Let me declare my biases up front. I voted for Elizabeth Warren yesterday in Minnesota. She was my first choice among the huge field of Democratic contenders. Like hers, my main priority is seeing as many of her plans as possible enacted. My next four choices dropped out before I got to vote. If I have to choose between Sanders and Biden (I don’t), my choice is Sanders, but the margin is very narrow, based mostly on candidate negatives on both sides, and easily shifted by things like VP choice.
I also spent nearly a decade doing actuarial (pension) math for a living. I’m not a trained actuary, but I have a lot of experience in determining probable outcomes in situations with a lot of variables. More importantly for this post, I’ve spent an awful lot of time identifying and making explicit the assumptions that go into these calculations.
Yes, I’m writing this (or compiling it from various places I’ve talked about the question over the last few days) because of the pressure for Warren to drop out of the race. At best, it’s based on assumptions about what would happen to her votes that don’t match the best information we have. At worst, it’s counter-productive to seeing progressive issues move forward.
Let’s start with the assumptions being made about what will happen if Warren drops out. The two big assumptions are:
- People who are prepared to vote for Warren will switch predominantly to Sanders.
- Those votes will roll up to enough of a gain in Sanders delegates to prevent a brokered convention.
There’s also a third assumption I’m seeing in my social media that Warren really wants delegates so she can throw them to Biden specifically to prevent Sanders from becoming the nominee. I’ll talk about what can happen at the convention later, but I’m not going to address this assumption directly because:
- It’s coming from a small minority even of Sanders supporters.
- Those are the same people who think snake emojis are solid politics.
- Their reaction to this post will be the same no matter what I say.
On to the main assumptions.
Would Warren supporters move primarily to Sanders if she dropped out? Not according to them. Continue reading “Second Choices and Delegate Allocations: Why Primary “Electability” Is a Wild Guess”