A “Blue Wave”, is in doubt

Democrats need to flip at least 24 seats to take back control of the House. My prediction suggests that they will gain some seats,  but not sure if they could reach over 23 seats. According to my model, their gain is somewhere in the range of 5 to 23.

Here, take a look at the Competitive Districts, Hillary land (Districts represented by a Rep & Won by Hillary Clinton in 2016), Trump Job Approval  by different pollsters, some historical data, including Presidents Job Approval, Generic Congressional Vote & number of seats gained/lost by Democratic Party in mid-term elections since 1994 & finally number of seats (gain/lose) by the President’s party based on my model(s).

Full Analysis in my GitHub Repository.

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Campaign Hillary, Porter Analysis, SWOT and Erned Media

The situation analysis suggests that Hillary Clinton has effectively clinched her nomination for the 2016 presidential election. Although her only remaining rival might well score large delegate wins in the next two months, Clinton’s formidable lead over Bernie Sanders precludes any possibility of his overall victory. The Sanders campaign’s main argument following Super Tuesday 2 has been based on the fact that, as contests shift to the north and west, more than half the remaining electorate strongly prefers Sanders. This argument is both true and false: true because almost all the southern primaries have concluded and some remaining contests in north and west, such as Wisconsin and Washington, stand to benefit Sanders; false because there seems little possibility of Sanders winning remaining delegate-rich states such as New York, Pennsylvania and California by margins wide enough to affect the general outcome. I analyzed delegate prospects for the candidates across two scenarios (link), both of which were deliberately engineered to favor Sanders (Scenario 2 to a greater extent than Scenario 1) and I foresee no realistic possibility of his upsetting Clinton.

Porter’s Five Forces of Competitive Position Analysis

Using Porter’s Five Forces of Competitive Position Analysis to assess factors that have the potential to interrupt the campaign I examine Hillary’s potential competitors and assess possible reactions in order to prepare both externally and internally for her responses. Given Michael Bloomberg’s decision not run independently Clinton’s only remaining Democratic competitor is Bernie Sanders – who, according to this analysis, stands no real chance of winning the nomination. The Porter’s Five Forces Analysis following Super Tuesday 2 will be as follows:


  1. Competitors: Hillary’s chief (and as of March 28, sole) competitor in the race is Bernie Sanders. Though he stands no chance of beating Hillary Clinton within the Democratic Party, his compelling message is still of consequence, especially among enthusiastic young voters. For this reason, Hillary Clinton’s campaign should not risk alienating Sander’s supporters by calling for his exit from the race. Young Americans (Democrats and independently oriented Democrats) feel great loyalty to Sanders and don’t believe that Hillary is capable of representing them. Hillary Needs to approach them as a caring grandma figure who has fallen victim to her grandchildren’s’ misunderstanding and will do all she can to regain their trust. Hillary should care about this demographic not only as her party’s future electoral base, but as the potential grassroots army capable of mobilizing against Trump in the general election.

Trump himself represents a truly significant threat. He has a compelling message and enjoys great voter enthusiasm.

Threat of New Entrants: None

  1. New Slogans: Hillary Clinton Should continue to emphasize her role as a champion of minorities, including African-Americans and Latinos. It will help her not only in a number of Democratic primaries such as California but will also be to her benefit in the general election. Marco Rubio’s withdrawal foreclosed Republican chances to engage Latinos competitively; a Trump nomination would doubtlessly mobilize Latino and African-American voters for the Democratic party. The Clinton-Trump dynamic may have unforeseeable effects on old paradigms of partisan racial politics, especially among Reagan Democrats and Blue Dogs. The only thing that is clear is that Donald Trump has no chance among Latinos and African-Americans because of his hateful rhetoric. Hillary should be prepared for the possibility of a new rival from the Republican party, and her campaign’s messaging will be adapted in light of any such development.
  2. Negotiation at the top: Hillary needs Bernie Sanders’ help and the support of those on the liberal side of the Democratic party who can lend enthusiasm (especially among millennials) to her campaign. Hillary should therefore offer an olive branch to this stratum of the electorate by making room for appointments in her presidential administration for Sanders loyalists. One of the other main reason for this is the power of the anger which has fueled Trump’s bid, which is without compare on the Democratic side. If Clinton and the Democratic leadership are to make use of lessons learned from the Sanders’ bid, they’ll head off any such potential problem before it is too late.
  3. Public Pressure from the Bottom: Millennials and Sanders’ supporters among the progressive part of the Democratic Party are the only part of the electorate who can shield Hillary Clinton’s prospects against Trump, the likely Republican nominee. When Trump’s rallies draw massive crowds all over the country, Hillary needs to clearly demonstrate that she is capable of such shows of enthusiasm. Thus she has vital need of the energy of Sanders’ base, and should not do anything to alienate them, such as criticizing him harshly or calling for his exit from the race.

