The Corner

Elections

What If No Democratic Presidential Candidate Gets Enough Delegates?

Senator Kamala Harris launches her presidential campaign at a rally in Oakland, Calif., January 27, 2019. (Elijah Nouvelage/Reuters)

Over at Larry Sabato’s “Crystal Ball” site, Kyle Kondik observes that considering the size of the field and the Democratic party’s way of allocating delegates — no winner-take-all states, just a 15 percent threshold to win any delegates — the primary season could end with no candidate winning the necessary number of delegates and “the Democratic National Convention could hypothetically go to a second ballot.”

(Those who would like to see a party convention be newsworthy again will be cheering for this scenario.)

There’s a good chance that the 15 percent rule is going to cause Democrats headaches. Somebody at some point is going to win 13 or 14 percent of the vote a state primary and not get any delegates, and that candidate and their supporters are likely to be furious. You will probably hear a lot of cries of “rigged!” and claims that the process is unfair — or that it even represents “voter suppression” of some kind. (This is what a lot of Democrats do when they lose an election. They appear to believe in only two possible outcomes: they win or somebody else must have cheated.)

Imagine a scenario where Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris, Beto O’Rourke, Pete Buttigieg, Elizabeth Warren, and Cory Booker all get roughly the same share of the vote in a state primary. That sort of split would give everyone . . .  14.2 percent of the vote. Who gets the delegates then? Or what if one candidate gets, say, 20 percent of the vote and everyone else is under 15 percent? Does the leading candidate get 100 percent of the delegates? Unless there’s a clear frontrunner, a lot of candidates will scream that the process is unfair and rigged against them.

And Democrats shouldn’t count on low funds forcing some of the long-shot candidates to step off the stage. A candidate who just wants to hang around and get invited to debates and do television interviews can hang around for a long time, even without much money. In 2016, Jim Gilmore raised $824,000 in the entire cycle and stayed in the race until after the New Hampshire primary. John Kasich’s campaign raised $18 million, won 161 out of a possible 2,472 delegates, and he stayed in the race until May.

When do the Democrats start thinking about unity tickets?

Most Popular

Immigration

Angela Rye Knows You’re Racist

The political philosopher Michael Oakeshott said that the “rationalist” is hopelessly lost in ideology, captivated by the world of self-contained coherence he has woven from strands of human experience. He concocts a narrative about narratives, a story about stories, and adheres to the “large outline which ... Read More
Immigration

What the Viral Border-Patrol Video Leaves Out

In an attempt to justify Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s absurd comparison of American detention facilities to Holocaust-era concentration camps, many figures within the media have shared a viral video clip of a legal hearing in which a Department of Justice attorney debates a panel of judges as to what constitutes ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Pro-Abortion Nonsense from John Irving

The novelist has put up a lot of easy targets in his New York Times op-ed. I am going to take aim at six of his points, starting with his strongest one. First: Irving asserts that abortion was legal in our country from Puritan times until the 1840s, at least before “quickening.” That’s an overstatement. ... Read More
Film & TV

Murder Mystery: An Old Comedy Genre Gets Polished Up

I  like Adam Sandler, and yet you may share the sense of trepidation I get when I see that another of his movies is out. He made some very funny manboy comedies (Billy Madison, Happy Gilmore, The Waterboy) followed by some not-so-funny manboy comedies, and when he went dark, in Reign over Me and Funny People, ... Read More