Forums - Politics Discussion - The System Isn’t ‘Rigged’ Against Sanders; Clinton’s winning because more Democrats want her to be the nominee

A week ago, New York Daily News columnist and Bernie Sanders supporter Shaun King tweeted the following about the Democratic caucuses in Washington, which took place in late March:

Whether King intended it or not, he implied that caucuses -- which often require hours of participation and mean lower turnout -- are representative of what would happen if a larger electorate had its say. Well, a funny thing happened in Washington on Tuesday: The state held a mail-in, beauty-contest primary -- so voting was easy, but no delegates were at stake. (The Associated Press has declared Hillary Clinton the winner.) The results are still being finalized, but Clinton leads by about 6 percentage points with more than 700,000 votes counted. Sanders won the Washington caucuses, which had 230,000 participants, by 46 percentage points.

So, turnout was much higher in the Washington primary than in the caucuses, and Clinton did much better. Something similar happened in Nebraska, where Clinton lost the early March caucuses by 14 percentage points and won the early May primary, in which no delegates were awarded, by 7 points.

Nebraska and Washington are part of a pattern. As Sanders fans claim that the Democratic primary system is rigged against their candidate and that Sanders wins when turnout is higher, they fail to point out that Sanders has benefited tremendously from low-turnout caucuses. Indeed, if all the caucuses were primaries, Clinton would be winning the Democratic nomination by an even wider margin than she is now.

Let's start out with the real-world numbers. Here are the delegate and vote totals by contest, including caucuses and primaries, so far:

Iowa   Clinton +0 85 85 23 21
N.H.     Sanders +22 95 152 9 15
Nevada Clinton +5 44 40 20 15
South Carolina     Clinton +47 272 96 39 14
Alabama     Clinton +59 309 76 44 9
Am. Samoa   Clinton +43 <1 <1 4 2
Arkansas     Clinton +36 146 66 22 10
Georgia     Clinton +43 546 216 73 29
Massachusetts     Clinton +1 607 590 46 45
Oklahoma     Sanders +10 139 174 17 21
Tennessee     Clinton +34 246 121 44 23
Texas     Clinton +32 936 477 147 75
Vermont     Sanders +72 18 116 0 16
Virginia     Clinton +29 505 276 62 33
Colorado Sanders +19 50 73 25 41
Minnesota   Sanders +23 78 126 31 46
Louisiana   Clinton +48 222 72 37 14
Nebraska Sanders +14 14 19 10 15
Kansas Sanders +35 13 26 10 23
Maine Sanders +29 16 30 8 17
Michigan     Sanders +1 582 599 63 67
Mississippi     Clinton +66 187 38 31 5
N. Marianas Clinton +20 <1 <1 4 2
Florida   Clinton +31 1,101 569 141 73
Illinois     Clinton +2 1,040 999 79 77
Missouri     Clinton +0 312 311 36 35
North Carolina     Clinton +14 623 467 60 47
Ohio     Clinton +13 697 535 81 62
Dems abroad     Sanders +38 11 24 4 9
Arizona   Clinton +15 262 193 42 33
Utah   Sanders +59 15 60 6 27
Idaho   Sanders +57 5 19 5 18
Hawaii   Sanders +40 10 24 8 17
Washington   Sanders +46 62 167 27 74
Alaska Sanders +59 2 8 3 13
Wisconsin     Sanders +14 434 570 38 48
Wyoming Sanders +11 3 4 7 7
New York   Clinton +16 1,134 820 139 108
Pennsylvania   Clinton +12 922 722 106 83
Rhode Island     Sanders +12 53 67 11 13
Connecticut   Clinton +5 170 152 28 27
Delaware   Clinton +21 56 37 12 9
Maryland   Clinton +29 573 310 61 34
Indiana     Sanders +5 303 335 39 44
Guam Clinton +19 1 1 4 3
West Virginia     Sanders +16 86 123 11 18
Kentucky   Clinton +0 213 211 28 27
Oregon   Sanders +13 264 347 26 35
Total     Clinton +12 13,463 10,544 1,771 1,499

Democratic votes and delegates based on actual results [/table]

Popular vote in Iowa, Nevada, Maine, Washington and Wyoming is estimated based on overall turnout.

