If you’ve been following the Democratic Presidential campaign at all, you know that Bernie Sanders took the popular vote in the first three primary states. Furthermore, he’s ahead now in delegates, and the polls show that he’s ahead nationally and in virtually all the states to come. If I were going to predict, I would it is likely that he will get anywhere from 38% to 48% of the delegates by the time we reach the Democratic nomination convention in Milwaukee starting on July 13, 2020.
The candidates were asked at the last debate what should happen if the leading candidates did not have 50% of the delegates. All of the candidates except for Bernie Sanders said that the rules of the convention should apply, so that the leader might not be selected. Bernie, on the other hand, thought that the will of the people should prevail. It’s certainly possible that Bernie could have a strong delegate group, but with the second ballot allowing “super delegates” to vote for the first time, he might not be chosen. In fact, it’s possible that an entirely new candidates (like: Hilary Clinton) might win.
So, let’s look at all the possibilities resulting from the primaries.
- Bernie might get 50+% of the delegates and win on the first ballot. That would be straight forward.
- Bernie might get less than 50% but have a “deal” with one or more of the other candidates under which they will have their delegates pledged to him to get him over the line.
- Bernie might have less than 50% without a deal with any other candidate. Enough super delegates might vote for him to put him over the 50% mark on the second ballot and in first position.
- The super delegates could put one of the other candidates in first position over the 50% mark.
- The convention could become a negotiation putting a non-candidate in first place over the 50% mark.
- Bernie could suffer a fatal heart attack or other fatal illness and be eliminated from the race.
- Bernie could be assassinated or involved in a fatal accident and be eliminated from the race.
- Bernie is not nominated but is selected as future vice-presidential candidate or member of the cabinet of the person nominated.
- Bernie receives less than 50% of the primary votes before the super delegates become involved and another candidates receives more votes than does he.
In cases 1-3, Bernie would be the Democratic candidate. If he made it to the general election, I suspect that he would win against Trump. All the polls since February 18 show that Trump would lose to him in a general election.
If Bernie died due to an illness, then some other Democrat would be nominated. The same would be true of possibilities 4, 5, and 7. However, if the Bernie followers thought that Bernie had been unjustly eliminated, their reaction may be to vote for a third-party candidate if the person nominated did not suit their goals.
If Bernie is not nominated, then the DNC or person nominated should follow option 8 and make certain that he accepts a position in which his platform will have some chance of being adopted. In fact, important elements of his platform (e.g., Medicare for All) should become a formal part of the Democratic platform. The party should demonstrate to his followers and the party favors his ideas. This would prevent Bernie’s supporters from abandoning the Democratic Party.
This is important. “Make no mistake—in a world where Sanders falls short of the majority of delegates, he will have the nomination stolen from him again.” And if the nomination is stolen from him without a meaningful consolation prize, many of his followers will not support those responsible for the theft.
Option 9 is an unlikely possibility, in which Bernie gets less votes than one of the other candidates. He would really have nothing left to steal, unless his supporters believed that someone was cheating at vote counting. If there was evidence of cheating at vote counting and option 8 were not chosen, then Bernie’s supporters would undoubtedly bolt. At the end of the day, I believe that Bernie will have to be treated well by the party or else his all-important supporters will not support the Democrats.
We shall have to see how the primaries start to turn out.