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April 22, 2008

Comments

This reminds me of when my mother was dying. Her doctors knew she had no chance, but they approved a bone marrow biopsy anyway. Their thinking was that no insurance company would approve it, so they would rather let the insurance company bring the bad news. But she got approved. The doctors still went ahead because they knew that there was almost no chance of finding a compatible donor in time. But the first donor she asked turned out to be a perfect match. When all else failed, the doctors eventually explained to her that she wasn't likely to wake up from the procedure. But they did their best to avoid having to say it for as long as they could.

"bone marrow biopsy anyway"

Oops, i meant transplant. Big difference.

They should have ended it a long time ago. At the latest, it became clear after TX/PA that the math just wasn't there. Why a whole lot more of them haven't come down off the fence is a total mystery to me.

Well, except for your answer: vanity and cowardice. Chiefly the latter, I suspect.

I disagree with the notion that the supers are waiting for voter cover; I think it's actually one more step removed from that.

They're hoping that other supers will use the voter cover to make their moves so they can follow the cover of the other supers.

It's a collective action problem; no one wants to stick their neck out, both for fear of retribution from the other side and for fear of being wrong.

Or rather, I'd bet that's what most of the remaining supers are thinking; but realistically, anyone remaining on the fence at this point is already showing a totally craven level of political cowardice, and the fact that the overall rancor of the primary is ratcheting up is actually increasing the potential liability of acting now, and that makes them less likely to move as time goes on.

Really, anyone who's still holding out at this point is almost definitionally more concerned about their political careers than they are about "putting an end to things." There's no upside to moving now. That train left the station a while ago, kids.

I think it depends a lot on who they are. A lot of them are just reluctant to jump ahead of their home state's primary. For senators and the like, it's just wise to bet on the winning horse. You can't really blame someone for taking that approach when they're allowed to bet after the race is over.

The superdelegates are gun-shy - having seen Clinton's "inevitable" nomination turn into a long shot, they're waiting to see which candidate gets close enough so that a few well-negotiated superdelegates will put one of them over. If, say, Obama's 10 superdelegates shy of the nomination, I expect some superdelegates will suddenly suggest that a federal judgeship (or ambassadorship) would help them make up their minds...

Wait--you're surprised that politicians are holding back from making a decision that some people might find unpopular?

Snark aside, we all know that most politicians are by nature risk-averse, so it's no surprise that those who haven't already chosen sides are holding out, hoping that someone will make the job easy for them. And it's possible that PA voters did that, by denying Clinton a double-digit victory. If they didn't then in two weeks when Obama likely pushes his pledged delegate count back up to where it is tonight, maybe some more will come off the fence. And if, along the way, we build organizations in Indiana and North Carolina and Kentucky and West Virginia and all the rest, then so much the better for November.

I think their reluctance is perfectly understandable. If they came down decisively on the side of Obama at this point, it would likely piss off a lot of Clinton supporters, to the detriment of the party's chances in November. Obviously, choosing to break for Clinton would obviously have the same result. The party is riven right now, and the supers are waiting as long as they can in the hopes that that the rift will resolve itself (either through a decisive victory on one side or the other or Clinton deciding to drop out for the good of the party). Unfortunately, I don't think either of those life rafts are likely to come along and the supers will end up making the call - but so long as the risks of splitting the party by preempting the voters outweigh the risks of prolonging the primary season in their minds, it makes sense for them to put it off as long as possible. It's risky, but they're really between a rock and a hard place right now, so they haven't got much of a choice.

Publius, I think you are exactly right.

Maybe they understand that Barack outspent Hillary 2 to 1 and came in ten under in an all important state, that take away the red states and Barack has very little and that in order to win in Nov. the dems have to carry Pennsyvania, Florida, and Ohio.

Really, the most impressive narrative-driving achievement of the Clinton campaign is that we're even here talking about this in the first place.

We've all become pretty desensitized to what we're really saying here, which is that most of the Party has accepted as a politically plausible option one candidate's argument that the superdelegates should be able to determine the nominee independent of the outcome of the primary.

