The Primary Wasn’t ‘Rigged’ Against Bernie Sanders & Here are the Numbers to Prove It

I have never been anything remotely close to a conspiracy theorist. One thing that the Internet and social media have done very well is make conspiracy theories part of mainstream political discussions, but I’ve found the people who buy into them usually fall into one of three categories:

  1. People who don’t like what reality is telling them, so they try to concoct some sort of “reasoning” behind why reality isn’t lining up with what they want to be real. (This can also be categorized as a form of cognitive dissonance.)
  2. People who are losing and/or lost something and they’re now searching for any reason to delegitimize the winner and find an excuse for why they lost.
  3. Emotionally irrational people/mentally unhinged.

Well, for the last few months there’s been a good chunk of Bernie Sanders supporters – and even the candidate himself – who’ve essentially claimed that the Democratic primary has been “rigged” against him, with some even making claims of outright voter fraud. The general gist of the argument from these folks seems to be that if the contest were “fair,” he would be winning.



However, that’s not what the actual facts are telling us.

This race has been fairly easy to predict based on two factors:

  • Caucus vs. Primary
  • White vs. Minority Population of the State

What I’m going to do is list each state, which candidate won (and by how much rounded to the nearest whole number), whether or not it was an open/closed/semi-closed caucus or primary, and the racial demographics of the state.

So, to the numbers (by the way, the racial demographics come from the 2014 estimates from the official U.S. Census website).

