Sanders’ Electoral Math

Let’s talk electoral college math for a moment. Here’s why I’m so concerned about a Bernie Sanders candidacy. This is the electoral map as I see it. And I gave Bernie the benefit of the doubt in several states that I think might be tough for him (NJ, CA, WI). But looking at that map, I don’t see him getting to 270 from here, for these reasons:

IOWA – Sure, he had a great caucus showing. But let’s not forget that in a record turnout year, GOP turnout was still 15,415 higher than Dem turnout. And that’s with all the independents who crossed over to caucus for him, and with record under-30 turnout. So his “I’ll increased Democratic turnout” argument is already baked into the numbers. Plus in a general election, Bernie would bleed some moderate Iowa Dems who find him too liberal.

NEW HAMPSHIRE – Again, an impressive showing and record turnout. But the party split was 284,000 GOP ballots to 251,000 Democratic voters – a 33,000 vote gap. And again, that was with record youth turnout and with independent voters who already crossed over to vote for him. Could Sanders carry NH against a weak GOP candidate? Sure. But it’s by no means a slam-dunk.

PENNSYLVANIA – Solidly Democratic, you say? Yes, it usually is, but I don’t think his political background (I’m being polite here) is going to play outside of Philly and Pittsburgh. Sure, his populist message would have strong blue-collar appeal. But the socialist thing… I’m sorry, I just think it’s going to be a much harder sell in the heartland than his supporters seem to think.

OHIO, VIRGINIA, FLORIDA – See Pennsylvania. Okay, that was glib. But heartland states are apple pie America, as is the Florida panhandle. Sophisticated east and west coasters and post-cold war millennial voters might ignore the socialist label. But the instinct to repel anything that seems “un-American” is ingrained in middle America and won’t be easy to reverse. And once the Karl Rove-GOP attack machine goes to work on him, Sanders will look like Fidel Castro to them.

Look, on any given election day, every candidate has a chance. But the odds of a Sanders win have to be 25% at best. That may be a reasonable long-shot bet at the track when a few hundred bucks are at stake. It’s not a good bet to make with the ACA and the Supreme Court at stake.

Could I be wrong? Of course. We’re all just guessing here. But a lot of very smart, very informed and very connected political experts share my concerns. These are people who really know how the American electorate thinks. And even in years that seem to defy conventional wisdom, some basic rules of the political universe are immutable. Outside of Vermont, Americans don’t elect socialists. Even nice, likable, populist ones.

12 thoughts on “Sanders’ Electoral Math”

  1. thank YOU! I feel like the ‘minority’ around here,, this is such a DAMN important election, and no one seems to grasp this >>>Supreme Court!

  2. I see that it is the independents that will make him more electable than Hillary. She will pull zero independents while he will pull Independents and even some Republicans .

  3. Your analysis seems to me to pretty much correct, my only concern would be regarding Mike Bloomberg getting into the race as an independent. I fear that Bloomberg could suck up independents that are conservative leaning independents that can’t vote for a GOP candidate because of their postitions on abortion, women and race, that would vote Hillary.

    If Bloomberg does run then having a more overtly left Democrat candidate might be to the democrats advantage, firming up the left of center and leaving Bloomberg and the Republicans to fight it out for the rest. In a three horse race 40% of the popular vote should be enough for the Democrats to get 270 electoral college votes. Just a thought.

  4. Look at the electoral math from New Hampshire.

    Bernie received the most votes. He had 45k more votes. Hillary came in third. After Trump.

    That means even in a field with 6 candidates Trump still got more votes than Hillary in a major swing state the GOP needs in their electoral math.

    This makes her a dangerously unelectable candidate in a general matchup against Trump.

  5. So a record landslide in NH doesnt impress you sorry we arent voting for shillary not happening stop distorting and misrepresenting truth people are pissed we want a real choice its clearly bernie

    1. Correct Dave and the millennials and first time voters who r energized by Sanders will Not feel the same thing about Clinton

  6. So what you are saying is Bernie can’t win……why not tell us how Clinton will win. Who is going to vote for her? Bernie supporters? Not with the Super delegates going against the people ….So I guess it will be someone from the clown show….

  7. The low democratic turnout at the caucuses and primaries thus far concerns me. And the lack of new democratic registrations in closed primary states doesn’t bode well, either.

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