In the results for the Democratic primaries I came across this for Washington state:

Hillary Clinton

  • votes: 380,760
  • perc: 52.95%
  • delegates: 27

Bernie Sanders

  • votes: 338,283
  • perc: 47.05%
  • delegates: 74

Source: USA Today

The question is how can Bernie Sanders get 47.05% of the vote compared to 52.95% for Hilary Clinton (therefore losing) and then pick up three times as many delegates ? Or have I missed something obvious ?

  • You've missed something extremely obvious. The democratic presidential candidate selection system is not a democratic process. May 27, 2016 at 15:28
  • 1
    @hownowbrowncow - It's very true. It's more democratic (in the sense of "everyone has an equal say) than the Republican process, since all delegates are awarded proportionally based on the vote, but both parties still elect delegates to a convention where the delegates (who are rarely picked directly by voters) and party leaders make the actual choice.
    – Bobson
    May 27, 2016 at 16:03

1 Answer 1


It's not necessarily obvious, but the reason is that WA democrats have both a caucus and a primary.

The caucus is the one 'that counts'. That happened prior to the primary so the delegates were all allotted well before the primary.

As such, for democrats, the WA Primary doesn't count for anything (other than maybe calling it a poll of sorts).

Jon Oliver covered it on his show recently:


In summary, WA has both caucuses and primaries. The democrat party in WA decided to count the caucus instead of the primary.

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