Who will win the Democratic Party nomination for the US presidential election? (update)

HRC’s delegate momentum is slowing slightly but still above the pace she needs to set in order to get the nomination outright[a]. More importantly, there’s really little chance (ca. 3%) that Bernie could close the gap before HRC arrives at a majority of the total number of delegates. If I’m reading the data aright, there are 4,051 hard hard delegates available, and 2,173 (give or take a few) remaining today. Bernie would need to win more than 57% of these remaining delegates to get a majority, while HRC would need win only 43%[b]. That should be a walk in the park for her.

The only other reasons I can see that HRC would not win the nomination are as follows:

  1. A new major HRC scandal
  2. Something happens (this is a euphemism, plainer talk in a moment) to HRC.

A new major scandal at this stage seems unlikely given that HRC has been the subject of intense scrutiny for decades. Democratic voters have largely made their peace with known Clinton scandals (whatever their probative value might be – low I think, but that’s just me). It remains to be seen whether general election voters have too, but that’s another matter.

As for HRC’s health, well, I don’t mean to be ghoulish, but the thousand natural shocks to which the flesh is heir might seem relevant here, and we’ll all shuffle off this mortal coil eventually. HRC was born in 1947, so she’s currently 68. The probability that a woman of this age will die within the next 12 months is (precisely!) 0.013261, as it so happens[3]. And HRC only has to make it through July 28 to be nominated (I know this is ghastly, but I can’t stop now), so we can knock that number down about one third to 0.004420333. And when you take into consideration that HRC is white, has a very high level of wealth and income, has spent most of his life in positions of power, doesn’t (to my knowledge!) smoke or use hard drugs, etc. the demographic factors[d][e] make the probability of her body temperature failing to be in the neighborhood of 98.5 degrees rather than the ambient temperature of whatever location her body might be occupying in late July is so close to zero that we can just forget about the whole damn thing. Sure, an injury (God forbid!) with results short of death could also prevent her from being nominated too, but offhand I’d say that the likelihood of this sort of thing is even less salient. And thinking too hard about this is just gross, so just forget it.

[a] http://projects.fivethirtyeight.com/election-2016/delegate-targets/democrats/

[b] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Democratic_Party_presidential_primaries,_2016

[c] https://www.ssa.gov/oact/STATS/table4c6.html

[d] http://www.jstor.org/stable/20062079

[e] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK62373/

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