The excellent campaign run so far by Bernie Sanders moves ever closer towards its greatest weakness: Sanders’ chances, or lack thereof, in the general election. The NH primaries foreshadowed a still hypothetical Trump-Sanders ballot—in which Sanders would, as many Democrats fear, be too far left, and we could be stuck with a president so cartoonishly unthinkable his ascent was accurately predicted by a cartoon.
NPR reported today how, although Sanders swept the votes in New Hampshire, beating Hillary Clinton by a nearly-unprecedented 22 percentage points, Clinton is poised to sweep up the majority of the NH delegates, due in part to the six of eight superdelegates that have pledged their vote to Clinton despite Sanders’ voter win. This will bring their delegate total from the state to at least a 15 to 15 tie. NPR points out that Clinton also already has 394 superdelegates and delegates in her camp, as opposed to Sanders’ 44.
The freedom of superdelegates to freely support whichever candidate they choose (rather than being apportioned to candidates based on votes, like regular delegates) is directly related to the issue of electability. University of Georgia lecturer Josh Putnam explains how superdelegates were initiated in order to give the party establishment a stronger voice against caucus and primary voters, which is bad news for a candidate with an anti-establishment brand.
The goal wasn’t to shut voters out, Putnam adds. Rather, the Democratic Party wanted to make sure it nominated someone the party believed could win in a general election, as the party feared primary voters might choose a candidate that’s too extreme.
And yet, the extreme is exactly where we’ve landed.
Image via AP