The Democratic party’s so-called “superdelegates” will not hand Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) the nomination, The New York Times reports, if the Vermont socialist fails to collect a majority of available delegates during the primary season.
The Times interviewed 93 of the party’s top officials, who have the ability to cast an independent vote for the 2020 Democratic presidential nominee, and a majority believe that Sanders will not secure the necessary votes to take the nomination on the first vote, and even fewer believe that Sanders can defeat President Donald Trump in the general election.
Worse still, a “presidential candidate Sanders” would likely tank the Democrats’ chances of holding the House and challenging for the Senate.
“From California to the Carolinas, and North Dakota to Ohio, the party leaders say they worry that Mr. Sanders, a democratic socialist with passionate but limited support so far, will lose to President Trump, and drag down moderate House and Senate candidates in swing states with his left-wing agenda of ‘Medicare for all’ and free four-year public college,” the Times reported. “Jay Jacobs, the New York State Democratic Party chairman and a superdelegate, echoing many others interviewed, said that superdelegates should choose a nominee they believed had the best chance of defeating Mr. Trump if no candidate wins a majority of delegates during the primaries.”
Of all of the superdelegates the Times interviewed, only nine said they’d vote for Sanders to take the nomination — bad news for the Vermont socialist who is currently the Democrats’ frontrunner.
In 2016, the Democrats’ superdelegates were allowed to weigh in on the Democratic National Convention’s first vote and then-candidate Hillary Clinton courted the superdelegates early, making the early primaries almost meaningless.
When Sanders complained about the system, which he said “stole” the nomination from him before he even began to compete, the Democrats changed the rules, allowing the superdelegates to weigh in on the nomination on a second vote only — a second vote that would only come if the frontrunner candidate for the nomination failed to take a numerical majority of the delegates in the primaries.
The nomination was never supposed to go to a second vote. Now, because of the number of nominees still in the race, Sanders isn’t guaranteed a majority and will, more than likely, go into the Democratic National Convention with a mere plurality — not a majority.
Sanders’ argument is that, if he gets the most delegates, he should win the nomination. But the superdelegates just aren’t so sure. It doesn’t help that candidates like former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg and 2016’s failed nominee, Hillary Clinton, are still hovering around the periphery. Bloomberg appears to have entered the race specifically for this eventuality, spending hundreds of millions of dollars in ads, but neglecting to get on the ballot in most states. Bloomberg won’t be an option for primary voters until Super Tuesday, and then only in a handful of states (though he did make the ballot in delegate-rich California).
So far, Sander is leading going into Super Tuesday and is projected to take a majority of Super Tuesday delegates. Former Vice President Joe Biden, also an option for delegates looking for a “moderate” candidate, will likely win South Carolina and Florida.