If you could go back to Jan. 1 and tell me that, at the end of April, one candidate would be ahead by a few hundred thousand votes and a hundred-plus delegates and the other candidate would be arguing that "the tide is turning" (again?) and that "supers are beginning to wonder" (just now?) and was seriously arguing that they should win the nomination despite fulfilling any conceivable criteria that could have been laid down prior to the primary -- and that we would all just be going along with that, I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have believed you.

And yet here we are. I actually have to actively remind myself of just how screwed up all of this is.

Seriously, who needs rules when we have an endless circus of post ex facto expectations? Heck, why have delegates or votes at all if they don't actually determine the nominee? I'm sure that all these contributions and all these wonderful turnout numbers will be just fine. We've entered a new political age, just like the housing market!

Well, I'm sure that at least some of the Supers are in states that have yet to vote. I can't say it's completely unreasonable for them to hang back until their constituents have had their say. There are also a bunch of supers, like Pelosi and Dean, who can't endorse due to their position in the party. And there are still 60+ supers who have yet to be selected, the so-called add-on delegates who are picked by the various state conventions.

If we exclude all those, how many real fence-sitters are their left?

I think the superdelegates are just waiting to make sure that the Obama doesn't shoot himself in the foot between now and the convention. They are keeping Clinton around in case that happens.

Incertus is absolutely right: it's just their nature, and that nature is one of the reasons they're successful politicians. (It's shared by many successful executives too.) They never make a decision they don't have to -- except for the very rare case where it's truly a no-brainer -- and they always want to keep their options open.

Look at it from their point of view. No matter what you decide on a matter of public interest (again with very rare exceptions), some group will be absolutely apoplectic with rage and will launch jihad against you, which media jackals will pick up and broadcast nationwide. Meanwhile, those who support the decision will sit back quietly -- maybe toss you a few bucks -- and the rest (usually the large majority) will be ignorant or indifferent. So by making a decision, you've cost yourself public points and gained little or nothing, except maybe a little cash from your favored constituents. And the more evenly divided the audience (as in this case), the worse the blowback.

On the other hand, by waiting, you might catch a little scorn -- nothing new for a politician -- but you avoid jihad. And maybe, if you wait, the situation will change, and you can either avoid the decision altogether, or at least sneak something through quietly, thereby earning said constituent largesse while avoiding the costs.

Another reason in this case may be, not having the nomination decided ain't necessarily such a bad thing -- at least not so far. I assume everyone has noticed that Hillary and Obama have been receiving a ton of free publicity, a ton of money, and a level of voter enthusiasm and interest that's unparalleled in recent memory for the Democratic party. ($90M collectively in February, vs. $15M for Republicans, 4M Democratic registrants in PA, etc.) Against that are the costs of an open contest (the money, the negativity), which the media happily play up, but which IIRC is far from historical levels of rancor for nomination contests, almost none of which have ever been decided before June.

I don't know where the tipping point is -- I suspect it's close -- but the supers don't seem to think we've got there yet.

All of which is to say, I don't think they're about to jump, and I don't think voter grumbling is gonna change their minds. I expect they will be after Indiana, which is the only truly unknown primary in the near future, and which the Hillary camp admits is pretty much a must-win for them. If she doesn't win pretty conclusively there, I'd be willing to bet the fat lady's gonna make her entrance.

New Orleans and free trade reminds me of when my bureau chief benefited. It was earth day.

publius: “So they're just waiting for the slam dunk plus foul to jump in and endorse Obama.”

Maybe they’re waiting for Obama to trip over his big feet and break an arm: a season ending injury; or maybe they’re waiting for him to say or do something dopy that elicits flagrant fouls and double technicals so he’s thrown out of three or four of the upcoming primaries – something, anything, so they don’t have to vote for him at the convention, many of them having already figured out that though he can win the nomination, he can’t win most of the swing-states required to capture the presidency, and will become another Adlai Stevenson, one more nice-guy Democrat who finished last.

Unless, that is, they do what they’re supposed to do as super-delegates – which is to vote for the candidate they think has the best chance of winning the election, which is not necessarily the one with the most assigned delegates.