SWOT Analysis

With attention to the analysis of Hillary’s campaign based on all the players in the field we can identify her main strengths and weaknesses as well as possible opportunities and threats that may confront the campaign.


  • Infrastructure: The Clinton campaign has been laying groundwork since at least 2008. She has generous financial resources and a well-organized structure, which give her an advantage over the Sanders campaign, particularly for Super Tuesday.
  • Electability: Even many of Sanders’ supporters still believe that Hillary is more electable than Sanders in the general election. Some says that based on the match-up polls Sanders would beat Republicans with wider margins than Hillary. The counter-argument would be that Sanders would be more vulnerable to the Republican smear machine in the general election, since the GOP will readily label him a hyper-partisan socialist. Moreover, at the end of the day, almost 6 billion dollars will be expended this election to sway the 5% of voters who make their general election decision in late October and early November. To win the votes of these undecided voters, The Democratic party needs to nominate the candidate who can advocate a message of national unity rather than ideological partisanship. The important point here is that the environment of the race could change at any time. For example, following Justice Scalia’s death, electability will now matter more for Democrats and Hillary should thus emphasize her electability as the most important factor, even among the most liberal voters.
  • Endorsement: Super delegates comprise almost 15% of all the delegates at the Democratic Party Convention (713 votes); here Hillary has a substantial advantage over Sanders.
  • Experience and Leadership: in the era in which terrorism and the economy dominate concerns on the national stage, Hillary Clinton is the only candidate who has enough relevant experience to lead the country. Even majority of Republicans are convinced of that. This might be less important in the primary than the general election, but in terms of the Hillary campaign’s broad picture for the general election, this is her decisive advantage over Sanders. Her campaign tried to reinvent her image as a good grandma, presenting a caring face that might be of use for primary purposes. However, after the terrorist attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, the era of the “First Grandma” (Mark Penn, her chief strategist in 2008 would had used the phrase “First Mama”) is over for her in general election (still does matter in the primaries). Americans need the strongest possible leader, and that leader is Hillary.


  • Level of Trust: When it comes to some of the most important qualities which American voters value in a president, Hillary suffers disadvantages. Among them: the level of general trust in her. Republicans hammer her on a daily basis, repeatedly labeling her as an untrustworthy candidate, and even some Democrats view her as less trustworthy than Sanders. Hillary’ campaign has struggled to attribute this poor reputation to a right-wing conspiracy, but has only been limitedly successful.
  • Likability: Hillary Clinton’s likeability ratings are below those of Bill Clinton and Barack Obama historically. The problem here is that in the general election, likability does matter and personality is even more important than concrete issues. Voters should be able to identify imaginarily with their candidate, and she has so far failed to provide for this identification.
  • Establishment indicator: in an era where an angry political tendency rails against the establishment and impotence of Washington insiders, a sizeable number of voters readily identify Hillary with the establishment. Her connection with wealthier Americans, exorbitant speaking fees entirely foreign to the experiences of average Americans, and the level of support she has received from Wall Street has weakened her image as a champion for the middle class.


  • First Woman President: Hillary is positioned to be the first female president of the United States. That’s why she should repeatedly say she is going to make a history just behind the country’s first black president. Women’s issues are among those valued most highly by the Democratic base, giving Hillary an advantage over any male rival.
  • Demography: The majority of the Democrats electorate, especially in southern states, are non-white and moderate. These are the elements of the Democratic party which prefer Clinton over Sanders according to almost all polls.
  • Renewed Significance of Terrorism Issues: since the beginning of both the Clinton and Sanders campaigns in the summer of 2015, terrorism has assumed renewed prominence on the national stage. Hillary’ expertise as described above represents a significant asset, and she’ll be able to emphasize her qualifications for protecting the country in times of turmoil.
  • Bernie’s Socialism Brand: Socialism is not an issue for north-eastern primaries, but it will be an ideological issue for moderates elsewhere. It will redound on perceptions of Sanders’ general electability, as many Democrats are convinced that a self-described socialist will never be elected to the presidency.


  • Narrative of the Democratic Electorates: The present narrative of the Democratic party inclines against Hillary Clinton. While it’s still true that moderates and minorities are finally decisive for the nomination, the Democratic party generally is far more liberal now than it was in 1992 when President Clinton advocated for new Democrats and even during Barack Obama’s 2008 run. This gives an advantage to Bernie Sanders, especially among the most liberal portion of the Democratic Party and young Democrats.
  • Young Democrats: Young Democrats are less religious and more liberal than the older generation. They represent the Sanders campaign’s base, and through their rallying can guarantee him momentum.
  • Bernie Sanders: Bernie as a personality is another threat to Hillary Clinton. He is a decent politician, advocating for his agenda consistently over the last 25 years with less damage in his career than Clinton has faced. He runs a mostly positive campaign, and this makes it difficult for Clinton to attack him on vulnerable positions such as gun control.
  • Average Americans: Middle class and low income American listen to Bernie Sanders. Even though they might not find him particularly likable, he is perceived as more trustworthy than Clinton.
swotExternal Factor Matrix

