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will the texas primary stop the #bern?

The Obama strategy in 2008 had a plan A and a plan B. Plan A was to knock out Hillary with big victories in Iowa and New Hampshire. Didn’t work. Plan B was to pad the delegate lead by exploiting small state caucuses and minimizing the damage in Hillary friendly places like New York. That worked, especially since the Hillary campaign was simply incompetent.

Sanders has a similar plan. His Plan A, the early knock out, almost worked. I suspect that Bernie might have even won the popular vote in Iowa, given that the Iowa Democratic Party is refusing to release vote tallies as they did in previous years. So Bernie is on to Plan B. That means he has to accomplish two things:

  • Max out caucus states.
  • Minimize losses in large primary states.

This is the list of remaining states in February and Super Tuesday and delegate totals for Democrats according to US election central:

  • Alabama 60
  • American Samoa caucus 10
  • Arkansas 37
  • Colorado caucus 79
  • Georgia 116
  • Massachusetts 116
  • Minnesota caucus 93
  • Nevada 43
  • Oklahoma 42
  • South Carolina 59
  • Tennessee 76
  • Texas 252
  • Vermont 26
  • Virginia 110

You will notice that Bernie has at least three easy states: Vermont, Massachusetts, and probably Minnesota. Then, it gets really hard, really fast. This is not because Hillary will magically become a great campaigner, but the fundamentals favor Hillary.

There are two reasons. First, you win Southern states in the Democratic primary by doing well among Black voters. South Carolina (Feb 27) will be the first test of how well Bernie can move these voters. If he comes up short in South Carolina, it’s bad news because you have more Southern states coming up real fast  such as Alabama and Georgia on Super Tuesday and other Southern states soon after that. Second, in March, you will see the types of big states that Hillary dominated in 2008 because of superior name recognition, such as Texas (51% for HRC in 2008), New York (57%), California (51%), Ohio (53%), and Pennsylvania (54%).

Is it impossible for Bernie to win the nomination? Of course not, but he needs to really dominate outside of the establishment friendly mega-states like Ohio and California. That means an immediate and massive turn around in the Black vote, a wipe out in the caucus states, and some strategy for containing the losses from the big states, which even challenged Obama. That sounds really hard to me.

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Written by fabiorojas

February 11, 2016 at 12:01 am

4 Responses

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  1. A late January poll had Hillary holding a 34 point lead in Minnesota. Seems likely that has or will come down. And also it is a caucus state, probably to Sanders’ advantage. But no indication yet MN will be easy for him.

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    Austen

    February 11, 2016 at 12:56 pm

  2. Fair point. Perhaps “easy” isn’t the right word. None of this is easy (except Vermont, which even Dean won in 2004). Rather, “doable” is more the word.

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    fabiorojas

    February 11, 2016 at 3:10 pm

  3. Do we have any inkling how the 750-800 Democrat superdelegates will behave upon entry into the convention? That number could be larger than the difference between pledged delegates for the two candidates.

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    Randy

    February 11, 2016 at 6:10 pm

  4. According to the wiki, Obama scored 60 more pledged delegates than HRC out of 3,500. A diff of about 2%. And the supers went for Obama. They only contradict the party at their own risk.

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    fabiorojas

    February 11, 2016 at 6:48 pm


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