© 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.
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.
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.