To make a rational recommendation, Hillary Clinton’s campaign should be scored based on how she can respond efficiently to the other rivals (namely Bernie Sanders.) This score puts at the campaign’s disposal a grand strategic map which can be used to chart offensive or defensive maneuvers against Sanders’ campaign. For these purposes I first break down the most important external factors which could have an effect on her campaign based on Porters’ Five Forces and SWOT analysis. In some cases, each indicator breaks down into a number of representative elements. For example, demography as an indicator consists of white Americans and others, including Latinos and African Americans. I then assess each of them. Factors of great importance will be weighed more heavily than less important ones. Finally, all factors will be given a score on a scale of 1-5: 1 meaning of little favorable effect for the campaign, and 5 meaning great favorable effect. Afterwards I will multiply weights and scores and then add them up to produce a final score. This is the number between 1 and 5. If the number is more than 2.5 (average), it signifies that Hillary’s campaign should martial an offensive strategy with an aggressive approach to broaden her base and her competitors (here, in light of Sanders’ positive campaigning, I’d recommend refraining from negative attacks; the campaign should instead emphasize weaknesses vis-à-vis voter priorities, such as his positions on gun control and electability doubts.) If the final score comes to less than 2.5, it signifies that the campaign should focus its efforts on a defensive strategy instead.

Based on the analysis of Porters’ Five Factors and SWOT, the campaign external factor matrix is as below:

External Factor Matrix


In accordance with the situation analysis of Hillary’s campaign, the goal of her campaign through the end of April should be focused on securing the nomination (at this point a very likely proposition) as well as trying to strengthen her ties with the most passionate part of the Democratic party so that she has a grassroots force at her disposal in the general election. To do so Hillary should:

  • Beat Bernie Sanders in New York, Maryland, and Pennsylvania
  • Strengthen her ties with minorities, including Latinos and African Americans, to secure her victory in California
  • Reframe her message to broaden her base and make tangible for them the possible dangers of a Republican victory in the general election (using themes of hope and wisdom, fear and need)
  • Restructure her targeting strategy by involving more voters in the messaging process
  • Secure at least 350 more pledge delegates by the end of the Pennsylvania primary.


According to the most optimistic scenario for Bernie Sanders (assessed here) the map of the next primaries and caucuses will not favor Hillary Clinton for the period extending from the March 22 Arizona contest until at least the New York primary on April 19. During this approximately one-month period, Sanders may decrease Hillary’s lead by beating Hillary in Washington and Wisconsin (Wisconsin could be a real battleground). Those victories could in turn impart momentum to Sanders’ campaign. The Sanders campaign could capitalize further on these victories by claiming that they indicated his prospects were strongest in the second half of the primary process all along. This argument is not completely accurate, however, as the New York, Pennsylvania, and California contests should all break in Hillary’s favor. Due to the potential negative risks foreseen by the situation analysis, the recommendation will be to focus on the following: 1.) The two states holding contests before New York’s, Washington and Wisconsin; 2.) the New York primary itself; and 3.) two primaries after New York, Pennsylvania and Maryland. Clinton will almost certainly formally cross the nomination threshold after this sequence, rendering the California contest of little consequence.


Per the situation analysis of negative risks to Hillary’s campaign, one of her main advantages is that she is perceived as someone who can unite the party and the country, even if some left-leaning sections of the Democratic Party and extreme-right parts of the Republican Party dislike or even hate her. For Hillary there can be no reconciliation with the most vociferous and extreme part of the Republican base. However, she needs the support of the Democratic left flank and even some Republican centrists for the general election.

Recommendation: Message

According the analysis of most of the polls and based on the situation analysis that I have framed above, Bernie Sanders has an advantage among the youngest and most liberal Democratic voters. On the other hand, Hillary’s position is strong among moderate and conservative Democrats, minorities, and Democrats of 45 years of age or more.

Hillary will not be able to persuade young and liberal Democrats. They love Bernie’s message and his plan to fight Wall Street; tuition-free public education is furthermore very appealing to them. Even if Hillary claims that she is going to advocate much of Bernie’s platform, nobody among those electoral strata would believe her and their loyalty will remain with Bernie Sanders. Any attempts to make inroads into those groups will be fruitless, and so they should be set aside.

One of the main problems of Hillary’s campaign is her messaging strategy. She still looks like a candidate of the past toting the weighty Clinton name. Campaigning doesn’t work this way. Campaigns are about the future, not the past, and should focus on voters rather the candidate. To overcome these two main problems Hillary should frame her message on themes of hope and wisdom to assure her base among moderates and minorities that she is the candidate who will successfully champion their interests in the general election. She also needs to tell her base that she is wise enough to listen to their problems and strong enough to fight for them. Moreover, if they want to keep their voice in the White House, Hillary is their champion. However, she can’t do so all by herself – she cannot fight for them alone. She needs the participation of the voters themselves. Hillary should repeat this slogan that she needs them, as it’s now more vital than ever. This unprecedented level of urgency might motivate her base more than ever before.

