Tuesday, March 01, 2016

Clinton Will Build Her Biggest Lead on March 15. Sanders Will Erode It After That.

Don't question the lizard. The lizard knows.

by Gaius Publius

I'm keeping this short to put a very simple idea into your head. Because of the way the Democratic Party voting calendar is structured this year, Clinton's largest lead will occur on March 15. After that, most of Sanders' strongest states will vote.

What this means is simple:
  • Hillary Clinton will grow her lead until the March 15 states have voted.
  • Bernie Sanders will erase that lead — partly or completely — after March 15.
  • How much of Clinton's lead he will erase depends on your not buying what the media is selling — that the contest is over.
  • In most scenarios where Sanders wins, he doesn't retake the lead until June 7, when five states including California cast their ballots.
March 15 is the Ides of March; a good way to remember the date. The message — gear up for a battle after the Ides of March, and don't let the establishment media tell you what to think. They won't be right until the last state has voted.

If you want to stop reading here, this is all you need to know.

The Data

Now the data. One of the best data-stitians I've come across is a diarist at Daily Kos named MattTX. Matt is very good, professionally good, at this stuff. In a long, carefully-reasoned diary, "How Bernie Sanders can win the Democratic nomination," he lays out six scenarios for the race, in five of which Bernie Sanders wins the nomination (the other is a current baseline with no momentum). He presents them in a parallel fashion, and each presentation differs only in changing a small set of assumptions. Once you understand how to read the first one, you can read the others easily.

The first three scenarios are "static" — they assume that the national polling remains fixed throughout the race. He then runs the numbers on each state race for the following assumptions:
  • The polling stays fixed at Clinton 49%–Sanders 42%, a 7-point Clinton lead.
  • The polling stays fixed at Clinton 45%–Sanders 45%, a dead heat.
  • The polling stays fixed at Sanders 47%–Clinton 44%, a 3-point Sanders lead.
Then he looks at what "momentum" looks like in a number of recent presidential contests (it actually can take a number of shapes) and chooses a momentum pattern associated with Obama's win over Clinton in 2008. (Click here to see that chart.)

His final three scenarios are "dynamic" variations of his static ones, with shifting momentum off the current baseline. In each of these, Sanders wins, each time overcoming the bulge in the Clinton lead that comes on March 15. In the narrowest of these winning scenarios, the March 15 bulge is quite large, +184 delegates for Clinton.

Note that the data in Matt's piece was run prior to South Carolina's results, so Sanders has some additional ground to make up. Still, Sanders is right to "take it to the convention." Most of his strength comes after most of Clinton's, and Sanders could easily surprise in his states, just as Clinton will surprise in some of hers. Again, we won't know who has the lead for good until after California and four additional states vote in early June.

Bottom line — What looks bad for Sanders supporters on March 1 will look worse a few weeks later. But stay heartened. Whatever the result through March, this isn't over until June, after Sanders' best states have voted as well.

(Blue America has endorsed Bernie Sanders for president. If you'd like to help out, go here; you can adjust the split any way you like at the link. If you'd like to "phone-bank for Bernie," go here. You can volunteer in other ways by going here. And thanks!)



  1. Gil Gamesh12:00 PM

    Splendid. The MSM is hellbent on burying Sanders and get on with the match of the century. As usual, best to ignore them.

  2. Sanders is not looking good right now. He should be at 196 coming out of March 15th not going into March 5th. I still have hope, I still think we will see upsets for Sanders over Hillary 20+ points but where he stands coming out of March 15th determines if there is even a chance of winning with multiple upsets in the upcoming months!

  3. Matt B., pls email me. (Also, there are some date discrepancies in the tables (ck. Wash state).


  4. Anonymous11:48 AM

    I love an optimist. Cenk Ugyur said much the same thing. Not mentioned is that Bernie has raised a startling amount of money, which will help.

    But the utterly delusional level of ignorance among blacks and older whites does not bode well for Bernie. The Clintons enjoy OJ-level delusional support among blacks even though their policies have been crushingly cruel to a majority of them. And older whites? Nascent anti-Semitism? Who can say.

    I hope you are correct. But don't forget the super-delegates who are not bound by voters -- making the democrats even MORE OPENLY corrupt than the Rs (their supers ARE bound by voters in each state... supposedly).

    All in all, I think Bernie has a truly Sysyphean task ahead.