I can translate ken's comment for everyone:

Maybe they understand that Barack outspent Hillary 2 to 1
"Vote for the candidate that raises less money"
and came in ten under in an all important state,
"Vote for the candidate who can consistently blow 20-30 point leads inside of three weeks"
that take away the red states and Barack has very little
"Vote for the candidate that appeals to New England liberals, they can't lose in the general"
and that in order to win in Nov. the dems have to carry Pennsyvania, Florida, and Ohio.
"Vote for the candidate that turns out the exact same coalition that's always been such a winner for us in the general; everyone knows that primary wins are the same as general-election wins anyway"

... Indeed, those are the actual principles the Party has generally used to choose its Presidential nominee.

Non 'red' states which Obama has won:

Washington
Wisconsin
Missouri
Illinois
Colorado
Marylan
Hawaii
Connecticut
Iowa
Minnesota
Maine
Vermont

There might be a few of these democrats might like to win in November.

Please also note Hillary wins which clearly don't matter:

Texas
Arizona
Oklahoma
Tennessee

(and soon Kentucky)

Democrats in all of these states please take note, piss off!

Does anyone have a link to a site that shows which superdelegates (oops, 'Automatic Delegates) are committed to whom and who are undecided. Rightly or wrongly this is what the superdelegates are suppose to do.

I don't understand how a Democratic primary can be donsidered a predicter of the outcome in a national election.

PA was a race between two Deomcrats. The antional race wil be a race between a Democrat and a Republican.

Seems sort of obvious that the Clinton spin "Iwon the big staes" is just spin.

Besides I'm not looking forward to a campaign based on the principles which brought the results we got in 2000 and 2004.

adam: "We've all become pretty desensitized to what we're really saying here, which is that most of the Party has accepted as a politically plausible option one candidate's argument that the superdelegates should be able to determine the nominee independent of the outcome of the primary."

In fact, that's exactly what the superdelegates are supposed to do, per Lanny Davis, here:.

"When the superdelegates were first created by the Democratic National Committee in 1982, they were intended to be independent, able to vote for any candidate, regardless of the outcome of the primaries or caucuses in their own congressional districts or states.... The suggestion now being made by some that the original intention was for superdelegates merely to mirror the results of their respective congressional district primaries and caucuses, is nonsense. That would have been illogical. Why create them at all if that were the case?"

More info here.

The superdelegates are supposed to vote for the candidate who they think has the best chance to win, and/or will make the best president if elected.

I recognize the merits of what Publius and others are saying, and yet...

I have friends in their 40s and 50s who have never been able to vote in a primary, because it was always decided by someone else. They're getting to do that this year, and it feels good to them. I haven't seen any discussion at all of what yanking away the late voting opportunity might do to voter morale in the affected states, but it seems to me like it might be substantial. It's possible that some of the super-delegates agree with me.

Of course the supers can do whatever they want. The issue is the basis for their decision. Should they vote their own inclinations? Should they vote for whoever got the nmost delegates or the most votes? It is pretty hard for the supers to justify overturning the will of the majority of the voters. They would have to have a compelling reason, something more thatn just personal inclination or they run the risk of serioulsy dividing the party.

Also I think we can assume that however they decide the best interests of the party should be paramont. So is it the best intersts of the party to keep going?

If HRC was running a decent campaign, I'd say yes, lket's keep going., However her tanya Harding approach is harmful to both her and Obama. Whiloe busily spreading rightwing smears against Obama she has run her own disapproval ratings upt to 54%

If the elction was today neither would win.

BTW I listened to a discussion by three pollsters (Pew was one) on NPR and they seemed to think that Obama's coalition would do very well against McCain. I don't remember what they said about Hillary.

"I haven't seen any discussion at all of what yanking away the late voting opportunity might do to voter morale in the affected states, but it seems to me like it might be substantial."

Probably not as demoralizing to voters as losing the presidential election, Bruce...

Washington
Wisconsin
Missouri
Illinois
Colorado
Marylan
Hawaii
Connecticut
Iowa
Minnesota
Maine
Vermont

There might be a few of these democrats might like to win in November.

