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Sunday, May 11, 2008

Primaries and delegates

I am pretty confused about how the Democratic primary is going. I don't really understand the importance of the primaries vs the delegates in choosing the nominee .... in 1968, I've read, Hubert Humphrey was chosen by the delegates of the Democratic party as the nominee although he had not run in any of the primaries and thus was not voted for by any citizens. I see everywhere that Obama is for all intents the nominee because he has the most delegates, but I also saw in the news today that Clinton is probably going to win in West Virginia and Kentucky, and could well win the popular vote - transcript of Meet The Press ...

- [...] MR. RUSSERT: ...a member of Congress from Illinois, worked in the Clinton White House, said this on Friday.

MR. McAULIFFE: Sure.

MR. RUSSERT: "Just looking at the facts, he"--Barack Obama--"the presumptive nominee." Fair?

MR. McAULIFFE: First off, no one is the nominee. Everyone needs to be clear, until someone gets the magic number of the delegates, 2209, you are not the nominee of the Democratic Party. Right now, Tim, you have seen in these contests you've had 35 million people vote. If you take everyone who pushed a button for Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama, 16.6 million for Hillary Clinton, 16.7 million for Barack Obama. That is a difference of 100,000 votes out of 35 million.

MR. RUSSERT: You're counting Florida and Michigan.

Mr. McAULIFFE: Sure I am, they voted. There's no question they voted, they were certified at the county level and the state level. They voted. I'm not talking about delegates. But they voted.

MR. RUSSERT: But Obama's name wasn't on the ballot in Michigan.

MR. McAULIFFE: And that was a political decision he made to pull his name off the ballot.

MR. RUSSERT: All right.

MR. McAULIFFE: Let's be clear. He was on the ballot, he took his name off to appease Iowa and New Hampshire. It was a political decision, I'm fine with that. But they voted, two and a half million people. And the Rules and Bylaws Committee will meet on the 31st to determine their status. But just remember. Who voted? A difference of 100,000 out of 35 million.

MR. RUSSERT: Looking at the math...

MR. McAULIFFE: Sure.

MR. RUSSERT: Since Super Tuesday, Obama's gotten 104 superdelegates, Clinton's gotten 16.

MR. McAULIFFE: Yeah.

MR. RUSSERT: Since Tuesday's primary in Indiana, North Carolina, Obama's got 18 superdelegates.

MR. McAULIFFE: Mm-hmm.

MR. RUSSERT: Clinton's won 25. Don Fowler, former Democratic Party chairman...

MR. McAULIFFE: Yeah. Good friend.

MR. RUSSERT: ...passionate Hillary Clinton supporter.

MR. McAULIFFE: Mm-hmm.

MR. RUSSERT: Quote: "The trickle is going to become an avalanche of superdelegates going to Obama."

MR. McAULIFFE: Has it become an avalanche today? No. Did it become an avalanche after Tuesday, when you and others were all on the air saying it was over? No. Which should make you say something. We are now coming up to West Virginia on Tuesday. The last poll had Hillary up 43 points. She's up 40 points in Kentucky. What does it say for the candidate that you say has won the nomination that he can't win two states that Bill Clinton carried in 1992 and 1996? We lost them in 2000 and 2004. This is our point: Hillary Clinton in the general election can beat John McCain ....


Will someone explain about the difference between the popular vote and the delegate vote and how someone can win the popular vote and still not be the nominee? Argh! Here below is another story that deals with the subject a bit, not that I understand it either ....

**********************

Democrats' Rules Set Stage for Messy Nomination. Effort to Avoid Back-Room Deals Could Cause Chaos
By JUNE KRONHOLZ
April 22, 2008; Page A6

No matter how Pennsylvania votes, neither Barack Obama nor Hillary Clinton is likely to clinch the nomination with Tuesday's primary or even with the remaining nine contests in May and June.

That means the Democratic nomination is likely to be settled by rules, committees and uncommitted superdelegates, and possibly by a floor fight at the Denver convention in August.

How did the Democrats get into this mess?

The short answer is that they have two candidates of roughly equal popularity and organizational strength. The longer answer starts with Hubert Humphrey, picks up steam with George McGovern, has a lot to do with fund raising and hits the rocks on the aspirations of Michigan and Florida for a bigger voice in the nomination.

