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The Wave Crashing In…

Written By: - Date published: 6:02 pm, February 23rd, 2020 - 67 comments
Categories: Bernie Sanders, class war, elections, International, Politics, us politics - Tags: , , ,

Sanders has just walked home in Nevada.

Honestly, that should come as no surprise to anyone. He’ll probably win most of the remaining states too, and the only question that remains unsettled is whether his support will be such that there will be no brokered convention.

All other candidates have stated their belief that in the event of a brokered convention, the candidate with the most support should not automatically be the nominee.

According to them, it would be right and proper for Super Delegates to decide who the nominee is.

Think about that.

The contenders to be the Democratic nominee think that unelected establishment elites, with a lot vested in keeping things as they are, have a right to ignore and usurp the will of voting people.

That’s why Bloomberg is running (in the hope of achieving a brokered convention). And it’s probably the only reason Elizabeth Warren is still running. She has no path to the nomination besides being a “dead rat” (or unity) candidate of establishment elites.

And so now the only race is between Bernie and the goal of 1 886 delegates needed to secure the nomination.

Assuming no mass “drop out” by the remaining candidates, the only way Sanders can be thwarted is if a third and/or fourth candidate routinely breaches the 15% threshold in states and subsequently drags Sanders’ total number of delegates shy of the required number to secure a non-contested convention.

This video (reposted from a previous post) gives a simple explanation of how the delegate count alters quite drastically when a third or fourth candidate achieves over 15% of the vote.

To pre-empt some nonsense that might come from centrists. No. This is not comparable to Clinton winning the popular vote and losing the 2016 election. And no, this is not comparable to National winning most votes but not forming the government in NZ last time around.

The closest comparison I can think of is the NZ Labour Party reserving a decisive slice of the vote for party leader within the parliamentary caucus.

It’s the trench that threatened vested interests retreat to – it’s their Maginot Line designed to obstruct and thwart any inconvenient democratic will of the people. 

67 comments on “The Wave Crashing In… ”

  1. mosa 1

    Yes Bill

    The will of the people does not count if it is a candidate the establishment Democratic party does not want.

    And Bernies one person one vote will be rendered meaningless.

    The worlds greatest democracy ensures that the vote of the people is a charade if they don't vote the way they should , for an establishment status quo chosen candidate.

    A government of the people by the people for the people rings pretty hollow.

  2. adam 2

    It was one of the most scummist things I've ever seen – watching the democratic candidates saying the popular count did not mean shit. Funny how they have changed their tune since 2016.

    On good news front –

    I keep hearing no other candidate in modern US history from either party has won the popular vote in the first 3 elections – do you know if that is true Bill?

    One other good piece of news, is Bernie did well in the older demographic (over 65), he is now equal with Biden with that age bracket.

  3. aj 3

    Assuming no fuckery bringing about a brokered convention, and hopefully no ……

    Bill I can't bring myself to type that last word in from your open mike comment, but I'm glad you brought it up. Such are the power bases threatened by Bernie Sanders winning the nomination, that this is a clear risk. I hope he and his team are taking as much care as possible.

  4. RedLogix 5

    And now might be a good time to take a few moments to review Bernie's position on the issues.

    The large majority I fully endorse, but there are some I suspect he's going to get some pushback on. The US electorate is fundamentally tilted more to the libertarian than we're used to; freedom is a very important value to many Americans.

    It's good to see Bernie out in front at this point, and I do believe he can beat Trump, but it's too soon to tell how the cards are going to fall once Sanders is exposed to more media scrutiny.

    • Drowsy M. Kram 5.1

      If democrats and the Democratic party machine unite behind Bernie, and if the US MSM is even-handed in its 'scrutiny' of presidential incumbent Trump and challenger Sanders (assuming that 'race'), then Sanders might appear to be a relatively good choice.

      Those are BIG 'ifs' – here's hoping…

      • Adrian Thornton 5.1.1

        @Drowsy..the establishment DNC.and Liberal US MSM I think have proved (just like their contemporaries in the UK) that they would rather lose than win with a real progressive, that is just a plain fact..and you can be sure the same would hold true in little old NZ too if we were lucky enough to have a real progressive to kick off a progressive Socialist movement within the free market liberal NZ Labour party.

        • Bill

          You mean if a bog standard social democrat like say – oh, I dunno – a Cunliffe became leader of NZ Labour? Or maybe you mean if a Metirea Turei threw a stick of dynamite at the heart of liberalism in the shape of some common sense welfare observations and solutions?