1. Alabama (Open Primary): Clinton +59

  • White: 66%
  • African American: 27%
  • Latino: 4%

2. Alaska (Closed Caucus): Sanders +64

  • White: 62%
  • African American: 4%
  • Latino: 7%

3. Arizona (Closed Primary): Clinton +18 

  • White: 56%
  • African American: 5%
  • Latino: 31%

4. Arkansas (Open Primary): Clinton +36

  • White: 73%
  • African American: 16%
  • Latino: 7%

5. California (Semi-closed Primary): Clinton +13

  • White: 39%
  • African American: 7%
  • Latino: 39%

6. Colorado (Closed Caucus): Sanders +19

  • White: 69%
  • African American: 5%
  • Latino: 21%

7. Connecticut (Closed Primary): Clinton +6 

  • White: 69%
  • African American: 12%
  • Latino: 15%

8. Delaware (Closed Primary): Clinton +21

  • White: 64%
  • African American: 22%
  • Latino: 9%

9. Florida (Closed Primary): Clinton +31

  • White: 56%
  • African American: 17%
  • Latino: 24%

10. Georgia (Open Primary): Clinton +44

  • White: 54%
  • African American: 32%
  • Latino: 9%

11. Hawaii (Semi-closed Caucus): Sanders +40 

  • White: 23%
  • African American: 3%
  • Latino: 10%

12. Idaho (Open Caucus): Sanders +57

  • White: 83%
  • African American: 1%
  • Latino: 12%

13. Illinois (Open Primary): Clinton +2

  • White: 62%
  • African American: 15%
  • Latino: 17%

14. Indiana (Open Primary): Sanders +5

  • White: 80%
  • African American: 10%
  • Latino: 7%

15. Iowa (Semi-open Caucus): Clinton +.3

  • White: 87%
  • African American: 3%
  • Latino: 6%

16. Kansas (Closed Caucus): Sanders +36

  • White: 77%
  • African American: 6%
  • Latino: 11%

17. Kentucky (Closed Primary): Clinton +.5

  • White: 85%
  • African American: 8%
  • Latino: 3%

18. Louisiana (Closed Primary): Clinton +48

  • White: 59%
  • African American: 33%
  • Latino: 5%

19. Maine (Closed Caucus): Sanders +28

  • White: 94%
  • African American: 1%
  • Latino: 2%

20. Maryland (Closed Primary): Clinton +30

  • White: 53%
  • African American: 30%
  • Latino: 9%

21. Massachusetts (Semi-closed Primary): Clinton +1 

  • White: 74%
  • African American: 8%
  • Latino: 11%

22. Michigan (Open Primary): Sanders +2

  • White: 76%
  • African American: 14%
  • Latino: 5%

23. Minnesota (Open Caucus): Sanders +24

  • White: 81%
  • African American: 6%
  • Latino: 5%

24. Mississippi (Open Primary): Clinton +66

  • White: 57%
  • African American: 38%
  • Latino: 3%

25. Missouri (Open Primary): Clinton +.2

  • White: 80%
  • African American: 12%
  • Latino: 4%

26. Montana (Open Primary): Sanders +5

  • White: 87%
  • African American: 1%
  • Latino: 4%

27. Nebraska (Closed Caucus): Sanders +14

  • White: 81%
  • African American: 5%
  • Latino: 10%

28. Nevada (Closed Caucus): Clinton+6

  • White: 52%
  • African American: 9%
  • Latino: 28%

29. New Hampshire (Semi-closed Primary): Sanders +22

  • White: 91%
  • African American: 2%
  • Latino: 3%

30. New Jersey (Closed Primary): Clinton +26

  • White: 57%
  • African American: 15%
  • Latino: 19%

31. New Mexico (Closed Primary): Clinton +3

  • White: 39%
  • African American: 3%
  • Latino: 48%

32. New York (Closed Primary): Clinton +16

  • White: 57%
  • African American: 18%
  • Latino: 19%

33. North Carolina (Semi-closed Primary): Clinton +14

  • White: 64%
  • African American: 22%
  • Latino: 9%

34. North Dakota (Open Caucus): Sanders +38

  • White: 87%
  • African American: 2%
  • Latino: 3%

35. Ohio (Semi-open Primary): Clinton +14

  • White: 80%
  • African American: 13%
  • Latino: 4%

36. Oklahoma (Semi-closed Primary): Sanders +10

  • White: 67%
  • African American: 8%
  • Latino: 10%

37. Oregon (Closed Primary): Sanders: +12

  • White: 77%
  • African American: 2%
  • Latino: 13%

38. Pennsylvania (Closed Primary): Clinton +12

  • White: 78%
  • African American: 12%
  • Latino: 7%

39. Rhode Island (Semi-closed Primary): Sanders +11

  • White: 75%
  • African American: 8%
  • Latino: 14%

40. South Carolina (Closed Primary): Clinton +48

  • White: 64%
  • African American: 28%
  • Latino: 5%

41. South Dakota (Semi-open Primary): Clinton +2

  • White: 83%
  • African American: 2%
  • Latino: 4%

42. Tennessee (Open Primary): Clinton +34

  • White: 74%
  • African American: 17%
  • Latino: 5%

43. Texas (Open Primary): Clinton +32

  • White: 43%
  • African American: 13%
  • Latino: 39%

44. Utah (Semi-open Caucus): Sanders +59

  • White: 79%
  • African American: 1%
  • Latino: 14%

45. Vermont (Open Primary): Sanders +72

  • White: 94%
  • African American: 1%
  • Latino: 2%

46. Virginia (Open Primary): Clinton +29

  • White: 63%
  • African American: 20%
  • Latino: 9%

47. Washington (Open Caucus): Sanders +46

  • White: 70%
  • African American: 4%
  • Latino: 12%

48. West Virginia (Semi-closed Primary): Sanders +15

  • White: 93%
  • African American: 4%
  • Latino: 2%

49. Wisconsin (Closed Primary): Sanders +14

  • White: 82%
  • African American: 6%
  • Latino: 7%

50. Wyoming (Closed Caucus): Sanders +11

  • White: 84%
  • African American: 2%
  • Latino: 10%

Alright, so, now for some math.

Right off the bat, Clinton won 28 states to Sanders’ 22 — that’s easy.

As far as the contests themselves, we had:

  • Open Primary: 13
  • Closed Primary: 14
  • Open Caucus: 4
  • Closed Caucus: 7
  • Semi-Closed/Open Primary: 9
  • Semi-Closed/Open Caucus: 3

Now, let’s break down the win/loss records for each:

  • Open Primary: Clinton 9  Sanders 4 
  • Closed Primary: Clinton 12  Sanders 2 
  • Open Caucus: Clinton 0  Sanders 4
  • Closed Caucus: Clinton 1  Sanders 6
  • Semi-Closed/Open Primary: Clinton 5  Sanders 4
  • Semi-Closed/Open Caucus: Clinton 1  Sanders 2 

Now let’s do it just primary vs. caucus:

  • Primary: Clinton 26  Sanders 10 
  • Caucus: Clinton 2  Sanders 12

So, before going any further, these numbers show us that it didn’t matter whether or not they were open or closed, Clinton dominated Sanders winning 76 percent of all primaries. Yet when it came to caucuses, it didn’t matter whether or not they were open or closed, Sanders dominated Clinton winning 86 percent of the time.



This belief that “Sanders would have won if every state held an open primary” is a myth. The facts show that she won 76 percent of all primaries — open and closed.

Now, let’s look at average margins of victory.

