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Crunching the numbers

An LIRR train, seen here at the Hicksville

An LIRR train, seen here at the Hicksville LIRR station on Sept. 5, 2018. Credit: Newsday/Thomas A. Ferrara

Daily Point

Stalled negotiations

Officials from the town of Oyster Bay and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority have met in Mineola hoping to find a compromise on development in the hamlet of Hicksville. It didn’t go so well.

Oyster Bay and MTA officials told The Point they left the 90-minute, Friday afternoon meeting without the agreement both parties sought.

The meeting took place at the Long Island Rail Road’s third-track offices in Mineola, a meaningful location both because of the importance of adding an additional track to Hicksville’s future, and because Mineola’s redevelopment shows what’s possible. 

To read the full post, click here.

—Randi F. Marshall @RandiMarshall

Talking Point

Ladies and gentlemen, start your calculators!

As those of us obsessed with the 2020 presidential election sit glued to our favored news organization site Tuesday night or (more likely) toggle between a bunch of each, two topics will get a lot of commentary: the possibility of a brokered convention and the importance for candidates of hitting the 15 percent voting threshold in both statewide returns and those of individual congressional districts.

But what’s hard to explain in sound bites is how those two things intertwine, and that delegates siphoned off by current underdogs Mike Bloomberg and Elizabeth Warren will make it difficult for either Joe Biden or Bernie Sanders to win a majority of delegates, and a clear first-ballot nomination.

What makes this particularly fascinating is both Bloomberg and Warren are hovering right around 15% in polling in a majority of the 14 states contested Tuesday, including delegate-rich California, Texas and Virginia.

There are millions of possible permutations but looking at just a few scenarios provides a framework for thinking about the chances of the leader getting to 50% plus 1, or 1,991 of 3,979 available delegates needed for a first-ballot win. 

Thus far, Sanders has 60 delegates, Biden has 54 and Buttigieg, Warren and Klobuchar have combined for 41. There are 1,344 delegates up for grabs Tuesday night. 

So if: 

  • Either Warren or Bloomberg, but not both, hit 15% in every state, 201 delegates contested Tuesday would be unavailable to the frontrunners, along with the 41 they have already lost. That would mean that even if Warren and Bloomberg both dropped out Wednesday, either Biden or Sanders would have to beat the other by 6 percentage points Tuesday night and throughout the rest of the schedule to cinch a first-ballot win.
  • Warren and Bloomberg, perhaps buoyed by newfound Amy Klobuchar and Buttigieg voters, hit 15% in every state, 402 delegates contested Tuesday would be unavailable to the frontrunners, along with the 41 they have already lost. That would mean that even if Warren and Bloomberg both dropped out Wednesday, either Biden or Sanders would have to beat the other by 12 percentage points Tuesday night and throughout the rest of the schedule to cinch a first-ballot win.
  • Warren and/or Bloomberg do well enough Tuesday night to justify continuing until the end, and keep hitting 15% in later states, a first-ballot win becomes all but impossible. If other candidates combine to take 15% of the total delegates before the convention, either Sanders and Biden would each need to beat the other by a huge margin of total delegates collected, 50% to 35%, to cinch a win.

What does it all mean? To New Yorkers hoping their April 28 primary will be a difference-maker, potentially quite a lot!

—Lane Filler @lanefiller

Pencil Point

Election season riddle

For more cartoons, visit www.newsday.com/cartoons

Final Point

Rep. Israel on Sanders

Surely you have heard by now the dire warning that Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders winning the Democratic presidential nominee would be death to down-ballot races. 

The theory focuses only on the negative outcomes of Sanders winning the nomination. Supporters of this theory cite the victories of moderate Democrats as opposed to left-leaning ones in the 2018 blue-wave midterms, or the fact that negative ads will be easy to draw up with Sanders up top.

But this has become conventional wisdom to the point of shorthand and is one of the rallying cries of moderates looking to stop Sanders on Super Tuesday. To dig into the claim, The Point asked former Long Island congressman and Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee head Steve Israel to go into depth about the down-ballot question. 

"The coattail impact, positive or negative, can be strong," said Israel, who supports former Vice President Joe Biden and now directs Cornell University's Institute of Politics and Global Affairs. But the impact essentially only matters in small, specific sections of the country. 

Israel called it the “20/7/20 theory.” Only 20 percent of the electorate haven’t made their decision down the stretch. 

There are only seven states in the electoral college that really matter, places like Wisconsin or Pennsylvania. And there are only about 20 (or 30) toss-up counties: think Bucks or Kenosha. 

In those very specific places, Israel said, the decisive 20 percent who haven’t made a decision about President Donald Trump tend to be “defiantly moderate.” For them, the argument goes, a ticket-topper who can be branded as a socialist and who wants to blow up the health insurance system could be a drag to more local candidates. 

However, Israel offered a major caveat. In 2016, there was concern about the down-ballot fate of Republicans under candidate Donald Trump. But the party didn’t lose the House with Trump on the ballot. 

New world order? Israel thinks that given Democratic wins in 2018, “that was a one-off” and his 20-27-20 theory still holds true.

“We make a mistake when we fall into the assumption that this is a national election. It’s not.”

—Mark Chiusano @mjchiusano

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