Myths people need to stop believing about the Democratic primaries

1. "Turnout was lower in New Hampshire, so Democrats must be demoralized!" Actually, turnout in the New Hampshire primary was the second-highest ever - 250,983 votes going to the various candidates. That number was just slightly down from the 287,557 votes cast on the Democratic side in 2008. It was also 14.1% higher than 2004 - a year in which John Kerry won not only the primary, but New Hampshire's 4 electoral votes that fall - and 2/3 higher than 2000.

2. "Superdelegates are going to give Hillary the nomination even if Bernie wins the pledged delegate count!" First of all, it's going to be incredibly hard for Bernie to win the pledged delegate count. The contest is now shifting to states where Hillary is favored - and unless Bernie can do well on March 1, the pressure will be on for him to drop out.

Second, even though superdelegates technically could go against the will of the majority of Democrats, it would be politically crazy for them to do that.

Some Sanders supporters are convinced that the super delegates backing Hillary Clinton made some sort of corrupt deal with the Devil. They see it as evidence that the game is rigged. But people only become super delegates because they have a longstanding affinity for, and loyalty toward the Democratic Party. Some may be total hacks, but they’re party hacks, and that makes them unlikely candidates to completely rip apart the Democratic coalition for a generation or two, which would be the only possible result of these unelected delegates overturning the will of primary voters. They share a common sense of duty to the best interests of the institution.

It is no doubt true that many of them feel a sense of loyalty to the Clintons. But it doesn’t follow that they’d effectively become political suicide bombers because of that loyalty. They want to beat the Republican nominee in November, and those who hold elected office also want to be re-elected. The worst way to accomplish either goal would be to create a massive scandal within the Democratic Party just months before the election. The super delegates aren’t going to destroy the party from within just because they prefer one candidate over the other.

It’s also true that many of the super delegates who endorsed Clinton did so because they believe that she’s the better candidate for the general election. But that view isn’t set in stone. If the unlikely scenario in which Sanders comes into the convention with more bound delegates but not enough to secure the nomination came to pass, something significant will have happened to shift the nature of the race between now and then. And whatever that something might be, the fact that Sanders was ahead would mean that many of those super delegates would no longer be confident that Hillary is the superior candidate. They’re not crazy. They’re party activists.

3. "Clinton won the popular vote in the 2008 primaries!" This one is used by a few of my fellow Clinton supporters to justify the possibility of #2 above. The only way you can argue that Clinton got more votes than Obama is if you include votes Hillary got in Michigan while excluding (a) caucus-state voters and/or (b) the 40% of Democratic primary voters who voted Uncommitted in Michigan, many of whom (including myself) supported Obama but couldn't vote for him.

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