  • Open Primary: Clinton (9 wins) 34%  Sanders (4 wins) 21% [Sidenote: One of Sanders’ 4 wins was in his home state of Vermont by 72. If you remove that win his average margin of victory was 4 points in the other 3 contests] 
  • Closed Primary: Clinton (12 wins) 22%  Sanders (2 wins) 13%
  • Open Caucus: Sanders (4 wins) 41% 
  • Closed Caucus: Clinton (1 win) 6%  Sanders (6 wins) 29% 
  • Semi-Closed/Open Primary: Clinton (5 wins) 9%  Sanders (4 wins) 15%
  • Semi-Closed/Open Caucus: Clinton (1 win) .3%   Sanders (2 wins) 50%

Aside from Sanders having a larger margin of victory in semi-closed/open primaries, everything seems to fall in line from the earlier numbers that show Clinton performs much better in primaries than caucuses, while the opposite is true for Sanders.

Again, none of the factual numbers support the commonly held belief by many Sanders supporters that he would have won had all the states held open primaries. In fact, just looking at the numbers, if you remove Vermont, his average margin of loss in open primaries would have been 29 points — larger than it was in closed primaries.

If anything, what these numbers show us thus far is that caucuses (the process in the primary that suppresses voter turnout the most) heavily favor Sanders. That’s probably why we haven’t heard him complain about them all too much. That debunks the belief that a higher voter turnout favors him considering he lost 76 percent of primaries where voter turnout is much higher, but absolutely crushed Clinton when it came to caucuses which have abysmal voter turnouts when compared to primaries.

Now let’s get to the big issue that was discussed a lot during this primary: Racial demographics.

Hillary Clinton had 28 total wins with the average racial make up of:

  • White: 64%
  • African American: 16%
  • Latino: 14%

Bernie Sanders had 22 total wins with the average racial make up of:

  • White: 78%
  • African American: 5%
  • Latino: 8%

To go slightly further, here are the racial demographics for the five largest wins for each candidate.

Hillary Clinton’s largest wins came in Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi and South Carolina (All primaries: 3 open, 2 closed):

  • White: 60%
  • African American: 32%
  • Latino: 5%

Bernie Sanders’ largest wins came in Vermont, Alaska, Utah, Idaho and Washington (4 caucuses, 1 primary):

  • White: 78%
  • African American: 2%
  • Latino: 9%

By the way, here are the racial demographics for the entire United States:

  • White: 62%
  • African American: 13%
  • Latino: 17%

Now let’s look at how each candidate’s numbers based on the average racial make up of the states they won match up against the whole country.

Hillary Clinton:

  • White: +2%
  • African American: +3%
  • Latino: -3%

Bernie Sanders:

  • White: +16%
  • African American: -8%
  • Latino: -9%

In other words, the racial make up of the states Hillary Clinton won averages out to match up nearly identical with the racial make up of the entire country. Meanwhile, the average racial make up of the states Bernie Sanders won is much whiter and not remotely representative of the country as a whole.

Now don’t get me wrong, this isn’t a breakdown of who exactly voted for them, just the states in which they won and their racial breakdowns.

So, why did I do this?

To prove that the primary wasn’t “rigged” against Bernie Sanders like so many of his supporters believe.

This wasn’t about the “Hillary Clinton machine” or the DNC trying to screw over Sanders — and it damn sure wasn’t about “voter fraud” or “election fraud” that seemed to be the go-to conspiracy any time he lost a state.

This, more than anything else, came down to whether or not the state was a primary or a caucus (open or closed, it didn’t much matter) and how diverse that state was.

There are 21 states in this country with an African American population of 10 percent or greater — Sanders won exactly 2 (9.5%). Of the 22 states that have Latino populations of 10 percent or greater, he won 11 (50%). However, in the 23 states with white populations of 70 percent or greater, Sanders won 16 (70%).

It comes down to this: Bernie Sanders lost the Democratic nomination because he was crushed when it came to winning the African American vote; he lost the Latino vote; most of his largest wins were in small states that held caucuses; 16 of the 22 states he won had white populations over 70 percent.

Democratic candidate is simply not going to win the nomination when they can’t win the female vote (Clinton won this, too), they lose the Latino vote, they get crushed with the African American vote and most of their wins (especially the bigger ones) came in very white states, usually with small populations — meaning far fewer delegates.

I know that’s not what Sanders supporters want to believe, but the numbers don’t lie.




Allen Clifton

Allen Clifton is a native Texan who now lives in the Austin area. He has a degree in Political Science from Sam Houston State University. Allen is a co-founder of Forward Progressives and creator of the popular Right Off A Cliff column and Facebook page. Be sure to follow Allen on Twitter and Facebook, and subscribe to his channel on YouTube as well.