Message: Hope and Wisdom, Need and Fear

As I’ve frequently mentioned in this post, there is a significant difference between liberal and moderate Democrats when it comes to their support for Hillary. According to a GW student poll (conducted in November 2015), analysis of data based on voter ideology finds a significant ideology gap between Secretary Clinton and Senator Sanders. According to the charts below, when Democratic voters are sorted by ideological preference the percentage of votes for Hillary is highest among conservatives and lowest among liberals. Nevertheless, Hillary Clinton would beat Bernie Sanders among the ranks of very conservative, conservative, moderate, and somewhat liberal voters.


The good news for Hillary Clinton is that those describing themselves as “very liberal” comprise only 20% of the Democratic Party primary / caucus votes. Moreover, among the most liberal states in the United States (Gallup report),

Some says that Hillary should focus more on specific issues of concern to Democrats. I’m going to challenge this narrative by saying that these issues should be heeded in very specific and limited ways for specific and limited parts of the electorate, but not in a general way. She should of course address the economy, but be careful not to cede ground to Sanders. She must also make it clear to her base that as president, she would improve the economic fortunes of African-Americans.

For purposes of structuring her campaign message strategy Hillary should establish a messaging framework based on four elements, each of which justifies voter support and indicates how voters should be courted by the campaign. These elements consist of hope, wisdom, need, and fear:


Hope is a message for the part of Hillary’s base who are possessed of more moderate views than left-liberals and minorities (still the majority of the Democratic party.)  This message emphasizes the promise of a better future which only Clinton as a seasoned, electable pragmatist can deliver.

Wisdom and Unity

Wisdom is a message for independents who cast their votes in the Democratic primary, the majority of whom voted for Sanders in Iowa and New Hampshire. The wisdom message should be structured in such a way that Hillary’s campaign can play up the difference between desirability and realism, ensuring the electorate that only Clinton has the know-how to effect the change that independents desire. No president can address every single issue dear to the base, and none can pursue his or her plans without some level of compromise. Consider: who will suffer the most in DC’s political gridlock? The answer is of course reformers, and thus the Democratic base should trust a change-maker. The message of wisdom will be strengthened with a theme of unity, a quality desperately needed in contemporary America. Hillary’s campaigning should use both terms to approach independents.

Need and Fear

Need and Fear resonate with younger Democrats and liberals who are still loyal to Bernie Sanders. Again, Hillary cannot reach them by using the same terminology that Bernie Sanders uses. Instead, she should remind them that, at the end of the day, Democrats should elect the nominee with the highest possibility of electability. One consideration that makes this imperative is the defense of the eight years of Obama’s legacy. Moreover, the next president will probably be responsible for nominating a number of Supreme Court judges. Everyone sees how angry Republican partisans want to hold the next nominee hostage. A Hillary presidency would thus secure the Supreme Court from conservative meddling, heading off potentially devastating legal challenges to campaign finance reform and the Affordable Health Care Act.

Message: Tactics and Slogans – I Have a Dream

Hillary’s campaign suffers a relative disadvantage when it comes to voter enthusiasm. To overcome this problem, Hillary should engage her supporters not just to vote, but to take part in her campaign’s process of identifying issues and crafting messages around them. She should ask supporters to help frame her speech, for example giving feedback on key words and phrases. This might involve, for example, setting up a kind of common speech editing platform online, giving voters direct input into battleground stump speeches. I recommend some variation on the “I Have a Dream” vision, because Hillary is a candidate who cares about women, minorities, and marginalized groups and shares a common goal with Dr. Martin Luther King and many progressive Americans. It would begin with the canonical words “I have a dream,” with subsequent content to be filled out by voters themselves.

Message: Campaign Finance Reform and Supreme Court Justice Selection

One of the main disadvantages of Hillary Clinton’s position is the tenacity of the Sanders offensive regarding campaign finance form. Sanders rightfully claims that Hillary is buttressed by a super PAC and contributions from wealthy Americans. Hillary’s response thus far has not been persuasive to voters. Although she’s stated that none of her contributors enjoy illegal benefits for their support, this answer is finally more passive than active. Instead of such a reactionary response, she should personalize this argument by saying that Super PACs are the results of the Citizen United case which targeted Hillary during her 2008 bid. If anyone deserves credit for consistently opposing the decision, it is Hillary.

Another pressing issue facing the country is the selection of a Supreme Court replacement for the recently deceased justice Antonin Scalia. Republicans argue that for the past 80 years a lame duck president has not nominated a Supreme Court justice during an election year; the counterargument is that a United States with an African-American president and a serious woman contender has entered a substantively new political era.

