Looking at what has happened so far, and at the contests coming up, here’s my unscientific view of what is going to happen over the next two months:
First fact: the total number of delegates needed to win is 2300. As of yesterday, Hillary needed about 700 more delegates, and Bernie needed about 1400 more.
Second fact: From now until the end of May, there will be 13 primaries and caucus, awarding about 1,100 delegates.
Based on results so far with Bernie winning the smaller caucuses and Hillary the larger primaries, I think Bernie and Hillary will continue to split many of these votes. But I believe Hillary is on track to achieve significant wins in the closed primaries in New York, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Kentucky, while Bernie’s only large blowout will be today’s open caucus in Washington.
As a result, over the next two months, I think we will see Hillary gain maybe 600 to 700 delegates — which brings her pretty close to the goal — and Bernie gain maybe 400 to 500, which leaves him still about a thousand delegates short. And there are only about 700 delegates remaining in all of the June primaries. So even though he gained about a hundred at the Saturday caucuses, which is cheering to his supporters, in the long run these delegates aren’t going to help.
I must say now that its becoming clear that Hillary is going to win — because millions of Democrats actually like her a lot — I’m glad to see more people pushing back against some of the Hillary hatred which has polluted blogs like Daily Kos for the last several months. In refuting Matt Taibbi’s incoherent Clinton trashing, Kevin Drum goes point by point while Booman gives everyone a valuable history lesson in what happened during Bill Clinton’s presidency. Booman concludes:
The choice between Clinton and Sanders is not a choice between today and 1992; it’s a choice about who you think is best prepared to be president and who can win by the biggest margin. It’s also a bet, or a gamble on how much change you think the system can bear. And it’s a guess about which candidate can get more out of a reluctant Congress.
It’s no easy choice, and I don’t want to pretend that it is, but it’s not a choice between good and evil, and it’s not obvious who is right.
The more I see of Bernie, the less I think of him. As Kevin Drum puts it:
Bernie Sanders too often lets rhetoric take the place of any actual plausible policy proposal. He suggested that his health care plan would save more in prescription drug costs than the entire country spends in the first place. This is the sign of a white paper hastily drafted to demonstrate seriousness, not something that’s been carefully thought through. He bangs away on campaign finance reform, but there’s virtually no chance of making progress on this. The Supreme Court has seen to that, and even if Citizens United were overturned, previous jurisprudence has placed severe limits on regulating campaign speech. Besides, the public doesn’t support serious campaign finance reform and never has. And even on foreign policy, it’s only his instincts that are good. He’s shown no sign of thinking hard about national security issues, and that’s scarier than most of his supporters acknowledge. Tyros in the Oval Office are famously susceptible to pressure from the national security establishment, and Bernie would probably be no exception. There’s a chance—small but not trivial—that he’d get rolled into following a more hawkish national security policy than Hillary.
I’m old, and I’m a neoliberal sellout. Not as much of one as I used to be, but still. So it’s no surprise that I’m not always on the same page as Taibbi. That said, I continue to be surprised by the just plain falseness of many of the left-wing attacks on Hillary, along with the starry-eyed willingness to accept practically everything Bernie says without even a hint of healthy skepticism. Hell, if you’re disappointed by Obama, who’s accomplished more than any Democratic president in decades, just wait until Bernie wins. By the end of four years, you’ll be practically suicidal.
Finally, here’s Hillary’s latest speech, on terrorism and how she intends to deal with it — hint: she’s not carpet-bombing ISIS, or closing the borders, or patrolling Muslim neighbourhoods. As well as laying out her own positions, she is also testing out the attack lines she intends to use during the election campaign against the Republicans.