Election 2020 #6


7 + 1

There is one Democratic nominee for President and seven “also-rans” remaining in the race to Milwaukee. We just don’t know which of the eight is the nominee. A piece of the answer was provided by those eligible to participate in the Nevada Caucuses. Because Nevada has found a way to combine “early voting” with their caucus process. The state Democratic committee estimates that over 70,000 Nevadans voted by the end of the early voting period. The rest caucused at various locations on Saturday, February 22nd.

08 Candidates as of 12-Feb-2020

Six of the eight … Joe Biden, Michael Bloomberg, Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar, Bernie Sanders, and Elizabeth Warren qualified for the debate on Wednesday, February 19th.

06 Debaters on 19-Feb-2020 700W

I rated their performances like this:

  1. Elizabeth Warren came out swinging and and struck home several times. She put Mike Bloomberg in his place. Others helped but none schooled Bloomberg so eloquently as Senator Warren did.[1]  Although she has moved away from “Medicare-for-All” as an immediate goal in favor of Universal Healthcare as a longer term goal, Elizabeth criticized both Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar for the limited descriptions of their healthcare plans. Later, Elizabeth defended Amy when Pete was berating her for momentarily forgetting the name of the President of Mexico while talking to a reporter at an earlier date.
  2. Amy Klobuchar and Joe Biden earned an equal number of points in my scoring system. Joe was more focused on what he wanted to say. Amy was a bit more “off-center” than she had been in New Hampshire. I found her closing statements to be particularly touching and emotive.
  3. Pete Buttigieg came across to me as a bit arrogant and self-righteous. Those attitudes seem more evident with each debate. His attack on Amy’s memory slip was much ado about nothing and mean-spirited. To me, he sounded like a snot-nosed kid mocking his elders. His combined criticism of Mike Bloomberg and Bernie Sanders[2]  was more thought-provoking.
  4. Mike Bloomberg is another wealthy septuagenarian male who believes that his wealth and business experience qualifies him for the Presidency more than any of his opponents. Granted that, unlike Trump, he did earn his wealth without having to cheat on his taxes or on paying his contractors. Mike has the experience of being mayor of the 29th largest city in the world … but, he was unable to deal definitively with questions about releasing his taxes, accusations of misogyny, and his company’s policy of non-disclosure agreements related to harassment claims.
  5. Bernie Sanders‘ score was only 1% lower than Mike Bloomberg’s. Bernie is definitely not defensive about his record … except, perhaps, his health record.[3]  My concern, as always, is that Bernie is long on the “what we’re going to do” and short on the “how we’re going to do it”. If he eventually wins the nomination, he must bring a lot of new, like-minded members to the House and Senate with him. Otherwise, his justifiable high ideals will accomplish little more than cleaning up Donald Trump’s despicable lies and villainy.


What Did the Poll Say?

The NBC News / The Wall Street Journal poll was the last major poll before the debate.

NBC-WSJ Poll taken Feb 14-17 700

Finding a poll released since the debate has not been easy. Here are the results of the one that I found. It is based on data that was collected on the day of the debate and the day after.

Nevada Caucus Poll 00 February 19-20 2020

Michael Bloomberg is not listed because he did not file to run in Nevada. I guess he’s part of the “Someone Else”. Adjusting the percentages of the 5 remaining debate candidates to sum to 100%, we get these values.

  1. Bernie Sanders …… 35.1%
  2. Pete Buttigieg ……. 19.5%
  3. Joe Biden ………….. 18.6%
  4. Elizabeth Warren … 14.0%
  5. Amy Klobuchar …… 12.8%

It should be noted that Elizabeth Warren’s campaign brought in over $2.8 million on the day of the debate. Bernie Sanders campaign gained $2.7 million. Both campaigns announced that Wednesday was their best fund raising day so far.


What Did the TV “Experts” Say?

The sample distribution created by the post-debate discussions of the commentators and pundits is the most difficult to tally and has the highest margin of error of any of the four that I use for these articles. Picking out the pros and cons expressed by other people engaged in a free-wheeling discussion is challenging. The candidate’s scores move up and down over a period of 2 to 3 hours … as long as or longer than the actual debate. Elizabeth Warren was the subject of many parts of the discussion. Bernie Sanders was discussed the least. I believe that the “experts” I heard evaluated the debaters as follows:

  1. Elizabeth Warren
  2. Joe Biden
  3. Pete Buttigieg
  4. Amy Klobuchar
  5. Mike Bloomberg
  6. Bernie Sanders

Elizabeth Warren’s score was more than 2 times the margin of error above the mean. Bernie Sanders’ score was more than one margin of error below the mean. The others were clustered within plus and minus the margin of error around the mean.[4] 


Just for Consistency …

In order to be consistent with some of my earlier “Election 2020” articles, here are the results of my accumulating random selection du jour and the sum of my four “analytic” approaches:

Daily Random Selections

Not surprisingly, this approach has the smallest margin of error. After all, statistics assumes an underlying randomness. The sample has a mean of 16.67 and a margin of error of 4.46. The range between the highest and lowest scores is 16.7 with a margin of error of 3.7.