The party shut down its legendary smoke-filled rooms where ties could be broken and decisions brokered after the chaotic 1968 Chicago convention. Vietnam War and civil-rights activists rioted that summer after finding themselves shut out of the nomination by party bosses who had already settled on Vice President Humphrey.

Until then, party tradition held that the few state primaries were nonbinding beauty contests, delegates were chosen at closed-door meetings and delegations voted as a bloc, which kept them under the control of big-city mayors or governors.

In response to the Chicago uproar, a commission co-chaired by South Dakota Sen. McGovern rewrote the party rules to require states to hold a primary or caucus and allow delegates to vote individually for the candidate of their choice. "The people just kind of took over the process," ending the power of party honchos, said Sen. McGovern, now 85 years old and a Clinton supporter.

His own chaotic convention in 1972 helped force the party's other major change -- the superdelegates. Young McGovern delegates beat out such party powerhouses as Massachusetts Rep. Tip O'Neal for seats as delegates at the convention, Sen. McGovern said. His historic drubbing that fall convinced the party it needed the leavening hand of its party elders to resolve ties and prevent the party from nominating another unelectable candidate.

The superdelegates last settled a nomination in 1984 when they gave former Vice President Walter Mondale the decisive last delegate votes. But the superdelegates didn't create a public outcry: Mr. Mondale already had 500 more delegates than Colorado Sen. Gary Hart, superdelegates accounted for one in seven delegates rather than today's one in five and almost no one knew about their voting power, anyway.

Today's seeming impasse also has roots in the primary calendar, which has long nettled big states because it allowed the nomination to be sewn up before they had time to vote. "People all across America hate Iowa and New Hampshire because they've been privileged so long," said Don Fowler, a former party chairman and Clinton superdelegate.

Delegate-rich Florida and Michigan opted to jump this year's calendar queue and risk losing their convention seats as punishment because they were convinced that the nomination would be settled quickly, the winning candidate would restore their seats and Iowa's and New Hampshire's reign would be ended. "It was worth running the risk of losing delegates," said former Florida Sen. Bob Graham, a 2004 candidate for president.

What largely unsettled that strategy was Internet fund raising and the millions of small donors it brought into the campaign. In the past, the losers of the early contests would find their donations quickly drying up among big funders, effectively ending their ability to compete. "Now, you can raise money regardless of your losses. You can go on and on," said Tad Devine, a Democratic strategist who represented 1988 Democratic nominee Michael Dukakis in rules disputes.

Sens. Clinton and Obama have raised a combined $400 million, which has allowed them to keep fighting. As long as they stay in, however, Florida's and Michigan's status remains unresolved, setting up the possibility of a convention battle, and voter wariness grows that the superdelegates will override their choice.

Democratic Chairman Howard Dean insisted in an interview that it is "hysterical" to suggest that could add up to a convention nightmare. He said a clear winner will emerge by the end of June, after the primaries have ended and as the remaining uncommitted superdelegates choose sides.

Then, "I expect either one of these candidates to stand up next to the other one and say 'I'm supporting this person,'" he said. Whether either candidate's supporters "feel they've been robbed is going to depend on what the candidate has to say about it," he added.

So far, both candidates are saying a lot, and that is one of the dangers for the party. The Clinton campaign has charged relentlessly that Florida and Michigan voters will be "disenfranchised" if their primary votes aren't counted. That has infuriated Sen. Obama's supporters, because recognizing the two states' contests would largely wipe out his popular-vote lead.

Obama supporters argue that the superdelegates should vote for the winner of their state's primary. That has infuriated Clinton supporters, who note that party rules let the superdelegates vote as they choose and are counting on them to wipe out Sen. Obama's delegate lead.

Party strategists worry that either issue might cost the party the huge numbers of new voters who have been drawn to the Democrats, and especially the young and African-American voters attracted by Sen. Obama this year. The Obama campaign says it added 218,000 new donors in March alone to bring its donor base to 1.3 million. Some 26 million voters already have cast Democratic ballots, 43% more than in all of the 2004 primaries.

"You have a million people invested financially" in the campaign, said Joe Trippi, who managed former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards's 2008 race. "How are they going to handle it if the [superdelegates] say 'no, it's not going to be him.' Can you win the general election?"

