New Hampshire Democratic voters may be surprised to learn that even though Bernie Sanders won over 60 percent of the vote in New Hampshire, the best case scenario for him may be tying Hilary Clinton in the delegate count. The Democratic party requires 2,382 total delegates to win the presidential nomination. The majority of these 2,382 delegates come from “pledged delegates,” which are delegates that proportionally represent each candidates share of the vote. However, about 712 of the delegates a candidate needs to win the Democratic nomination can come from superdelegates. Superdelegates are party leaders and elected officials who are free to support any candidate they choose.
As of right now, the Democratic superdelegates are making up the difference between Bernie Sanders and Hilary Clinton in New Hampshire. Through popular vote alone, Bernie Sanders won 13 delegates while Hilary Clinton walked away with nine delegates. However, New Hampshire has eight superdelegates that are up for grabs. As of right now, six of the superdelegates have already pledged themselves to Hilary Clinton, raising her New Hampshire delegate count to 15. Bernie Sanders can only tie Hilary Clinton in New Hampshire under the current superdelegate scenario if the two undecided super delegates pledge their support to him.
As far as the rest of the nation’s Democratic superdelegates go, they are likely to also support Hilary Clinton in large numbers. Both Hilary Clinton and the Democratic National Committee have been courting superdelegates for the Clinton campaign for months. If the pledged delegate count between Bernie Sanders and Hilary Clinton is close, superdelegates could make the difference for Hilary Clinton. All signs point to this being the DNC’s plan, considering that Debbie Wasserman Schultz (the chair of the DNC) has been openly campaigning for Hilary Clinton in the media.
While the DNC is trying to stack the deck against Bernie Sanders, Hilary Clinton’s nomination is not a foregone conclusion. Bernie Sanders could get enough of the vote in the remaining 48 states to make superdelegates irrelevant. Or Bernie Sanders could simply get enough of the popular vote to sway superdelegates who have pledged themselves to Hilary Clinton. Superdelegates can change their mind up until the convention, which is how long this primary race may take to be decided.