HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » Forums & Groups » Retired » Retired Forums » Democratic Primaries (Forum) » The 15% Rule for Delegate...
Joe BidenCongratulations to our presumptive Democratic nominee, Joe Biden!

Sat Jun 8, 2019, 12:27 PM

 

The 15% Rule for Delegates, help me out here

I want to be sure I understand the implications of the DNC's 15% rule for assigning delegates from primaries.

1. Delegates are assigned proportionally based on the % of the votes a candidate receives.

Ok, that's simple and fair.

2. BUT you need to get at least 15% of the votes to receive any delegates.

So, if a candidate gets 14% of the vote, they get zero delegates. If only one candidate gets at least 15% of the vote, they would be assigned ALL the delegates.

Hmmm.

3. The candidates who garner at least 15% of the votes have ALL the delegates proportionally divided between them.

THIS is where it gets interesting.

Say there are 3 candidates, B,S and W:

Candidate B gets 30% of the votes
Candidate S gets 14% of the votes
Candidate W gets 16% of the votes

In this case S get ZERO delegates, B gets ~66% of ALL the delegates, and W gets ~33% of the delegates.

The 15% rule makes it seem that a candidate that really was only supported by 30% of the primary's voters was the overwhelming favorite by receiving 66% of the delegates.

I am not sure exactly why this is considered desirable, but it is the current system. Perhaps its to avoid a brokered convention or something. Perhaps it's to weed out the field and allow voters to focus on just a few candidates.

But the lessons that I take away from this is:

Do NOT split your vote between candidates with similar positions

Do not essentially throw away your chance to assign delegates by voting for a candidate that has no chance of making the 15% cut off


So, is this how the 15% rule really works? Please let me know if I got this wrong.

Thanks.
If I were to vote in a presidential
primary today, I would vote for:
Undecided

24 replies, 2056 views

Reply to this thread

Back to top Alert abuse

Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread
Arrow 24 replies Author Time Post
Reply The 15% Rule for Delegates, help me out here (Original post)
uawchild Jun 2019 OP
MineralMan Jun 2019 #1
uawchild Jun 2019 #3
MineralMan Jun 2019 #5
Honeycombe8 Jun 2019 #7
uawchild Jun 2019 #8
MineralMan Jun 2019 #10
DownriverDem Jun 2019 #12
MineralMan Jun 2019 #13
uawchild Jun 2019 #20
George II Jun 2019 #2
uawchild Jun 2019 #4
MineralMan Jun 2019 #6
Demit Jun 2019 #9
uawchild Jun 2019 #11
Demit Jun 2019 #14
uawchild Jun 2019 #15
karynnj Jun 2019 #18
Demit Jun 2019 #22
uawchild Jun 2019 #23
karynnj Jun 2019 #16
uawchild Jun 2019 #17
karynnj Jun 2019 #19
uawchild Jun 2019 #21
Gothmog Jun 2019 #24

Response to uawchild (Original post)

Sat Jun 8, 2019, 12:37 PM

1. Yes, that's how it works.

 

That rule has been in place for a long time. The reason for it is to winnow down a list of candidates to the ones who actually have a fighting chance to win. If you can't get 15% of the vote in a primary election, that's not looking good for you, and we need to win in the general election, see.

So, that's why, and it's as you describe. It could be changed, but not for this election. Changing that practice would have to be done by the DNC at one of its national conventions. Ain't happening anytime soon, because it's a sensible rule.

ETA: That rule applies to primary or caucus votes in a district of a state. Some states use their congressional districts, others use some other districts, like state senate districts. So, candidates who earn more than 15% of the vote in some districts will be eligible for delegates to the state convention, where the proportionality is dealt with for that state's delegation to the national convention.

The 15% rule covers pretty much all elections and democratic votes, including endorsement votes and election of of people to party organization leadership positions. It's a way to thin down the number of candidates so someone ends up with a majority vote. It's a staple of Democratic Party policies. For endorsements, the endorsee must win 60% of the vote at conventions. If nobody gets 60%, once the field has been narrowed to two candidates, no endorsement is made.
If I were to vote in a presidential
primary today, I would vote for:
Joe Biden

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to MineralMan (Reply #1)

Sat Jun 8, 2019, 12:45 PM

3. Thanks

 

Yes, it is the system in place and might even be preferable to a brokered convention like those back in the "smoke-filled room" days of national politics.