    1. I'm an "older white" and I'm for Bernie. I'll try to get the rest of my cohort on board, I promise. I think it has much less to do with anti-Semitism, than cutting their political teeth during a time when anything that even smelled vaguely 'liberal' was political death. They can't get over the electability argument.

    2. 100% correct. (from a white boomer) this can be done. WA and OR. can wipe out her lead by themselves. CA. will finish her off.

    3. 100% correct. (from a white boomer) this can be done. WA and OR. can wipe out her lead by themselves. CA. will finish her off.

  5. Psiman4:48 PM

    Well met, Gaius Publius old friend. What do you make of commenter Anonymous here?

    Denouncing the preponderance of voters as crippled by an "utterly delusional level of ignorance" has never been a winning rhetorical strategy. Which brings to mind a puzzle over which I have been pondering: why is it that so many people, who style themselves leftists despite evincing neither familiarity with nor understanding of leftist thought, mistake their own unquestioning confidence in the correctness of their own views for a license to run around assaulting random strangers? Not only is that methodologically unsound but it actively interferes with our (allegedly common) goal of moving forward with progressive programs and ideas.

  6. Psiman -- very good point, well said.

    One of Sanders' talents that doesn't get enough notice is how consistently and well he transcends class identity games. It's a rare thing in the Democratic Party, which as far as I can tell really only represents (effectively) the well-credentialed upper-middle class.

  7. Anonymous9:51 AM

    I am from Nebraska & couldn't believe that our state went to a caucus instead of a primary election in 2012. I don't need to know who in my precinct are Democrat so that I can stand an argue with them out loud who is the better candidate or be made to feel inferior or prove I am smarter. Don't care just want to vote for my candidate in a timely manner & have it counted. All our vote here in the primary were on paper ballots & then counted by the precinct board efficiently & timely. No could they predict it prior to midnight, not usually but who cares if it is the next morning it is an accurate count of the vote & no manipulation or doubt as to what the count was. You had the paper ballot there for proof of the vote count. We need to go back to paper ballot & let Corporate Media wait for the results! Get rid of the computers & whatever else they are using to vote on & do away with the caucus forum.

  8. Anonymous3:37 PM

    To Psimon and Golver... look at the statistical breakdown of the voting. hilbillary was the YOOOOGE winner among older whites and blacks. Women I get. But the elderly? hilbillary is wrapping herself with obamanation's coattails, so why don't they remember the austerity crap and the ALMOST more austerity crap?
    And the blacks don't seem to care that hilbillary did welfare "reform" and the law enforcement crap that came up with mandatory minimums and 3-strikes stuff that disproportionately hoses their own... and they also forgot hilbillarys' coded racist epithets about their young.

    Bernie wants them to have free college and a $15 minimum. hilbillary does not.

    and so on.

    Do you call it.. enlightenment when someone acts against their own best interests? I don't.

    Sorry if the truth hurts or makes you get that ooogy feeling. It's truth.

    1. Anonymous8:06 PM

      Anonymous, I liked what you said above about older white female voters, Black Voters voting against their own interests. Black Men For Bernie are a great group going to Black communities to educate voters to vote for Bernie. Your analysis is correct.

  9. Anonymous9:16 PM

    The only two candidates for the presidency in 2016 who are not mentally, emotionally and ethically disturbed, to the point of requiring weekly psychotherapy, are Sanders and Kasich. Of the two, Mr. Saunders' progressive goals offer hope for America's future where Kasich does not. The GOP and the Milton Friedman neo-cons will not be around very much longer. Young people of every race and background are opening a new paradigm in human history. I'm a white, 68 year-old, male, V.P. of an insurance company who grosses over $200k year. There are many, many of us out here, old white lawyers supporting Bernie. Never hear about that, now do you?

  10. Anonymous5:56 AM

    There will be five votes for Bernie from my house whether he wins the nomination or not. We can't vote for Hillary, and refuse to consider supporting Republicans.

  11. Blissex12:10 PM

    As someone else has noted, the states that Hillary is winning in the primary until march 15th are very unlikely to be won by the Democrat candidate in the actual election.
    It is a very sad situation.