**********************************

27 Comments:

Blogger Liam said...

It works like this: delegates are awarded by each state depending on how the party in that state works. So for example, Iowa does a caucus, New Hampshire has a primary. Texas has a very confusing combination of both. In general, pledged delegates are delegates that go to the convention having pledged to support the candidate that won their state (though if, God forbid, the was no agreement on the first ballot at the convention, they may change their votes -- it's almost impossible for that to happen anymore). The Republicans give all the delegates of a state to the candidate who won that state -- that's why they finished up sooner. The Democrats allocate delegates proportionately, although what exactly that means depends on the rules of each state party. In addition there are "superdelegates": party leaders and elected officials that also have votes. This was a system put in place in the late 70s to allow the bigwigs to stop a hypothetically horrible candidate from getting the nomination. It's disgustingly undemocratic, but it's difficult to image going against the candidate who won the elections.

From what I have read, after the last primary, it will be extremely hard for Hillary to get the popular vote lead, even with Florida and Michigan. Yeah, the not terribly enlightened people of West Virginia and Kentucky will vote overwhelmingly for Hillary, but we're not talking about heavy populations, and Oregon will probably go strong for Obama.

Mathematically, it's pretty much impossible for Hillary to catch up in pledged delegates and unlikely for the superdelegates to override that. That's why everyone's saying it's over.

As for the popular vote:

1. The only way Hillary could possibly win the "popular vote" (and I still think it's unlikely) is to count Florida and Michigan. Now, a solution to the F & M problem should be found, but the way the Clinton camp is spinning this whole thing is outrageous. It works like this: The DNC made rules about the primary schedule. Everyone agreed, including Clinton, who had no problems about "disenfranchising" the voters of the two states until she started to have problems in later primaries. Florida and Michigan held the primaries anyway. All the candidates agreed not to campaign in Michigan, and most agreed to take their names off the ballot (McAuliffe misrepresents the situation to make it seem that Obama went solo on this point -- only Clinton and Dodd (and perhaps Kusinich) left their names on the ballot and were criticized for doing so). So Hillary won over "uncommitted." People joke that it was like a Soviet election with only one name on the ballot. Everyone's name was on the ballot in Florida, but wouldn't the participation have been greater had the voters thought it was going to count? And although Clinton didn't "campaign" there, she did show up for "fundraising trips."

2. Since there's not a single way to choose a candidate, how can one compute the popular vote? Many states have caucuses, and I believe a couple still have nominating conventions. How do you allocate "popular votes" from those states?

3. The main thing is that the rules are the rules. If Clinton had a problem with the way things were set up, she should have made it clear at the beginning, not changing along the way. (William's Olbermann post explains it pretty well). Obama's people have made a good point about it as well: if according to the rules, the "popular vote" was the way to get the nomination, they would have run a different campaign.

Still, like I said, I'm pretty sure that Obama will end up with a majority of pledged delegates, superdelegates, and the popular vote, anyway you measure it. Clinton could only get the nomination through something like the 1968 convention, which was a disaster for the Democratic party.

Sorry for the long comment. You can tell I've spent too much time following this.

8:16 AM  
Blogger crystal said...

Liam,

Thanks for the explination! A few more questions ....

It's disgustingly undemocratic, but it's difficult to image going against the candidate who won the elections.

So, that's what happened in 68?

Since there's not a single way to choose a candidate, how can one compute the popular vote? Many states have caucuses, and I believe a couple still have nominating conventions. How do you allocate "popular votes" from those states?

I'm a dummy - I still don't understand. Is not each person's vote counted? When Gore and Bush ran, Gore got the popular vote but Bush still won ?

I see what you mean about changing the rules about Florida and Michigan. I wonder what they will decide to do about those states - in the Meet the Press thing, it sounded like they might count 50% of them?

10:45 AM  
Blogger Susan said...

Thanks, Liam. It's good to know somebody understands the system. I sure don't.

Crystal, I don't know where you got the idea that Hillary was ahead in the popular vote. Some weirdo independent California news channel, no doubt. :-)

PS: I posted another interesting closeup for you on my blog.

10:54 AM  
Blogger Liam said...