I wanted to be absolutely certain that I understood the ramifications of the process, and, obviously, want to make sure that other people are aware of them too.

Thanks again for your feedback!
If I were to vote in a presidential
primary today, I would vote for:
Undecided

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to uawchild (Reply #3)

Sat Jun 8, 2019, 12:49 PM

5. I've been posting regularly about the 15% rule here in Democratic Primaries

 

Like you, I want people to understand how it works so they won't be surprised. If you get involved with local party organizations, you learn about it very quickly if you are a delegate to the various conventions.

The goal, of course, is the majority rule. In pretty much everything the Democratic Party does, a majority is required. Sometimes, multiple votes have to be taken, and the 15% rule is there to trim down the list of candidates after each vote until a majority is reached.

That's one reason I encourage everyone to get involved with their local party organization. It's a great way to get an understanding of how and why things work the way they do.
If I were to vote in a presidential
primary today, I would vote for:
Joe Biden

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to MineralMan (Reply #5)

Sat Jun 8, 2019, 01:00 PM

7. I remember that post you did. It was really helpful.

 

I didn't know exactly how it worked.

It also makes sense to me. There has to be a cutoff somewhere. Altho I understand why someone whose candidate gets 14% might be upset. No matter what the cutoff is, the candidate right below that cutoff number will think it's unfair.
If I were to vote in a presidential
primary today, I would vote for:
Undecided

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to MineralMan (Reply #5)

Sat Jun 8, 2019, 01:02 PM

8. Voters need to make sure of their intentions, that is for certain

 

I think I was actually inspired by one of your posts on the 15% rule, MM. Thanks for posting those.

As for the rule's implications, take my case.

I admire Cory Booker's stance on so many issues but especially mass incarceration of minorities and social justice for people living in urban poverty.

In an ideal world, I would love to cast my vote for him in the primaries to show my support for him. I would like the country as a whole to see that voters like me care deeply about those issues. I would want to see some number on the board , so to speak.... "7% of voters agreed with Booker..."

But, realistically, since Booker won't be breaking the 15% cutoff, I would be throwing away my chance to help choose which candidate gets those delegates.

So while it might be emotional satisfying to vote for my preferred low polling candidates, it could very well be counter-productive.

That's why, come the primaries, I will be choosing only between those candidates that have a shot at getting at least 15% of the vote.

Thanks again for your posts and feedback.
If I were to vote in a presidential
primary today, I would vote for:
Undecided

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to uawchild (Reply #8)

Sat Jun 8, 2019, 01:09 PM

10. My pleasure.

 

Yes, people need to think about their primary votes. While the primary elections are the place to cast a vote for someone who might not be everyone's choice for the nomination, it's important to weigh your vote carefully, if you want it to have meaning in the outcome.

For example, if your favorite candidate is polling under 10%, say, it's very, very unlikely that that candidate will win the nomination. So, you might want to reconsider and select a different candidate to vote for - one who has a chance of winning. Otherwise, you have done nothing to affect the outcome.

That's true in general elections, as well. Maybe the Democratic nominee isn't your favorite, but either a Democrat or Republican is going to win the election, so voting for a third party candidate is equivalent to a vote for the Republican if you're more aligned with Democrats. That cost Hillary Clinton the election by less than 90,000 votes in three crucial states.

Elections are practical things. One should vote in a practical way, because no message is sent by voting for a third party candidate, who also loses the election. Sometimes you have to vote intelligently, rather than just the way you feel.
If I were to vote in a presidential
primary today, I would vote for:
Joe Biden

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to MineralMan (Reply #1)

Sat Jun 8, 2019, 01:30 PM

12. Exactly

 

Personally, I believe there are too many folks running. My focus is on beating trump. I'm not into infighting or tit for tat games.
If I were to vote in a presidential
primary today, I would vote for:
Joe Biden

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to DownriverDem (Reply #12)

Sat Jun 8, 2019, 01:36 PM

13. Well, I'm focusing on three or four candidates primarily.

 

Biden, Sanders, Warren, and Harris. Buttigieg and O'Rourke might also be in play. I pay little attention to the group that consistently polls at less than 5%. I don't see any path to relevance for any of those, frankly.

As we get closer to actual primary elections and caucuses, the list of those I think about will get shorter.
If I were to vote in a presidential
primary today, I would vote for:
Joe Biden

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to MineralMan (Reply #13)

Sat Jun 8, 2019, 04:40 PM

20. It will inevitably narrow down to just two.

 

Our political system seem designed to ultimately narrow our choices down to one person versus another.