Comments

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  • Lefty Blitzer

    Sounds like racist nonsense to me.

    • Allen Clifton

      I’m sorry you don’t like math.

      • MC : )

        Why was my last comment deleted? Here is what I wrote.

        Bernie got strong support from the older white voters. But all we hear about is how the youth support him.

  • Lefty Blitzer

    There were many documented cases of voting irregularities in California and many other states, illegal campaigning by Bill, hijacking of state caucuses and manipulations of primaries… You seem to have no problem ignoring realities to support your racist and sexist views.

    • Allen Clifton

      I have to laugh at the fact that a 50 state breakdown based on indisputable math, stats, racial break downs and even averages doesn’t impact people who want to believe that somehow, some way, every single “voter irregularity” was linked to some magic formula Clinton and the DNC came up with that told them to ONLY target people they knew were going to vote for Sanders — even though there was no way of knowing who was going to vote for who based on registrations.

      Not only that, even though across FIFTY states you can clearly see a pattern where the whiter the state, the better Bernie does, doesn’t impact this conspiracy theory.

      What the world must be like to live it where you can con yourself into believing fiction is non-fiction.

      • MC : )

        Bernie got strong support from the older white voters. But all we hear about is how the youth support him.

      • Kristopher Loviska

        Except the different rules for voting from state to state make any use of racial makeup of the state irrelevant. NY had a closed primary and a higher percent of African Americans than other states. Ever since the 60s, African Americans overwhelmingly vote Democrat, and likely be registered Democrat. Had independents been allowed to vote in the NY primary, the results would have been significantly different.

        There is also the media’s role in how they portrayed BS’s campaign. He had no chance. Most news sources always included Super Delegate totals when reporting how close one was to the nomination, when we all know those SD’s aren’t committed to any candidate as of yet. (I hate the SD system. It gives party bigwigs more of a voice in the process than the average citizen) Constantly hearing how BS had no chance to win could have kept numbers of voters from the polls, figuring that it was a lost cause.

        I think HRC is the most “qualified” to be POTUS based on her previous experience. I also think HRC is a very divisive figure. For whatever reason(s) a LOT of people don’t like her. I really believe that DT has a very very good chance of beating her in November.

        I preferred BS to win, but I am not one of those who says they won’t vote simply because BS didn’t win. Trump absolutely must not win in November. That would be an unmitigated disaster.

      • Mat Hill

        This is the part that political neophytes don’t get… if you dont belong to a party, you have NO right to vote for their candidate. Period. End of discussion.

      • Random Enigma

        Exactly. The primaries aren’t an election. The primaries are the process each political party uses to select their nominee to put forth in the general election.

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  • itsallsgoofy

    The Berniacs’ and Sandbaggers’ comments here are only proving the writer’s point. So are you a 1, a 2, or a 3?

    • Lorrainetwinn4

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  • Kenneth Freiberg

    Sanders won open and open/closed contests combined. Clinton won closed contests combined. The general election will be open.

    • Allen Clifton

      Yeah, no. She won 76 of ALL primaries – period. Did you even read the article? 13 open, 14 closed, Sanders won 6 of 27 primaries, period.

  • Kim S Hansen

    Doesn’t explain how there a 650k new voter registrations in California, bringing the total to 18 million voters, and only 5million are counted. I myself experienced attempts at election fraud at my polling place.

    • Allen Clifton

      Wow, you really think 18 million people were going to vote in California? You realize, even in 2008’s historically high turnout for a primary (which this year hasn’t come close to), only 4.7 million people voted? Probably not, you’re just sheepishly following other people who don’t know what they’re talking about trying to make a huge deal out of something because they’re clueless.

      So, historically high turnout in 2008, 4.7 million votes.

      2016, much lower turnout practically everywhere, 3.4 million.

      Mind you, 2008 was also a much closer race, which helped increase turnout.

      But this is predictable. Practically every time she wins a state Reddit tells Bernie people Sanders is going to win, they cry “fraud.”

  • CitizenDoug

    The primary numbers may support Hillary. However, the primary numbers support Bernie for the general election. Hillary got big numbers in “red states” and not so big numbers in the blue states where Bernie actually won the primaries. Hillary’s big numbers in the red states are not going to mean anything in the states that will vote Republican come hell or high water. Bernie has a much better chance of beating Trump than Hillary because he will do better in the blue and purple states then Hillary.

