How the paltry 2016 debate schedule helped Clinton win the primary

There were many ways the DNC and other Democratic Party leadership tipped the scales to help nominate Hillary Clinton in 2016, but the biggest issue in my opinion was the horrendously inadequate debate schedule.

Although the DNC did eventually agree to add four extra debates near the end of the primary season – one of which never occurred – the 2016 schedule was whimpering weaksauce compared to the 2008 schedule. Throughout the 2007-2008 Democratic primary season, there were 20 debates. 20! Additionally, a whopping 12 of them happened before the first-in-the-nation Iowa caucuses. In contrast, throughout the 2015-16 primary season, only nine debates actually occurred, and only four of them happened before the Iowa caucuses.

Continue reading


What if the Electoral College wasn’t winner-take-all?

Members of the Electoral College vote in New York in 2012. Tim Roske, Associated Press

This story was updated on December 30, 2016.

For the second time in the five most recent U.S. elections, the winner of the popular vote did not receive a majority of votes in the Electoral College. Donald Trump, despite carrying only 47 percent of the vote to Hillary Clinton’s 48 percent, appears to have won the Electoral College 306-232  by scoring razor-thin victories in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. Here’s the current 2016 Electoral College map under the current rules, which award Electoral College votes to the winner of each state on a winner-take-all basis:

Click the map to create your own at

(As of the creation of this map, the results of the Michigan election had not yet been certified. Donald Trump was declared the winner of Michigan’s 16 electoral votes on November 28.)

Just like after the 2000 election, in which George W. Bush became president despite losing the popular vote to Al Gore, there have been calls from several prominent liberals – including Senator Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) – to abolish the Electoral College system and move to presidential elections decided by the national popular vote. Even President-elect Trump said he would “rather see” elections decided by the popular vote.

But what if an overhaul of our national elections system can’t or won’t go that far? What if we kept the Electoral College and the constitutional provisions surrounding it and instead awarded Electoral College votes to candidates proportionally based on the share of the vote they receive in each state? Well, the map for the 2016 election could’ve looked something like this:

Continue reading

Data suggests 3rd-party voters aren’t to blame for Trump’s election


The nation and the world are stunned by Donald Trump’s victory in last night’s presidential election. I’ve already seen a lot of vitriol on social media being thrown at third-party voters for the impact they may have had on Trump’s improbable rise to the highest office in the United States. Do they deserve it? Let’s dig into the data.

A set of exit polls conducted by CBS News asked third-party voters (for Gary Johnson or Jill Stein) what they would have done if neither Johnson nor Stein had been an option in the election. 25 percent of Johnson supporters said they would have supported Clinton, while 15 percent said they would have supported Trump. A full 55 percent of Gary Johnson supporters said they wouldn’t have voted for a presidential candidate. The numbers are similar concerning Jill Stein: “about a quarter” said they would have supported Clinton, 14 percent Trump, and 61 percent said they wouldn’t have voted.

The following hypothetical scenario where Trump and Clinton were the only two choices for president is based on CBS’ exit polling being accurate and also on that exit polling applying somewhat evenly over all states in the country. Let’s take a look at how this hypothetical situation would have played out in the four closest swing states that ended up giving Donald Trump the presidency:

Continue reading

If Warren has to play politics to be Clinton’s VP, so be it

Clinton-Warren handshake
Chip Somodevilla, Getty Images

On June 9, two days after the California primary, Massachusetts senator and heralded progressive Elizabeth Warren endorsed Hillary Clinton for president.

Clinton – who won four of the six primaries on June 7, including California’s – appears likely to become the Democratic nominee for president, barring a criminal conviction for her email scandal or an unprecedented sea change in the leanings of some five hundred superdelegates.

Some Bernie Sanders supporters have been taking Warren to task on social media over her endorsement of Clinton, some calling her a “corporate whore” while others have said the endorsement shows that “everyone has their price.”

Continue reading

How Much Have Closed Primaries Hurt Bernie Sanders?

In the course of their coverage of the Democratic primary race, the media has casually brought up that Bernie Sanders does better in open or semi-closed primary races (where independent and no party affiliation voters are allowed to participate) than in closed primaries that include only Democrats. What I haven’t seen anyone do is examine the exact impact that the exclusion of independent voters has had on this primary process so far. For starters, let’s compare the results of contests where independents could vote with the results of contests where independents were excluded. For the sake of this exercise, we won’t count closed primaries or caucuses where voters could switch to Democrat at the polling place.

Continue reading