  12. 60 yo latina here. Democrat who will never ever vote for warmonger HRC. 1.warmonger.2 death penalty

  13. Bernie or bust. Period. It's a statement worth making for my kids future.

  14. Anonymous5:47 AM

    I have not and do not put down Bernie's supporters and would appreciate the same respect. I'm sorry that you believe that blacks and older whites are delusional and ignorant, but I beg to differ. As a person that is now having to hire members of younger generations now, I prefer my generation's work ethic and communication skills. If you dislike older people so much then why support Bernie. I truly hope that you learn and pass down respect to your children. I don't have much hope.

  15. Anonymous7:52 AM

    I can understand why many like Bernie, he has great slogans. And Hillary, well we've had 25 years of smears and innuendo and outright lies orchestrated by the Rightwing to make us distrust and hate Hillary.

    Bernie has done her a great service because we now have a series of debates and Townhalls where we have gotten to know both candidates and also hear them explain the slogans. We have learned that Hillary is the person who implemented PBO's Diplomacy First, remember the GOP "bomb, bomb, bomb Iran"? Watching the real woman, not the fictional Karl Rove "characterization", has left many voter very confident in her abilities.

    We've learned that she was warning about the Mortgage mess in 2007 and she has a plan that goes way beyond just breaking up the banks to actually regulate the parts of the financial system that caused the 2008 meltdown. And Elizabeth Warren actually like it too!

    On Criminal Justice the Mother of the Movement are behind Hillary also. Why? Because she knows it's more than ending Private Prisons. Read her first speech of the campaign for details. She gets it. She's also willing to take on the NRA full steam ahead, not waffling.

    Last night Bernie fell further behind because voters have gotten to know both candidates better and the fictional image that the Rightwing created and many Bernie supporters have adopted is transparent to many of us. In Chicago Bernie spent a lot of money trying to ties Hillary to Rahm. That backfired very badly, Chicago went overwhelmingly for Hillary. Trying to demonize Hillary like Cenk and others do will only lose votes for Bernie. It makes him look weak. Instead stick to actual policy and issues or Bernie will just fall further behind.

    1. Bernie fell behind last night because last night, the States that voted were most if not all old South. Nobody thought he would win those states.

    2. Anonymous10:18 AM

      Are you serious? Ohio, Illinois are "old South"? And while the panhandle of Florida is kind of "old South" that's the only area that shows Bernie won in some areas, he got trounced in areas with large Hispanic populations.

      Bernie and his staff are huddling in Sedona today according to the reports. Hope they wise up and run on the issues and policy proposals and drop the demonizing of HRC with tired, old RW memes.

    3. Anonymous4:00 PM

      Hillary's top campaign contributors include Goldman-Sachs, Citigroup, JP Morgan-Chase, and Morgan Stanley. That's a matter of public record, not lies, smears or innuendo. That's who lines her pockets and those are the interests she serves. It's fact. Nobody needs to make anything up. She represents everything that's wrong with this nation.

    4. The world has a variety of people, some on a high road, others falling low. Bernie, Cenk, and pretty much everyone else is not demonizing HRC, so you can 'get over' that charge. They are asking questions that need to be answered, to assess this person's values and governance style, to see if she is suitable to be the next President. Frankly, the demonizing is done by Hillary: one needs only to ask her a question, or ask her to produce a transcript for a $225K gift from banksters, and her reaction is profoundly self-destructive.

      We need a true Progressive to right this ship, and Hillary is not that person (as a fake-progressive, and as a deep-dyed establishment politician).

  16. HILLARY CLINTON will be indicted by the FBI for her illegal downloading of over 2,000 SECRET and TOP SECRET documents onto her private e-mail server while she was the US Secretary of State from 2009-2013

  17. Bernie has failed to connect with the real and legitimate concerns of minorities. Income equality, if attainable even in part, does not mitigate the effects of racism, both individual and systemic. Southern states have denied themselves Medicaid expansion because keeping black people from having health care is more important to white voters than having health care for themselves. Socialism will never trump racism. White southern bigots are married to their racism and they aren't going to give it up for income fairness. Bernie can't seem to grasp that not everyone shares his world view and he's just arrogant enough to think if they just knew him, they'd got it. Rather, if he only knew them, *he'd* get it. Maybe. He's a rigid thinker and much as I don't like Hillary, I don't think Bernie is ready qualified for the job.

  18. Anonymous9:51 PM

    Both Bill and Hillary stayed in the race until June. There's no reason Bernie shouldn't either.

  19. Anonymous3:40 PM

    This older black female voter believes in Bernie and his chances at winning