That seems to hold up even for party primaries.

I might be wrong, but I think things are shaping up for a Biden versus Warren face-off ultimately.
If I were to vote in a presidential
primary today, I would vote for:
Undecided

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to uawchild (Original post)

Sat Jun 8, 2019, 12:44 PM

2. That's the way it works, except some states do their delegate allocation by district...

 

....(each state has slightly different rules)

Let's say a state has three districts with an equal number of voters and a total of 60 delegates. Each district allocates 20 delegates.

In District one, candidate A gets 30%, candidate B gets 15%, and candidate C gets 14%, with the rest of the votes going to other candidates.

So, candidate A gets 13 delegates, B gets 7, and C gets 0.

In District two, candidate A gets 15%, candidate B gets 30%, and candidate C gets 14%, with the rest of the votes going to other candidates.

In this case candidate A gets 7 delegates, B gets 13, and C gets 0.

In District three, candidate A gets 40%, candidate B gets 10%, and candidate C gets 10%, with the rest of the votes going to other candidates.

Candidate A gets 20 delegates, B gets 0, and C gets 0.

Add them up and candidate A got about 28% of the overall vote and 40 delegates. B got 18% of the overall vote and 20 delegates.

It's not exactly like this but it's close.
If I were to vote in a presidential
primary today, I would vote for:
Joe Biden

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to George II (Reply #2)

Sat Jun 8, 2019, 12:46 PM

4. Thanks George. n/t

 

If I were to vote in a presidential
primary today, I would vote for:
Undecided

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to George II (Reply #2)

Sat Jun 8, 2019, 12:53 PM

6. Good rundown of how it works in the districts! Thanks!

 

If someone is curious about how it works in any state, they can visit the link below and click on a state under the Democratic primary list.

https://www.thegreenpapers.com/P20/
If I were to vote in a presidential
primary today, I would vote for:
Joe Biden

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to uawchild (Original post)

Sat Jun 8, 2019, 01:04 PM

9. What do you mean by "Do not split your vote"?

 

If I were to vote in a presidential
primary today, I would vote for:
Undecided

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Demit (Reply #9)

Sat Jun 8, 2019, 01:18 PM

11. The 15% Rule for Delegates concentrates delegates to the winner

 

Candidate A and B have similar views on many issues, candidate C is viewed as holding significantly different views.

candidate A gets 16 % of the vote
candidate B gets 14 % of the vote
Candidate C gets 30 % of the vote

under the 15% rule, since supporters of Candidate A and B split their votes between the two, candidate C, who neither favors as much, gets 66% of the delegates while Candidate A only gets 33%.

So, supporters of A and B could find that the candidate they favored less got the lion share of the assigned delegates. In a crowded primary field, like we have this year, it's likely that many candidates could get substantial percentages of the vote but not make the 15% cut-off individually.
If I were to vote in a presidential
primary today, I would vote for:
Undecided

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to uawchild (Reply #11)

Sat Jun 8, 2019, 02:35 PM

14. Sorry, I still don't get it. Splitting your vote to me means voting for some Dems, some Repubs

 

in a general election, as opposed to voting straight ticket. This is a primary. A voter gets one vote for a presidential nominee. How does he or she split that?

A voter isn't going to know upfront which of two similar candidates is going to edge the other out in their state's primary. It's not like Sanders supporters, say, have a way to get together before voting to say Let's vote for Warren instead! Or vice versa.

So I still don't get who you are admonishing to not split the vote.
If I were to vote in a presidential
primary today, I would vote for:
Undecided

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Demit (Reply #14)

Sat Jun 8, 2019, 03:15 PM

15. They might look at polls...

 

"A voter isn't going to know upfront which of two similar candidates is going to edge the other out in their state's primary. It's not like Sanders supporters, say, have a way to get together before voting to say Let's vote for Warren instead! Or vice versa. "

Look at the current status, only two candidates are above the 15% cutoff:

https://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/2020/president/us/2020_democratic_presidential_nomination-6730.html

I would hope that people before a primary vote would look at polling like the one above and choose wisely when casting their votes in the primaries. If your candidate can't crack 15%, a vote for them will not decide who actually gets those delegates.

I am pretty sure it will become clear which candidates don't have a chance of breaking the 15% cutoff before a given primary.