Posted by: sven | April 22, 2008 at 11:29 PM


How many delegates here in this listing? How many in the southern states no dem can win?

What the hell does Indiana and North Carolina have to do with it? The only poll that matters is one in the states that matter in Nov.

Oh, hi Jay. Nice to see you citing your references to Wikipedia this time.

I'm not sure where you got the impression that I was saying that superdelegates are obligated to mirror anyone's vote; anyone with a rudimentary understanding of the history of the Dem primaries is well aware that the supers are a pre-reform holdover, regardless of whether that's a good thing or not. I am fairly familiar with the evolution of the primary system, but I suppose your cliff notes can't hurt the discussion.

What I did say was that the current situation is astonishing in that it wasn't part of anyone's expectations a few short months ago -- and you may have noticed that I credited this change to what's been an astonishing job of expectation-setting by the Clinton campaign -- and it's odd that such a disconnect has happened so smoothly considering the stakes.

I did also say that the supers are not currently being asked to vote on any criteria laid down (by the Clinton campaign nor anyone else) prior to January, but that's not really a controversial claim as far as I know. I'd be astonished and interested if you could find evidence to the contrary, though. But regardless of whether it was made or not, it most certainly wasn't a meaningful part of the discussion.

My two cents... it's close, so the majority of them are doing what they're supposed to be doing.

My guess is that they'll defacto caucus in June. By doing so, they accomplish a few things.

First, they allow almost every state to be engaged. Nebraska - July 17 - is probably too much. As a result of this engagement, the GOTV plans are practiced, Democratic voter registration has been massively increased in every state, and the voters are involved and concerned. Larger pools who care about the vote make it more likely the winner - regardless of whom it turns out to be - even solider. Better yet, these same larger parties make for higher success rates down-ticket.

Second, the last six weeks was the chance to see the candidates' endurance. Was there a weakness, a fatal flaw, that would show under scrutiny? Are those attacks - Wright, or a certain airport, or whatever - going to matter to significant degree? The answer is we don't know. But by the end of this upcoming six weeks we will.

If it is still fairly close in June - and I suspect it will be - then the superdelegates will discuss and debate and decide. If it isn't close, they'll confirm. Oh, I should be clearer. I suspect what they'll really take note of is the performance of this last six weeks.

That's my two cents, anyway. Six more weeks, and then the superdelegates will close the book.

Scott:

Go to: demconwatch.blogspot.com/

They have a good breakdown of the pledged delegates and keep an updated list of pledged and unpledged superdelegates.

Scott:

Go to: demconwatch.blogspot.com/

They have a good breakdown of the pledged delegates and keep an updated list of pledged and unpledged superdelegates.

You can spend time writing columns about what in particular you find distasteful and insane about John McCain and his public statements, or you can do his work for him.

Choice #2 today. His campaign thanks you.

What on earth does that mean, now_what?

[...] We've all become pretty desensitized to what we're really saying here, which is that most of the Party has accepted as a politically plausible option one candidate's argument that the superdelegates should be able to determine the nominee independent of the outcome of the primary.

If you could go back to Jan. 1 and tell me that [...] and was seriously arguing that they should win the nomination despite fulfilling any conceivable criteria that could have been laid down prior to the primary -- and that we would all just be going along with that, I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have believed you.

What is this "the primary" that you repeatedly refer to? Is this synecdoche for "all the primaries and caucuses of the Democratic nomination process," or is there a specific primary you have in mind, or what?

"What on earth does that mean, now_what?"

Something to do with someone who writes a newspaper or magazine column, apparently.

It's not rocket science, really it isn't.

The post is doing John McCain's work for him. What part of that do you have trouble figuring out?

In what sense is a comment about super-delegates and the extension of the Democratic primary campaign after it could likely be concluded doing McCain's work? Be specific.

many of them having already figured out that though he can win the nomination, he can’t win most of the swing-states required to capture the presidency, and will become another Adlai Stevenson, one more nice-guy Democrat who finished last.