          I remember arguing with someone close to the Cunliffe campaign that a movement was needed – one that was broader in scope than what Cunliffe (or the Green Party) could encompass, but one that both could take pointers from.

          On a similar note, that arsehat Jon Lansman killed Momentum by making it an adjunct of the UK Labour Party. That Corbyn and others in leadership seemingly didn't understand the pit falls of centralism doesn't speak well to any prospect of a new social democracy that wasn't going to be a repeat of the bureaucratic hell of 1970s social democracy.

          As for the movement propelling Benrie Sanders. I have no idea as to how top down it may be.

          • Gosman

            How was Corbyn knobbled by centralism? I thought he was knobbled by the fact people thought he was a leftist promising too many things that he couldn't or shouldn't deliver.

            • Bill

              Well. You know what thought did…

              • Gosman

                You are a prime example of why the far left fail repeatedly in Western democracies. You never address the real reasons why people reject leftists policies or why they fail. Instead you create reasons seemingly out of the air. In Corbyn's case it wasn't because people didn't like him personally or believe all the policies he pushed as a collective (not individual policies themselves which were quite popular) were deem pie in the sky dreaming. Instead to you it is because he failed to articulate why they implementation of them would be be done in an inclusive and democratic manner.

                • RedLogix

                  That's a sound point Gosman. I know it will irk the tribal lefties here, but that comment has a sense of sincerity and solidity to it. When I scanned through all Sander's policy positions, while I liked many of them (and didn't like some) … as a whole they feel implausible.

                • Bill

                  Gosman. You want a discussion about Corbyn and the UK election? Then take it to open mike. Regardless, any more straw man arguments (assertions around points not made) or putting words in my mouth again ( eg – "Instead to you it is because…") will result in you receiving a ban from the site (yet again).

                  Now. How's that feather of yours coming along? Growing just as thought thought?

                  • Gosman

                    You brought Corbyn in to the discussion not I. However as RL points out the point I raised can apply equally to Sanders. People might like his policies on their own merit but as part of a radical left wing agenda it is going to turn people off. Many people just don't trust that such radical changes are realistic. It is why incremental changes in democracies tend to happen over radical ones. Radical ones can come about but usually only as the result of dealing with an immediate crisis and only if the vast majority of the country is united behind them.

                    • Aaron

                      Why does anyone ever bother debating with Gosman? He's such a right wing troll that there is never any chance of reasoned debate, Based on his actions I'd have to say his primary purpose is to waste time and distract people from constructive debate.

                • DS

                  Corbyn lost because the election was a re-run of the Brexit Referendum, as run under First Past the Post. Policies had nothing to do with it (and to be honest, neither did Corbyn).

          • Adrian Thornton

            Sanders has been very astute to keep pushing the narrative that the only way to achieve any of his proposed progressive agenda is by way of an well organized and highly motivated movement who are prepared to do battle head to head with the enemy..ie the the status quo establishment.

            A small taste of what that could will look like..


            Yes Cunliffe and Metirea Turei are who I was thinking of, and yes you are quite right, a popular movement (usually coalescing around a driving personality) is the only way forward toward any kind of serious Left wing progressive change on these shores.

  5. Phil 6

    And no, this is not comparable to National winning most votes but not forming the government in NZ last time around.

    Nah, bro. Try as you might to weasle out of it, you're wrong here. If Bernie gets, say, 40% of the delegates, and three 'moderates' (e,g Bloom, Butteg, Klob) each get 20%… that's a mandate for a moderate policy stance. It makes plausible sense for them to combine forces and put one of them at the top of the ticket on a moderate platform, because that's what the majority of democrats voted for.

    • Bill 6.1

      You seem to believe that voter preference splits along ideological lines. That's simply not true though. Poll after poll shows Bernie Sanders as the second choice for those who intend to vote for Biden et al.

      It's only the likes of CNN and MSNBC who try to peddle the progressive and moderate bloc nonsense. And they do it in spite of knowing those second preference polls reveal their "analysis" as a nonsense.

      • Phil 6.1.1

        Across the policy spectrum the differences between Biden, Bloomberg, Mayor Pete and Amy K are smaller than between them and Bernie. Biden and all the other moderates hold stances on healthcare that are variations on "M4A is too hard" – and healthcare is going to be probably the key Democrat plank in the general election.

        Every single one of them has made a case (either straight out warning against, or implicitly in the debates) against Bernie being the nominee.

        Once the delegate totals are known and everyone's at the convention, voters, directly, cease to matter. In a real sense voters will have said "we can't decide" and now the negotiations begin. It's entirely conceivable and should not be a surprise that the moderates might box out Bernie in that scenario.

