And Bernie still has no path to the nomination.
First, about Iowa. I see a lot of talk about how Bernie outperformed the polls. This is not true. He actually under performed. Opinion polls measure the overall likelihood of support from the statewide populace. However, in Iowa, that is not how the contest is measured. The Iowa caucus last night determined the number of delegates from individual precincts that would be sent on to the next caucus. That’s right. There are two more caucuses in Iowa before we know the number of national delegates going to the Democratic National Convention, and who they will be for.
The delegates chosen by the precinct then go to a later caucus, the county convention, to choose delegates to the district convention and state convention. Most of the delegates to the Democratic National Convention are selected at the district convention, with the remaining ones selected at the state convention. Delegates to each level of convention are initially bound to support their chosen candidate but can later switch in a process very similar to what goes on at the precinct level
So the actual number of delegates is actually not known until later in the process. However, since there are rarely dramatic shifts in delegate alignment later in the process, traditionally we are able to make a good estimate of the number of national delegates and who they will be for. Which brings us to the actual percentage for Clinton’s victory: 52.3%.
That’s right. Of the delegates that were apportioned last night in the first in nation caucus, 23 out of 44 went to Clinton. A clear victory.
Beyond that, as I pointed out in this video, the total delegates to be awarded in the month of February total less than 150. This number pales when you consider that two states where Clinton has commanding leads, New York and Florida, each have nearly 200. There are 865 delegates up for grabs on March 1st, Super Tuesday, alone. In other words, Clinton can win more delegates in one state or on one day, than she or Bernie can win the entire month of February. And delegates are what gets a candidate the nomination. As it stands now with the current state of the race, and the current delegate allocation, Clinton has an insurmountable lead. Bernie would need wins in every primary contest of over 60% in order to overcome his delegate deficit.
Put another way, half of all Clinton supporters nationwide would have to be abducted by aliens for Bernie to win.
So now it is important for Clinton supporters to turn to those states where Clinton has a commanding lead (which is most of them), and to the national conversation, to protect the delegate lead and to counter the anti-Clinton tea party narrative being delivered by Bernie and his supporters.
Innuendo, smears, and implications are not legitimate policy comparisons. There is nothing wrong with being paid for a speech, unless you are saying that Clinton is corrupt. These tea party innuendos have no place on the left or in the Democratic party.
We know that Bernie supporters can not be convinced to face reality. All of us have had those discussions online where we are told Bernie is not going to raise taxes and he does not want to abandon the ACA – even though that is exactly what he says over and over again. Clinton supporters should focus efforts on creating a new narrative, one that promotes her experience, her intelligence, and her toughness. Talk about how she has stood up to the worst Republican attacks anyone has ever had to face. Specifically cite the heartfelt and sincere endorsements of liberal and progressive leaders. Talk about her history of advocacy, her understanding of the political system, and her incredible grasp of every area of public and foreign policy. Talk about how she is fighting for us before she even gets the nomination, without being an elected official. Talk about her efforts in Flint, her efforts to preserve voting rights, and her advocacy for patients against companies like Valeant Pharmaceuticals. And yes, talk about what her candidacy means to young girls and women.
The Republicans and the tea party have done a lot of damage. So much that in fact many on the left are so confused they have no idea they are doing the work of the right wing in their disruption of liberal institutions and their denigration of some of our best liberal leaders. So this will not be the slam dunk we may want, but with steady efforts, focus, and resolve, we can continue and build upon the work of the last eight years and move the progressive agenda forward.