Get Ready For Primary Rules Whining

And this time, it won’t be the Dreaded BernieBros (BOOGA! BOOGA!). See if you can find the problem (boldface mine):

The DNC set rules decades ago to discourage fringe candidates from remaining in the race and to reduce the power of large states to dominate candidate selection. It did so by authorizing several small states to hold primaries or caucuses early and by requiring a form of proportional representation when translating votes into pledged delegates. The rules also require a candidate to win 15 percent of the primary or caucus vote in each of the state’s congressional districts to get any pledged delegates at all in that district.

For example, assume there are 10 candidates, two of whom receive 30 percent and 20 percent of the vote, respectively, while none of the other eight candidates receives as much as 15 percent of the vote. In that situation, the top two vote-getters would receive 60 percent and 40 percent of the pledged delegates, and no other candidate would receive any.

These rules work well — ordinarily. But, when applied to the large candidate field looming for 2020, they carry two dangers. First, no candidate may win 15 percent of the vote. If that happens, the threshold for receiving any pledged delegates drops to half of the vote share of the leading candidate. The second and much more serious risk is that only one candidate narrowly clears the 15 percent threshold. Under the DNC rules, that candidate would win all of a district’s pledged delegates, even though 85 percent or more of the Democratic electorate preferred someone else.

Despite what you might read on pseudo-woke Twitter, the two most popular Democratic candidates are Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders. If polling data are to be believed–admittedly, this far out, probably not–these are the only two that could break the district threshold reliably (depending on the poll, Warren might also be in play). Of course, different congressional districts are different and you can’t win ’em all if you don’t win the first one, so it’s possible, for example, Harris could break the threshold in one district, while essentially not getting any votes in another. Given how voters are distributed across states, this is likely.

Not only is the ELEKTION STRATEGEREY going to be difficult, but it’s quite possible that a candidate’s popular vote support is completely out of whack with her delegate count. In fact, it’s highly probable. You could have a candidate polling at twenty percent (Biden leads the field at 31 percent for reference) but whose supporters are unequally distributed who winds up with nothing, while another twenty-percenter’s support is more evenly distributed and winds up with more than twenty percent of the delegates from the state.

Nothing could possibly go wrong.

Let the whining commence.

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