Rinaldo Del Gallo, III: Misleading delegate count is undermining Sanders
PITTSFIELD >> The captions underneath the talking heads on T.V. have the Democratic presidential primary delegate count as Hillary Clinton 1,681, Bernie Sanders 927.
The media would have you believe Bernie is losing at nearly a 2:1 ratio and it's over, you can stop sending in money, making phone calls, or knocking on doors in New York for Bernie. Now that the pesky Sanders is out of the way, let's look at Trump v. Hillary, the "inevitable race." Don't believe it.
There are two types of delegates for the Democrats, pledged and unpledged. Of the 4,763 delegates, 4,051 (85 percent) are pledged and 712 are (15 percent) are unpledged. "Pledged" delegates are the folks who actually pledge to vote for either Sanders or Clinton, depending on the vote count in any given state's primary or caucus.
Democrats also have those ridiculous creatures called "unpledged delegates" or "superdelegates." They are elected officials and party leaders — the establishment — and don't have to pledge to vote for a given candidate depending on results. As they don't have superpowers or wear capes, I don't feel that "superdelegates" is a good fit.
The purpose of unpledged delegates is to put some of the smoke-filled-rooms back into an otherwise democratic process. The Young Turks [an online liberal political commentary program] estimate that each one of these unpledged delegates has the voting power of 10,000 people. They are part of the Democratic political landscape and you have to deal with them.
So why the warped score of 1,681-927? The media are adding the unpledged delegates into the vote count as if these votes were fixed in stone. Of those 712 unpledged delegates, 467 have said they would vote for Clinton, 26 have said they would vote for Bernie, and 219 are justifiably silent.
By throwing unpledged delegates into the vote count and not being frank about the number of pledged delegates to be determined, the media make an election seem over long before it actually is. This is the hidden evil of unpledged delegates. Apart from the overt evil of potentially thwarting the democratic process, they allow the talking heads to make the establishment candidate look far more ahead than she is.
Historically, the unpledged delegates have never ignored the popular vote and thrown an election. If Sanders won a majority of the popular vote in the primaries, the Democratic Party would be in danger of self-destruction if unpledged delegates gave Clinton the nomination. It won't happen. This is to be distinguished from a candidate such as Donald Trump not winning a majority but a plurality of the vote, resulting in a brokered Republican convention.
Ignore all these delegate tallies and "analysis" that include unpledged delegates. The race is to 2,026 pledged delegates — a majority. In this real horse race, as of Wednesday, Clinton has 1,170 pledged delegates and Sanders has 870 pledged delegates. That leaves or 49.64 percent to be determined.
The southeastern states likely to be Hillary states are for the most part behind her. Remaining states such as California, Oregon, Washington, Alaska, Pennsylvania are states in which Sanders is likely to be stronger.
My prediction: On Saturday, Sanders will take Alaska, Hawaii, and Washington state by significant margins. Then he will win Wisconsin (April 5) and Wyoming (April 9.) There is a long race ahead.
Rinaldo Del Gallo III is an occasional Eagle contributor.