        • Bill

          In spite of bad actors (eg – insurance company ad campaigns) muddying the waters, Medicare for All remains highly popular with the US public.

          And in an unbrokered convention, delegates who were put in place by voters to back a particular candidate, back said candidate, and the candidate with over 50% of pledged delegates becomes the nominee.

          Did you honestly miss the point I was making about how voters rank their choice of candidate? It's not along the ideological lines of the candidates themselves. So, for example, Bernie Sanders is the second choice of more Biden supporters than any other candidate.

          But if peeps want to pretend there's a clean split among voters that corresponds with the ideological position of candidates, then apart from being a disingenuous argument designed to justify undermining the democratic will of voters, it's just so much analytical pants.

          • Phil

            No-one's pretending there's a clean split. All i'm saying is that I can easily conceive of a situation where Sanders holds a plurality of delegates but he is shut out by other candidates who feel they can more effectively work together, and they combine to hold a majority.

            Where, exactly, does that leave the democratic party… who knows?

            • Bill

              And (I wonder), would you push that same argument in the theoretical case of a combined Gabbard, Sanders, di Blasio and Gravel vote being larger than a Buttigeig vote in a convention where Buttigeig had most pledged delegates?

              Hey, maybe you'd comment on the Olympics high jump and argue that the second, third and fourth placed athletes should get the gold medal because their accumulated cleared heights surpasses the height of the bar cleared by the winner?

              The nominee process is a first past the post election. The fuckery comes in when/if the DNC moves the finishing line.

              • Andre

                The primary is not a first past the post system as we generally use the term here in NZ. It is a process that requires a candidate to gather an absolute majority, not a mere plurality.

                If the voters produce a consensus absolute majority for a candidate via the pledged delegates, then that candidate becomes the nominee. No ifs, buts or maybes.

                If the voters fail to produce an absolute majority, effectively doing a "we can't decide", then to become the nominee a candidate has to build a majority consensus at the convention. At which point those who have put enough into the party to be granted the status of superdelegate get to make their voices hears. Since the superdelegates have generally achieved that status by winning elections of one kind or another, I'm kind of inclined to think they have some extra expertise that should be influential in choosing the nominee. If the voters haven't already made a clear choice, that is.

                • Bill

                  Where's the post? At 1991. Whoever gets past that point, wins. That's FPP.

                  As asked of Joe, is the argument that super-delegates have a moral authority to take the expressed democratic will of people "on advisement" only and just select who-ever is perceived to best serve their own interests?

                  • Phil

                    Where's the post? At 1991 [delegates]. Whoever gets past that point, wins. That's FPP.

                    Narrator: That is not a description of FPP.

              • Phil

                If no-one reaches 50% alone, then it's a game of coalition building. I don't have a dog in the fight, other than to say that as long as Trump and his craven horde are unceremoniously kicked to the curb I don't really care which Democrat sits in the oval office.

                To put the shoe on the other foot: Imagine Sanders and Warren each get 30% of the delegates and, say, Bloomberg gets 40%. You, for one, would be packing such a shit about the mandate for a (US-version) far left policy platform that it could be seen from outer space.

                • Bill

                  If Bloomberg had 40% because 2 wannabes couldn't get their shit together so that there was only one other person running against Bloomberg, I'd be in a state of depression.

                  The centrist fucks jockying for position to be a corporate unity or dead rat candidate are just that – fucks.

                  The word "dumb" should be a pre-fix there. Anyway…

                  • Phil

                    Bloomberg had 40%… I'd be in a state of depression.

                    Amen to that, brother.

                    The centrist fucks jockying for position to be a corporate unity or dead rat candidate are just that – fucks.

                    Sounds like an implicit admission that your stance is pro-Bernie and be damned with democracy. 😛

                    • Bill

                      Let me be explicit for you Phil.

                      I'm working class. So I'm supportive of any politician running on a platform that promotes meaningful policies for my class.

    • WeTheBleeple 6.2

      That's really dishonest. People are not voting for centrists or progressives or moderates – they're voting for candidates. The candidate with the most votes is the candidate with the most public support, period. A brokered convention is exactly as Bill described, a Maginot line to protect BAU. Democracy the musical.

      • Phil 6.2.1

        People are voting for candidates who hold differing policy positions. They're not just voting for a face.

        The candidate with the most votes is the candidate with the most public support, period.

        That's tautological and irrelevant. The issue is not who has the most votes, FPP style, it's who can command the majority. If Sanders cannot corral other delegates to his cause on a second vote (assuming he doesn't reach 50% or near enough) that's literally democracy in action.

