Clinton is winning the vote. Nate Silver’s blog, (April 8), “Sanders’s reliance on extremely low-turnout caucus states has meant the pledged delegate count overstates his share of votes. To date, Sanders has captured 46 percent of Democrats’ pledged delegates [slightly less as of May 8th] but just 42 percent of raw votes.” On May 1, Sanders acknowledged he needs to capture 65% of the remaining pledged delegates. He is doing considerably worse among Democrats, and the independents he is winning are far more conservative than Hillary’s Democrats.
Bernie’s rationalization. Of course, Bernie rationalizes his reversal. He claims that supers are saying “we don’t have to listen to the people.” But none have actually said this. If Bernie were to prove as popular as Obama (who did not surpass Clinton’s elected-delegate count by much), he might well win over Clinton’s superdelegates, just as Obama did. And in any case, he now claims it is the super’s responsibility is to decide for themselves what is good for the Country and the Party. So he should no longer complain if they don’t let the voters decide.
Chronology of the superdelegate flip-flop:
April 24. LA Times: Mark Longabaugh, a senior Sanders campaign strategist, told the Times, “We want to make a case to superdelegates that Bernie Sanders is the strongest candidate.”
April 19. Huffington Post. Hillary wins the New York primary 58% to 42%.
April 19th. MSNBC: Jeff Weaver, Bernie’s Campaign Manager is asked on MSNBC, “If June 7th comes and goes and Hillary Clinton has won the pledged delegates, and she’s won the popular vote, there are going to be calls for the Sanders campaign to unite around her. You’re saying instead of that you will spend those weeks in the summer, trying to flip superdelegates to Bernie Sanders before the convention?” Jeff answers: “At this point? Yes, absolutely.” (at the very end of the interview)
April 20. Huffington Post headline: Bernie Sanders’ Superdelegate Plan Puts His Progressive Base In A Bind /
Sanders’ team plans to fight for superdelegates even if Hillary Clinton wins the popular vote.
April 26. Rolling Stone: Sanders supporters who’ve previously railed against superdelegates as “undemocratic” are finding themselves in a tough spot.
May 1. National Press Club: Mary Alice: “If you do not secure the majority of pledged delegates do you still believe that superdelegates should switch [nods yes] and back you [yeah] as in rejecting the will of the voters?
Bernie Sanders: Yeah, well you know it’s a funny thing. Where right now you have the state after state where we have won landslide victories and there are superdelegates who are saying “we don’t have to listen to the people,” we’ll vote for Hillary Clinton. I think at the end of the day, superdelegates are going to have to consider — and by the way I hope — it’s a steep hill to climb — I hope that we will win the pledged delegates, but at the end of the day the responsibility the superdelegates have is to decide what is best for this country and what is best for the Democratic Party. And if those superdelegates conclude that Bernie Sanders is the best candidate, the strongest candidate to defeat Trump and anybody else, yes I would very much welcome their support.”
May 6. Bloomberg News: Tad Devine, Sanders’ senior adviser, “We’re not going to spend a lot of time talking to people who’ve made a public endorsement until we feel we’ve got to the best possible moment to make that kind of appeal, and to us that’s going to come after the voting.”