Sources: Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections, The Green Papers, U.S. Elections Project

Counting only caucuses, Sanders has won 63 percent of the vote, 64 percent of the delegates and 11 of the 16 contests. In doing so, he has earned 341 elected delegates, compared with Clinton's 195 delegates, for a margin of 146 delegates. These caucuses have had approximately1 1.1 million participants. As a point of comparison, turnout in the caucuses has been only about 13 percent of the total number of votes President Obama got in the 2012 presidential election in these states.2

Sanders has done far worse in the states that have held primaries. Counting just primaries, including Tuesday's in Washington,3 Sanders has won only 42 percent of the vote, 42 percent of delegates and 10 of the 34 statewide contests.4 Clinton earned 1,576 elected delegates, compared with Sanders's 1,158, for a margin of 418. The turnout in these contests has been far higher than in the caucuses, with a little more than 24 million votes cast. That's about 49 percent of the total number of votes Obama got in the 2012 election in these states.5

Now, it is fair to point out that the caucuses have taken place in states that are demographically different than the primary states. Caucus states in 2016 are overwhelmingly white and overwhelmingly rural compared with primary states. Still, these differences don't come close to explaining the differences in results between the caucuses and primaries so far. We can look to Nebraska and Washington as two examples of the disparity. Of course, one could argue that because no delegates were up for grabs in those states' primaries, the campaigns didn't really compete for residents' votes and therefore those contests aren't representative of what a truly competitive primary would look like there. Fortunately, because the vote in the Democratic primary has largely broken down along demographic lines, we can use statistical models to approximate what would happen if states that held caucuses had held primaries instead.

At various times, we've tried using demographics to model the vote in the Democratic nomination contest so far. The model considers each 2016 contest and controls for (i) the black and Hispanic share of the Democratic vote in that state in the 2008 general election, (ii) whether that primary or caucus is "open" to independent voters unaffiliated with a political party, and (iii) the margin in national primary polls at the time the contest is held. This model estimates that holding caucuses instead of primaries is a massive advantage for Sanders. In fact, Clinton would do about 20 to 25 percentage points better relative to Sanders if a state changed from a caucus to a primary, the model estimates.

Here's how we project each caucus would have gone if a primary had been held instead:6

Iowa   Clinton +24 301 182 27 17
Nevada Clinton +29 185 101 23 12
Am. Samoa   Clinton +60 4 1 5 1
Colorado Clinton +6 331 295 35 31
Minnesota   Clinton +1 402 394 39 38
Nebraska Clinton +7 79 70 13 12
Kansas Sanders +12 91 116 15 18
Maine Sanders +5 92 102 12 13
N. Marianas Clinton +39 3 1 4 2
Utah   Sanders +39 52 120 10 23
Idaho   Sanders +37 33 72 7 16
Hawaii   Sanders +17 63 88 10 15
Washington   Clinton +6 471 418 53 48
Alaska Sanders +40 17 40 5 11
Wyoming Clinton +13 19 15 8 6
Guam Clinton +42 10 4 5 2
Current primary states   Clinton +14 13,064 9,861 1,576 1,158
Total   Clinton +12 15,216 11,880 1,847 1,423

Projected Democratic results if caucus states had held primaries [/table]

Sanders fans have claimed that because caucuses have lower turnout the current national caucus and primary vote underrates how well Sanders is doing. In fact, the opposite is true. When we switch all caucuses over to primaries, Sanders actually does worse. Clinton's lead in the popular vote would grow from 2.9 to 3.3 million votes. Moreover, her edge in elected delegates would expand significantly.7 Instead of her current lead of 272 elected delegates, Clinton would be ahead by 424.8 Some states that were won by Sanders in caucuses, including Colorado and Minnesota, would be won by Clinton in primaries, according to our calculations.

In fact, counting the 537 superdelegates The Associated Press currently gives Clinton, she would likely have 2,384 total delegates if every state had held a primary. That's one more than necessary to clinch the nomination.

But what would happen if every state held a primary that was open to independent voters? Independent voters, after all, have been among Sanders's strongest groups, and Sanders supporters have consistently cited closed contests as evidence the game is rigged. We can rerun the same regression as above but estimate what would happen if all the primaries are open to unaffiliated voters.

Iowa Clinton +24 301 182 27 17
Nevada Clinton +18 188 130 21 14
Am. Samoa Clinton +60 4 1 5 1
Colorado Sanders +6 331 373 31 35
Minnesota Clinton +1 402 394 39 38
Louisiana Clinton +39 240 100 36 15
Nebraska Sanders +5 79 88 12 13
Kansas Sanders +23 90 144 13 20
Maine Sanders +16 91 127 10 15
N. Marianas Clinton +30 3 2 4 2
Florida Clinton +20 1,159 760 129 85
Arizona Clinton +4 267 248 39 36
Utah Sanders +39 52 120 10 23
Idaho Sanders +37 33 72 7 16
Hawaii Sanders +17 63 88 10 15
Washington Clinton +6 471 418 53 48
Alaska Sanders +50 16 48 4 12
Wyoming Clinton +2 19 19 7 7
New York Clinton +4 1,146 1,049 129 118
Pennsylvania Clinton +0 915 907 95 94
Connecticut Sanders +6 176 200 26 29
Delaware Clinton +9 58 49 11 10
Maryland Clinton +18 581 399 56 39
Guam Clinton +31 11 6 5 2
Kentucky Sanders +10 205 256 24 31
Oregon Sanders +25 251 418 23 38
Current open primary states Clinton +12 8,146 6,429 956 715
Total Clinton +8 15,298 13,024 1,782 1,488

Projected results if every state had held an open primary [/table]

An "open" primary allows the participation of voters not registered with either major political party.

