Thursday, May 22, 2008

Playing with Primary numbers again...

Well, Kentucky and Oregon are done, and now the Democratic nomination race comes down to Puerto Rico, Montana and South Dakota (and a bunch of Democratic Party big wigs). So, as has been my tradition lately, let's go to CNN's handy delegate counter and play with some numbers.

Today, I've decided to give Senator Clinton a landslide. Large victories in all three remaining races, and a veritable STAMPEDE of super delegates to the Clinton camp. I have her winning the last three races 70-30 and taking the remaining super delegates by a mind-boggling 80-20. What's that add up to?


Obama wins by 25 delegates.

So, if Hillary wins every race left by a larger margin than she's won any single race to this point (OK, besides Arkansas, which she won 70-26) and takes the remaining superdelegates 4 to 1, she STILL LOSES.

Now what about Florida and Michigan you ask (because you're a Clinton supporter and you now have an ENTIRELY different opinion about the Florida and Michigan races than you did back in February).

Well, yes, counting Florida and Michigan as they voted would be a substantial benefit to Clinton, though only if you count ALL of the Michigan votes for her. If you give Clinton 55% of the Michigan votes (her share of the votes cast) and Obama none (since he WASN'T EVEN ON THE BALLOT) and give Clinton 50% of the Florida delegates to Obama's 33% (again, based on the ballots cast in a state where no one campaigned) then Senator Clinton is... STILL LOSING. That's right. Give her Michigan and Florida straight up as voted and the race STILL has Obama in the lead (2031-1968). It's a much closer race then, but she's STILL 63 delegates behind, and it'd be more if Obama's name had been on the ballot in Michigan (where 40% of voters chose "uncommitted" rather than vote for Hillary in an unopposed race).

Senator Clinton pulls into the delegate lead if, and ONLY if, you give her all 157 Michigan delegates (utterly ignoring the fact that Clinton only got 55% of the vote, that 40% of voters voted "uncommitted" on the ballot, and that the ballot didn't include Senator Obama's name at all). I'm willing to concede though that if you give Senator Clinton 100% of the Michigan delegates and 50% of the Florida delegates you get a race that shows Clinton at 2039 and Obama at 2031. So there you have it, an 8 delegate lead and all one has to do is give 100% of Michigan's delegates to a candidate who only got 55% of the vote in a vote where her main rival was not even listed on the ballot.

However, we all know there's just no way that the party seats Florida and Michigan delegates based upon vote totals in races where there was no campaign, or worse yet where leading candidates didn't even appear on the ballot. Even if they do though, Obama's STILL WINNING. He's got an over 60 delegate lead WITH Florida and Michigan counted. That means Clinton would need to win 73% of the remaining 86 delegates (with no movement from the supers) to come out of the campaign tied, IF you include Florida and Michigan and give Obama zero Michigan delegates. Well, she's not getting 70-30 splits in the last 3 races, so I don't see how a candidate can be losing after all of the races have been decided (EVEN INCLUDING FLORIDA AND MICHIGAN) and still argue that they should be given the nomination. Not that Clinton supporters won't try.

"Vote for me, I'm more electable" is a great slogan, but it loses some punch when the person you argue is "less electable" than you has won more states, more delegates and more votes than you. If Obama shouldn't be the nominee because he supposedly can't beat McCain in November, what sense does it make to give the nomination to Clinton, who can't beat Obama now? Well, no sense whatsoever, which is why I hope this tedium is over soon.

Recommend this Post

2 comments:

kristina said...

Florida and Michigan were not the only states that violated the delegate selection process timing rules

The law clearly states:
A. No meetings, caucuses, conventions or primaries which constitute the first determining stage in the presidential nomination process (the date of the primary in primary states, and the date of the first tier caucus in caucus states) may be held prior to the first Tuesday in February or after the second Tuesday in June in the calendar year of the national convention. Provided, however, that the Iowa precinct caucuses may be held no earlier than 22 days before the first Tuesday in February; that the Nevada first-tier caucuses may be held no earlier than 17 days before the first Tuesday in February; that the New Hampshire primary may be held no earlier than 14 days before the first Tuesday in February; and that the South Carolina primary may be held no earlier than 7 days before the first Tuesday in February. In no instance may a state which scheduled delegate selection procedures on or between the first Tuesday in February and the second Tuesday in June 1984 move out of compliance with the provisions of this rule.