Recommendation: Media

National media are greatly interested in following presidential candidates, constantly renewing narratives in the election cycle. Local news agencies give coverage to primaries and caucuses. Advertising to target audiences in specific localities is very important for Hillary’s ground game. The entire messaging strategy should be framed based on the “hope and wisdom, need and fear” themes which I’ve categorized in part two of this post.

Another media tool Hillary should use is her “together speech” tactic, in which Hillary’s stump speeches will be structured in terms of key words and terminology by those who are going to vote for her by way of a unique and unprecedented brainstorming platform. This project might be independently initiated by a supporter on a website distinct from the campaign’s. After announcing the project, Hillary’s campaign will advertise for it. This will further serve to showcase the young, creative capacities of the campaign, contesting ground held by Sanders.

Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms are depended upon by all candidates. Advertising for her specifically across these media, especially at times of large-volume events such as debates, is imperative.

Media: Ad Storyboard – Grandma

The main purpose of this ad is to communicate to the audience that Hillary Clinton is aware of the fact that millennials prefer Sanders to her. She will emphasize that whatever their personal preferences are, as president she will fight for their future: whether Democrat or Republican, liberal or conservative, pro-Hillary or not, she will be a caring grandmother figure for all Americans, working tirelessly for the sake of their future.

  • Media anchor to Hillary: What do you think of the fact that young people strongly prefer Senator Sanders to you yourself?
  • Hillary: I care deeply, but no matter who they pick to be their nominee in either party, they should think of me as their grandma
  • Hillary: I will fight for them
  • Hillary: I will advocate for them
  • Hillary: and I will serve my term as the President of the United States to ensure that their lives will be better than mine was
  • I am Hillary Clinton, and I approve this message

Visuals for these ads should be taken from Clinton campaign events, Sanders campaign events, Obama’s 2008 campaign programming, Tea Party rallies in 2009, Occupy Wall Street Movement actions in 2011, and the 2015 Black Lives Matter movement in 2015, all featuring young Americans of various demographic groups (Black, Latino, Asian-American, Male and Female)

Media: Interview with Megan Kelly

The main purpose of this interview is to emphasize Clinton’s intention to be a bipartisan head of state, using her experience to unite a divided country in a way no other candidate is capable of. The main justification for an interview with Megan Kelly is that she is among the most famous female anchors in conservative media and has suffered sexist taunting at the hands of Donald Trump. Hillary Clinton should represent herself as someone who disagrees with Kelly on many issues but nonetheless affirms along with her the importance of America’s future. Hillary should take pains not to mention exchanges between Trump and Kelly.

Megan Kelly will ask some tough questions about Clinton’s emails, Benghazi, and her work as Secretary of State more generally. In this interview Hillary should characterize herself not just as a presidential candidate, but as the presumptive President – the Madam President who gave an interview to a famous female anchor with whom she disagrees substantially in order to ward off the greater evil of a divided country and Trump presidency.

Media: Facebook

The main purpose of these post is to characterize Hillary as presidential, someone from the Democratic Party with the power to unite the country.

Facebook Post: “I want to be the President of the United States of America, not the Divided States of the America.” This post could be published in the middle of her interview with Megan Kelly on Fox News. She should use this line orally in the interview, and it should be immediately reinforced online.

Media: Tweet

The main purpose of these tweets is to characterize Hillary as someone who cares about all Americans, especially millennials. She should position herself as a caring grandmother, insisting that she has their best interests at heart regardless of their voting decision.

Tweet: Your grandma is waiting for you! Join me and together we’ll work to build a better future.

This tweet should feature images of millennials of different background

Media: Email

In general, political campaigns use email for such purposes as soliciting donations (or take action) from supporters. In this proposed email, however, we’ll emphasize the importance of unity and fighting for everyone – including those who have not voted for Clinton herself. It will be sent not only to confirmed Clinton supporters, but to other registered Democrats (even some Republicans) if possible.

My beloved fellow Americans,

My name is Hillary Clinton. Many of you may know me. In this email I am not asking you to donate to me or canvas on my behalf. I am not even asking for your vote in the coming primaries and the general election. Instead, I want to let you know that no matter your party registration, ideological preference, age, or race, I promise to serve you as president from my heart. We may have some differences about what we think will be better for the future of our country, our kids, our loves ones, and for everyday Americans who live in this great nation. However, regardless of these differences we have to be united as a nation and I will serve you as the president of the UNITED States of the America.

God bless you and God bless this great nation

Hillary Clinton


Hillary Clinched the Nomination, No Doubt!

I mathematically investigate prospects for the remaining delegates game in light of the fact that Hillary Clinton has far more delegates than Bernie Sanders (even more than Barack Obama had over Hillary Clinton at any time in the 2008 primaries) and simulate two scenarios. In both scenarios, I will be conservative in my estimates of Hillary’s delegate share, meaning that I will deliberately use numbers base on the most modest expectations of her margins. Moreover, in Scenario number 2, I calculate Bernie Sanders likely delegate gain in the most optimistic way. Even with these assumptions, I show that Sanders has no rational chance to be the nominee of the Democratic Party in the next presidential election.

