By Jim EllisMarch 30, 2020 — Articles have appeared in publications on successive days that somewhat surprisingly contemplate whether former vice president Joe Biden will actually reach majority delegate support for a first ballot win at the Democratic National Convention still scheduled to begin in mid-July.
Should the former VP somehow fail to obtain 1,991 votes on the first roll call a contested convention would begin, and some are introducing the idea that a deadlock could lead toward New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo emerging as an alternative to Biden.
Gov. Cuomo is receiving favorable media coverage for his handling of the COVID-19 virus situation in his state, which is one of the hardest hit areas in the country. Originally thought of as a possible presidential candidate at the very beginning of the process, Cuomo was first of the potential contenders to definitively pull his name from consideration.
Arriving at a contested convention at this stage of the process when calculating the delegate numbers is not a reasonable conclusion, however. While true that approximately half the states and territories still have not voted in their respective presidential primary, only 42 percent of the delegate universe (1,688) remains unclaimed. With Biden 777 votes away from the victory number according to the Green Papers election stats firm, it would take quite a negative swing for him to lose at this point.
Using simple arithmetic calculations, Biden needs only to secure 46 percent of the remaining bound first ballot delegates to win the party nomination. While he still must participate in the various primaries and attain that total, the chances of him winning are far greater than not. Post-Super Tuesday, his cumulative percentage among the nine states voting is 53.9 meaning that the future results would have to completely reverse for him to somehow lose the nomination.
For his part, Gov. Cuomo, and any other potential brokered convention compromise candidate for that matter, are not making any public comment and won’t unless we see some type of unlikely implosion within the Biden Campaign. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), the former vice president’s remaining lone major competitor, still says he will continue to campaign indicating that no one has any idea as to what may occur in these uncertain times.
With primaries being postponed, June 2 now looks like the definitive day for the remaining part of the nomination campaign. At this point, that day in early June will host 10 presidential primaries, including those in Connecticut, Delaware, Indiana, Maryland, and Rhode Island, which have all just moved to that date. They join the regularly scheduled nominating events in the District of Columbia, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, and South Dakota. Together, an aggregate 500 delegates will be up for grabs on that day.
Ohio, it appeared at one point, was also moving to June 2, but now looks to convert to a mail balloting system that will likely require participants to return their votes possibly as early as April 28.
Nothing yet is firm with regard to the Ohio voting situation and how their 136 first ballot votes will break, however. You will remember the March 17 primary was postponed the day before the vote even though thousands of absentee ballots had already been cast. The other states with scheduled primaries on that day, Arizona, Florida, and Illinois, all went ahead with their planned vote as scheduled.
June 2 will be busy as all of the states hosting the presidential primary, with the exception of Connecticut, Delaware, and Rhode Island, will also conduct their regular state primary. Iowa, which kicked off the presidential nomination process with their caucus meetings on Feb. 3, is also holding its regularly scheduled state primary that day.
In conclusion, the size of Biden’s delegate lead suggests that his political fortunes would have to quickly turn against him for someone other than he to emerge as the party’s presidential nominee. Any suggestion that the convention could still evolve into a brokered situation is just idle speculation that, at this point, should be disregarded.