  1. Amy Klobuchar
  2. Joe Biden
  3. Pete Buttigieg
  4. Bernie Sanders
  5. Elizabeth Warren
  6. Mike Bloomberg
Sum of All Approaches

This sample has a mean of 66.67 and a margin of error of 14.51. The range between the highest and lowest scores is 53.3 with a margin of error of 3.7.[5] 

  1. Elizabeth Warren
  2. Joe Biden
  3. Amy Klobuchar
  4. Pete Buttigieg
  5. Bernie Sanders
  6. Mike Bloomberg

And, They’re Off!

As I write this, it’s 3:09 PM EST on Saturday, February 22nd. The caucuses began 9 minutes ago. There are no results so far, of course. The entrance poll of the early voters show Bernie Sanders in a commanding lead … and with a dramatic lead (51%) among Hispanic voters. When the activity begins, I’ll enter a running commentary as long as I can keep pace.

It’s 3:21 PM, entrance poll results from today’s caucus voters is joining the early voting polling information. Bernie is still in the lead, but less dramatically. Joe Biden is one or two percent behind statewide. MSNBC is covering successive sites. As it was in Iowa, caucusing in Nevada is an “interesting”[6]  process.

At 3:58 PM, two caucuses have reported results. Bernie won at casino workers precinct in the Bellagio Hotel. Soon after, Pete Buttigieg won the remaining unassigned delegate at the Reno precinct on the luck of a draw. In Nevada, representatives of the candidates break a tie by “high card wins”. Pete’s supporter drew a 3; the Bernie’s supporter drew a deuce. Pete won that delegate, but Bernie won a larger number of the precinct’s delegates overall.

With the mix of early voting and caucusing, a candidate who doesn’t seem viable in a precinct caucus can become viable when the early votes are added. I just saw a case in which Joe Biden appeared to be out of the running in the precinct, but survived as a result of the early votes.

I just heard another interesting twist that had escaped me. The early votes are essentially ranked voting. A voter’s lower ranked choice could be the difference between a candidate’s viability and non-viability in a given sequence.[7]  Low caucus turnout and confusion related to adding in the early voting is causing confusion and annoyed voters at some precincts.

It’s 4:54 PM EST. So far, all results have been entry polls, anecdotes from individual precincts, or reporters stationed at the caucus sites. Bernie Sanders seems to be doing quite well, but the Nevada Democratic Party has yet to release any official numbers.

A Lull in the Action

By 5:21 PM, the lack of official numbers has caused coverage to temporarily devolve into commentators arguing among themselves. It’s entertain to watch, but not worth committing to writing. When something significant occurs, I’ll continue.

Official Results have Started

At 6:35 PM EST, official results came in from 28 precincts (slightly more than 1% of the total). The top four candidates’ delegate percentages are:

  1. Bernie Sanders …… 29%
  2. Elizabeth Warren … 19%
  3. Joe Biden …………… 17%
  4. Pete Buttigieg …….. 17%

At 7:31 PM EST, with about 4.7 of the precincts reporting, NBC projected that Bernie Sanders will win Nevada.

  1. Bernie Sanders …… 45%
  2. Joe Biden ………….. 21%
  3. Pete Buttigieg ……. 16%
  4. Elizabeth Warren … 12%

In order to earn delegates for the National Democratic Nomination, a candidate needs to take at least 15% of the vote. Unless there’s a radical change when the rest of Nevada’s official vote comes in, Bernie, Joe, and Pete will be the ones who meet that threshold. Bernie Sanders has earned more than 3 times as many delegates as any other candidate except Pete Buttigieg. So far the national delegate counts are:

  1. Bernie Sanders …… 34
  2. Pete Buttigieg ……. 29
  3. Elizabeth Warren …  8
  4. Amy Klobuchar ……  7
  5. Joe Biden …………..   6

Before you get too impressed with the leads held by Bernie and Pete, be informed or recall that a candidate needs 1991 delegates to gain the Democratic nomination. Senator Sanders has 1.7% of that number. Mayor Buttigieg has 1.4%. They and the other candidates have “miles to go before they sleep“.

Where Are We Going and Why Are We in a Handbasket?