Well, from what I understand, 1968 was a messed up year to begin with. Johnson pulled out of the race and RFK was shot. Humphrey had the party machine behind him. There was rioting outside and fistfights inside. It was ugly.

The difference between the nominating process and the presidential election (i.e., Bush and Gore), is that the former is for a party, not for a government position, so the party can decide what the rules are. Usually this means the party for each state decides how to pick its delegates. When my parents were delegates for the 1972 national democratic convention from Utah, for example, they were picked at a state convention in Utah, not by primary. Since then, more and more states including Utah have switched to the primary process.

A lot of states (Iowa, Nevada) have caucuses instead of primaries. That means that instead of an election, there are statewide meetings to pick delegates. Each caucus has its own rules, but in general it's apples and oranges between primaries and caucuses -- so it's hard to figure out what a meaningful vote tally is. The November election is different -- the popular vote leads to the electoral college, as spelled out by the constitution and federal election laws.

The system is way too convoluted and needs to be reformed. Actually, a lot of this year's craziness has resulted from many states being resentful about not having as much influence as others, like Iowa and New Hampshire. But the rules are the rules and we have to play by them this time and change them later.

11:31 AM  
Blogger Liam said...

Damn, I am such a super-duper politics nerd.

11:32 AM  
Blogger crystal said...

Susan,

Meet the Press :) I think the guy (a Clinton supporter) said there was just a slight difference between them in the popular vote, and given that she's probably winning Kentucky and West Virginia (I haven't seen the news yet today, though), then I thought maybe she was ahead.

I saw him - so cute and orange!

11:35 AM  
Blogger crystal said...

Liam, yes you are :)

12:11 PM  
Blogger crystal said...

OK, I felt too dumb to ask this again, becuase I still don;t understand, but .....

I see that delegates are chosen by caucus or primary, but when we the voters vote in a primary, we vote for a person not delegates - are not our votes counted and doesn't that equal the popular vote for a certain person, irregardless of what happens with the delegates?

12:16 PM  
Blogger Liam said...

McCauffle is the chairman of Clinton's election committee. He used to be the head of the DNC (and IMHO did not do a very impressive job).

As far as voting in a primary goes, you vote for delegates for the national convention. They're called pledged delegates because they are pledged to vote for the candidate the voters choose. In some states they may list the delegates on the ballot along with the candidate's name, in others they don't. In primary states, the votes are counted and then distributed among the candidates according to that state's party rules. The national convention actually chooses the candidate, though for the past 30 years or so candidates have locked up the number of pledged delegates they need and the conventions have turned into speech-making events.

It's sort of like the electoral college. We don't really vote for a candidate, we vote for electors pledged to vote for a specific candidate.

That's for presidential primaries. If you vote for, say, a gubernatorial or senate candidate in a primary, that's usually just "most votes win."

1:16 PM  
Blogger crystal said...

Ah! I don't remember seeing delegates on the primary ballot here. Wow - things have changed since Perecles' time :)

1:25 PM  
Blogger Susan said...

Wasn't the Electoral College (and, by inference, the delegates under discusssion) created because the government didn't think the populace was capable of making a wise decision? Or am I mistaken about that?

3:12 PM  
Blogger Cura Animarum said...

Such a different system from Canada. I can see why some people get so confused about it all and man...elections, voting and campaigning for an entire year before the 'real' election even begins. How do you have the energy to make a reasonable decision after all of that?

Here, whether it's provincially (think 'state') or nationally the process is pretty much the same. about 30 days prior to the election date campaigning begins. Each party has a leader voted in by party members (those holding registered, paid party memberships) at a national convention.

Campaigning happens both through the party and the local representative's office so I'll get flyers in my mailbox from those running for MLA (Provincial rep) or MP (National Rep) as well as from the leaders of their respective parties. The party leaders are the ones who do most of the televised debates (usually two or three times through the 30 days) and they will attend the support rallies of those party reps running for MP or MLA as well as rallies of their own. Most TV ads are from the party leaders.

When I vote, I'm not voting for the Premier (provincial) or Prime Minister (national) per se, I'm voting for an MLA or MP who represents the party of my choosing in my area. At the end of the night the Premier or Prime Minister is the one who's party had the most members elected.

