Bernie Sanders won the Indiana presidential primary and has so far garnered 43 delegates to Clinton’s 37. But that’s pretty much where the good news ends. As Nate Silver documented prior to knowing the final results:
But let’s suppose Sanders pulls it out and wins a narrow victory instead, claiming 42 of Indiana’s 83 pledged delegates. He’d still then need 611 of the remaining 933 pledged delegates to catch Clinton, or about two-thirds. Here’s a scenario for what that would look like: Sanders would need to win California by 31 percentage points, for instance, and New Jersey by double digits despite having lost every neighboring state.
Even if Sanders was able to pull off winning California by 31% and New Jersey by 13% (which would only happen if an unforeseen event upset the demographics that have dictated this race so far), he would still only manage to catch up with Clinton on pledged delegates. If you include superdelegates, Gabriel Debenedetti explains how the situation gets even more bleak for Sanders.
Here’s how it works: After winning Indiana, Sanders has 1,399 pledged delegates and superdelegates to his name, according to the Associated Press’ count. That means he needs 984 more to reach the threshold of 2,383 needed to win.
The remaining contests, however — Guam, West Virginia, Kentucky, Oregon, Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, California, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota, and the District of Columbia — only have 933 pledged delegates to offer.
So even if Sanders were to win 100 percent of the pledged delegates in each of those states, he wouldn’t make it past the mark.
That explains why the Sanders campaign has resorted to arguments aimed at swinging the superdelegates in his favor.
To sum up Bernie’s math problem, he is now faced with needing to win the remaining states by improbable margins AND convince a significant number of superdelegates to change their minds. On the other hand, Clinton could lose all of the remaining states by the margin we saw in Indiana yesterday and still garner enough delegates to win the nomination. It is probably too soon to say that Hillary is the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, but it’s even more clear today that we are headed for a Clinton/Trump contest in November.