The Superdelegates Are Nervous

The Superdelegates Are Nervous

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Each week, our colleagues from The New York Times’s Opinion section share expert analysis and perspectives from across the political spectrum.

As we approach Super Tuesday, our opinion columnists are asking the same question: Will Bernie Sanders be the Democrats’ nominee? Mr. Sanders says that he has the highest favorability ratings of any candidate and that he can engender support among young and minority voters. But will that be enough?

Mr. Sanders’s “early-state successes have given him a clear path to a plurality of pledged convention delegates,” Ross Douthat writes. But if some of the other candidates who aren’t actually winning primaries don’t drop out, he argues, Mr. Sanders will build an insurmountable advantage. And the superdelegates may find themselves irrelevant: “A world where Sanders is on track to get a clear delegate plurality in late March is probably a world where he gets a majority by May,” Mr. Douthat says.

As the Democratic nominee, could Mr. Sanders unify the party and reach outside his base for support? David Leonhardt notes that the four most recent presidents all “tried to appeal to voters who weren’t obvious supporters.” Mr. Sanders isn’t doing this, which makes him less than “an ideal Democratic nominee,” Mr. Leonhardt says.

For the most part, the other Democratic candidates in the race — as Tuesday night’s debate made clear — agree with Mr. Leonhardt. A few of the candidates “don’t merely see Sanders as a less-than-ideal adversary for Trump. They see him as political suicide,” writes Frank Bruni. He said that watching Tuesday’s debate was like watching “a political party devour itself.”

Perhaps this can all be avoided, reasons Tom Friedman. His suggestion? Forge a national unity ticket to defeat Donald Trump.

— Adam Rubenstein

If you’ve seen our debate-night preview pages, you’re probably familiar with the candidate lineups we put at the top:

Well, leave it to Twitter to discover how much fun you can have if you hack the page.

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