Why do I have a feeling that if I went to a baseball game with someone who’s covering the 2016 Democratic Primary race that they’d want to leave after the Seventh Inning Stretch?
If you only listen to what the major news outlets are telling you about Super Tuesday, you will get the distinct and unavoidable impression that the primary is over, Hillary has won it, and it’s now time for her and her team to focus solely on her upcoming General Election battle with Donald J. Trump. But let’s just pump the brakes on Hillary’s bus of inevitability, shall we, just for a moment?
Only a damn fool would posit that Bernie is winning right now; he’s not. But then again, what kind of damn fool would presume that all of the superdelegates that Hillary is getting attributed to her total will stay right where they are, even if Sanders wins key, big states? What kind of damn fool forgets that 2008 started much the same for Hillary — as the fated, predestined nominee and eventual president?
Baseball games are long as shit; I should know as a lifelong, die hard fan of them. Presidential primary races are exactly the same. It’s not a quick shoot-out; it’s a pitcher’s duel most of the time. If Sanders hadn’t won in Colorado, Minnesota or Oklahoma last night, then the calls from everyone to accept the inescapable would be understood. That’s not what happened though. Read over the states that Sanders won again. He took Oklahoma. Even Obama couldn’t take Oklahoma in 2008, Hillary did. Yes, that would make a good argument for why it might not matter, but it’s also a great argument for why it’s silly to throw in the towel now. Clearly the word “socialism” alone isn’t going to scare off voters, even those in red states like Oklahoma.
Maybe it’s because I’m a Dodgers fan, and maybe it’s because the greatest moment of my life associated with that team happened on my eighth birthday, but I’m not ready to call the game just yet…Bernie could still hobble up to the plate and smash one over the right-center field fence. In fact, it’s not even like Bernie’s got two outs, a full-count, down by one with a runner on first like Kirk Gibson had in 1988. With about 35 states left to hold primaries or caucuses, the media is trying to act like we’re about to wrap up the game, and the rest of us realize we’re not even through the middle-third yet.
With Clinton’s 1,034 delegate count to Sanders’ 408, it’s really easy to see how many would conclude this was a done deal. Except, hold on. That count includes 457 superdelegates that everyone is just presuming will go to Hillary no matter what. Tell that to Obama, who was trailing in superdelegates going into Super Tuesday and still won the whole shebang. Twice. Strip those superdelegates from Clinton, and she’s up by just barely a hundred delegates. How many states coming up favor Sanders where he could make up that difference? A ton.
“But James, Obama used Super Tuesday to overcome Hillary in 2008, and eventually won!”
Cool, you’re totally right. Except Hillary still didn’t concede until June of that year when the writing was very much so on the wall. We’ve already covered that if Sanders picks off a few more states, especially ones like Colorado and Minnesota like he did on Super Tuesday, that he could swing a good portion of the superdelegates currently being tallied for Hillary his way. But more importantly — this isn’t 2008. Anything can and could happen.
I’m not saying that Bernie will win, because I refuse to be the guy who predicts shit. I refuse to be the guy who preaches to you about this stuff either. It’s up to each individual Bernie supporter whether or not they’re going to slink back to the dugout before the third strike is called or the 27th out is recorded. I’m not one to give up until the game’s over though, and considering that in 2016 Bernie Sanders is no worse off at this point as Barack Obama was in 2008, I’m thinking there are still quite a few innings left to go. Of course, if Bernie loses, I’ll end up voting for Hillary because I don’t want to give the country a massive case of Republican AIDS, but we’re not there yet, so until we are…