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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 3/23/16

The Ides of March Primaries

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In Massachusetts, there was an unexplained 8% exit-poll anomaly which argues for a second DNC rule change -- in addition to the "rotten borough" rule change suggested above. The DNC should discount the weight of any ballots from states that are not made on paper, and subject to hand re-count, if they are also unconfirmed by reliable exit polls. One analysis of Massachusetts' returns alleges that they "indicate fraud." The Massachusetts virtual tie should be contested before the DNC Rules committee by challenging the credentials of Clinton's Massachusetts' delegates. Until resolved, this problem takes Massachusetts out of the Clinton win column, leaving the virtual tie in her home state of Illinois as her only blue state victory.

The remainder of the blue state contests have been won by Sanders in landslides.

The purple state of Iowa also had alleged irregularities. That should also take the Iowa virtual tie out of the Clinton win column. Of the two other purple states necessary for a Democratic victory, Sanders and Clinton traded victories in Colorado and Nevada. Sanders won Colorado in a landslide. Clinton won the both early and closed caucus in Nevada by five percent, which under the circumstances was taken as little better than a tie.

Accordingly, in the essential purple states Sanders is also ahead. Sanders' landslides in blue states puts him far ahead in blue states. In four inessential purple states Clinton won by wide margins comparable to Sanders' victories in blue states. But the inessential purple state delegates should not receive nearly the same voting power as blue state delegates if fair rules were to be applied.

Looking Forward

In a fair run-off election conducted under fair DNC rules Sanders is narrowly ahead in the states that count, with good prospects for widening his lead in additional states that count.

The March 22d primaries in Western red states, whether Clinton's lopsided victory in Arizona or Sanders' in Utah and Idaho, do not change this calculus. They only heighten the pressure on Sanders to initiate his campaign to treat all such red state results like straw polls. The next relevant primary is the blue state Washington caucuses on March 26th, where Sanders will likely, again, win by a landslide, and also better define his prospects in the Pacific Coast region than did Nevada.

Looking further ahead, all purple state elections -- where Clinton has been strongest -- have been completed, except for Indiana on May 3d. Indiana and North Carolina, both of which voted Democratic only in 2008, are the most marginal of the purple states. No more than this one further landslide, which Clinton has so far won only in the marginal purple states, should be expected for Clinton, at best. Sanders' six wins and four virtual ties (including Nevada as nearly a tie) in representative blue and core purple states suggest Sanders' competitive strength going forward in each of five well-defined regions containing blue and essential purple states: the East Coast (represented by landslide victories in Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine and the tie in Massachusetts), Rustbelt Midwest (represented by offsetting virtual ties in Illinois and Michigan, but a landslide loss in purple Ohio), Upper Midwest (represented by a landslide in Minnesota and tie in purple Iowa), Southern Rockies (represented by a landslide in Colorado), and Pacific Coast (roughly represented by a competitive race in purple Nevada and the forthcoming Washington).

These are the regions that will elect a Democratic president. They augur well for a continued close race leaning to Sanders in the remaining blue states. Though Sanders should win landslides in some of these blue states, it is highly unlikely that Clinton will gain more than ties.

That this optimistic analysis based on Sanders' victories where it counts is more than a counterfactual hypothetical is explained below in connection with a proposed DNC rules initiative.

Slow Strategy for Black Women

It is useful first to pause to look at some of these states in the Ides of March primaries from the perspective of analyzing why Sanders did not perform there more decisively, as he generally has in blue states. While dismissing the propaganda that Sanders is losing, still there is a lesson to be learned from Sanders' lackluster performance on the Ides of March.

The marginally purple North Carolina was the last primary in Clinton's sweep of the almost all red deep South. The results were typical for those red states, which are the base of the post-civil rights era Republican Party. Clinton's margin of victory there was largely accounted for by her support from 81% of black women voters, who constituted 19% of the primary electorate.

In Florida, where black women constituted 18% of the primary electorate, Clinton won 79% of their votes.

In the Ohio primaryblack women, again, were 13% of the electorate compared to 8% for black men. While white men and women broke 3-2 respectively for Sanders and Clinton, black women voted more than 2-1 for Clinton. Again a good portion of Sanders' losing margin would have been erased if he had reversed this ratio of black women voters.

In Illinois, if Sanders had recovered only about 1/3 of his 32% losing margin among black women, who made up 17% of the primary electorate, Sanders would have won.

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Rob Hager is a public-interest litigator who filed a Supreme Court amicus brief n the 2012 Montana sequel to the Citizens United case, American Tradition Partnership, Inc. v. Bullock, and has worked as an international consultant on legal (more...)
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