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More signs point toward contested Democratic convention

Emily Larsen asks Washington Examiner readers to “do the math” when projecting the rest of the Democratic presidential contest.

It’s a dream of political junkies and campaign reporters that hasn’t happened since 1952 — a contested political convention. And it could happen this summer.

That’s because the delegate slog ahead for 2020 Democrats gives them little incentive to drop out, since any one of six could stilll have a shot at nabbing the party’s nomination at its national convention, set for Milwaukee, Wisconsin July 13-16.

Contests in Iowa and New Hampshire dramatically reshaped the historically crowded primary field and left a half-dozen candidates with an arguable pathway to the nomination.

They knocked former Vice President Joe Biden down from front-runner status and showed Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders to be a leader in the popular vote. Former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg proved viability as a candidate by doing well in both contests and leads in Democratic National Convention nominating delegates. …

… FiveThirtyEight’s primary forecast model, which attempts to use polls to predict delegate allocation in the primary cycle, finds that the two likeliest outcomes are a contested convention and Sanders winning the nomination, each with roughly 2-in-5 odds.

A candidate needs a majority of pledged delegates, at least 1,991 of the 3,979 available, allocated based on results in state primaries and conventions, in order to win the presidential nomination on the first ballot at the July convention.

If no candidate wins a majority, around 770 automatic “super delegates” made up of party leaders like DNC members and Democratic members of Congress are permitted to vote for whomever they wish on the second ballot, creating the possibility that a candidate who did not win the most pledged delegates wins the nomination.

In previous years, super delegates voted on the first ballot. But the rule was changed in an attempt to make a fairer process after complaints from far-left Sanders supporters in the fallout from the 2016 primary cycle.

Mitch Kokai / Senior Political Analyst

Mitch Kokai is senior political analyst for the John Locke Foundation. He joined JLF in December 2005 as director of communications. That followed more than four years as chie...

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