Media Declares Hillary Winner in 2016 Primary based Upon Anonymous Super-Delegate Poll

© Josh Sager – June 2016

Yesterday, a series of media outlets, starting with the Associated Press, declared that Hillary has won the 2016 primary, based upon her current pledged delegate lead and an anonymous survey of party insiders and super-delegates. The media outlets who picked this story up have called the primary contest over, the night before the most populist state in the union votes, based upon an off the record, unsourced, and anonymous poll of people who will not vote for aver a month, and who may change their choice at any time.

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Put simply, this is an amazing example of journalistic malpractice which is the functional equivalent to when Fox News declared Bush the winner of Florida in 2000—it is political campaigning masquerading as journalism and seeking to depress the vote. When people are erroneously told that the race is over, they fail to turn out to vote and the spread of this rumor by the media will likely do just this in the 6 states that vote today.

In order to win the Democratic primary, a candidate needs to obtain 2,383 delegates. Around 85% of the delegates are determined through voting (pledged delegates) while the rest are unpledged “super delegates” who can vote for whomever they want, based upon any criteria, and can change their mind at any point before they cast the official vote at the convention (they also forfeit their vote if they don’t attend the convention). Because of their flexibility, anybody who argues that the super delegates’ votes should count before the convention has revealed a fundamental lack of knowledge about this issue or a desire to skew reality.

Currently, Hillary has won 1,812 pledged delegates while Bernie has won 1,521 pledged delegates—this gives her a significant lead in pledged delegates (291 delegates) that will be virtually impossible for Bernie to completely erase, even if he wins a commanding victory in California. That said, Bernie still has a narrow path to victory and there is basically no chance that Hillary will enter the Democratic Convention with the nomination based solely upon pledged delegates.

The AP, NYTimes, Washington Post, HuffPost, BBC, NPR and Politico asserting that a secret poll of unbound delegates is reason to call the race for Hillary is exactly as valid as if they predicted that Hillary will be indicted and that 100% of the super delegates will shift to Bernie at the convention—both are possible scenarios which are not based in any real factual evidence and may change based upon a series of factors.

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If you live in California, New Jersey, New Mexico, Montana, North Dakota or South Dakota, don’t listen to the rumors and get out to vote. If you let the media’s erroneous reporting prevent you from voting, you are letting them skew our democratic process. Every vote counts and, even if Hillary does end up winning like these reports assert she will, you should still vote and make your preferences known. While it is enticing to dare Hillary supporters to not turn out to vote if they really think she has already won, I don’t actually want this—I want EVERY liberal and Democratic partisan to vote in the primary, get engaged with the political process, and start turning out to vote during every election.

7 thoughts on “Media Declares Hillary Winner in 2016 Primary based Upon Anonymous Super-Delegate Poll

  1. Sooner or later the Sanders supporters are going to have to recognize that Clinton is the nominee of the Democratic Party. As of May 19 Clinton had between 2,700,000 and 3,000,000 more Democratic votes that Sanders. The majority of Democratic voters have supported Clinton. And continue to do so. In fact, the only way Sanders can possibly win is if the super delegates all change their minds and decide to vote for him. But isn’t that what he has been complaining about? The fact that the super delegates can vote however they want? So, ignore the super delegates. Who has the most pledged delegates?

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  2. I guess you forgot in reporting the “truth” that she has won nearly 3 MILLION more votes than him…..and that he loves all sorts of processes as long as he wins and declares all sorts of processes unfair when he loses (though they end up being one and the same). I loved Bernie before his crazy children started doing the GOP work for them…He needs to take his egotistical old man anger and go home…and I’m 66, so don’t start…She has won, EVERYONE knows it, except the deluded children Sander’s keeps lying to in order to get more money from them…Hey, let him write the damn platform…who cares? has anyone ever won or lost based on a platform and when was ANY one of them ever enacted? You are just more of the problem….so much for journalism with just “facts.”

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  3. josephurban, As you well know, the caucus votes are not included in your totals. However, that is not the issue. Nor are the pledged delegates. The issue is “is this a democracy” that allows a candidate to stay in the race because his supporters want him to fight for what he stands for until the very end. Or, is this a DNC, democratic establishment run election that wants to force him out before he is ready? I think the choice is clear and so is the answer!

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    • Irfalstad. I have no problem with Bernie staying in the race if that is what he wants to do. But I have a problem with the insinuation from some (not you) Sanders supporters that Clinton has somehow “rigged” the system. Clinton now has about 3,000,000 more Democratic votes than Sanders. There is only the DC primary left. The Democrats have made their choice. The rank and file Dems want Clinton.
      In 2008, when it was clear that Obama was going to win the nomination Clinton dropped out for the good of party unity.
      I am not quite sure why Sanders would want to stay in the race at this point. He certainly has the right to do so, but I just don’t see the point. He has done a good job of energizing new voters and has helped push Clinton to the left on some issues. That is a good thing. But now it is time to stand up to the real danger facing the US: President Donald Trump.

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  4. Dear dear josephurban,
    On one hand you say you have no problem with Bernie staying the race. Then, on the other you say “But now it is time to stand up to the real danger facing the US: President Donald Trump. This sounds contradictory to me. However, it really doesn’t matter. Hillary has the votes and pledged delegates and Bernie is going to continue on to the convention. I would think the Hillary supporters would be happy with the win and stop insisting Bernie get out now.
    Another subject. After the NY primary, you said the Democratic party was investigating allegations of voting irregularities or voter suppression. Anything come of this? Silly question, isn’t it?

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  5. Irfalstad. I know it sounds contradictory. But I think Sanders has the “right” to stay in the race if he wants to. As a practical matter, however, I think it would be better for the Democratic Party if he conceded defeat and supported Clinton. Letting us focus on Trump. I imagine he and Clinton will make a deal giving him more say in the party platform. Which is fair. He did get a lot of votes.
    I have been doing some research on the NY primary. Final tally was Clinton 1,054, 083 and Sanders 763, 469. There were about 90,000-120,000 ballots that were not accepted as legitimate. This is a high number. The overwhelming majority of those ballots were votes by people who were not registered with a political party. In NY, you must be a registered member of a political party to participate in the primary for that party. Since the ballots were not “legal” they were not counted, so we don’t know how many went to Clinton and how many to Sanders. (Even if all 120,000 went to Sanders he still would have not won in NY).
    I think a big issue is that in NY you cannot change party registration until an election has passed. For example, if I wanted to switch from a Dem to the GOP today I could do so. But my change of party registration would not take effect until AFTER the November election. This is to prevent fraud as people could easily keep changing party affiliations to screw up elections. And in NY independents cannot vote in party primaries.
    One of the things that happened before the election is that some groups who do not like the “closed” primary system encouraged people to try to vote anyway. That was one reason there were so may “illegal” ballots. Because people not registered with a political party tried to vote anyway. And in NY, you are allowed to fill out a provisional ballot if you are not on the rolls. Most of those provisional ballots were later dumped because the voter found not to be a party member.

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