Yeah, Hillary Clinton will be a fearsome force come November, what with 60% of the public declaring already that they do not like her and do not trust her. She was already a dubious contender when this thing got started. Now she's just living day by day, no long term strategy. She just survived in PA at the expense of her national polls sinking yet further. She's driving a burning car right off a cliff, is the damn party going to unhitch itself first?

I was pretty specific already. I know you can figure it out. You're smart. Right?

Okay, so you don't have an answer. We are to mystically intuit that discussion of a disagreement among Democrats does McCain's work. Got it.

I am counting on you to figure it out when it is too late.

Why can't they just count all the votes? ;)
(waves to Jes)

Obama's problem

DaveC: wtf? I haven't the foggiest idea what you're talking about. To paraphrase a friend of mine when addressing her three year old: "DaveC, use your words!"

Dear Publius. I hope you are well.

Considering my dislike and distrust for the Democratic Party as an institution, I'm not sorry about the continuing mayhem and strife inside that party. I far prefer the GOP to win.

Sincerely, Sean M. Brooks

Sean,

I for one wept bitterly upon learning that you are not sorry for the Democratic party. I was once a happy man, but now burdened with such horrible knowledge, my life has turned bleak and dark. When I think of how very much your trust and approval must be worth, it boggles my mind. I mean, you happily supported the party of pointless wars that killed one million innocent people, the party that failed to get Bin Ladin, the party of pointless torture and degradation. With such exacting moral standards, it is easy to see why your approval is sought by political parties the world over.

Dear Turbulence. Thanks for your note.

And I CONTINUE to disagree with you. And to have only distrust for the Democrats. To me, the Democrats stand for abortion, an insane lust for centralizing ever more power in the gov't, endless taxes and regulations which strangles and chokes the taxpayers and the economy, hatred and contempt for Christians, and so on.

Btw, it was AL QAEDA who attacked us and started the war on terror. And I continue to support Pres. Bush and the war. My view is the war in Iraq is right for three reasons. It got rid of a cruel and dangerous tyrant who was a threat to us and a menace to his neighbors. Second, it gives us the chance to push the Middle East out of the hopeless rut where the only political choices people had were various secular or jihadist tyrannies (iow, an even partially democratic Iraq will break the political logjam). Third, the struggle in Iraq acts as a magnet attracting fanatical Jihadists to fight us there (FAR better than having them trying to sneak into the US for more Nine Elevens).

And I don't expect anyone in this mostly liberal blog to agree one bit with me! SMILES.

Sincerely, Sean M. Brooks

Sean: It got rid of a cruel and dangerous tyrant

...whom the US, under President Reagan and President Bush, had supported as a cruel and dangerous tyrant, as the US has supported and is now supporting many other cruel and dangerous tyrants.

who was a threat to us

No. There was no way in which Iraq - or Saddam Hussein - was a threat to the US.

and a menace to his neighbors.

His neighbors did not agree with that assessment.

Second, it gives us the chance to push the Middle East out of the hopeless rut where the only political choices people had were various secular or jihadist tyrannies

After five years of war in Iraq you can still type this with a straight face?

Third, the struggle in Iraq acts as a magnet attracting fanatical Jihadists to fight us there

Sean, I can understand how you can be uninformed enough to think point one is true, and I accept because I must, that you are uninformed enough to believe point two is true.

But surely you must be aware that point three - the presumption that it's a good thing for the US to have an ongoing war in Iraq because it means people who want to fight the US go to Iraq - violently contradicts the claim of goodwill towards Iraqis made by point one and towards the people of the Middle East made by point two?

I mean, this is quite aside from the fact that point three is based on the same degree of ignorance as point one and point two: the number of foreign fighters in Iraq, aside from the US occupation and allies, is minimal. What is going on in Iraq is a civil war in which over one million Iraqis have died. But, set that enormity aside:

Your argument based on one, two, and three, appears to be:

It is better that the Iraqi people die horribly because their country is being made use of in a war between Americans and al-Qaeda terrorists, than that they should live under a cruel and dangerous tyrant: and besides, making use of Iraq as a kind of anti-terrorist flypaper somehow gives other Middle Eastern countries "secular or jihadist tyrannies" and helps establish a democracy in Iraq.