After a big victory on March 15, Hillary Clinton widened her lead margin over Bernie Sanders among pledged delegates from 214 to 314 (Figure 1). At the end of the first Super Tuesday on March 1, she had 197 more delegates than Sanders and over the last three weeks Clinton and Sanders added 413 and 530 delegates respectively. As of now, 2,031 delegates have been assigned to either Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders; their shares are 56% and 41% respectively.


Due to the proportional delegate allocation for each candidate in the primaries (the rule which has been applied for the all the Democratic primaries) Hillary Clinton needs at least 2,038 delegates to secure her nomination. However, 15% of the all the delegates in the Democratic Party are assigned to the super delegates, among whom Clinton enjoys an overwhelming majority: 467 to Sanders’ 26. Let’s assume that all the remaining super delegates will go for Bernie Sanders: in this case the remaining 221 would combine with his present total to make 247 super delegates in the Sanders column. In this very optimistic scenario, he would enjoy 1,072 delegates (including super delegates) against Clinton’s 1,606. From March 22nd until mid-June, 2,020 more delegates will be at stake. In this scenario, Hillary Clinton needs 777 delegates (38% of the remaining delegates) and Bernie Sanders needs 1,311 delegates (65% of the remaining delegates) to secure the nomination. We’ll now turn our attention to Sanders’ prospects for attaining this magic number.

In the table No.1 (below), I simulate the total number of delegates which could be obtained by each of the candidates in two different scenarios. In both of them, Hillary Clinton will prove to be the nominee.


First, I categorized all the poll numbers in the remaining states based on the average numbers produced by three forecasting websites for both candidates: Five Thirty-Eight, Real Clear Politics and Huffington Post. Because there is insufficient updated information about upcoming primaries, I added one more category (Column 3: State Characteristics) and determined for each candidate the likely outcome of their contest based on actual numbers from states they’ve already won. For example, in the case of Idaho, a state for which reliable polling data is not available, I estimate 40% for Clinton and 60% for Sanders due to the fact that Sanders beat Hillary by this margin in Minnesota, a state demographically comparable to Idaho (e.g. in both states the percentage of non-white voters in 2008 was less than 20% (2015 U.Va. Center for Politics). Nevertheless, in some states such as New York and New Jersey (in which the percentage of non-white voters was 20-35% and 35-50% respectively according to the 2015 U.Va. Center for Politics where current polls favor of Hillary Clinton, I awarded the candidates an equal 50 – 50 share. The main reason for this is that the table is supposed to underestimate Clinton’s prospects and assess her delegate possibilities conservatively. Red numbers in cells indicate values with insufficient information, or situations I consider likely to break even between candidates. I then combined all the numbers and found the average to derive an estimation of the possibility of each candidates’ delegates per state (Column # 5). To give Bernie Sanders a maximally optimistic boost, I multiplied all of Hillary’s averages by 0.9 and all of Bernie’s averages by 1.1 (Columns # 6).

I have a prediction of each candidates’ delegates per state in another two columns. Column A shows the share of the delegates for each candidate (note that even in this column I apportion Hillary’s share in a conservative way). Column B gives a more optimistic view of the possibility of the all the delegates Bernie Sanders could gain until the District of Columbia’s mid-June primary (the party’s final.) According to this analysis Hillary Clinton will enjoy a favorable margin of 1,015 or 913 delegates in the first and second scenarios respectively. In either case she will be well beyond the 777 delegates needed to secure the nomination. Sanders will fail to attain the 1,311 delegates he needs to secure his nomination in both cases.

To better understand how the allocation of delegates for each candidate will play out over the next two months, figure 2 displays each candidate’s possibility of obtaining pledged delegates (plus the difference between the number of delegates for each) in light of Column A’s values (which conservatively assess Hillary’s delegate prospects.) The figure demonstrates that Hillary will handily retain her lead through the end of the race, reaching 421 in Clinton’s favor by the eve of the decisive California primary. However, even before the California primary occurs, Clinton’s margin will be formidable. Note that such numbers do not include super delegates; if we are to factor in the 467 super delegates who are suppose to support Clinton, her lead becomes all the more secure.


Figure 3 shows the possibility of the candidates obtaining pledged delegates (and the differences between the number of delegates for each) using Column B’s values (which underestimate Clintons prospects against Sanders.) These numbers artificially increase Sanders’ prospects by 10% and decrease Clinton’s take by the same amount.

As is demonstrated in the figure, Hillary will build to a lead of 298 delegates by the eve of the decisive California primary. It is of course less than the present reported difference, with the slope decreasing in a very modest way. Note that such numbers do not include super delegates; if we are to factor in the 467 super delegates who are suppose to support Clinton, her lead becomes all the more secure.


