Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Super Tuesday

So I've wanted to write a lot especially with this day coming up, but I've been just to busy and exhausted to do so. But while were getting the results tonight, yesterday one of the better election watchers Chris Bowers predicts a horrifying scenario:

From this point, quick math shows that after Super Tuesday, only 1,428 pledged delegates will still be available. Now, here is where the problem shows up. According to current polling averages, the largest possible victory for either candidate on Super Tuesday will be Clinton 889 pledged delegates, to 799 pledged delegates for Obama. (In all likelihood, the winning margin will be lower than this, but using these numbers helps emphasize the seriousness of the situation.) As such, the largest possible pledged delegate margin Clinton can have after Super Tuesday is 937 to 862. (While it is possible Obama will lead in pledged delegates after Super Tuesday, it does not currently seem possible for Obama to have a larger lead than 75). That leaves Clinton 1,088 pledged delegates from clinching the nomination, with only 1,428 pledged delegates remaining. Thus, in order to win the nomination without the aid of super delegates, in her best-case scenario after Super Tuesday, Clinton would need to win 76.2% of all remaining pledged delegates. Given our proportional delegate system, there is simply no way that is going to happen unless Obama drops out.

So, there you have it. Unless either Obama or Clinton drops out before the convention, there is simply no way that the nominee can be determined without the super delegates. In the broadest definition of the term, "a brokered convention" is a convention that is determined by super delegates instead of nominating contests. Through a deadly combination of a primary calendar race to the bottom and an anachronistic method of delegate selection, we Democrats seem to have already arrived at that point. Short of one candidate dropping out, there is simply no easy way that this situation can be resolved. Given that Michigan and Florida combine for 313 pledged delegates, it is likely that this situation won't be resolved without severe bureaucratic fighting on the DNC rules and by-laws committee, or even a credential fight at the convention itself.

And why should either candidate drop out? Clinton has a large lead in super delegates, and can make a real argument over the Michigan and Florida delegations. Obama, by contrast, will probably lead in pledged delegates at the end of February, and will be able to raise significantly more money than Clinton. And so, we are at an impasse.

My instincts tell me this is a complete disaster, since it will shine light on complicated bylaws and the questionable democratic nature of the delegate selection process instead of on voters. As fascinating as it might be for political junkies, it is not the kind of image Democrats need. We need to figure a way out of this situation in a hurry.
And on that depressing note here's hoping for an Obama landslide tonight to prevent that kind of disaster. It looks like a small loss overall would be a good finish for Obama, since the states that follow super Tuesday are polling his way. I'll update later once the results have come in.


10:40 - So unlike every other primary so far... (surprised by Iowa, really shocked by New Hampshire, angry enough to kick a bike helmet over a house after Nevada, and surprised by the margin of win in South Carolina)... the results were mostly what I was expecting.

10:50 -
Hillary Clinton mentions unions in her speech and you can't be sure but I don't think she's was being sarcastic.

12:30 - Hillary Clinton takes California... so that takes the only knockout punch left off the table. The real shocker of the night has to be Huckabee's performance. That kind of leaves Romney with no where to go, and the GOP in complete, fucking chaos. Hilarious! If Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter trashing McCain wasn't good enough. So no huge upsets, but a great position for Obama heading into the next primaries, while the republicans are on the verge of civil war. All in all, not a bad night.

1 comment:

  1. Man, great point about how it isn't even really possible for one candidate to win, going into the convention. I really hope they (meaning both the candidates and the party itself) have enough grace to keep it from getting ugly when August rolls around.

    One thing I've been wondering about, that seems really major but only gets snippets of coverage every once in a while, is class.