Seriously, Sean: are you able to see that your acceptance of point three completely invalidates any claim of goodwill towards Iraqis and other ME people made in point one and point two?

That should have been: somehow gives other Middle Eastern countries more choice than "secular or jihadist tyrannies" and helps establish a democracy in Iraq.

Sorry. Preview is my friend.

I think it's past time for Al Gore and John Edwards to announce their support for the candidate of their choice and be the moral leaders the country needs. Then, perhaps, the super delegate logjam will burst.

Bruce Baugh: I have friends in their 40s and 50s who have never been able to vote in a primary, because it was always decided by someone else. They're getting to do that this year, and it feels good to them.

I think that is a really good point. In fact, it’s the first good point I’ve heard anywhere for letting this drag on. The number of new voter registrations and the turnout point to a level of involvement I can’t recall before in my lifetime. And that I think is a good thing.

The flip side of that of course is that if the super-delegates go against the popular vote in the end al lot of these same people are going to be some combination of extremely angry and extremely cynical such that they will never bother again.

The number of new voter registrations and the turnout point to a level of involvement I can’t recall before in my lifetime. And that I think is a good thing.

it's a good thing for the GOP, since 47% of PA's Hillary voters say they will vote for McCain over Obama, should Hillary not be able to backroom her way into the nomination.

those people are not Democrats.

They are the Limbaugh(c)rats, to be precise.
(they are also moving heaven and earth to keep the thing in limbo, so they can raise hell later [/bad pun])

God I fncking hate this process now.

"I've said it before, and I'll say it again: democracy just doesn't work."--Kent Brockman

it's a good thing for the GOP, since 47% of PA's Hillary voters say they will vote for McCain over Obama, should Hillary not be able to backroom her way into the nomination.

And 31% of the Obama voters would vote for McCain they say.

I don't think this means much; there are so many possible ways to interpret this (signal to the SD's from Hillary voters, likely-winners-generosity from Obama voters, anger at Obamasupporters from Hillary sups, etc.). Maybe quite a lot of the Obama supporters are Republicans who are anti-McCain, since most of the partyswitchers appear to be Obama voters.

About half the party-switchers had been registered Republicans, while the rest had been unaffiliated with either party, and even more were voting for the first time in Pennsylvania.

Most of those new Democrats were mobilized to come out for Obama, and they were nearly one-fifth of Obama's supporters. Even the former Republicans favored Obama over Clinton, largely invalidating rumors that Republicans would vote strategically in the Democratic primary in support of Clinton, hoping she would be easier to defeat in November.

I think that once the nominee is chosen most democrats will rally behind the nominee.

largely invalidating rumors that Republicans would vote strategically in the Democratic primary in support of Clinton

that is an invalid conclusion, IMO.

it's entirely possible that there are two separate groups of crossover Republicans: people voting because they truly like the candidate and will likely vote for him/her in the G.E., and mischievous crossovers trying to game the election in favor of the candidate they think McCain will have the easiest time with.

How many delegates here in this listing? How many in the southern states no dem can win?

Did you actually not read the list ken melvin? THe list specifically left out southern states. In fact you will note that it was prefaced as a list of "non-red States."

What the hell does Indiana and North Carolina have to do with it? The only poll that matters is one in the states that matter in Nov.

Your assumptions about what States matter is shortsighted to say the least. There are a lot of reasons why Dems are energized about the so-called 50 state strategy but setting that aside, NC and Indiana are not on that list. In fact, every state on that list matters greatly to Democrats in the fall no matter what strategy is employed. In fact losing any of those states will make it quite difficult for any Democrat to win the presidency. I am assuming you would agree and just managed to comment without reading sven's comment very carefully.

If we exclude all those, how many real fence-sitters are there left?

