How Bernie (and Warren) Can Win it All for Progressives

By Mark Faulk

Bernie Sanders is now the odds on favorite to win the Democratic nomination, and Elizabeth Warren can help make it happen.


According to statistician and political analyst Nate Silver of FiveThirtyEight, Bernie Sanders is now heavily favored to win the Democratic Party nomination for president. In their new analysis released February 5th, Bernie has a 2 in 5 (39%) chance of winning, while Joe Biden’s odds have plummeted to 1 in 5 (20%). Elizabeth Warren is a distant third at 1 in 10 (9%), while Pete Buttigieg is an even longer shot at 1 in 20 (5%). All other candidates (including Amy Klobuchar and Michael Bloomberg) have a less than 1 in 100 chance in winning.

According to their website, “FiveThirtyEight’s model simulates the primary season thousands of times to find the most likely outcome for each candidate.” (graphics from FiveThirtyEight)


In the race for delegates, Sanders has an even more commanding lead. FiveThirtyEight projects Bernie Sanders to go into the Democratic National Convention July 13-16 with 1,510 total delegates, nearly 500 more than Joe Biden, his nearest competitor with 1,029. Sanders and Biden are followed by Elizabeth Warren with 610, Pete Buttegieg with 485, and Michael Bloomberg with 239. No other candidates are predicted to earn any delegates.


Even more remarkably, FiveThirtyEight has Sanders favored to win 51 primaries, including New York, Texas, Florida, and California. Although some races are close, Biden is favored only in South Carolina, Alabama, and his home state of Delaware. Warren, Buttigieg, and other candidates are predicted to come up empty-handed, not including Iowa.


This presents a number of possible scenarios. Given the total delegates that Silver predicts for the various candidates, Sanders could end up far ahead of his nearest rival, but still be almost 500 delegates short of the 1,990 needed to clinch a victory in the first round of voting at the Democratic National Convention.

With that in mind, Warren, now very much a long shot, could drop out before Super Tuesday and throw her support behind Sanders. Despite their recent highly publicized spat, Warren and Sanders are still the two most progressive candidates in the race, and share similar ideologies. Bernie would need to add approximately 480 delegates of Warren’s projected haul of 610 to his projected total to win in the first round.


For centrist candidates Biden, Buttigieg, and Bloomberg however, there are no such deals to be made. Even if two of the three candidates dropped out and the remaining candidate were able to garner all their delegates combined, he would still be at only 1,753 delegates, 237 short of an outright win.

In that case, the centrist only wins if Warren stays in the race for the duration and continues to cut into Bernie’s progressive totals, throwing the nominating process into a second round, where Superdelegates get to vote and determine the winner.


All of this is of course subject to change with the next three primaries, and again on Super Tuesday. But progressives should be lobbying Warren to withdraw and team up with Bernie, which could all but hand the nomination to the insurgent progressive faction, and signal a new direction for the Democratic Party. It might not happen today, but for the sake of the progressive movement, it needs to happen sooner rather than later. Maybe the two candidates make a deal and Warren becomes Secretary of the Treasury if he wins, or even Vice President (although a younger woman of color would be ideal as VP as a nod to the inevitable future).

Either way, it could be a once in a lifetime opportunity for true progressive values to be front and center in American politics. Policy focus could be on the people and not the billionaires. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren could lead the way in uniting the Democratic Party and usher in a living, breathing political revolution.