Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders made news yesterday, when he asserted that next month’s Democratic National Convention would be “contested.” According to Sanders, neither he nor Hillary Clinton will have enough pledged delegates to secure the nomination — and since unpledged delegates (aka super-delegates) do not vote until the convention — the entire event will be “contested.”
That’s a lie.
To be fair, I don’t think Sanders lied intentionally, I just think he misunderstands what a contested convention actually is. The purpose of a political convention is to pick the leader (nominee) of said political party. Generally speaking, whoever receives a majority of all delegates gets the nomination. On the initial ballot, if any candidate gets a majority of all delegates, the process is over and the nominee is established. If no candidate gets a majority on the first ballot, then the convention is said to be “contested” — meaning that a candidate needs to build a coalition of delegates to reach a majority. Contested conventions are only likely when three or more candidates have a significant number of delegates.
Hillary Clinton will end the primary process with more popular votes, more pledged delegates, more super-delegates, and more states won. On the first ballot, all of her delegates will cast their vote for her. Because of this certain fact, there is zero chance that the convention will be contested.
Finally, there is another reason why we know the convention won’t be contested. Sanders and Clinton are the only two candidates with any delegates to the 2016 Democratic National Convention. With only two people on the ballot, it’s mathematically impossible that someone won’t get a majority on the first ballot. Think about it: The overall number of delegates is an odd number; so with only two options, someone will have a majority once all delegates vote.
Bernie Sanders has a lot great qualities, but math and logic aren’t among them.