Sunday, January 20, 2008

Winners and Losers


Unwilling or perhaps incapable of paying zero attention to the results of yesterday's democratic charade, I was reminded of just how weird and byzantine the whole nomination process actually is. As the night went on, it became clear that the winner had in fact lost, and the so called loser had actually won.

This obviously does not fit the graphics of the networks or the splendour of the process as it is so effectively hyped. It causes the equivalent of MSM cognitive dissonance. It's as if the Cowboys kicked the Giants all over the field gaining twice as much yardage, yet losing by one on the scoreboard. (I don't know if they did or not)

Problem is, when this happens in football, everyone knows who won, the guy with the most points. Seven years ago, Gore had a half million more votes, yet everyone seemed to understand that he was a few electoral votes shy without Florida, therefore he was behind.
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Clinton got more votes yesterday, but Obama got more delegates, by 13 to 12. I would call that a tie at best, and a victory for Obama if you go by the scoreboard.

According to my addition, and based on this handy delegate map, Iowa, New Hampshire, and Nevada have assigned their elected delegates in the following way. In Iowa, Obama got 16, Edwards 14, and Clinton 15. (Edwards edged Clinton out in the vote, but not in delegates) In New Hampshire, Obama got 9, Clinton got 9, and Edwards got 4. Yesterday, apparently Obama got 13 and Clinton got 12, even though this site only gives Obama 12. Edwards was shut out.

So, between these states, the totals are Obama 38, Clinton 36, and Edwards 18. But if you google delegate counts for democrats, you mostly get the AP version of delegate count which includes the so called "super delegates".

According to the AP, "In the overall race for the nomination, Clinton leads with 187 delegates, including separately chosen party and elected officials known as super delegates. She is followed by Obama with 89 delegates and Edwards with 50."

So who are these super delegates?

Scott Galindez has a good piece in Truth Out on it:

There are 852 super delegates, roughly 40 percent of the amount of delegates needed to win the nomination. The category includes Democratic governors and members of Congress, former presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter, former vice president Al Gore, retired Congressional leaders such as Dick Gephardt and all Democratic National Committee members, some of who are appointed by party chairman Howard Dean.

There are 3,515 pledged delegates that are selected by the primary and caucus system.

Why Super Delegates?

Many see the system as undemocratic. It was set up as a safety net for party leaders to correct a "mistake" by the voters. It was a reaction to the McGovern nomination in 1972, and partly the Carter nomination in 1976. McGovern was seen as someone outside the mainstream. Party leaders wanted a way to influence the nominating process and rescue the party from a nominee they didn't think could win."

So, let's assume that the voters make a mistake and vote for Kucinich. The party regulars can then make it virtually impossible for him to be nominated. With super delegates representing 40 % of the delegates needed to win, the party favorite has an inside track to the nomination. That might help explain why Obama was pleased to announce Kerry's endorsement. He's also a super delegate.

The R's don't have this kind of thing.

It's kind of like voting for class president only to be overuled by the teacher.

So what if Obama gets the most delegates from the Primaries, but Clinton wins because of super delegates?

You might agree with Katrina vanden Heuvel:

"In 1988, Reverend Jesse Jackson challenged the notion that these appointed delegates be permitted to vote for the candidate of their choosing rather than the winner of the state’s caucus or primary. He was right to do so. Twenty years later, when the word “change” is being bandied about, isn’t it time for the Democratic Party to give real meaning to the word?

Strengthen our democracy by reforming the super-delegate system so that the people, not the party establishment, choose their candidate."

I agree.

Wouldn't democracy be stronger if the people, not the establishment chose our leaders.

But who would correct the mistake then?

And would that winner become a loser?

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4 Comments:

Anonymous a-muse-d said...

As with Gore in 2000, winning is in the eye of the beholder, or in the hands of Supreme Court.
FM

4:59 PM  
Blogger Charlie Loving said...

A new term:
Electile Dysfunction :

The inability to become aroused over any of the choices for president put forth by either party in the 2008 election year.

3:47 AM  
Anonymous a-muse-d said...

Charlie,
I'll bet the fish are really gonna be biting come March 4.
FM

4:38 PM  
Anonymous a-muse-d said...

Another new term:
Political Munchhausen's Syndrome by Proxy: what elitist feminists exhibit when adding their names to a list of Obama supporters.
FM

4:45 PM  

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