Almost from the moment that the results of the Nevada Caucus began to favor Bernie Sanders, pundits began to appear warning that Bernie would lead the Democratic  party “to hell in a handbasket” and a loss to Donald Trump. I noticed that most, if not all, of those dire predictions came from people of my generation. They talk about Bernie’s “Democratic Socialism” as if they believe it’s identical to the dictatorships and/or oligarchies of our childhood and young adulthood … like the Soviet Union, Mao’s People’s Republic of China, Castro’s Cuba, and Kim’s North Korea … that claimed to be “socialists”. Those countries were or are no more socialist than the United States is capitalist.[8]  

I wonder if the “hand wringers” really don’t know the difference between socialism and dictators in socialist clothing. My guess is that most of them do understand the distinction, but believe that we don’t. After all, they are the “experts”. If these self-righteous critics were half as smart as they think they are, Republican “experts” would now be arguing about who among their primary candidates can beat President Hillary Clinton.

I am not a Bernie Sanders die hard. I’m not even a fan. To begin with, I think we’re at least 12 years overdue on having a woman as our chief executive. I would prefer Elizabeth Warren or Amy Klobuchar over any of their male opponents.[9]  But, if Bernie … or Joe or Pete or Tom or even Mike … wins the nomination, I shall support him.

I believe that voter turn out will ensure that any of the Democratic candidates will win the November election. We must get Donald Trump and his minions out of the White House. If everyone who has been betrayed and/or hurt by the Trump Administration … and everyone who is concerned about what the “Trump Mob” is doing to the rule of law under our Constitution … gets to the polls and votes for his Democratic Party opponent, he will be defeated. If Donald Trump wins a second term, this parody song [10]  could easily become all too true.


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End Notes
  1. Early in the debate … perhaps in her opening comments … Senator Warren said, referring to Mike Bloomberg, “I’d like to talk about who we’re running against: a billionaire who calls women fat broads and horse-faced lesbians. And no, I’m not talking about Donald Trump.” She added, “Democrats are not going to win if we have a nominee who has a history of hiding his tax returns, of harassing women, and of supporting racist policies like redlining and ‘stop-and-frisk.’ Look, I’ll support whoever the Democratic nominee is, but understand this: Democrats take a huge risk if we just substitute one arrogant billionaire for another.”
    Return to Point of Reference

  2. Pete opined, “We could wake up two weeks from today, the day after Super Tuesday,” Buttigieg said, “and the only candidates left standing will be Bernie Sanders and Mike Bloomberg, the two most polarizing figures on this stage. And most Americans don’t see where they fit if they’ve got to choose between a socialist who thinks that capitalism is the root of all evil and a billionaire who thinks that money ought to be the root of all power.” Finally Pete added, “Let’s put forward somebody who’s actually a Democrat.”
    Return to Point of Reference

  3. As a fellow septuagenarian male, I can understand where Bernie is coming from. He has managed to maintain the zeal that a lot of our generation had 50 to 60 years ago. I admire his efforts and ability to stay “on the front lines” of the push for social justice. He is an elder statesman and continuing leader of “The Revolution”. I just question whether that “revolution” can be fought using the same techniques when one is leader of the country. I think Bernie espouses too much “tear it all down and start over” and too little “keep what works, fix what we can, and replace the rest”.
    Return to Point of Reference

  4. Amy Klobuchar and Pete Buttigieg had identical scores … about half of the margin of error above the mean. Because Elizabeth Warren’s score was an extreme deviation from the mean, this distribution was severely skewed compared to a normal distribution.
    Return to Point of Reference

  5. Yes, the “Range divided by Margin of Error” ratio for the combined sample is the same as for the random sample. The “Range divided by Margin of Error” ratios for the individual samples fall between 3.2 and 3.8.
    Return to Point of Reference

  6. Voting by caucus is “interesting” in the same sense that one might infer from the use of  “interesting” in the statement, “May you live in interesting times.
    Return to Point of Reference

  7. It’s as if Nevada’s state Democratic committee went out of its way to make this complicated.
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  8. I wonder how many of my contemporaries have asked the federal government to stop their Social Security payments and Medicare coverage because they are socialism in action. (Of course, the Trumpists and the the few remaining Republicans call those benefits “Entitlements”.)
    Return to Point of Reference

  9. I know that Tulsi Gabbard is still running, but I don’t believe she’ll be able to stay in the race much longer … barring a miracle, of course.
    Return to Point of Reference

  10.  I tried to discover who wrote the lyrics and who did the animation needed to produce this video, but failed. Many will recognize the melody as that of Don McLean‘s song “American Pie“. 
    One person who I can acknowledge directly is my sister, Betsy, who sent me the YouTube link. Thanks, Bets!
    Return to Point of Reference



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