so oppressed by the media that he’s on TV all the time.

  • HolyHandGrenade

    Not voting for Hillary =/= not voting. Many Sanders supporters plan on voting for Jill Stein or writing in Bernie. That in itself in perfectly fine as opposed to a Clinton/Trump vote, and it does not take away from Congressional voting. Sanders campaign is strongly focused on that aspect, and any avid supporters who do not participate in non-presidential elections are missing his message entirely.