It's far from perfect and has it's own inherent flaws (the distribution of seats for MP's at the national level is horribly skewed and based on population meaning a high populace province like Ontario has far more political representation (house votes) when passing laws and voting for budgets than poor old Saskatchewan) but it's pretty easy to follow.

3:26 PM  
Blogger crystal said...

Susan,

I've read that an actual direct democracy is hard to acheive in any but a small country, like Sweden (I think) and the city states of classical Greece. But I don't know why that is. I do think there is a certain government ontempt for the ability of the "great unwashed" to make a good decision.

6:21 PM  
Blogger crystal said...

Cura,

Your system does sound really different. So, people don't get to decide who to choose from initially, but the party does? I guess here we don't really get to choose from an unlimited group either because only those wealthy enough can run a campaign in the first place.

How do the party leaders get chosen?

I think I read once that you have members of parliment that aren't voted for at all by the people but are chosen by the monarchy in England? Can that be so?

6:29 PM  
Blogger Jack said...

Crystal, you are the best!!!The Socrates of blogdom!!! Poor L...he just can't see you in a 'fun' mode. Jack

7:28 PM  
Blogger Cura Animarum said...

Every few years (or when internal politics determine) each party will have a leadership convention. All party members (those who are registered and have up-to-date paid memberships) gather together and vote on who they wish their party leader to be.

If I'm a Liberal or Conservative or New Democrat and I want a say in who my party leader is, I need to make sure I contact my local MP (Member of Parliament) and sign up for (and pay for) a party membership and then make sure I can go and attend the next leadership convention and vote for the candidate I like. The one with the most party support gets to be the leader and, as I said before, in the next federal election, if their party gets the most MPs elected, he or she will defacto, become the new Prime Minister.

There is a single political position that is appointed by the British crown, that of the Governor General who is the Queen`s (or King`s) representative in Canada. On paper this sounds pretty powerful and archaic. In reality it is someone recommended by the current Prime Minister who`s only real role is to rubber stamp or give 'Royal Assent' anything that comes out of the elected House of Commons. Though they can, in theory revoke a proposed law, for example, it is pretty much never done. Wiki puts it nicely;

"The Governor General's powers are legally extensive, however they are in practice very limited"

For the most part the GG's role is symbolic and ceremonial, they pretty much act as ambassadors for the crown and hosts for visiting heads of state. They spend a lot of our money on traveling and clothes and shoes and parties.

Other than that, they pretty much do what the Prime Minister and the House of Commons tell them to do.

Each province also has a similar representative known as a Lieutenant Governor who is also appointed by the Crown (as the GG is) on recommendation of the Prime Minister. Their role is similar to the GG but at the provincial level.

Both are kind of funny positions because, at the end of the day, though still a part of the British Commonwealth, Canada is also a Sovereign nation and as such, the crown has no real Constitutional say in how we govern ourselves.

It just underlines the fat that it too isn't a perfect system but from my pov it's WAY less complicated than the one you guys have to deal with.

Heck, leading up to the last provincial election we had all three of our main parties beginning 'pseudo-campaigns' up to six months prior to the election date begin called (we didn't have a fixed date at that point...an election could get called by the party in power any time during their fourth year in office...and sometimes had been pushed even further).

Anyway, everyone knew an election was coming soon but the ruling New Democrats (socialists) wouldn't call it. that didn't stop all the parties from putting out 'informational commercials' and billboards and flyer's etc like I said, for the six months prior to the "official" election beginning.

Everyone was so mad about having to put up with all that, that the first thing the new Premier did when he took office was set a concrete election date every four years and passed a law saying that no party can campaign or "advertise" until thirty days prior to that date.

No year-long processes for us. You got thirty days to get my vote. They know they have to make those days count. That part I like. ;o)

8:27 PM  
Blogger crystal said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

10:33 PM  
Blogger crystal said...

Cura,

Interesting about the GG. I didn't realize Canada was still part of the British Commonwealth. I lived in Bermuda when I was a kid and it was a British protectorate, I think. Lots of English stuff, we sang God Save the Queen at school :)

a law saying that no party can campaign or "advertise" until thirty days prior to that date

If only we had that here - we so are incredibly deluged with tv commercials and everything else you can imagine for the longest time that you begin to hate everyone who's running.

