Bernie Sanders had a big win in the Wisconsin primary yesterday, beating Hillary Clinton by a wide margin of 56.5% to 43.2%. This handily beat the latest poll projections taken just before the vote that had him winning by a narrow margin of around 3-4%. Sanders won 69 of the 72 counties in the state.
What is more remarkable is when you look at the trend over time. Clinton started with a huge lead in Wisconsin and Sanders has been steadily narrowing it down, with a late surge in support that gave him the large margin of victory at the end.
Because of the superdelegate system, a candidate in the Democratic party has to win close to 60% of the actual elected delegates if these establishment politicians do not support him. That is pretty much the case in this race where 94% of these superdelegates currently support Clinton. But if Sanders does manage to win a majority of the elected delegates and yet the superdelegates give the nomination to Clinton, that will glaringly expose the undemocratic nature of the system.
Meanwhile, the entire Republican and mainstream media establishment is hoping that Ted Cruz’s win over Donald Trump by a margin of 48.3% to 35.1% signals the beginning of the end of the latter’s campaign. Oddly, Cruz’s margin of victory is almost identical to that of Sanders but the media are reporting the former’s win as ‘crushing’ but are downplaying Sanders’ victory and not using those same terms to describe it. This is also despite the fact that pre-election polls showed Cruz winning easily but Sanders having only a very narrow lead. So it is Sanders’ margin of victory that was more newsworthy but you would never guess that from the way the results are being reported.
Here’s an example from the Cleveland Plain Dealer website that illustrates the way that the two wins are described.
Cruz stormed to a commanding victory in Wisconsin, denting front-runner Donald Trump’s chances of capturing the GOP nomination before the party’s convention in Cleveland. Sanders carried the Democratic race over Hillary Clinton, a win that still leaves him with a mathematically difficult path to the White House. [My italics-MS]
On Saturday, Wyoming has Democratic caucuses and after that on April 19 New York has both Democratic and Republican primaries. New York is Clinton’s ‘home’ state (the state she represented as a senator and where she currently lives) and she must be hoping for a big win there to counter the narrative of Sanders gaining ground. But even there, like in Wisconsin, Sanders has been steadily whittling away at her lead.
Sanders has won all of the last six contests making it harder for the media to dismiss his candidacy as hopeless, though they keep trying.
It makes me wonder if the democrats will end up like the US presidential election of 2000. Properly count votes? Gore got more votes than Bush? Who cares? James Baker and the “supreme court” appointed a president instead.
Will those “superdelegates” dare to go against the will of the people if Sanders wins a majority of elected delegates? Given the corruption of the US political system, they might. Then again, they might get spineless and switch sides or something else might happen (i.e. a miracle like the FBI and DOJ doing their jobs and investigating Clinton).
Once again almost the entire media are doing their damnedest to impose their spin on things, and reality keeps annoyingly not complying.
I for one -- as someone without a vote, being as I’m in the UK -- am really hoping for a Trump/Sanders election. The media and party establishments wouldn’t know what to do.
At this point, if Sanders doesn’t get the nomination, I wouldn’t put it past Trump picking him as his running mate.
V. Amarnath says
Andy Borowitz is right in saying:
Bernie Sanders failed to impress major media outlets over the weekend as he barely managed to win seventy per cent of the vote in three western primaries.
Nah, it’s just as easy as ever. DailyBeast literally has the headline “Bernie Takes Wisconsin, Changes Nothing.”
It’s most impressive because media outlets are, if anything, are encouraged to make the race seem more competitive to seem more interesting. But when it comes to Bernie Sanders, they do the exact opposite, and beg for him to drop out constantly.
Pierce R. Butler says
… 56.5% to 43.2%.
I had to chase around the Web through five separate stories about Wisconsin to find those numbers: contemporary “journalists” seem to find it much more important to use overblown adjectives and prognosticate delegate counts and upcoming votes than to report actual figures.
Cruz’s “overwhelming” victory last night came to 48% (vs 35% for Trump & 14% for Kasich), btw.
I found it more concerning that the total turnout for the Dem race was a bit under a million, while that for the Repubs came to several tens of thousands (absolute final figures weren’t in) over 1M.
Leo Buzalsky says
I must tell you that I had to smile about my county Democrats’ new 2016 platform. The platform committee added in a line that “We oppose superdelegates.” I’m 99% sure it was the Bernie supporters who fought for that one.
This is also a good place to note that my local officials were sure to point out again and again at our county convention that we actually have the power to change the system. Also, here in Iowa, the Democrats are putting together a committee to re-evaluate our caucus process. That was also good news. And, again, officials in my county made the point that anyone who wants to be on that committee should ask.
The short of it is that it seems Democrats, at least here in Iowa, are not opposed to ideas to make the process better. I find that encouraging.
Leo Buzalsky says
I think there are two pieces in play here: 1) Again, superdelegates. Clinton’s lead with superdelegates makes her path to nomination easier assuming those superdelegates don’t change. This assumption is what I think the media ignores a bit too much (though, this was pointed out slightly on GMA). 2) That there are still 3 people in the Republican race makes Trump’s path more difficult as Kasich does have a fair number of delegates. Even though Trump’s lead over Cruz is perhaps greater than Clinton’s over Sanders when you exclude the superdelegates, those delegates Kasich has obtained make getting the needed majority harder.
And it is those Kasich delegates that seems to have, in my opinion, the media more and more interested in the possibility of a brokered convention. At least on the side of the Democrats, with only two candidates, you’d think someone should be able to get a majority. (Is the total number of delegates even or odd? In other words, is a tie even possible?) I think that excitement about the possibility of a brokered convention then skews the way they report the results.
Nick Gotts says
Do you seriously think there’s a snowball’s chance in hell Sanders would accept?
@Nick Gotts, 8:
Three answers to that:
1. Trump can be surprisingly persuasive.
2. If you were Sanders, how would you prefer journalists refer to you in 2023? “Failed 2016 Democrat contender Bernie Sanders”, or “Vice President Sanders”? He’s a politician. They’re all about the legacy, and some power is better than none -- isn’t it?
3. No, not really. It was more a comment on how batshit crazy Trump’s campaign has been so far.
Great. Now all he has to do is do better than he did in Wisconsin in all remaining states. Every single one. And also, magically get black people to vote for him, since three white western states have very little in common with the overwhelming majority of the rest of the nation. I like Bernie too, but math doesn’t give a shit.