Okay, I should be about done with Sanders posts for a while after this one (hopefully). But Sanders supporters are totally Olympic material. Seriously, they are so amazing at mental gymnastics. So I got into a debate regarding this image this morning on Facebook. Doesn’t look that bad for the Berners, right? Well, it shouldn’t… because of how the information is represented. But something felt suspicious to me, so I did some math. The math shows that Clinton has 40% more delegates than Sanders. Now at the time of writing there are about 25 states left for the democratic primaries, so it’s not impossible to catch up for Sanders. But let’s not be unrealistic, how about we look at it in another way? Let’s compare this to something we are all familiar with – perhaps school? Suppose that you and a friend are competing for the best GPA in the class. About half the term is over and you have an average of 70% over all your assignments. Your friend? They have a 100% on every assignment. This is the battle Sanders now faces. Again, that’s not to say they can’t do it. Perhaps all of Clinton’s easy assignments have been done and now they have to struggle for every point while Sanders gets the easy road. Who knows? Only the voters, I suppose.
To be honest, that’s not really my problem with the image. I mean, it’s one of my problems with the image, but my problem with the image is in how intentionally misleading it is. I wondered where the source was so I went to my first source for delegate counts – Politico.com. And sure enough, when you go to the delegate counter you see that “Available Delegates: 2308” right there on the cover. There’s one big, big, problem with that. Some might even say it’s a YUUUUUUUUUUUUUGE problem. See, the Politico delegate counter INCLUDES superdelegates. And normally I wouldn’t have a problem with that. But if you look at the delegate counters for Clinton and Sanders, you’ll notice that the totals marked COMPLETELY DISREGARD superdelegates. Which puts me in an uncomfortable position. Why are the superdelegates counted for the available delegates but not for Sanders or Clinton? My suspicion is that the author supports Sanders and wants to intentionally misrepresent the race to make it look like Sanders still has a fighting chance. Okay, okay, maybe I’m being a little unfair. There are only about 200 remaining superdelegates, but it really bothers me when information is manipulated to make it seem like it’s something else. So to ease my conscience (about the graph at least) here’s the correct graph.
But wait, there’s more! I personally feel like it’s a bit easier to get a concept of the scale if it’s a pie graph. Why the hell the author used a bar chart is beyond me but here you go.
As you can see, there’s a little over 50% of the delegates remaining up for grabs (not immediately apparent from the bar graph). It also gives you a bit better idea of how the delegates are allocated right now with about 30% going to Clinton and about 20% going to Sanders. Which is why I often agree that the race isn’t over for Sanders; but it’s only getting worse. Sanders has to win states by some impressive margins if he wants to win this race. Especially big states. To date they have lost the big states by wide margins and won small states by big margins. This is not feasible when you do the delegate math.
No, seriously, what is this shit. I get that it’s The Onion and it’s supposed to be satirical but damned if it doesn’t cut it close to reality in this case. It seems with every loss the Sanders supporters come up with more excuses and suggest that Sanders was inevitably going to lose these states. WHICH IS ITS OWN PROBLEM. This also brings me to my last point for this blog post:
They seem so insistent that Sanders is inevitable and would rather blame the media instead of own up to the fact that Sanders is losing and losing bad. First, I’d like to say that I don’t believe that either Cruz or Sanders should drop out yet. But let me quickly address the problems with the image alone: it’s comparing apples to oranges. Most of the democratic primaries are proportional delegate allocation. That means if the state has 10 delegates and you get 60% of the vote, you get 6 of the 10 delegates. So even if you lose 5 of these states 60/40, you’re only trailing by 10 delegates (a whole state’s worth). Which for this example, isn’t that bad because you can make that up in 3 landslide victories no big deal. Let’s contrast this to the republican primaries, in which most of the states are winner take all. This means if you win by one vote, you get all 10 delegates. So while Cruz is behind, every state he wins, no matter how close the vote, will give them a spurt of delegates while denying their opponents delegates. Kasich is pretty much down to a brokered convention hopeful and probably should drop out. Sorry Kasich. So it doesn’t matter if Sanders wins a state because most of their wins are either close or in small states. So to sum up the difference – A Cruz win, no matter how small, propels Cruz forward while setting his opponents behind. A Sanders win, if small, does effectively nothing. Sanders HAS TO WIN BY WIDE MARGINS TO HAVE A SHOT AT THE NOMINATION.
Returning to the point regarding media, this seems to have been their argument from the very beginning. That ‘once the message got out there’ people would flock to Sanders because they hold the best interests of the people at heart. Whether or not Sanders has the best interests of the people at heart is a debate I’m not willing to engage in. But we’re halfway into the primary race. If Sanders hasn’t gotten his message out by now, they’re a failure as a politician. I get it, politics is slow. But if elected you’ll have four years to do what you need to do Sanders. It has been 6 months and you’re trailing Clinton by 300 delegates. This is almost four times the record. Pick up the pace or get left in the dust. Another way Sanders supporters blame the media is in them giving Sanders little coverage. One example was last Tuesday(?) Maybe it was Saturday. I can’t remember. (I’m on Spring Break so all of my days kind of blur together. I’m going to have to actually start my midterm before Sunday though…) Five states voted, Sanders won one… barely. And the Berners were so upset because the media didn’t cover it enough? They said Sanders made history and they did. Sanders made history – by proving a poll to be inaccurate. Polls can be wrong, they’re just tools to make predictions. Clinton on the other hand won four states. 80% of the states up for grabs, Clinton won. Yet the Berners are upset that the media won’t proportionately cover the candidate that they support? Get out of here.
So what’s the take-away from all this? Why did you read the ramblings of this particular individual? I suppose I was just ranting. My problem is I don’t need fancy mathematics or excuses to tell me how a candidate is doing well. I don’t need to do the doublethink to justify a candidate’s chances. And quite frankly, I believe that at the very least, a loud portion of Sanders supporters are executing just that. They require the use of doublethink which to people like me just looks… desperate. Look, I’m not anti-Sanders. I’m not anti-anyone really. I disagree with Sanders on several points. I disagree with Clinton on several points. I disagree with Trump and Cruz on several points. Since we’re in a two party system, when I vote I have to vote for whom I disagree with least instead of whom I agree with most. Which is unfortunate, but it’s just a consequence of our system. Anyway, that’s all from me.