Philosophy, Film, Politics, Etc.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

New York Math

A lot of Bernie's supporters are responding to his loss in New York with outrage. They deny the fact that Bernie lost and claim that Hillary stole the election. This is what Bernie and his campaign managers want, of course. It's the narrative that can convince Bernie's supporters to keep funneling money into his campaign and to try to pressure superdelegates to hand Bernie the nomination.

Michael Moore has fueled the flames with a tweet, suggesting that Bernie would have won if it were an open primary:

However, Michael Moore's numbers are way off. A look a the math shows there is no reason to think Bernie would have won New York in an open primary. In fact, the numbers show that Clinton would probably still have won in an open primary, and even if the registration deadline wasn't so early.

First of all, a hell of a lot more than 1.6 million registered Democrats in New York were allowed to vote. Moore got that number because that is how many Democrats actually voted, but it's only about a quarter of the number of those allowed to vote. As of April 1, 2016, there were almost 6 million registered Democrats in the state of New York. The vast majority of them were allowed to vote, because almost all of them registered before November, 2015. Less than 15,000 people registered for the Democratic Party in New York between the end of October and the beginning of April. (There were 5.778 million registered on November 1, 2015, and 5.792 million registered on April 1.) Perhaps a lot of people registered after April 1, but they had waited until the last minute and have little cause for complaint. The point is, even if the registration deadline were April 1, there would have been virtually the same number of Democrats eligible to vote in the primary.

Now, there are about 3.2 million registered New York voters who are neither Republican nor Democrat. Of those, how many do you think would have voted at all, if given the chance? Michael Moore says at least 65 percent of them would probably have voted for Bernie. That is wrong. Bernie does not get 65-70 percent of all Independents in open primaries. Moore is thinking of the breakdown of independents who have been voting Democrat.  However, a lot of Independents vote Republican, and still more don't vote at all in open primaries. Perhaps Bernie does often get between 65 and 70 percent of the Independents who vote for one of the Democratic candidates. He even managed 73 percent in New Hampshire. However, in Texas, Bernie only got 52 percent of the Independents who voted for a Democrat. Demographics have a lot to do with it. In a state as diverse as New York, we can expect the numbers to be more favorable to Clinton.

So how many of those 3.2 million voters would have voted for Bernie? Let's say thirty percent of them made it to the polls: That's 960,000 voters. And let's say sixty percent of those voted Democrat (since it is a left-leaning state).  That's 576,000 votes to divide up between Bernie and Hillary. Let's say Bernie got 60 percent of those (which is generous, considering it is such a diverse state). That would mean (rounding up) about 346,000 votes for Bernie and 231,000 for Clinton. Bernie would have closed the gap by about 115,000 votes. Yet, Hillary won by about 250,000 votes. So, if it had been an open primary, she might have ONLY won by about 135,000 votes.  If you want to be even more generous, and say that Bernie got a full seventy percent of those 576,000 votes, he still would have lost by about 20,000 votes.

We can't be sure, but the odds strongly suggest that Bernie would not have won. The numbers don't add up in his favor. This is not surprising. He does not do as well in demographically diverse states or in primaries--and he actually does better in closed primaries than in open ones. He's lost eleven of the eighteen open primaries against Clinton so far!  The idea that he would have won had it been an open primary is wishful thinking.

Now, whatever issues with polling stations and machines and whatnot--those issues need to be addressed. However, the complaints about Brooklyn "purges"? That's most likely a coordinated effort to oppose the early registration rules, and not a sign of illegality or corruption in the voting system..

Of course, there are legitimate complaints about the voting system, but this is true across the nation. The DNC has already filed a lawsuit in Arizona to oppose disenfranchisement. Lawsuits may also be necessary in other states. But to view that as evidence of a conspiracy against Bernie, or as evidence that he has been robbed, or as evidence that he *should have won* . . . . Well, that's just not in line with the facts.