Has there ever been another time in history when Americans, and indeed the world, have been so engaged in the selection of U.S. party leaders? Even without counting Trump and the Republicans, this has been a bizarre presidential primary election. In a country where the word “liberal” is an insult and “socialist” a pock, there rose the unapologetic democratic socialist Bernie Sanders, whose progressive notes trilled on tune and whose song has become the mid-game anthem for the Occupy movement. Bernie has come a long way, having proven himself a force to be reckoned with; but while Bernie fights for the hearts of Americans, his supporters seem too often to be occupied on a mission of propaganda. It’s as if a cabal of progressives had cast a spell onto the political landscape, such that every event is perceived as a vision of Bernie’s inevitable ascension into presidency. From celebrities and feminists to trolls and opportunist misogynists, everyone seems to be feeling the Bern.
But does Bernie actually have a chance in hell of winning at this stage? And has he been winning at all at any point? These are the questions that led me to a sleepless night of spreadsheet keying and number crunching. This is the no-holds-barred quick-and-dirty shatter-your-dreams primaries recap you’ve never wanted to hear, and which I will now shove down your throats.
Hillary Clinton has won 24 states to Bernie’s 18. Her loss early on in New Hampshire notwithstanding, she has led in delegates and popular votes throughout the contest, with superdelegates heavily favoring her. The average per state delegate capture is about 50% for both Hillary and Bernie (not counting superdelegates); however, Hillary has gained an overwhelming lead by winning almost all the major states (i.e., she’s won 8 out of the 10 states with over 100 delegates), and by wide margins.
To catch up to Hillary in delegate count, Bernie would need to capture about 67% of the remaining delegates. There are 8 states to go, including California, which is by far the largest state in delegate count. If Bernie manages to tie Hillary in California, he would need to win about 90% of the remaining delegates. If Bernie manages to tie Hillary in all other states, he would need to capture about 80% in California. And this is not counting superdelegates, which heavily favor Hillary, and popular votes, in which Bernie is trailing by over 3 million. Unfortunately for Bernie, the latest polls show Hillary being favored by Californians by around 10 points and winning in all the remaining states (save South Dakota, which has not been polled).
If we were to judge from progressive media — which has been embarking on a fantastical adventure of self-delusion, with article titles such as, Bernie Sanders Is Currently Winning the Democratic Primary Race, and I’ll Prove It to You — we might suppose that Bernie still has the upper hand of momentum. But that is really not the case either. While Bernie is still drawing impressive crowds and attracting outspoken supporters, this has not translated well enough to popular votes. Bernie’s major victory in Washington along with a string of wins in smaller states gave his supporters cause for hope, but New York effectively brought his train of optimism to a screeching halt.
An interesting fact that’s been overlooked by Bernie’s supporters who have thrown tantrums over the supposed unfairness of primaries: not counting superdelegates, Hillary’s lead over Bernie in popular votes (14%) is greater than her lead in delegates (9%). Hillary is leading Bernie by over 3 million votes. Hillary is the popular democratic candidate, and there is no need for anyone to do anything untoward to keep Bernie from winning.
Truth be told, the race was over for Bernie March 15 as results rolled in from Florida, and Bernie must have felt it, if he had not willfully known it. I knew it not from crunching numbers but by watching Bernie give a speech looking and sounding haggard and teetering on tears.
Perhaps Bernie had hoped the revolution would arrive during primaries to sweep him into presidency. But if it was a revolution Bernie was counting on before, it’s a miracle that he needs now.
To Bernie’s supporters: please find your dignity, integrity, and grace. My own sense of idealism probably means I’m more aligned with Bernie, but it’s been unbearable to watch all the tantrum-throwing and opportunist misogyny of his supporters. Too many times have I witnessed Bernie’s supporters diligently attacking every pro-Hillary commenter while ignoring the misogynistic attacks on Hillary calling her “bitch” and “whore”. Too many times have I witnessed otherwise reasonable progressives jumping on the bandwagon of smears and manufactured controversies against Hillary. Too many times have I witnessed the shouting down and harassment of Hillary supporters by the entitled men of Bernie’s camp.
I do not believe it is a coincidence that Americans have dumped the bulk of the burden and blame for a broken political and economic system generations in the making on the first woman that steps into the spotlight — before she wins the office. I do not believe it is a coincidence that the first probable female president, who is as intelligent, competent, and compassionate as any who had been previously inaugurated, is judged by standards no man before her has had to face. That there are those who would advocate to abstain, and those who would even vote Trump, if Hillary wins makes me wonder if the rise of Bernie is due less to a sudden twinge of social consciousness than to the age old misogynistic fear of women with power. The level of vitriol against Hillary and her supporters I’ve come across online makes me wonder if Bernie somehow inherited a portion of his supporter base from GamerGate, now grown from attacking female bloggers, podcasters, and game makers to female politicians — from critiquing corruption in video game journalism to critiquing corruption in White House email handling.
Please stop calling for Hillary to step down when she is clearly leading in every way possible and no one has yet to publicly ask Sanders to do so — that is just abuser level manipulativeness. Please call out the misogynists in your rank. Please keep in mind we live in a society which takes any mistake a woman makes as evidence of pervasive dishonest character and any fault evidence of perennial incompetence and worthlessness; while even male losers and villains are often afforded a degree of dignity and depth of character. Those who lie in wait for women rising in power and popularity to trip are the opportunist misogynists. And to men who have rarely lifted a finger for women’s rights who now argue that a pro-women female president is not good enough for women, I have no words for you.
Watching Bernie supporters claim that Bernie is the better contender against Trump after their relentless campaign of attacks against Hillary is like watching pro-life advocates claiming that abortions cause depression after shaming, shunning, and terrorizing the women who receive abortions. If Trump is the winner at the end of this election, it will not be due to Trump’s strength or Hillary’s weakness but to the sabotage of the Democratic Party by Bernie Sanders’ supporters. If that happens, I fear we will all recognize too late just how petty and backwards the campaign of desperate attacks against Hillary that’s been taking place has been.