By Mitchell Blatt*
Bernie Sanders is delusional.
The socialist senator from Vermont who has long admired the Nicaraguan Sandinistas now thinks he can win the Democratic nomination at a contested convention.
After losing to Hillary Clinton in 25 of the first 43 primary contests, Sanders announced he was planning on contesting the nomination all the way to the Democratic National Convention. Sanders thought that by the end of April he had a wave of momentum, even though, at that time, Clinton had just won 4-out-of-5 of the contest held on April 26. Sanders had won 7-out-of-8 contests between May 22 and April 9. Now Sanders thinks he’s back on track after winning Indiana by just 5 percentage points (and 5 pledged delegates).
Sanders at a contested convention? The numbers tell a different story. Clinton leads in pledged delegates by 290 and in total votes by 3.2 million. Clinton is leading 56.2% to 42.3% in votes received. If you want to talk about “stealing” a nomination from the will of the people, that would be what Sanders would need the Democratic Party to do for him to win.
With no mathematical basis to claim victory, Sanders has been reduced to grousing about unfairness. Like his idea of the economy, Sanders claims the process is rigged. True, everyone—Sanders included—knew from November 7, 2012, the day after Obama’s reelection, that the Democratic Party establishment would be lining up behind Hillary in 2016. The Democratic National Committee did an exceptionally poor job of pretending to be impartial—down to the scheduling of a token number of debates on weekends when they would compete with NFL playoffs for viewers.
It’s also true that the Democratic Party has 712 super delegates who can vote as they wish—and almost all of them are choosing Clinton. Sanders views their choices as undemocratic.
“If I win a state with 70 percent of the votes you know what, I think I’m entitled to those super delegates,” he said on May 1, but that ignores the fact that the super delegates were given free choice for a reason: they can act as a check against demagogues and radicals.
In theory, even if Sanders were to win the popular vote, the super delegates could protect their party and country from the prospect of a Sanders presidency. Whether or not that would be “fair” is a moot point, however, because Sanders isn’t even winning the popular vote or the pledged delegates. He’s losing both by not insignificant margins.
Unfair as the process may have been, at the end of the day, it’s the voters who decide. Whining won’t change the rules and it won’t change the fact that a majority of the voters have shunned Sanders. Barack Obama, for one, didn’t base his improbable 2008 victory on whining.
“She will need super delegates to take her over the top of the convention in Philadelphia. In other words, the convention will be a contested contest,” Sanders also said.
True enough, the super delegates, consisting, as they do, of 17.5%, of all delegates, will be necessary for either of the candidates to reach a majority, but what Sanders doesn’t say is that even if the super delegates break proportionally to the popular votes, Clinton would still win. For Sanders to win—barring an unlikely string of wins by close to 60% of the vote (numbers he has only hit in two state primaries)—he would need the super delegates to vote opposite to the will of the public.
Why can’t Sanders win the super delegates? Maybe it’s because the same candidate who is delusional about his prospects to win the nomination also has no idea how he would be able to carry out his promises like breaking up the big banks or paying for universal college and healthcare.
After his disastrous interview with the New York Daily News, I remarked, “In all likelihood all of those theories will remain hypothetical, because he will never win the nomination, especially not after 700 super delegates, legislators and party leaders who have practical concerns, read his interview with the Daily News.”
The same candidate who answered “I don’t know” to questions about how he would implement so many of his policies also doesn’t know how he’ll snatch his party’s nomination from the more qualified leader. He doesn’t know, but he believes.
About the author:
*Mitchell Blatt moved to China in 2012, and since then he has traveled and written about politics and culture throughout Asia. A writer and journalist, based in China, he is the lead author of Panda Guides Hong Kong guidebook and a contributor to outlets including The Federalist, China.org.cn, The Daily Caller, and Vagabond Journey. Fluent in Chinese, he has lived and traveled in Asia for three years, blogging about his travels at ChinaTravelWriter.com. You can follow him on Twitter at @MitchBlatt.
This article was published at Bombs and Dollars