        • WeTheBleeple

          Tautological? Irrelevant?

          Thank you for pointing out people are considering policies attached to faces. I feel enlightened.

          If Sanders takes over half the vote and a pack of embedded guardians of the grift keep him locked out, that is not democracy, it's fucked up.

          • joe90

            All of the candidates agreed to run as members of the Democratic Party and all agreed to abide by the rules. The rules state that a candidate needs the votes of 1,991 delegates to become the party’s nominee.

            The rules rule.

            • Bill

              That's a bit of a trite argument there Joe. The issue isn't the 1991 delegate votes.

              The issue is whether super-delegates, many with vested interests, have the moral authority to vote against the will of those who have voted – ie – to simply take the vote of those who participated in state primaries "on advisement" and hand the nomination to "a buddy" regardless.

          • Andre

            While it is mathematically possible for someone to win over half the vote and wind up with slightly less than half the delegates, it would take an extremely odd configuration of votes to achieve that.

            On the flip side, it is quite likely for a candidate with a small plurality running against a fractured opposition to in fact end up with a majority of delegates. Because the way delegates are allocated and the 15% threshold means the candidate with the most votes in each state often ends up with a winner's bonus plus a disproportionate share of the delegates by virtue of the wasted votes cut off by the threshold.

            This is an undemocratic aspect of the primary system that Bernie is very likely to be a substantial beneficiary from. Indeed, after the Nevada results are finalised, Bernie's share of delegates awarded will be substantially greater than his vote share so far.

            • Bill

              Hang on. Are you're arguing that Bernie as the frontrunner and most popular candidate among voters, will accrue 'winners' advantages over those less popular and losing candidates?

              And is there an implied suggestion that any such advantage be reversed by super-delegates?

              • Andre

                The 'winner's bonus' is illustrated by the still provisional Iowa results where Buttigieg got a 14 to 12 advantage in pledged convention delegates from a minuscule lead in SDEs (and a deficit in actual votes).

                • Bill

                  Many different forms of advantage accrue to winners. And many depend on the framework around elections. So, for example, Trump won the US election because of a particular framework that seeks to give each state a equal say in terms of representation.

                  The DNC has a framework too. A crap one.

                  But again. The question isn't about the framework, but about any supposed moral authority of super-delegates to act against the expressed will of voters as presented at the Convention.

                  • Phil

                    The question isn't about the framework, but about any supposed moral authority of super-delegates to act against the expressed will of voters as presented at the Convention.

                    There's nothing in the Constitution about parties, let alone how they should elect a presidential contender. The existing rules and state-level legislation for primary elections are haphazard and have evolved over literally centuries.

                    The moral authority for super-delegates is derived from the fact that the party is a private entity and they are the party 'elders' (for want of a better term) that have invested their blood sweat and tears into it.

                    There's no such thing as an philosophically/objectively correct way to determine an election nominee, so they can do whatever the agreed rules allow.

          • Phil

            If Sanders takes over half the vote and a pack of embedded guardians of the grift keep him locked out, that is not democracy, it's fucked up.

            Jesus Christ WTB, learn to read!

            If Sanders gets over half the vote (i.e. delegates) he wins on the first vote. Congrats Bernie, now lets go destroy Trump.

            However, if he *doesn't* get 50% on the first vote, which is looking far more realistic than in any past election of recent memory, then other candidates have the same rights as Bernie to negotiate and build coalitions of delegates to create their own majority.

            • Bill

              Uh-huh, just like rich people have as much right to sleep under bridges as poor people, a prospective nominee running on a social democratic platform has as much right to build a coalition of delegates from a pool of corporatists as the corporatists they are running against. 🙄

            • WeTheBleeple

              Thanks for the advice to learn to read. I responded to a hypothetical you proposed Bernie 40% etc. Yet in your answer you bring in a different scenario and try to paint me an idiot for sticking to the first one.

              I can read just fine. Get off your high horse.

              • Phil

                *you* were the one who randomly threw in "If Sanders takes over half the vote" when we weren't talking about that at all.

  6. " … unelected establishment elites …"

    Super delegates ARE elected, in some form or other. Most are those elected to the DNC, the highest representative body in the party. Others are those Democratic party members who currently are elected senators or Governors. The smallest group is twenty or so retired office holders, including former Presidents Clinton and Obama.

    The super delegates are supposed to act as a senate; grey heads giving wise advice etc. It may not be perfect, but it is democratic.

