Guest post by Larry C. Johnson
The notion that Bernie Sanders is heading up an electoral, unstoppable juggernaut is total nonsense. It is political spin not paying attention to the cold hard facts emerging from the first three Democrat contests. I believe in numbers.
On the good news front (for Democrats that is), there are more Democrat voters turning out for the 2020 contests than showed up in 2016. It is an increase of over 150,000 voters compared to 2016 (574,945 compared to 428,330). So Democrats can be happy about that. But that is about all the good news.
Bernie Sanders has some big problems. He will not get enough delegates on his own to win the nomination. In fact, the changes to the delegate selection process advocated by Sanders in the aftermath of the 2016 contest are likely to work against him. Instead of hoping to snare all delegates in a winner take all state, Bernie will be saddled with getting a proportional share. And here is the problem.
In 2016 in Iowa, Bernie split the votes with Hillary, racking up 50% of the votes in the caucuses. In 2020? Bernie only garnered 27%. Forty eight thousand three voters turned out for him in 2016. That number dropped to 45,831 in 2020 while the number voting for other Democrats increased by 78,000.
The results in New Hampshire in 2020 told a similar story. In 2016 Bernie took the state by storm with 61% of the voters siding with him. The 2020 turnout for Bernie in New Hampshire was a disaster–only 76,352 voted for him out of 300,742. Instead of 61% of the vote, Bernie eked out 27% this year.
And then there was Nevada. Bernie won 47% of the vote in 2016 but lost out to Hillary. Total votes for Bernie–39,732. Bernie’s “win” in 2020 was described by some news outlets as a “landslide.” Not quite. Bernie did win a few more votes in 2020–41,075. But his percentage of the vote fell to 40%. Sixty percent of the Democrats voted for someone else.
At this point in the primary season, Bernie Sanders is anything but a juggernaut. He may be the most entertaining but his support, compared to 2016, is declining, not surging. Watch carefully the numbers that emerge from the upcoming contests.