Clinton's margin in the national popular vote shrinks to about 8 percentage points (from 12). That's because opening a primary to independent voters shrinks Clinton's margin in a state by about 10 percentage points on average, according to the model. Sanders would also project to win Connecticut and Kentucky, which he lost in the real world when they held closed primaries.

Still, this wouldn't make all that much difference. Just 11 states9 held closed primaries, so the national vote is mostly reflective of a process open to unaffiliated voters. Indeed, Clinton has won 14 primaries10 open to independent voters, while Sanders has won nine.

In fact, if all states held primaries open to independents -- instead of closed primaries, or caucuses of any kind -- Clinton might have a larger lead in elected delegates than she does now. The model indicates that Clinton would have a lead of 294 elected delegates, compared with the 272 she holds now. That's not a huge difference, but it means that Clinton has been hurt at least as much by caucuses as Sanders has been hurt by closed primaries.

What would happen if the primary system conformed to each candidate's best-case scenario? (All closed primaries for Clinton and all caucuses open to independent voters for Sanders.) If every state held a closed primary, Clinton would beat Sanders by 19 percentage points and have a 654 elected delegate advantage, we estimate. If, however, each state held an open caucus, Sanders would beat Clinton by 22 percentage points nationwide and have a 496 elected delegate lead. Of course, neither of those scenarios would happen.

Realistically, if you throw everything together, the math suggests that Sanders doesn't have much to complain about. If the Democratic nomination were open to as many Democrats as possible -- through closed primaries -- Clinton would be dominating Sanders. And if the nomination were open to as many voters as possible -- through open primaries -- she'd still be winning.

  • Some states, such as Nevada, do not release official turnout totals. In states without official totals, approximations were released. We used these approximations as compiled by Michael McDonald at the United States Elections Project. ^
  • We exclude territories from this estimate because they don't vote in general elections. ^
  • The Washington count is as of Thursday morning, Eastern time. ^
  • This includes the Nebraska primary for which no delegates were awarded. ^
  • We exclude the Democrats Abroad primary because there is no equivalent contest in the general election. ^
  • In Washington and Nebraska, which actually held a primary in addition to a caucus, we used the primary results instead of the model to estimate Clinton's and Sanders's vote shares, although we used the model to estimate what turnout would have been. ^
  • Why does Clinton's delegate lead expand so significantly while her margin in the popular vote does not? If a state changes from a caucus to a primary, Clinton does better and gains more delegates in these states. But caucuses have such small voter participation that they don't really contribute much to the national vote total. According to our calculations, turnout typically goes up about three to four times when you move from a caucus to a primary. (This is based on a simple regression in which the dependent variable is turnout as ratio of Obama votes in the 2012 general election. The regression controls for whether independent voters can vote in the primary.) So, Clinton does better in the shift from caucuses to primaries, but we're still adding a bunch of votes from more Sanders friendly states such as Colorado and Minnesota to the overall popular vote count. As a result, the national primary vote wouldn't change -- Clinton would win by 12 percentage points according to our calculation. ^
  • In our projections of how caucus states would vote if they held a primary instead, delegates were allocated strictly proportionally. ^
  • Including Nebraska. ^
  • Including Washington. ^

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"Rigged" is the wrong term.

The argument is that before a single vote is cast the system allows for certain candidates to have massive advantages in regards to funding and connections.

To use an analogy, every team in a sport plays the same rules and the officiating is as fair as humanly possible. 90% of the time the rich team beats the poor team. Fans complain that it is unfair, not because the game is fixed, but that the resources each side had is so unequal.

Clinton was an absolute juggernaut coming into this election cycle. She has name recognition and is very connected within politics and her party. Couple that with huge donors and she should have steam rolled to the nomination. Webb, O'Malley, and Chafee offered zero resistance to her.

Sanders for decades has been this odd outsider who is passionate and was routinely mocked in the senate. When he announced his candidacy he was given no chance and had to make up a huge gap between himself and Clinton. Despite the fact he will likely finish a couple hundred delegates short he did better than any reasonable observer expected back in January.

