Hillary Clinton won, on Tuesday March 1st, six (6) states that aren’t even in contest for the November general election for the U.S. Presidency, but which are considered to be already in the bag for the given state’s dominant political Party to win in the general election: Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Massachusetts, Tennessee, and Texas. The Democratic Presidential nominee (regardless whether Clinton or Sanders) will get zero Electoral College votes from any of those states except Massachusetts, which is the only one of the states that’s going to be voting for the Democratic nominee on November 8th. However, since that’s also a state which will vote for the Democratic nominee regardless of whether it’s Clinton or Sanders, her victories in all six of those states mean zero regarding the candidate’s ability to win the general election — the Electoral College.
However, Hillary did win 1 (one) really meaningful state: Virginia. That state is among the ten toss-up states, the states that could vote either way, Republican or Democratic, on November 8th. Hillary’s victory there means a high likelihood that Virginia’s EC votes will be likelier to go to the Democratic nominee if that nominee turns out to be Clinton, than if it turns out to be Sanders. The number of EC votes that were at stake there was: 13.
Bernie Sanders won, on March 1st, 3 meaningless primary states: Minnesota, Oklahoma, and Vermont.
But he also won 1 really meaningful state: Colorado. The number of EC votes at stake there was: 9.
In prior contests, Hillary won the following really meaningful primaries-or-caucuses (and number of EC votes): IA (6), NV (6), SC (9). So: she is the stronger prospective nominee in really-meaningful states which collectively have 30 out of the needed-to-win 270 EC votes.
Bernie previously won: NH (4). So: he is the stronger prospective nominee in really-meaningful states which collectively have 13 out of the needed-to-win 270 EC votes.
All ten of the toss-up states — the really-meaningful states — collectively have 130 of the 270 needed-to-win EC votes. (The other 140 EC votes are already-spoken-for.)
Hillary needs to win 100 more of them, to reach 130.
Bernie needs to win 117 more of them, to reach 130.
Forget about California, New York, and Texas (the largest states), because they’re already in-the-bag for whatever Party dominates the given state: Democratic in CA and NY, Republican in TX.
Here are the dates when the crucial primaries-caucuses in the remaining toss-up states will be held:
March 15: Florida (29), Ohio (18)
April 5: Wisconsin (10)
April 28: Pennsylvania (20)
However, beyond the toss-up or really-meaningful, states, the following additional states are also in play, just in case the election turns out to be not so close that the toss-up states alone will decide the outcome of the general election on November 8th: OR (7), AZ (11), NM (5), MN (10), WI (10), MI (16), NC (15), and GA (16). Of those, Clinton has already won GA (16), and Sanders has already won MN (10).
Here are the dates when the crucial primaries-caucuses in these states will be held:
March 8: Michigan (16)
March 22: Arizona (11)
May 17: Oregon (7)
June : New Mexico (5)
What’s important to recognize is that, because of the overwhelming dominance of one Party or the other in each of the following states, any campaign-appearances by either candidate in any of them will be foolish unless something has occurred between now and then that indicates an increasing inevitability of Clinton winning the nomination (a “steamroller-effect”), in which case, voters even in these states might have some previously unexpected opportunities to attend her rallies.
If Hillary Clinton wins Michigan on March 8th, and then Florida and Ohio on March 15th, that would mean she’d be the stronger candidate to win 63 more EC votes than Sanders is, so that the only rational reason for Sanders to stay in the contest beyond March 15th would be for his positioning in the 2020 Presidential field, which wouldn’t be very rational at all for someone who is already 74 years old.
There will, in any case, be no sensible reason for Sanders to visit any of the throw-away states, unless, say, Clinton becomes indicted for destruction of federal evidence — which would first have to mean that Obama is allowing the FBI to pursue that, which is itself unlikely, because he almost certainly wants her to be the next President (so that Obama won’t be investigated by the Feds, and so that his policy-priorites, such as increasing wealth-inequality and conquering Russia, will continue to be pursued).
These are the throw-away states:
Washington, California, Idaho, Utah, Montana, Wyoming, N. Dakota, S. Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Missouri, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, West Virginia, S. Carolina, Alaska, Hawaii.
If you happen to live in one of those states and wonder why the candidates aren’t visiting there, maybe the reason is that they’re not dumb — they understand the Electoral College. It’s nothing personal; it’s just politics, and a bit of intelligence (which one can’t always take for granted in politics).
Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.