The odds are that all of the Democrats running for president could come up short, according to a new statistical projection.
The website FiveThirtyEight has developed statistical models to track how candidates are doing and how they are likely to fare in the competition for delegates to the Democratic convention at which the party will choose its nominee.
One of its models gives odds for the candidates getting more than 50 percent of the pledged delegates — the amount needed for nomination. The projection fluctuates over time with the performance of the candidates.
And the winner in the latest version is: No One.
That’s right. The latest projection puts the odds on no one getting above 50 percent level at two in five.
“What it really comes down to is the number of candidates splintering the vote,” Addisu Demissie, who managed the failed campaign of Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey, told NBC News. “If this number of candidates sticks around and through Super Tuesday and March 10, it just becomes almost a mathematical certainty that no one can claim a majority of delegates by July. It’s just math.”
“This thing is about to pile on us so quickly. So the field just has to narrow or the math is against any candidate to win on the first ballot,” Demissie said.
“The most likely scenario is you have a bunch of people dropping out on March 4, but that may already be too late,” he added, referring to the day after the Super Tuesday contests.
Among the real people running, the FiveThirtyEight model says that Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont has the best odds, at one in three.
Former Vice President Joe Biden has the next-best odds at one in eight. Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has a one-in-12 shot of winning a majority of pledged delegates, according to the model.
The model projects that although 1,990 delegates are needed, Sanders will get no more than 1,521, while Biden will net 815 and Bloomberg will snare 786. Other candidates in the race will have even small chunks of the delegate pie, the model predicts.
If the projection holds true, Democrats would be heading for what is called a brokered convention.
That takes place when no candidate wins a majority of delegates, leading to deal-making that result in one candidate’s delegates supporting another candidate to put the other over the top.
Sanders has said whoever has the most delegates should be the nominee, regardless of whether that candidate hits the magic number.
“The convention would have to explain to the American people, ‘Hey, candidate X got the most votes and won the most delegates at the primary process, but we’re not going to give him or her the nomination,'” he told MSNBC.
“I think that would be a divisive moment for the Democratic Party.”
The last brokered convention took place in 1952, when Adlai Stevenson was nominated by the Democratic Party on the convention’s third ballot, CNN reported.
“It’s possible, it’s quite possible,” Chris Spirou, a former New Hampshire Democratic Party chairman, told The Hill. “I think Bloomberg entering into this thing provides a much greater possibility of a brokered convention.”
“There’s a real possibility of a brokered convention and that in itself may be enough to serve as motivation for some who might have otherwise dropped out, to hang around longer to see if they can’t have a place in this thing and play a part in determining the nominee,” Jim Demers, a New Hampshire Democratic strategist said.
One commentator said Bloomberg’s personal resources could speak very loudly at a brokered convention.
“Bloomberg potentially could spend $4 billion or $5 billion of his own money, not just for his own campaign, but for Democrats all over, from dog catcher to Senate,” Lenny Glynn, a Massachusetts businessman, told The Hill. “Every single superdelegate at the Democratic convention, if we don’t have a clear majority, is going to realize — holy bazookas, Mike Bloomberg might spend $5 million in support of my campaign for a district in Oklahoma. So yeah, there’s a chance.”
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