Clinton will be the Democrats nominee unless something catastrophic occurs. The question is if she will be President, which right now feels like a coin flip. Can argue about polling data showing Sanders being far stronger against Trump than Clinton, but that is not how the parties pick their nominee.

In studying the demographics I think Sanders campaign will be noted as a precursor for a future president. The incredible swing in attitudes based on generation means words like "socialism" stopped scaring people and rethinking many old ideas such as the war on drugs, health care, and taxes. I could see a Elizabeth Warren making a run down the road and winning as this generations impact on political discourse becomes more pronounced.

Wow, I can't believe even VGC isn't free of the paid $Hilbots. Disgusting the lengths you people will go to discredit the Revolution.

Lol just kidding

Please Watch/Share this video so it gets shown in Hollywood.

i watched lastweektonight with John Oliver about this


Face the future.. Gamecenter ID: nikkom_nl (oh no he didn't!!) 

The thing is, she's well qualified. And they understand that if you get Hillary, you also get Bill. So it's really 2 for the price of 1. Both of them have extensive experience and a killer amount of supporters and connections. And ultimately that's how anything will get done with connections and ruling with an iron fist accompanied by common sense.

Bernie, I have nothing against him but he's slowing the progress of the democratic nomination. Young people love what Bernie is saying but it's just words. You have to basically just take his word for it where the Clintons have produced results. If the only "bad" things the media can put on the Clintons is "Sexual relations" or "Secret Emails", then they have this in the bag.

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The voting system isn't rigged, just extremely dumb and void of democracy. The system as a whole is rigged to promote those politicians that are easily corrupted and open to receive large sums of cash from companies. These two factors (dumb voting system and corrupt financing) makes it very hard for honest politicians to be successful. So I would say more than anything, it is a completely broken system.

kitler53 said:
  •  Clinton leads by about 6 percentage points with more than 700,000 votes counted. Sanders won the Washington caucuses, which had 230,000 participants, by 46 percentage points.


I live in Washington and saw the mail in ballot. They couldn't have made it any easier to vote. Caucuses are hard, they are confusing, they require passion to succeed. 



Which reason do you feel Our Fore Fathers chose to justify making the United States of America a Republic with indirect Democracy? Do you feel it was because Voters, giving no effort, were less able to manage the good of the land than Delegates, who worked hard to be chosen directly by the voters who sit for hours at a caucus?



I encourage you all to attend a caucus and to volunteer yourself to be their delegate to your county convention. It will be worth it to you to see why we are an indirect Democracy, and why delegates must be elected not annointed (super), for the good of the land.

Ljink96 said:
The thing is, she's well qualified. And they understand that if you get Hillary, you also get Bill. So it's really 2 for the price of 1. Both of them have extensive experience and a killer amount of supporters and connections. And ultimately that's how anything will get done with connections and ruling with an iron fist accompanied by common sense.

Bernie, I have nothing against him but he's slowing the progress of the democratic nomination. Young people love what Bernie is saying but it's just words. You have to basically just take his word for it where the Clintons have produced results. If the only "bad" things the media can put on the Clintons is "Sexual relations" or "Secret Emails", then they have this in the bag.

It's just words?

Look, Bernie has been there calling out the bullshit from day 1. I wasn't a Bernie supporter. I looked at what he was about. I saw him talking to Greenspan, roasting him on the seat about poisonous policies. I saw Greenspan admit that Bernie was right. Bernie is a smart guy. I'm not going to sit here and say that Bernie is going to be the better president.

But I do think he cares a lot more about this country than she does.

EDIT: Connections are not a good thing man. Look at her supposed connections. Walmart executives, wall street guys. I know everyone is going to talk about free-market this free-market that, but the way the system is currently is like a energyplant powered by an illtempered dragon. Case in point, there is currently an antiobiotic-resistant strain of e-coli that just developed and it was originally discovered in pigs. Pigs that were fed their own shit mixed with antibiotics. The free market allows a practice of reckless money-grabbing at the risk of everything else, and now we potentially have an extinction-level event supervirus because of it.

I am just tired of corporations and money-grabs making all the laws and loopholes in this country and we need someone who is going to try and change that before it's too late.

I find it ironic that the "Democratic" Party electoral process had a candidate that started with nearly 25% of the required electoral votes for nomination.

Massimus - "Trump already has democrat support."

Long story short: the Democrats fucked themselves by making it entirely undemocratic.

And if you don't recognize that Bernie is relying solely on donations from people, and not super PACs, you really don't understand how this whole campaign thing works.

Hillary LITERALLY has multibillion dollar companies rooting for her and fueling her campaign. So do all the Republican nominees. Bernie doesn't let Wallstreet and the NRA tell him what to do.