May 18, 2016 by Chris Kite
Bernie Sanders super fans, and Sanders himself, still insist the race isn’t over. It is true that the momentum has shifted in Sanders’ favor. But the math just doesn’t show a path to victory for our beloved candidate.
Prior to contests in Oregon and Kentucky, Bernie Sanders needed to win 66% of delegates to win the nomination. Sure, lots of people are talking about a contested convention. But that seems very unlikely to happen. The candidate that won the most votes and the most delegates is going to become the nominee. That is the way it works. That is the way it should work.
But lets look at where Bernie Sanders was before these two contests and where he is now.
Before Oregon and Kentucky, Bernie Sanders had 1,433 regular delegates. Hillary Clinton had 1,716. In order to get to 2,026, a simple majority of regular delegates, Clinton needed 310 and Sanders needed 593. That would have been about 34% of remaining delegates for Clinton and about 66% for Sanders.
With Kentucky and Oregon behind us, there are now about 781 delegates remaining. I say about because there are still ten Oregon and Kentucky delegates that haven’t been called. For the sake of being optimistic about Sanders chances, let’s assume he wins them all. Which doesn’t seem likely. But if we’re going to try to think like a Bernie Sanders super fan, then lets be very optimistic.
So that would put Sanders at 1,498 delegates and Clinton at 1,767. In order to get to the simple majority of regular delegates, Clinton needs 259 delegates and Sanders needs 528. Of the remaining 781 delegates, Sanders needs about 67% of delegates and Clinton needs about 33% of remaining delegates.
So despite the win, Sanders didn’t win with a big enough margin to shrink the gap. In fact, the gap, in terms of percentage of delegates needed, increased for Sanders.
So while he has momentum, and he is winning contests, he isn’t winning by a big enough margin to make a dent.
The contest is over. It has been for several months. Bernie Sanders started winning too little too late.