Thursday, February 27, 2020

Democratic and Republican Primaries for 2020, The Nomination Process, and the Electoral College

So I've been following the 2020 primary relatively closely and have figured out some information that you likely will not hear about in the media. After South Carolina votes on Tuesday, the democratic party will have awarded 5.87% of the total delegates needed to clench the nomination and the republican party will have awarded 8.31% of their delegates.

On super Tuesday, March 3rd, the democrats will award 67.2% of the delegates needed to clench the nomination and the republications will award 65.35% of their delegates. That means that after Super Tuesday about 75% of the total delegates needed will already be determined by 18 of 50 states that have voted. Generally this is the make or break point for a lot of candidates when they take a long hard look at their campaigns and see if it's worth staying in the race. 

This also means that if you are one of the 32 states that votes after Super Tuesday, your state generally has far less options for nominee and the impact of your decision has far less impact on the grand scheme of things. Generally the states voting orders do not fluctuate too much so is it really fair to have states like Maryland, Connecticut, Indiana, New Mexico have little determination of the nominee since they vote so late in the cycle.

I also wanted to show that the nomination process is not always reflective of the proportional vote. Below, you can see the real results vs the proportional results of the democratic and republican nominations. If you look at the charts, the order of how everyone is doing remains the same in both charts, but the front-runners win by far less then they do in the real vote. Bernie Sanders claims that the person who wins the popular vote should be the nomination. Based on the proportional chart and the real chart, that would be him, at least as of right now. But it would be by a much slimmer margin that what the real results show.

How the nomination processes are decided and even the electoral college voting have both been heavily contested issues in recent years. I personally think that they could both be reformed but I also understand why the parties do it this way. In the nominations, it's a method to weed out the lower performing candidates earlier in the process so that a winner can be more decisively determined when the time comes.

In the election, the electoral college gives states with lower populations a say. If the electoral college was to be done away with, farmers and other rural citizens would not have much say and thus candidates would only feel the need to visit populated areas where they could garner the largest number of votes. These states would likely see a decline in people moving to them as a result and their economies would likely decline. I understand the purpose of the electoral college, but I also think it needed revision. 

For the nomination processes, I'd recommend removing super delegates for democrats; for republicans, allow all states to vote in the primaries regardless of if the sitting president is republican. And then for both parties, switch out which states get to vote first every so often and also allow voters to vote for their top 3 candidates. That way, it would give a more realistic idea of who really resonates with the country and would also encourage voters to familiarize themselves with more than one candidate so that when the time comes to unite under a single candidate, the party is more satisfied with the result. How that result would be calculated I can not say but if I had to make a call, I'd say first place would get 5 votes per person, second would get 3 votes, and third place would get 1 vote.

For the election process, since candidates are no longer being weeded out, I think the popular vote has more pull here. But I still do not think it should be decided that way, because of the reasons above. I think the electoral college is not a bad thing but the way it decides elections is. The founders didn't intend for political parties to be a thing and the electoral college gives them too much power in determining the winner. I think instead, the electoral college should be forced to vote reflective of how their constitutes voted, rather than a winner takes all. If this was to happen in 2016, neither delegate would have had enough votes to clench the nomination and  would have had join a coalition with one of the smaller parties like the libertarian and potentially the green party in order to win. This coalition would give smaller political parties a say (which is what the electoral college currently tries to do with the states), and lead to more collaboration within government, which would lead to less polarization, more legislation being agreed upon and passing, and more unity between the country.  

Just some food for thought.

For clarification of how the proportional delegate count was determined...
I looked at the total votes cast for each state and the total delegates awarded for that state. I then proportionally determined how many delegates each should get. In general, I rounded to the nearest whole number, but if by doing so, it would change the total number of delegates, then I would not and would just give whichever candidate had the higher percentage the additional delegate. I then took the total number of delegates for each candidate and added them together. If you look at the republican proportional chart, you will see a section called no data. This is for states like Nevada or South Carolina which do not vote if the sitting president is republican and instead just award their total delegates toward the sitting president.