To better understand delegate count differences in each scenario, figures 4 and 5 (radar charts) show Hillary Clinton’s delegate lead margin over time until mid-June. As is clearly demonstrated, Hillary Clinton maintains her lead over time in both scenarios.

Hillary Clinton Delegated Lead - A

Hillary Clinton Delegated Lead - B

This analysis suggests that Hillary Clinton has effectively clinched her nomination for the 2016 presidential election. Although her only remaining rival might well score large delegate wins in the next two months, Clinton’s formidable lead over Bernie Sanders precludes any possibility of his overall victory. The Sanders campaign’s main argument following Super Tuesday 2 has been based on the fact that, as contests shift to the north and west, more than half the remaining electorate strongly prefers Sanders. This argument is both true and false: true because almost all the southern primaries have concluded and some remaining contests in north and west, such as Wisconsin and Washington, stand to benefit Sanders; false because there seems little possibility of Sanders winning remaining delegate-rich states such as New York, Pennsylvania and California by margins wide enough to affect the general outcome. I analyzed delegate prospects for the candidates across two scenarios, both of which were deliberately engineered to favor Sanders (Scenario 2 to a greater extent than Scenario 1) and I foresee no realistic possibility of his upsetting Clinton.

Note: Polls and forecasts conducted following March 17 will not be considered in this analysis. According to most recent polls as of this writing, Hillary Clinton’s position is in fact even stronger than the values I’ve used reflect (take a look at Arizona, here). I will not incorporate updated polls due to the fact that I wanted to optimistically estimate the chance of Bernie’s obtaining the magic 2,382 delegates (including super delegates,) assuming the worst case scenario for Hillary Clinton in order to test the most extreme possible case.

Getting Started and Everyday Americans

Here I detail the strategy behind the Hillary Clinton campaign’s decision to release its first ad, Getting Started, as the formal announcement for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential run. This ad explains how Hillary Clinton’s campaign wants to reach out to average Americans. Clinton states that: “Every day Americans need a champion, and I want to be your champion”. The ad features various demographic segments of the country such as Latinos, Asian-Americans, African-Americans, LGBT people, working class families, and so on. The two main problems with the ad in terms of messaging are: 1.) that while Hillary criticizes elite, wealthy Americans benefiting unprecedentedly from the economic structure, she is herself a member of the same stratum; and 2.) that she should no longer portray herself as “First Mama.” America needs a leader to meet the most challenging issues which will face it in in the coming years, the economy and terrorism.

Hillary Clinton announced her final decision to run for the presidency in 2016 by way of an ad intended to be a road map for her campaign. As a well-known politician she started her campaign as the Democratic Party’s unquestioned front runner, her eyes already on the general election. The issues that matter to the American people are featured prominently: a work ethic central to American culture, economic recovery that matters to many average Americans, hope for a safe future of special value to seniors, young parents, and job seekers. Moreover, the concerns of the LGBT minority are addressed with the image of two men, hand in hand, wanting to get married. Using African-Americans, Asian-Americans and Latinos – key demographics for the Democratic base – is another of the ad’s virtues. To court Latinos, the ad even features some lines in Spanish.

This ad makes great use of media capacities. People were actively interested in her final decision as to whether or not to run; this video, published by way of Clinton’s Twitter account, had almost 4 million followers at the time of its release. Moreover, 5 million viewers watched the ad on her YouTube channel and it earned widespread attention across public and cable television.

Although this ad is well-tailored to connect with the right audience by means of a broad channel, it has two main problems. The messenger is first. The “Big Mama” image of Clinton is next. Hillary is not a good messenger. At a time when the American people are very angry about their current situation, she is a candidate from the past. That’s why her rivals – including the most important one, Marco Rubio – repeatedly say such things. In this ad, she tries to identify herself as a champion for the future, who cares about the average citizen struggling with economic problems. She blames wealthy Americans, characterizing them as out-of-touch elites and assuring the audience that she is fighting against them on behalf of the average citizen. The problem is that she herself has elite roots and is part of the top-earning stratum. The rise of Bernie Sanders among the most liberal part of the Democratic Party and the youth demographic, proves that she’s failed to convince this chunk of the base.

The second characteristic deliberately illustrated in this ad was Clinton’s image as “First Mama.” The term has been previously used by Mark Penn, Chief Hillary strategist for her 2008 bid. He argued at the time that Americans don’t want a first mama figure as president. They need a father, and are “open to the first father being a woman” (link). According to the ad, Hillary’s campaign for her second bid in 2016 tried to distance her from her 2008 efforts. Now, she is a grandma who cares greatly about grandchildren. The strategy might have worked had the U.S. not been shaken by the Paris and San Bernardino terror attacks. After these terrorist attacks, terrorism rose in prominence to be one of the two main issues of concern to the American people, neck and neck with economy. Now, the American people want a strong leader who has a proven record worthy of their trust as Commander-in-Chief. Hillary definitely will be that person, as she is more qualified than any of her contenders. In this ad we do not see featured such a strong, anti-terror leader.

