The Proportional Mechanics of Democrat Delegate Awarding is Going to Matter

There are a variety of opinions about the large field of Democrat Presidential Candidates. I plan to have no preference until people start voting. However, the mechanics are going to matter a lot and they are below.

When there is a large field (the GOP in 2016) and winner take all voting, a candidate with consistent 30% support can win the nomination. This is how Trump did so.

Dems have a complex system for awarding delegates that is mostly proportional, once a candidate has garnered 15% of the vote. This makes our process a slough. While the MSM writes and talks about “winning” a state, a normal “win” has a modest effect on delegate accumulation and a massacre win is what is needed to change it. In the Dem party, the massacre wins usually happen in the South, where the voters are predominantly African American. In 2016, Clinton and Sanders traded normal wins back and forth and the reason that Saunders could not catch Clinton is that she had massacre wins in the South. (Despite all his talk of superdelegates and cheating, he lost because he lost in the South by quite large margins, and did not notch large margin wins elsewhere.)

As usual, Iowa and New Hampshire will start a winnowing the field process. However, since the South is next and California is much earlier, the large field probably gets winnowed by Super Tuesday and the races near it. The way that the math works, is once a candidate is down below 15% in up to 10 races, he or she cannot catch up without several massacre wins.

There is a pretty good chance that we go to the convention with three-ish candidates with 20-30% of the delegates each (and a handful with tiny numbers each, but which are collectively important). This is because nearly everyone has money and staying power. We will then have a worse argument than last time because no delegate lead is going to be overwhelming. We have cut back on the number of superdelegates, but they have a good chance of mattering this time, for the first time.

California is going to matter this time because it has so many many delegates and is voting much earlier. Because if its size, a “good win” in California (40-50% in a field where the rest is split among 2 or more candidates) could give the “good winner” a delegate lead that is hard to overcome, and that acts like a massacre win in the small states in the South.

Kamala Harris’ strategy is massacre wins in the South and for either a massacre win, or a good win, in California. If she executes this, plus a place in the top three elsewhere, she will likely have the most delegates.

She went to Howard and is active in one of the storied black sororities. The overlap of her sorority sisters and Dem community leaders, particularly in the South, is material. California is a state that most Dems have hardly ever campaigned. She is a favorite daughter and has high name recognition, and has won statewide twice, most recently against another Dem, and before that, against a republican.

Fantastic refresher, very helpful, thank you.

The picture you paint is really of Harris’s race to lose barring scandal or a major political development in the next few months.

OK, if this is true, then can you explain why it was that Debbie Wasserman-Shultz had to resign?

Note that I am not a backwards-focusing sort of person, and I have moved on from some of the frustration of 2016. But somehow, the situation continues to be mischaracterized in a way that discounts Sanders and his supporters. It is others - not Sanders’ supporters - who insist on bringing these issues up and refusing to acknowledge that there were genuine issues in the 2016 primary that disadvantaged Sanders significantly, including limiting the number of debates

And, not to discount Harris, but here is what the latest polling reported at Salon shows:

Among voters in the early primary (or caucus) states of Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina, however, Biden and Sanders remain well ahead of the other contenders, standing at 37 and 28 percent, respectively. Warren is a distant third in those states, at 8 percent, with Harris, O’Rourke and Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey packed behind her.

So, we currently have Sanders polling at 28 percent, while the numbers for Harris, which include South Carolina, a Southern state, are not reported in the article, but are somewhere below Warren’s at 8 percent. Further, it’s unclear whether Biden will run at this point, and if not, it should affect possibly all the candidates’ polling numbers.

As I said, this isn’t to discount Harris at all - and her “favorite daughter” status in California could clearly make a difference - but just to point out that the premise above is very speculative and premature.

I await Al Franken’s entry into the fray. He should announce his running mate immediately, Jill Stein the perfect running mate.

Franken-Stein a perfect combo.


Doesn’t appear she has a lock on California either.


Former Vice President Joe Biden is the top choice for Democratic voters in California, edging out home-state candidate Sen. Kamala Harris (D), according to a poll released Wednesday.

Biden has support from 26 percent of Democrats and Democratic-leaning voters in the state, according to the Quinnipiac University Poll. He is trailed by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Harris, who have 18 percent and 17 percent support, respectively.

The question is, who will Biden supporters break to if he doesn’t get in the race?