On the Likelihood of a Bernie Sanders Nomination


On the Surface

Certainly, Bernie Sanders has gained a lot of momentum this election cycle. He trounced Hillary Clinton in New Hampshire with 60% of the vote, and was within 0.2% of her in Iowa. However, no matter his performances in the first primary and caucus of the cycle, respectively, Bernie Sanders is still unlikely to win the Democratic nomination.


Superdelegates work in Clinton’s favor. 4,763 delegates in total vote as part of the DNC’s nomination—4,051 are chosen by the voters, while 712 are considered “superdelegates”: a group consisting of already-elected Democrats (such as mayors, governors, and the POTUS). Since these “superdelegates” aren’t specifically chosen as delegates, they have no obligation to voters’ preferences and can thus back any candidate they please. Thus far, Clinton has 359 of these delegates, while Sanders only has 8. This spells trouble for Sanders come election time.

A Demographic Hurdle

Next, Sanders’ voters’ demographics so far don’t coincide with those in the general Democratic base. According to the Washington Post, Bernie Sanders only won the white vote in Iowa; Clinton received 26% more of the non-white vote than Sanders. This will prove problematic for Sanders come Super Tuesday and beyond: the only state with more white people than Iowa and New Hampshire is Vermont, which Sanders is already expected to win (it’s his home state).

Additionally, Hillary Clinton already won the endorsement of the congressional black vote. And since Sanders is notoriously having a tough time appealing to minorities, this just makes it even harder for him to get the black vote–one that has been crucial for the Democratic Party.

An Attack That Works

Clinton has found an attack that works: that Bernie Sanders is a one-issue candidate. She points out that his every response is the same: “We need to take money out of politics,” or “We need to tax the billionaires.” Focusing solely on economic issues, she argues, is a handy distraction from other matters (such as race relations). To illustrate: in Minneapolis yesterday, when asked about police violence against African Americans, Sanders replied that, “”It’s not just black. It is Latino. There are areas of America, in poorer rural America where it’s white. So, I believe that in a country that has more income and wealth inequality than any other country, then yes, the time is overdue to invest.”

Sanders’ hesitation to talk about issues other than income inequality and the avarice of the billionaire class is frustrating to voters, especially in the Democratic party base. Sanders’ performance in Iowa and his win in New Hampshire are exceptions, not the rule: come Super Tuesday, Clinton will prove victorious.



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