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Reprinted from Huffington Post
Nobody cares how well a politician does at the ballot box when he or she is running for an office unopposed. What matters is how a politician performs in contested primaries and general elections, as when it really matters -- like it will, for instance, this November -- you can be certain of a contested election.
With that said, let's make an important observation: Bernie Sanders has tied or beaten Hillary Clinton in a majority of the actively contested votes this election season.
You doubt it? Okay, let me explain.
Bernie Sanders has terrible name recognition in states where he hasn't advertised or campaigned yet; meanwhile, Hillary Clinton has universal name recognition everywhere. Realizing this, the Clinton camp pushed hard to rack up the early vote in every state where early voting was an option. They did this not primarily for the reason we've been told -- because Clinton performs well among older voters, and older voters are more likely to vote early than other age demographics -- but rather because they knew that early votes are almost always cast before the election season actually begins in a given state.
That's right -- in each state, most of the early primary voting occurs before the candidates have aired any commercials or held any campaign events. For Bernie Sanders, this means that early voting happens, pretty much everywhere, before anyone knows who he is. Certainly, early voting occurs in each state before voters have developed a sufficient level of familiarity and comfort with Sanders to vote for him.
But on Election Day -- among voters who've been present and attentive for each candidate's commercials, local news coverage, and live events -- Sanders tends to tie or beat Clinton.
In fact, that's the real reason Sanders does well in caucuses.
It's not because caucuses "require a real time investment," as the media likes to euphemistically say, but because caucuses require that you vote on Election Day rather than well before it.
Consider: in North Carolina, Hillary Clinton only won Election Day voting 52% to 48%. Given the shenanigans in evidence during the live voting there -- thousands of college students were turned away from the polls due to insufficient identification under a new voter-suppression statute in the state -- it wouldn't be unfair to call that 4-point race more like a 2-point one (51% to 49% for Clinton).
Consider: on Super Tuesday 3, because early voting is always reported first, Clinton's margins of victory were originally believed to be 25 points in Missouri, 30 points in Illinois, and 30 points in Ohio. Missouri, which doesn't have conventional early voting, ended up a tie. Illinois ended up with a 1.8% margin for Clinton (after being a 42-point race in Clinton's favor just a week earlier) and Ohio a 13.8% margin.
Any one of us could do the math there. And yet the media never did.
Consider: in Arizona yesterday, the election was called almost immediately by the media, with Clinton appearing to "win" the state by a margin of 61.5% to 36.1%. Of course, this was all early voting. CNN even wrongly reported that these early votes constituted the live vote in 41% of all Arizona precincts -- rather than merely mail-in votes constituting a percentage of the total projected vote in the state -- which allowed most Americans to go to bed believing both that Clinton had won Arizona by more than 25 points and that that margin was the result of nearly half of Arizona's precincts reporting their live-voting results. Neither was true.
In fact, as of the time of that 61.5% to 36.1% "win," not a single precinct in Arizona had reported its Election Day results.
Indeed, more than two and a half hours after polls closed in Arizona, officials there had counted only 54,000 of the estimated 431,000 Election Day ballots.
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