Sorry that the simplistic example I gave didn't accurately convey what I was trying to describe. I think the RCP Polling chart gives a better snapshot in time example of the implications of the 15% rule. If an actual primary vote was like that chart, only TWO candidates would receive any delegates from that primary.

And of course that RCP Polling chart isn't an endorsement of anyone, it's just the current example. Most likely the relative poll results for the candidates will change by primary time and should be checked then, of course.

Cheers!
If I were to vote in a presidential
primary today, I would vote for:
Undecided

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to uawchild (Reply #15)

Sat Jun 8, 2019, 04:28 PM

18. An answer in one word _ Iowa

 

At the caucus, they will see the number in their district who are for each candidate. In a world where twitter exists, people will hear what is happening elsewhere. They also can change who they are caucusing for.

ie imagine that a large group of people are ok with candidates a, b, c --- preferring all of them over the frontrunner. Even after the first round, people with non competitive candidates can change who they caucus for. Not to mention, assuming that 50% of the voters choose Biden - a landslide in a primary like this -- there are still the other 50%. It is very possible for 3 candidates to emerge with pledged delegates ( I think they are actually assigned later but pretty much as determined on caucus day.)
If I were to vote in a presidential
primary today, I would vote for:
Joe Biden

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to uawchild (Reply #15)

Sat Jun 8, 2019, 04:52 PM

22. I see what you mean now.

 

Although that's some pretty sophisticated reckoning for most voters. When I was more active in city politics, I tried to get people to bullet vote for a certain city council candidate who was our neighbor. There were four "at large" positions on city council—meaning not dedicated to any particular area of the city—and even though voters could vote for four candidates, I tried to persuade them to vote for only one—our neighbor—thus adding only to his total and not the other candidates' totals. Kinda sorta similar situation, in the sense of being strategic with your vote.

If I were to vote in a presidential
primary today, I would vote for:
Undecided

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Demit (Reply #22)

Sat Jun 8, 2019, 04:55 PM

23. good point

 

"that's some pretty sophisticated reckoning for most voters"

I agree. I think the 15% rule might catch a lot of voters unaware.

MineralMan has been posting about it for a while and I wanted to make sure I had it figured out myself in this thread.

Thanks for the discussion!
If I were to vote in a presidential
primary today, I would vote for:
Undecided

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to uawchild (Original post)

Sat Jun 8, 2019, 04:18 PM

16. I think you got it right, though I would add one thing - in Iowa there is a caucus

 

The 15% rule applies at the district level.

If your example had more candidates and the third highest was 14% as in the example, I think that if they will try to get voters of non competitive candidates to pull the one with 14% over the threshold. There is also a second round where many move.

In the past, some candidates knowing there will be districts they are not competitive in will suggest a second choice to their voters. For some reason, Kuchinich told his voters to vote for Edwards - though either Dean or Kerry were more in line with values he claimed to support.
If I were to vote in a presidential
primary today, I would vote for:
Joe Biden

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to karynnj (Reply #16)

Sat Jun 8, 2019, 04:21 PM

17. Interesting!

 

Ah, I see. That's an insight into the caucus process I had no idea about.

Thanks!
If I were to vote in a presidential
primary today, I would vote for:
Undecided

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to uawchild (Reply #17)

Sat Jun 8, 2019, 04:37 PM

19. Looking at the 2004 results, I can see that what I wrote is not complete

 

To get the state level delegates assigned by the district, you need 15% in that district as written. However, they then aggregate the state level delegates and compute the percent for each candidate.

What happens then is that the 15% rule is now used again. Looking at the table, there were districts where Gephardt Kucinich exceeded 15% - so he got 11% of the STATE level delegates. This was below 15% -- so he got no pledged delegates to go to the convention. http://www.cnn.com/ELECTION/2004/primaries/pages/states/IA/



If I were to vote in a presidential
primary today, I would vote for:
Joe Biden

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to karynnj (Reply #19)

Sat Jun 8, 2019, 04:45 PM

21. Thanks for that clarification

 

So, ultimately, its the state-wide 15% cutoff that matters.

That makes sense in that it aligns more closely to primary states.

Thanks again!

The 15% cutoff for delegates remains a harsh Mistress, even in caucus states.
If I were to vote in a presidential
primary today, I would vote for:
Undecided

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to uawchild (Original post)

Sun Jun 16, 2019, 07:33 PM

24. sanders is below 10% in South Carolina

 


If I were to vote in a presidential
primary today, I would vote for:
Joe Biden

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Reply to this thread