Below are the 8 states in the Midwest or Great Lakes regions that are not covered under other posts about delegates. Some states are in the 20 Smallest States post, or the Early States posts.

The states below account for 861 delegates or more than 20% of all delegates. As you can see Bernie would need to average ~62% of the delegates, gaining 533 delegates here to win. I use delegate percentages and not popular vote percentages because with so many candidates and the 15% rule its hard to deal with weird results.

State Delegates Bernie’s Target 2016 % Date/Format
Illinois 155 55%+ (85) 49.4% March 17th/Primary
Pennsylvania 153 60%+ (92) 43.9% April 28th/Primary
Ohio 136 60%+ (82) 43.4% March 10th/Primary
Michigan 125 65%+ (81) 51.5% March 10th/Primary
Minnesota 77 65%+ (50) 59.7% March ?/Primary
Wisconsin 77 65%+ (50) 55.8% April 7th/Primary
Indiana 70 70%+ (49) 53.0% May 5th/Primary
Missouri 68 65%+ (44) 49.3% March 10th/Primary

Ohio, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, and Illinois all come early in the process, withing 2 weeks of super Tuesday. This allows a decent chance for wasted votes meaning Bernie could score less than 62% of the total votes and still get the 62% of delegates he needs to win nationally.

Emerson polling has a great result for Bernie in Wisconsin:

Candidate Vote Share
Bernie 39%
Biden 24%
Warren 14%
Beto 6%
Harris 5%
Klobuchar 4%
Booker 2%
Other 6%

If, though its unlikely, these were the actual results Bernie would get 62% of the delegates, or 48. This is slightly below his target but totally acceptable.

California+Texas+New York accounts for 868 delegates, almost identical to the total for these 8 medium states. Sanders could get ~38% in those 3 states and he would end up with almost exactly 50% of the vote.

There are 3768 pledged delegates this time around. That means a win of 533 delegates in the 8 aforementioned states accounts for ~14% of the total of pledged delegates. Or ~28% of the delegates Bernie needs to win. With ~38% in CTN, that is another 330 putting Bernie at ~23% of total pledged delegates and ~46% of delegates needed to win. He would need 1022 more delegates.

As we can see Bernie needs to do very well in this medium to large Midwest/Great Lakes states to win the nomination. He has some room to improve here, especially if his campaign is smart. As I discuss in my Iowa/New Hampshire piece, Bernie could coast in those early states and spend the 100 combined days he spent there in these states, and 2 more, perhaps Oklahoma and Colorado, states voting on Super Tuesday.

10 days in each of these states instead of camping the early states could easily lead to gains of a few hundred delegates vs spending time in Iowa. These 8 states, not to mention the two others he could pick, account for roughly 20x the delegates in Iowa and they will be only lightly contested. No other campaign will have the cash or volunteer canvassers so early in the process to hit hard in these states.

A 5% gain in these 8 states is worth a whole New Hampshire and a 10% gain is a whole Iowa. If Bernie averaged 67% instead of 62% that would be an extra 2.5% of his total delegate requirement to win. Hitting 72% would put him 5% closer. With the minimal amount of opposition, whether cash or canvassers, Bernie has so much room to grow in states that receive little to no attention in a typical race. Compare with Iowa where individual citizens have met 100+ candidates in their lives and been to 800+ events. Most people in Missouri have personally met 1-2 candidate if that and been to maybe 8-10 events if they have been involved for 40 years.

Another key factor is that people remember where candidates campaign. If you campaign hard in the Midwest and Great Lakes in the primary, that is worth a lot to many voters in the general. Obama lost Missouri to McCain by 1%. Most Democratic candidates come here once or twice. Imagine a candidate spending 10-15 days here doing 20-40 events. Especially in mid sized towns vs STL and KC and maybe a rally as Mizzou. Further there are regional effects. Campaigning heavily in surrounding states impacts Iowa and New Hampshire. Bernie need to run an outside the box primary campaign to signal that he is serious about his outside the box plan for the presidency.


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