Thursday, March 3, 2016

No, folks, that's not what Super Tuesday's election results mean

According to the press, Donald Trump may have the Republican nomination wrapped up after his big victories on Super Tuesday. After all, he now has pledged to vote for him in the Republican Convention 27.3% of the delegates needed to become the Republican candidate.

Yeah, that's right, the guy many are proclaiming has already won only has 27.3% or 338 of the 1,237 delegates needed to nominate someone. Meanwhile the other candidates have between them 31.5% or 390 of the 1,237 delegates needed to nominate someone.

Essentially, after the first ballot the other candidates could release their delegates to vote for anyone whose name is put forward in nomination - like Mitt Romney, for instance. Perhaps that may explain why he suddenly has become the spokesman for the anti-Trump wing of the party.

Now on to the Democratic candidates. A total of 2,382 delegates are need to nominate someone. Right now the indication is that Hillary Clinton has 609 pledged delegates or 25.6% while Bernie Sanders has 412 delegates or 17.3%.

But one has to keep in mind that the Democratic Party has designated 712 delegate seats out of the 4,763 as "unpledged", sometimes called "Superdelegates." These delegates decide on their own who to vote for in the Convention. They are prominent Democratic Party members:
  • 20 distinguished party leaders (current and former presidents, vice-presidents, congressional leaders, and DNC chairs) (DPLs)
  • 21 Democratic governors (including territorial governors and the Mayor of the District of Columbia)
  • 46 Democratic members of the United States Senate (including Washington, DC shadow senators)
  • 193 Democratic members of the United States House of Representatives (including non-voting delegates)
  • 437 elected members of the Democratic National Committee (including the chairs and vice-chairs of each state's Democratic Party)
Of these, 453 have committed to vote for Hillary Clinton, 19 for Bernie Sanders, with 239 still expressing no opinion at this time.

Perhaps correctly, the press adds those committed Superdelegates to the candidates' totals. With those added, Hillary Clinton has 1,062 or 44.6% of the 2,382 delegates needed while Bernie Sanders has 431 or 17.3% of the delegates needed. Still, Clinton isn't even halfway to having the delegates she needs and getting the rest will require a long steady campaign perhaps all the way to the June California primary.

But as I wrote three days ago, for the Democrats that isn't the most important information coming from Super Tuesday.

As I indicated the outcome in four states would provide some idea of the problems facing the Democratic candidate in getting enough Electoral College votes to be elected President. Those four states which are unpredictable in November Presidential elections - Arkansas, Colorado, Tennessee, and Virginia - did vote on March 2 pursuant to each state's rules.

I'll start with Colorado. The Republicans have a tightly controlled system for selecting delegates in April that has nothing to do with their 948,658 registered voters. The state had 918,259 registered Democrats. They held caucuses. A total of 121,198 or 13.2% participated in the caucuses. Bernie Sanders did get more people to the caucuses than Clinton. But we have no relevant information from the Democratic caucuses turnout regarding who the 9 Electoral College votes will go to from Colorado.

In Tennessee Clinton won the Democratic vote with 223,577 votes of the 336,012 Democratic votes cast. But Trump won the Republican vote with 309,948 votes of the 794,012 Republican votes cast. Cruz go 195,587 of the Republican votes. The Democrats are very unlikely to pick up Tennessee's 11 Electoral College votes.

In Arkansas, Bill Clinton's home state, Hillary Clinton won the Democratic vote with 142,798 votes of the 206,756 Democratic votes cast. Trump won the Republican vote with 129,245 votes of the 347,377 Republican votes cast. Ted Cruz got 119,707 Republican votes. Whether the Clinton's could get the 6 Arkansas Electoral College votes is very doubtful, though possible, if Bill and Hillary spent a lot of time there. But that would be pretty risky.

This leaves us with Virginia. Hillary Clinton won the Democratic vote with 503,991 votes of the 779,934 Democratic votes cast. Trump won the Republican vote with 355,961 votes of the 1,024,933 Republican votes cast. Marco Rubio got 327,045 Republican votes, coming close to Trump. This indicates that there is at least a chance Clinton could get the 13 Virginia Electoral College votes if Trump is the Republican candidate.

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