Democratic Caucuses Convert to Primaries in 2020

Democratic Caucuses Convert to Primaries in 2020

Many of Senator Sander’s state wins in 2016 were from caucuses.  He won’t have this advantage in 2020.  We will present comparative numbers.  Wyoming will decide later whether to convert to a party run primary

In 2016 there were 18 caucuses, of which 14 were states.  That was 18 out of 59 entities, or 31%.  Sanders won 11, and Clinton won 7.  Clinton won 31 of the 41 primaries.  So Sanders had 11 caucuses and 10 primaries for 21 entities.  Clinton had 7 caucuses and 31 primaries for a total of 38 entities.  The total entities was 59.   The extra seven entities in 2020 are 4 territories below, Puerto Rico, Washington D.C., and Democrats Abroad.

In 2016, the pledged or bound delegates for Sanders totaled 1846, and for Clinton totaled 2,205, with 711 uncommitted and 1 unavailable, for a total of 4,763.

Ten of the states which have converted from caucuses to primaries are shown below.  We give their Pledged, Unpledged, and Total delegates, ordered by their totals.

Primary State…Pledged……..Unpledged……Total

Washington.         89.                 18.               107

Minnesota.           75.                  17.                92

Colorado.             67.                  13.                80

Kansas                 33                      6                  39

Utah                      29                     6                  35

Maine                   24                     8                  32

Hawaii                  22                    9                   31

Nebraska.            25.                    4.                 29

Idaho.                  20.                    5.                 25

Alaska.                 14.                    4.                  18

Changed total:  398.               90.               488

 

Caucus State

Iowa.                    41.                    8.                 49

Nevada.               36.                   12.                 48

Wyoming*.           13.                     4.                 17

Territory Caucuses

American Samoa.   6.                    5.                 11

Northern Mariana. 6.                    5.                 11

Guam.                        6.                   5.                 11

Virgin Islands.         6.                    5.                 11

Caucus totals:      114.                  44.               158

In 2020, there are only three states left with caucuses.  The total of caucus delegates is only 158, out of 4,532 total delegates, or 3.5%.  The total caucus pledged delegates, which are the only ones who can vote on the first ballot, are 114 out of 3,768 total pledged, or 3.0%.  Wyoming only has 17 delegates, and will not change this much if they hold a primary.

The total delegates of caucus states which changed to Primary states in 2020 is 488, which is 10.8% of the total 4,532 delegates.  The total pledged delegates of caucus states which changed to Primary states in 2020 is 398, which is 10.6% of the total of 3,768 pledged delegates.

Adding the Caucus delegates to those that changed to primaries gives 3.5% plus 10.8%, which is 14.3%.  So the party’s move to democratic primaries has cut caucus delegates from 14.3% or 1/7, down to 3.5%.  For pledged delegates, which are the only ones that count on the first ballot, the total would have been 3.0% plus 10.6% giving 13.6%.  So pledged caucus delegates have been cut from 13.6% down to 3.0%.

However, two of the four February primaries are actually caucuses.  Irrespective of the small number of delegates involved, which is 49 for Iowa and 48 for Nevada, they give high publicity weight to the leading candidates.  Their combined total of 97 delegates is only 2.1% of the total delegates.  The Iowa caucus is the first contest on Monday, February 3, 2020, and the Nevada caucus on Saturday, February 22, 2020 is the third contest.  In between is the New Hampshire primary on Tuesday, February 11, 2020.

About Dennis SILVERMAN

I am a retired Professor of Physics and Astronomy at U C Irvine. For a decade I have been active in learning about energy and the environment, and in lecturing and attending classes at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at UC Irvine.
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