Bernie Sanders is still campaigning against Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination for president. Sanders is well behind Clinton in primary voting, but he's at least partially hanging his chances on a quirk in the nominating process.
When states hold presidential primaries, they dole out delegates – sometimes winner-take-all, sometimes proportionally – to candidates who have gotten certain shares of the vote in the primaries. Many of these delegates are "pledged" to automatically support a specific candidate at the party convention, which ultimately decides the nominee.
But 700-some party elites are "superdelegates" who get to support whomever they want at the convention, even if the state they represent didn't vote for that person. Sanders thinks he can convince these people to support him, and he's rationalized it thusly:
They're like college football recruits!
"I think what's important to remember here is that superdelegates are kind of like football recruits," said Sanders press secretary Symone Sanders in an interview with CNN's "New Day." "You know, they say they are coming but until they have signed on the dotted line and they're in practice, you don't know that they're all the way with you and that they're on your team. And so we think that we still have time to garner support from these superdelegates, especially when we're winning."
This is an odd strategy for Sanders, because superdelegates and other Democratic insiders tend to overwhelmingly support Clinton over him.
Let's run, for a moment, with the recruiting parallel. It's like Sanders is the coach at Texas State, and it's a few months out from National Signing Day. There are a bunch of five-star prospects still on the board, and Texas State Head Coach Bernie Sanders is just feeling really good about beating out Alabama for all these blue-chip players, despite every major recruiting service expecting the star players to sign with the Tide or some other major program.
To be fair to Sanders, though, party conventions have one thing closely in common with football recruiting. At the end of the day, both of them are just giant hat ceremonies with lots of media:
(Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
(Photo: Richard Dole-USA TODAY Sports)
Basically the same thing.