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Joe BidenCongratulations to our presumptive Democratic nominee, Joe Biden!

Mon Jul 29, 2019, 09:50 AM

 

15% Is Not A Magic Number For Primary Delegates

If you hear the phrase “delegate math” and remember 2016, you might have some nightmares. That’s because Republicans, who briefly kinda sorta looked like they might have a contested convention, have incredibly complicated delegate-allocation rules. Some states were winner-take-all in the GOP primaries. Some were proportional. Some states didn’t even really vote at all (!) or had voters chose delegates directly. It was a mess.

Democratic delegate rules are far more uniform from state to state — and they’re much simpler. But there are a couple of nuances that I can imagine people are going to get wrong.

One of them concerns the 15 percent threshold, which is a number that you’re going to be hearing a lot about. Democrats allocate their delegates proportionately among candidates who get 15 percent or more of the vote in a given state or district. So, for instance, if Bernie Sanders gets 42 percent of the vote in a certain state, Kamala Harris gets 18 percent, Joe Biden gets 14 percent, Pete Buttigieg gets 11 percent, Cory Booker gets 10 percent and Marianne Williamson gets 5 percent, then only Sanders and Harris would get state-level delegates, with Sanders getting 70 percent of the delegates1 and Harris getting the other 30 percent.

The part that’s easy to miss is in that term state-level delegates. In the Democratic primaries, only about 35 percent of delegates are actually allocated at the state level. The remaining 65 percent are allocated by district — usually by congressional district, although some states use different methods such as by county (Montana and Delaware) or state legislative districts (Texas and New Jersey).
This can make a big difference. In the example above, for instance, if Biden were to get 14 percent of the vote statewide, he probably would get some delegates because he’d likely be at or above 15 percent in at least some districts.

How many delegates is harder to say; it depends on how much variation there is from district to district. But for some rough guidance, I looked back at candidates who finished with between 10 and 20 percent of the vote in the Republican primaries in 20162 in states that allocated some of their delegates by congressional district.3 In the average district, there was about a 3-point gap between a candidate’s statewide vote share and that candidate’s districtwide vote share.

By performing a little math,4 we can extrapolate how many district delegates we’d expect a candidate to get given a certain statewide vote share. For instance, a candidate who gets 14 percent of the vote statewide, as Biden did in this example, would expect to achieve at least 15 percent in somewhere around 40 percent of districts, thereby receiving delegates there. Even a candidate who got 10 percent of the vote or less statewide might have a couple of strong districts where he or she received delegates, especially in a large, diverse state such as California.

https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/15-percent-is-not-a-magic-number-for-primary-delegates/
If I were to vote in a presidential
primary today, I would vote for:
Joe Biden

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Reply 15% Is Not A Magic Number For Primary Delegates (Original post)
bluewater Jul 2019 OP
George II Jul 2019 #1
bluewater Jul 2019 #2
Gothmog Jul 2019 #4
Gothmog Jul 2019 #3

Response to bluewater (Original post)

Mon Jul 29, 2019, 10:06 AM

1. Even in the districts the 15% rule applies. A few delegates might be won in districts, but not many

 

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

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Response to George II (Reply #1)

Mon Jul 29, 2019, 10:18 AM

2. The number of delegates can be significant according to 538

 

For example, they estimate that a candidate getting 8-14% support state wide could still end up getting between 1-5% of the delegates assigned.

For a large state like California that could be very significant and impact the national race for the nomination. Also, note from the chart below that getting 15% statewide does not mean a candidate would do above the 15% threshold in every district, and hence they would be assigned less than 15% in total.



In a close national race for the 2020 nomination, 3-5% of the total delegate count could shift the balance.
If I were to vote in a presidential
primary today, I would vote for:
Joe Biden

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Response to bluewater (Reply #2)

Mon Jul 29, 2019, 11:41 AM

4. I remain hopeful that sanders will fail to reach the 300 delegate threshold

 

I was a delegate to the Philadelphia convention and saw how the process works. One key item is that under the rules, a candidate cannot be put into nomination without 300 delegates. https://democrats.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/2020-Call-for-Convention-WITH-Attachments-2.26.19.pdf

Nomination of the Democratic Candidate for President: The Permanent Chair shall receive nominations from the floor for the Democratic candidate for the Office of President of the United
States in the following manner:

a. Requests to nominate a presidential candidate shall be in writing and shall have affixed thereto the written approval of the proposed nominee and the name of the individuals who shall be recognized to make the nominating and seconding speeches on behalf of a presidential candidate and shall be delivered to the Convention Secretary at a location as specified by the Secretary no later than 6:00 p.m. of the day preceding the day designated for the commencement of presidential nominations.

b. Each such request must be accompanied by a petition indicating support for the proposed nominee signed by delegates representing not less than 300 or more than 600 delegate votes, not more than 50 of which may come from one (1) delegation. A delegate may not sign more than one (1) nominating petition for president and for vice president. Pledged and automatic delegates may sign the petition.

If sanders is frozen out of enough states due to the 15% rule and remaining non-Biden delegates are split among several candidates, there is a chance that sanders may not reach 300 threshold
If I were to vote in a presidential
primary today, I would vote for:
Joe Biden

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Response to George II (Reply #1)

Mon Jul 29, 2019, 11:38 AM

3. Yes the 15% rule applies to district delegates

 

This is a process that I am very familiar with since I ran and was elected as a delegate in my state senate district. If a candidate fails to get 15% in a district/voting unit, then they get no delegates from that district. In Texas we allocate these delegates based on State Senate Districts. Due to the 15% rule, there is a good chance that some candidates may not get any delegates in a state.
If I were to vote in a presidential
primary today, I would vote for:
Joe Biden

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