I've been reading over my old short stories to try to fix them up to sell if I can, and one of them is set a little in the future, with separatists from Quebec taking over the parliment and releasing a deadly virus. What's the real life political situation with Quebec?

10:51 PM  
Blogger crystal said...

Jack,

I'm not sure what you mean, but in any case, though you may disagree with other commenters, don't disrespect them.

11:57 PM  
Blogger Cura Animarum said...

There's a great deal of tension between Quebec and the rest of the country. It's a pretty strange situation. Here you have one province out of the entire country who has managed to obtain Constitutionally protected "Distinct Society" status enabling them, among other things, to have a federal party (the Bloc Quebecios) whose members only run and are elected by residents of the province of Quebec. The rest of the country is forced to accept Bilingualism (insofar as product labeling and mandatory radio and television signals go...that means that as a part of my cable package I have to pay for, and receive French programming even though I do not watch it or speak the language), but the same is not true for the province itself. As a Business owner in Quebec, even if you are English speaking and you cater largely to English speaking ppl, all signage must be in French only. It is against the law to display English signage in Quebec.

As far as the separatist movement goes, at this point in time it is a fairly ineffective movement. The last provincial referendum asking the people of Quebec if they wanted to declare themselves a sovereign nation was back in 1995 and was split almost down the middle but the .5% majority fell on the non-separatist side keeping the country whole. After that vote the Feds basically told the separatist 'Parti Quebecios' that there would be no more referendums. Basically, you can't keep asking people the same question again and again until you get the answer you like, especially when they certainly would have let it be the final say if the vote had gone the other way.

Back in the 80's it could have gone horribly wrong though. My grade twelve Social Studies teacher was ex-military and in charge of several hundred soldiers in the West at the time of the first referendum in 1980. The night of the election he and a large contingent of military force from across the country were positioned near the Quebec border on orders to enter and seize control of the province should the vote go the wrong way. At that time a 10% margin was all that stopped Canada from entering into a civil war over the province.

The real difficulty in most Canadians minds revolves around a couple of key points (at least as far as the average citizen is concerned), Canada, like the US is a collection of many distinct cultures. Why should any one culture have Constitutionally protected status over and above all others?

Many Canadians are not even all that concerned any more if Quebec wants to go off and be it's own country. The real difficulty is in their demands for continued financial support as well as economic support in the form being allowed to retain use of the Canadian dollar and military support in that there was a concerted movement in the days leading up to the 1995 vote to entice and threaten Canadian soldiers to defect to 'The New Quebec' and form a new Quebec National armed forces by comandeering Canadian Military bases and Equipment.

Over all though, I think the reality of the situation began to sink into the minds of most Quebecios. The fact that sovereignty really means you are on your own and set against your closest neighbor and potentially key trading partner almost over night. Current stats show the gap between 'Yes' and 'No' votes has grown back to the 1980 numbers and seems to be steadily increasing while PQ support appears to be in an equally steady decline.

I know things were far more nuanced than that but that was the situation in a nutshell. Most Canadians now are just tired of seeing what they see as a dead horse continue to be beaten, and that seems to be including an increasing number of Francophones themselves.

2:21 PM  
Blogger crystal said...

Thanks for the info, Cura :)

I think what gave me the idea for the story was that incident in 1970 when the Front de Liberation du Quebec kidnapped some Canadian givernment guys. Being partly of French ancestry, I guess I'm sort of intrigud. Nothing like that has happened here, but on the other hand, we had an actual civil war.

3:25 PM  
Blogger Jack said...

Okay, Crystal. I'll leave you to your "friends." Jack

6:05 PM  
Blogger crystal said...

It's up to you, Jack - I have nothing against arguing issues, but derogatory remarks about other people are not wanted on the blog.

7:11 PM  
Blogger cowboyangel said...

It will be interesting to see if the Democratic Party looks at its primary system after this election. It's definitely convoluted, and parts of it don't seem, on the surface at least, very democratic. Both the national party and the state party machines may want to make some changes. Most likely, they'll each make changes without coordinating with each other. But trying to change the rules in the middle of a contest is never a good way to go.

Ironically, if Florida and Michigan had held their primaries when they normally do, they would've been really important contests. But in their desire to play a bigger role in the process, they wind up having no impact. After the primaries, I'm sure a deal will be made to seat delegates.