    • HaroldCallahan

      Wrong wrong and wrong. Here are the ACTUAL delegate results. The following list includes only “blue” states, i.e. states that voted Democratic in 2008.

      IA – Clinton 23, Sanders 21
      NH – Clinton 9, Sanders 15
      NV – Clinton 20, Sanders 15
      CO – Clinton 28, Sanders 38
      MA – Clinton 46, Sanders 45
      MN – Clinton 31, Sanders 46
      VT – Clinton 0, Sanders 16
      VA – Clinton 62, Sanders 33
      ME – Clinton 9, Sanders 16
      MI – Clinton 63, Sanders 67
      FL – Clinton 141, Sanders 70
      IL – Clinton 76, Sanders 73
      NC – Clinton 59, Sanders 45
      OH – Clinton 81, Sanders 62
      WA – Clinton 27, Sanders 74
      HI – Clinton 8, Sanders 17
      WI – Clinton 36, Sanders 45
      NY – Clinton 139, Sanders 108
      CT – Clinton 28, Sanders 27
      DE – Clinton 12, Sanders 9
      MD – Clinton 61, Sanders 34
      PA – Clinton 106, Sanders 83
      RI – Clinton 11, Sanders 13
      OR – Clinton 25, Sanders 36
      CA – Clinton 269, Sanders 206
      NJ – Clinton 79, Sanders 47
      NM – Clinton 18, Sanders 16

      Total – Clinton 1467, Sanders 1277

      As you see clearly, Clinton won both the “blue state primary” and the “red state primary”. There is NO way to twist the primary results into a Sanders win. Clinton won by ALL measures.

  • Old Man

    DNC rigged the game, and if you can’t handle that, f*ck you.

  • John Smith

    The argumemt that Clinton would have won without rigging the primary does nothing to prove that the primary wasn’t rigged. There is ample evidence of several instances where the primary was rigged to help Clinton. Unless you have counter evidence for each instance then you have no proof that the primary wasn’t rigged.

  • Lonnie Douglas

    To say that “the American Political Process is rigged” is not spreading conspiracy theories its simply repeating what we’ve all known for years. The evadance is so obvious that even the most ignorant citizen knows that politics is money and that the ledership of the Democratic and Republican Parties are bought and paid for by corporate money and the wealthy eliets who give it to them by the truck load.

    There’s an entire industry built around our political process and the minipulation of political media, campaigns and elections this is not a conspiracy theory it is common knowledge so please don’t insult me or the majority of Americans by claiming that we are unhinged simply because we see the truth that slaps us in the face during every election.

    You can use all the numbers, charts, and statistics you want but at the end of the day there is one truth that can’t be hidden American politics is corrupt and that is the reason Bernie lost. Was the primary rigged? Yes, they’re all rigged That’s just the sad truth of American Politics.

    But the Avarage American is fed up, so don’t be suprised when the Democratic Party loses huge numbers of people who joined just so they could vote for Bernie. You could have kept us but you had to play the same old dirty political games and now you want people who fought for change to fall in line with the same old bs. Well I for one won’t play that game anymore. After the convention I’ll change my affiliation from Democrat to unafiliated and when the election rolls around I’m still voting for Bernie even if he isn’t running

  • Paul Kiefer

    This is an organization bringing a lawsuit to the election fraud occurring across the country. To rig the elections exit polling, a double checking of votes, has been canceled, just before the New Jersey and California primaries because it was beginning to consistency show votes being switched from Sanders to Clinton. This is not hysteria or a conspiracy theory, this is the theft of what’s left of our democracy.

    “In eleven states besides California, there has been noted a significant difference between the Edison Research exit polls and the electronic vote totals presented on the morning after the primaries. These differences show votes being shifted from Bernie Sanders to Hillary Clinton. The chances of this kind of shift happening are considered to be statistically impossible between Tuesday night and Wednesday morning in these eleven states. Please scroll down to see the chart of the exit poll data on the states which Edison Research did cover. Preliminary results in California appear to show significant electronic vote shifting as well.”
    http://thefreethoughtproject.com/election-fraud-rico-lawsuit-alleging-widespread-e-vote-rigging-dnc-primaries-derail-clinton-nomination/#sHqv762yjcEeBMyh.01

  • Kevin Myerson

    When i meet a single person in california who supports hillary, i’ll consider she didnt steal it. As is now, i know people who supported almost every candidate BUT hillary. I LITERALLY dont know a single person in sonoma county (she “won”) who supports her and i myself was turned away from my voting booth because they “lost” my paperwork

  • Kevin Myerson

    Anyone whose taken statistics knows this article is bullshit.