Tag Archives: presidential elections

It’s The Delegates, Stupid!

Well, Hillary did it. In spite of polls counting her out by double digits and the Obama campaign intimating her campaign’s demise, she just won the New Hampshire primary and we have witnessed one of the more amazing nights in recent political history. Hillary’s campaign looks more alive than ever and her acceptance speech was more natural and engaging than I have heard her sound in ages. Interestingly, she adapted much of the style and rhetoric of John Edwards in her speech. She mentioned Big Pharma as well as insurance and oil companies, much as Edwards has been doing for months.
According to John Donvan of ABC News and other sources, the Clinton campaign was down and expecting defeat, so even the campaign itself believed the polls. They were wrong and even the co-sponsor of the major rolling New Hampshire poll, CNN, has no idea what happened. A very interesting night!
But so what?
Here’s something that for some reason (Hmmmmm, ratings?) the news organizations don’t report very much or even at all. The “wins” in the primaries and caucuses as well as the polls all mean exactly…zero. Just like in the general election, the nomination process is based on delegates. Delegates to the national conventions are won according to a percentage of votes in the primaries. For example, Hillary won a HUGE victory in New Hampshire, right? Well, sort of. In delegate counts, Clinton and Obama each got 9 and Edwards picked up 4. Not such a huge win, after all. In Iowa it’s even weirder. Obama won a MASSIVE victory there, right? Well, he picked up 16 delegates while Edwards got 14 and Clinton got 15. Wait, didn’t Edwards beat Clinton in Iowa? Yup. Don’t ask me man. ABC News has it 18, 16 and 16.
Then we get into “super delegates,” which CNN.com describes as:
Superdelegates in the Democratic Party are typically members of the Democratic National Committee, elected officials like senators or governors, or party leaders. They do not have to indicate a candidate preference and do not have to compete for their position. If a superdelegate dies or is unable to participate at the convention, alternates do not replace that delegate, which would reduce the total delegates number and the “magic number” needed to clinch the nomination.
Ohhhhhh k!
The current delegate count, including superdelegates, stands at:
Hillary Clinton – 183
Barak Obama – 78
John Edwards – 52
Bill Richardson – 19
Dennis Kucinich – 1
What do they need to lock up the nomination? 2,025. Out of a total of 4,049 up for grabs, a whopping 333 have been awarded.
It’s a bit of a head scratcher to be sure, but what’s really important to realize is that Obama, Edwards and Clinton have not really lost any primaries or caucuses, at least not in the traditional sense of winner take all. A few more primaries with the three of them swapping places and the delegate count evens up. Hell, if Clinton and Obama beat up on each other and Edwards keeps coming in second…..Ok, ok. That’s less than likely, but my point is, it’s not about winning or losing primaries…at least it shouldn’t be. Of the 4,049 delegates in play, 8.22% have been awarded.
Personally, I’d like to see the process go on a bit. After all, that’s what the process is about, no? Giving the American people the chance to elect a new leader? Fewer than 1% of the voters have spoken, don’t you think we owe it to the other 99% to give them a chance?
Now if the press would actually start reporting it like it is…..