Getting your information about the primaries from Terry McAuliffe is like getting your information on the war in Iraq from Dick Cheney. Not exactly a disinterested and neutral observer. If Hillary were in Obama's position, he might've presented a more accurate depiction of what's happening, but he can't.

There's still a chance Hilary could win the popular vote, though I don't think it's likely. She certainly helped herself by crushing Obama in West Virginia. 41 points! But I think it's too late in the game to make up the difference.

After next Tuesday, if Obama does as well as expected in Oregon - even if he loses - he will then have the majority of pledged delegates, meaning that it will be mathematically impossible for Hillary to pass him. In fact, now that Edwards endorsed Obama, Barack will probably get Edwards' 18 delegates, making it virtually impossible for Hillary in terms of pledged delegates.

But, really, the battle from here on out is for super delegates.

Hillary is hoping that she can pass Obama in the popular vote, thus convincing super delegates to choose her over him. She keeps including Florida and Michigan totals in her popular vote count, and I doubt most super delegates will figure out the math the same way.

And now Obama has passed her in super delegates as well. So the only chance she really has at this point is if something happens to Obama.

8:27 AM  
Blogger crystal said...

William,

But the votes in Florida and Michegan should count towards the popular vote if only to show what the popular vote should show - that a certain number of Americans wanted her. And that should matter to delegates and the party if they do indeed want to defeat McCain.

So, once the convention starts, is it not possible for her to still be chosen, no matter how many delegates are for Obama - I mean, can they not change their minds at the convention? And what about how Humphrey was chosen - he had no delegates at all as he hadn't run in the primaries, but he was chosen. Maybe that can't happen anymore?

1:16 PM  
Blogger cowboyangel said...

But the votes in Florida and Michegan should count towards the popular vote if only to show what the popular vote should show - that a certain number of Americans wanted her.

Obama wasn't even on the ballot in Michigan, so how do you count the votes in that case?

And why should the Democratic Party change the rules in the middle of the contest?

Just because Hillary's losing?

If the situation were the opposite, and Obama was losing and asking to count Michigan and Florida, do you think Hillary would be advocating it? No, of course not. Would you? :-)

Technically, I believe Super Delegates and Pledged Delegates can change their minds at the convention. (I'm not positive that Pledged Delegates from ALL states can do that - for some reason I thought some states prevented it.) Actually, one Pledged Delegate changed his mind this week - moving from Clinton to Obama.

So, yes, it's possible that delegates could change their minds at the convention and move over to Clinton. But it looks more and more like Obama will get the number of delegates he needs to win the nomination through a combination of pledged delegates and super delegates. So he would have the numbers he needs on the first ballot at the convention.

And the thing is, the momentum is all going in Obama's direction. Hillary absolutely demolished him in West Virginia. Crushed him by 41 points. Yet he got 4.5 super delegates yesterday (the .5 being the chairwoman of Democrats Abroad) to 1 for Hillary, and today he got 4 more (including Henry Waxman and Howard Berman, major congressional committee chairmen and California superdelegates) to zero for Hillary. In addition, he's picked up major endorsements from NARAL, John Edwards, and the Steelworker's Union. Even I am at a loss to explain it. I just think the math for Hillary is impossible to overcome at this point, no matter how well she does in the last few contests, and the super delegates are beginning to say it's over.

So, yes, something could happen at the convention. But that would most likely mean something really shocking or terrible had happened, and I don't know if that would be any good for the Democratic Party.

4:26 PM  
Blogger crystal said...

He took his name off the ballot to appease the party bigwigs and that was his choice. But yes, maybe people then voted for her who would have voted for him.

But in Florida? I'm not saying they should change the rules in the middle. But the fact is that people did vote for her and whether their votes should count towards de;egates or not, are we supposed to pretend that thsoe people didn't basically say they thought she'd make a better president? That is just information that should be recognized, whether it is used to help her become the nominee or not, because it will have an impact in the fight between McCain and whoever is the democratic nominee, won't it?

Yes, the momentum is going towards him, but I'm not sure it's because those choosing him really think he's the best guy, but because they want the wavering over who will be the nominee to be over.

Ack - I'm kind of a sore loser :)

6:39 PM  

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