That being the case Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina all violated this rule. Why are Florida and Michigan the only two states to be punished for it?

Regardless, under the DNC rules, the Florida and Michigan primaries clearly count, and they are entitled to have 50% of their delegates seated at the convention as allocated by their state primaries. However, given that Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina were not penalized at all, the equitable options are to strip 50% of Iowa’s, New Hampshire’s and South Carolina’s delegates, or Florida and Michigan should not lose any, just as the other three states were not penalized. It’s not only fair and just, it’s simply following the rules.
All states should be treated equally when voting, one state should not get waivers others do not. Are you saying that some states are worth more than others? That's what it sounds like to me.
On another note, Obama violated the DNC's rules by campaigning in both Michigan and Florida via television(CNN) nationwide. According to the law he would not be allowed any delegates from those states anyway, so as far as Michigan and him not being on the ballot goes- it's irrelevant he wouldn't get any delegates from either state regardless.

The law states:

A. No meetings, caucuses, conventions or primaries which constitute the first determining stage in the presidential nomination process (the date of the primary in primary states, and the date of the first tier caucus in caucus states) may be held prior to the first Tuesday in February or after the second Tuesday in June in the calendar year of the national convention. Provided, however, that the Iowa precinct caucuses may be held no earlier than 22 days before the first Tuesday in February; that the Nevada first-tier caucuses may be held no earlier than 17 days before the first Tuesday in February; that the New Hampshire primary may be held no earlier than 14 days before the first Tuesday in February; and that the South Carolina primary may be held no earlier than 7 days before the first Tuesday in February. In no instance may a state which scheduled delegate selection procedures on or between the first Tuesday in February and the second Tuesday in June 1984 move out of compliance with the provisions of this rule.

Lord Kitchener's Own said...

Actually Kristina, you forgot Nevada. Nevada was held on January 19th, and guess what? All four states were explicitly allowed to do so by the Party (also, here).

The Party's rules were modified on recommendations from the Party's Commission on Presidential Nomination Timing and Scheduling to allow the two traditional "early states" (Iowa and New Hampshire) to move up, and to allow Nevada and South Carolina to also move up to create 4 "early states". The regular window for contests was then opened on February 5th. Michigan and Florida moved up their primaries to before Feb. 5th against the wishes of the party, while N.H, Iowa, Nevada and South Carolina did so with the party's express permission.

So, that's the difference.

You can say that this means some states are being treated as being "worth more than others" but don't accuse me of doing that, that was the party's decision.

As for your proposed "sit 50% of the delegates" penalty, I'm not sure where you've pulled that suggestion from, but it seems kinda irrelevant. The Party has determined that Florida and Michigan broke the rules and that they should forfeit their delegates as a result. They're free to change their mind, but this notion that they're breaking the rules they're following simply isn't true. These rules were set in 2006, and Florida and Michigan have known since 2007 that they were violating them, and that there would be consequences (Florida moved their primary up in violation of the rules a full year ago this month). To pretend otherwise after the fact is disingenuous in the extreme.

As for your bit about Obama being on T.V. nationally during the campaigns and therefore that he violated the rules by "campaigning" in Florida, that's a ludicrous argument, but fine. Prove to me that Clinton was never shown on CNN before the Florida or Michigan primaries and we'll talk, but otherwise, if you want to throw all Obama's potential delegates out because he "campaigned" by virtue of being on national television back in January, I can GUARANTEE that by that standard you're going to have to nullify all Clinton's potential delegates too.

Of course, all of this is a moot point. Go ahead and sit the delegates I say. At this point it doesn't matter.

Obama still wins.