    • Bill 7.1

      Many may be otherwise elected officials (others being party functionaries), but the selection process of who will be a super delegate is a "behind closed doors' selection process – not an election process.

      In other words, on the one hand, it's even less democratic than the framework for NZ Labours' Leadership elections insofar as the 50% of the vote reserved for caucus in NZ is at least a 50% "weighting" reserved solely for elected representatives serving in Parliament.

      But on the other hand, super delegates account for around 15% or 16% of the vote and not 50% as in the NZ Labour set up.

      But sure. To state that superdelegates are "unelected establishment elites" is a possibly, but unintentionally misleading turn of phrase.

      • Cheers, Bill. Oddly, if Bernie Sanders won his senate seat as a Democratic party candidate, rather than as an independent, he'd be a super delegate too.

        That independent candidate status is actually one of the reasons he's not trusted at the top of the party. He's not seen as loyal to the Democrats, though that's clearly a vote winner out in the wider population.

    • Tiger Mountain 7.2

      Why apologise for the fuckers TRP? Oh, that a peak form Hunter Thompson equivalent could cover this nerve wracking campaign. Pete Buttplug announcing an Iowa win with zero reporting in? nice…and that is how it will go down to the wire.

      Bernie is on “last chance power drive” and heroically sacrificing his twilight years for others and his long standing beliefs, people are starting to see that. Sanders supporters are ok about standing up–because they are essentially voting for their own empowerment.

      • I'm not apologising for anyone, TM. I was just pointing out that this is a legitimate part of the Democratic party's internal electoral system.

        I'm fine with Bernie Sanders as it happens. I preferred Clinton to him last time because I thought she'd win more votes. The shame of it is that she could have picked Bernie as her VP candidate and they may well have gotten over the line. Anybody remember who she did pick? No, me neither.

  7. Bill 8

    Just to throw in an example of how small shifts in percentages can have a large impact on the number of pledged delegates candidates receive.

    At 60% reporting, Sanders has 46% of the vote share. Biden has 19.6% and Buttigeig 15.3%

    On a rough and ready calculation for illustrative purposes only, that would yield Sanders 20 delegates, Biden 9 and Buttigeig 7.

    With a mere 0.4% drop for Buttigeig (ie – 14.9%), Sanders would get 25 delegates, Biden 10 and Buttigeig 0.

    Sanders needs a total delegate count that's over half of the total available on a state by state basis. That means if three candidates or more clear the 15% threshold, he has to win big just to win . In this instance , the difference is 5 delegates, or in percentage terms, 71% of available delegates versus 57%.

    He won big in Nevada 😉

    • Andre 8.1

      At 60% reporting, Bernie has 46% of the county delegate share.

      In vote share, he got 21,869 of the 55,607 votes counted so far, for a 39% vote share (so far).


      nb: In 2016 he got 47.3% of the delegate share from Nevada. Since there were only 2 candidates competing, it is a safe assumption that was pretty close to the vote share. So he’s dropped around 8% of his vote share from 2016 to 2020.

      • Bill 8.1.1

        Like I said Andre – it's a rough and ready calculation for illustrative purposes only. There are other layers of calculation go into deciding the allocation of delegates.

        And Wow! His vote share has only dropped 8 points when a previous field of two is compared to a field of several! That's pretty good going, aye?

  8. Cinny 9

    The Listening Post did an interesting story on Saturday about Bernie and the scaremongering from the corporate media….. it's the first story up, link below

    Sanders vs Bloomberg and the corporate media machine

    We're in the early days of the US election season and the battle for the right to take on Donald Trump currently looks like a two-horse race.

    On the progressive side of the Democratic Party, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. To his right, former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

    In the coverage of the two candidates – whose politics are poles apart – the US news media are showing their corporate bias. Sanders is a democratic socialist, Bloomberg is the 9th-richest person in the world.


  9. Andre 10

    Of the 36 pledged convention delegates at stake, Bernie is projected to get 24 (67%), Biden 9 (25%) and Buttigieg 3 (8%). From vote shares of 41%, 20% and 17%.

    Details that show how this undemocratic AF outcome comes to be are found below.


  10. DS 11

    Anyone hoping for a brokered convention to stop Bernie is an idiot. There hasn't been one since 1952, and as much as sad political geeks hunger for one, it's unlikely to happen.

    Much more likely is the Establishment quietly trying to foist their VP choice on Bernie. Which, given Bernie's age, will be the subject of much discussion.

    • pat 11.1

      The Establishment wont wait for that to be forced upon them….they'll be pulling outall the stops long before it gets to that point

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