From left, Democratic presidential candidates, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and former Vice President Joe Biden, participate in a Democratic presidential primary debate at the Gaillard Center, Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2020, in Charleston, S.C., co-hosted by CBS News and the Congressional Black Caucus Institute. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
Just how insane could a brokered Democrat convention get? The sky’s the limit.
Imagine a scenario where Bernie Sanders comes in with a plurality of the delegates, something he’s the odds on favorite to do. His supporters assume he’s the guy, because how could the DNC not make the popular vote leader the nominee? But then, after a contentious floor fight, the super-delegates conspire with another lagging candidate to dump their support behind a single Bernie alternative and snatch the nomination out from under him.
That’s not just some far fetched chaos theory anymore. It’s quickly shaping up to be one of the more likely outcomes of the current Democrat primary race. Far from being idle speculation, a new report details what 93 super-delegates had to say about the issue of a candidate holding just a plurality.
The New York Times has the report.
In a reflection of the establishment’s wariness about Mr. Sanders, only nine of the 93 superdelegates interviewed said that Mr. Sanders should become the nominee purely on the basis of arriving at the convention with a plurality, if he was short of a majority.
Only nine of 93 is an incredibly low amount and it shows a possible volatility at the convention that a lot of people haven’t been giving enough credence to. Yes, the super-delegates hold less power in 2020 than they did in 2016, but they still have the ability to sway a close nomination fight, especially if they do it in coordination with other candidates. Once this thing goes to a brokered convention, everything is fair game and it’s going to be total pandemonium.
That’s the worst possible case for the Democrats. One, it costs them precious campaign time as they can’t get a head start by knowing who the nominee will be months ahead of time. Two, it leaves them in a position of either alienating the Bernie Bros or giving the nomination to a possible (but not certain) down ballot disaster. Three, the kinds of deep riffs that happen at a brokered convention could hurt fundraising, as some will take their ball and go home (Bloomberg isn’t supporting Bernie, for example).
At this point, it might be better for Democrats if Bernie just walks away with this thing on Super Tuesday, but that’s looking less and less probable. Joe Biden is poised to crush it in South Carolina, effectively bringing his campaign back from the dead. We could see a big delegate split when we wake up on March 4th.
If that happens, doomsday approaches.