[guest post by JVW]
Senator Bernard Sanders of Vermont is now the betting favorite to win the nomination as the Democrat candidate for President of the United States, though former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has attracted a great deal of attention from the oddsmakers and is a strong second. (Fun fact: a bookmaking site called betfair Exchange will at this moment give you 24:1 odds if you want to put money down on Hillary Clinton, but you can get astounding 68:1 odds if you want to throw away your money betting on Elizabeth Warren.) In the past few days since New Hampshire we have been following the probabilities posted at FiveThirtyEight.com as to whether or not a Dem candidate will have mustered enough delegates by the time the party convention opens to win the nomination on a first ballot. Right now the site’s green eyeshade guys calculate that there is a 38% chance that no candidate will arrive in Milwaukee with a delegate majority, which exceeds the 35% probability that Comrade Bernard will accomplish the feat (rest of the field so you don’t have to click on the link: Biden 14%, Bloomberg 7%, Buttigieg 4%, Warren 2%, rest of field 0.2% ).
So a really interesting question becomes whether it’s possible that Senator Stalin arrives at the convention with a plurality — but not a majority — of delegates, and the party manages to block his candidacy by ensuring that a candidate who actually registers as a Democrat in non-Presidential election years unifies the rest of the delegates in his or her favor. Appearing on MSNBC (naturally) the other night, the elderly Marxist was asked about this scenario. Rather than declaring blood in the streets, however, he laid down a pretty mild preemptory protestation to the party’s potential for punking his people:
Bernie w/ a bit of a warning shot, tells @chrishayes it would be "very divisive" if a candidate gets a clear plurality but not majority of the delegates and the party doesn't nominate that person at the convention. pic.twitter.com/2i3Ei1EXo0
— Alex Thompson (@AlxThomp) February 13, 2020
I sort of get where he is coming from, but I can’t help but find it funny that the same people who think that Hillary Clinton is the rightful President because she won the popular vote apparently also believe that a plurality of delegates is just as valid as a majority. If Bernard Sanders is the leading delegate holder at the convention but lacks a majority then it’s really up to him to win over some delegates from his rivals, even if that means having to trim back his allegiance to the magnificent benevolence of socialism, even if that hurts the feelings of our adorably clueless Sandersista niece. If the professional Democrats burn the Bern feelers by conspiring to throw the nomination to one of the other remaining candidates or to a compromise candidate, then maybe Bernard Sanders can reflect upon the folly of expecting to build his sandcastles in someone else’s sandbox.