To deal with these two issue, she should not deny her origins as an elite American in the way that she did 16 months ago by claiming that she and her husband were once dead broke after leaving the White House. That claim was incredible and insulting to many working Americans. It might be true, but as Frunk Luntz precisely explained in his book (Words that Work), what matters is not what a figure like Clinton says, but rather what people hear or tend to hear or believe.

Instead of denying her wealth she can tell her story as an average American citizen who worked hard and earned material success and who now wants all Americans to enjoy wealth as well. This has been Trump’s strategy, and I think it works well for wealthy candidates. To do so, she of course should double down on anti-Wall Street posturing by reminding the American people that many of the negative ads against her have been funded by donors in the finance world.

Secondly: the era of being “First Mama”, or for 2016 a “First Grandma,” is over. America needs a strong leader who can demonstrate experience at a moment when so much is at stake. That leader is Hilary Clinton, not another candidate. The message of a strong leader would also be in line with someone who wants to unite the country. In this ad she tried to portray herself as a unifier. She could release a new version of this ad, emphasizing additional characteristic necessary for her election bid and reminding people almost a year after her bid announcement that she is still the most qualified contender to sit in the Oval Office.

By solving the messenger’s problem and updating the content of the message in collaboration with the context and communication environment, she will transmit a message far beyond her base and even some moderate Republicans will consider her for the next president of the United States.


They Still Read his Lips

This article details the reasoning behind Right To Rise USA’s ad supporting Jeb Bush in the 2016 GOP primary against Marco Rubio, his main rival among establishment-backed candidates. The ad is strong in criticizing Rubio, pointing to his Senate record as a politician who often flip flops. However, the term “Washington Politician” used negatively in this ad is almost certainly more applicable to Bush himself than Rubio.

Right To Rise USA, the super PAC supporting GOP presidential candidate Jeb Bush, has released this ad (Vane) with the intent of swaying the portion of the Republic base presently supporting Marco Rubio. They tend to be very conservative, generally against pro-immigration policies of liberals like Senator Chuck Schumer and also angry over the fact that they cannot trust Washington politicians who often flip flop and cannot keep their promises. The ad accurately assesses its audience and the disastrous political environment facing Republican constituencies in the 2016 primary. Thus to say that the message is addressed to the right audience (conservatives in Iowa and South Carolina) through proper channels (local TV, cable broadcasting such a Fox News), is fair enough. The media weakness is that this ad has not received great attention in social media, and the Right To Rise USA YouTube channel, now of trivial significance to Bush, could benefit from increased attention.

However, the main problem with this ad stems from the messenger himself. In the eyes of the Republican base, if Marco Rubio can be labelled as part of the establishment, Jeb Bush is a pedigreed scion of the establishment: his father and brother have both sat in the Oval Office and broke promises by raising taxes (read my lips) and supporting Medicare Part D, moves which angered fiscal conservatives in the Republican Party. Prior to his presidential run announcement, Jeb himself made a very soft pronouncement on illegal immigrants, calling the action of those immigrants who broke the law and came to the United States illegally an “act of love,” not a felony (link). So, why should the audience trust him when he claims he’ll be the sort of leader whose stances will be firm? There is no reason at all.

No candidate wins an election based on his or her weaknesses. Moreover, no candidate can reach out to an unlimited range of different audiences with different priorities and ask their support. Instead of pretending he is not part of the establishment who wants to beat the establishment (he is and cannot,) he should have argued from the beginning of his campaign that he is a game changer and compromiser who wants to unite the country again – the candidate who has an outstanding record as a conservative governor, able to build bridges in a partisan government. He could have argued that the country is going to be divided and he has the best plan for bringing together moderate conservatives to win the nomination and approach a broader base of moderate and conservative Democrats in the general election.

Time is running out for Bush, and Marco Rubio will be the establishment-backed candidate after his impressive showing in Iowa. New Hampshire is his last chance, and still even there Marco Rubio is a strong contender. To beat him, the Jeb Bush campaign should remind the audience that first, Rubio is not an appropriate choice for the presidency because he missed more Senate voting periods than any of his colleagues. Why should the American people trust someone who is not doing their present job as senator to be the president? Second, he needs to remind his audience the last time the American people sent a first term senator to the Oval Office, Barack Obama became the president and disaster struck for conservatives. The American people should not make the same mistake twice.

These are two main messages which could find a broad audience, especially for Super Tuesday and subsequent contests in which more states with moderate Republican majorities will cast their ballots. These are the only messages on which a key part of the party base is aligned with Jeb Bush and for which they will consider him a credible messenger. For another faction of the base, he is a fake Republican and part (or inheritor) of the establishment who will make the country weak while Cruz and Trump promise to make it great again.