Looking at Demconwatch, excluding unpledged add-ons who have yet to be chosen; delegates from Guam, North Carolina, Indiana, West Virginia, Kentucky, Oregon, South Dakota, Montana, and Puerto Rico; DNC officers; members of the House and Senate leadership (although many in the Senate leadership, at least, have endorsed); Democratic National Convention committee chairs (although many of these seem to either have endorsed or not be superdelegates); and Jimmy Carter and Al Gore - there are 177 other superdelegates who have not yet endorsed.

So the answer is 177. Get off your asses, 177 superdelegates with no excuse not to choose!

ken melvin:

How many delegates here in this listing?

Let's look at electoral votes instead.

Washington - 11
Wisconsin - 10
Missouri - 11
Illinois - 21
Colorado - 9
Maryland - 10
Hawaii - 4
Connecticut - 7
Iowa - 7
Minnesota - 10
Maine - 4
Vermont - 3

That totals 107. Maine splits EVs, so maybe 106.

How many in the southern states no dem can win?

I would say a Dem can win any of those states this year. Only Missouri and Iowa are borderline southern, but both will certainly be competetive.

And the person originally making the list forgot Virginia (13), which has had two Democratic Governors, a Dem Senator, and may elect another Dem Senator in 2008.

Now we're up to 119.

If we include California (55) and New York (31), which the Democrat, whoever it is, is very likely to win, we get up to 205.

Can't forget Massachusetts (12) , Rhode Island (4) , DC (3) , and Delaware (3), so we're up to 227.

Now we get to the leaners, let's take New Jersey (15), Michigan (17), and Oregon (7), and we're at 266. And Nebraska splits their 5 EVs, so Obama would get at least 1, likely two, so that's 268.

Now, all that is needed is a small state, like New Hampshire (4), New Mexico (5), Arkansas (6), or any of the big swing states like Pennsylvania (21), Ohio (20), or Florida (27) to get over 270.

So theoritically, Obama doesn't have to win Ohio, Pennsylvania, or Florida, and he could still win a tight victory in the general. The swing statees in this hypothetical election would be Missouri, Virginia, Iowa, and Colorado. But Obama could certainly win Ohio or Pennsylvania (Florida is unlikely) and not need to sweep all four listed above.

"And 31% of the Obama voters would vote for McCain they say."

I'd like a cite on that, please.

The one cite you gave specifically says otherwise: "The animosity between the two camps led 16 percent of Obama supporters to say they would vote for Republican John McCain if Clinton were the nominee."

I'd also be very wary of simple claims that someone has seen an exit poll that says something or other. I want cites to actual polling information, not an oral quote from someone, myself, before I'll believe any figures at all about an exit poll. But that's me.

Jesus does no one have the capability for patience anymore?

Superdelagates votes only count when they count. Their votes will only matter at the convention if then. Even if they stated their preferences now they would still be able to decide their votes without reference to that. Heck, they may not get to cast them. So what you are asking for would be nothing but high grade fertilizer (bull type) even if you got it.

Besides a public declaration now would only make orchestrating a proper bidding war more difficult. Essentialy you are calling people cowardly scum for failing to give up their perquisites, for your benefit, because you just can't stand to wait.

I am running out of patience with the uncommitted supers from my state, which went overwhelmingly to Obama in a high turnout PRIMARY election. All subsequent tracking polls have given Obama a clear advantage over Clinton in the state relative to McCain. There are six of them, and several are elected officials, whose campaigns I have given volunteer effort and money to, and I will be writing them each a letter shortly.

<@Gary: the 31% came from Cleeks link. He only mentioned the other number but I clicked and looked.

I think polls are to be seen as no more than an indication and that these kind of polling questions don't say anything. Hence my remark that it doesn't mean much, those figures.

I'd like a cite on that, please.

your cite, sir.

The winning the big states argument put forth by the HRC campaign assumes that a win in the primaries means a win in the national. If that's the case, how come HRC, who won the primary 9.3 is losing Penn against McCain right now?

The problem with a long campaign is her camp's relentless negative and promotion of rightwing smewars. There are three bad effects: gives the smears added credibility since they are coming frm a Dem, runs her own disapprovals up making her less electable, and encourages her supporters to demonize Obama, hence the frelatively large percent of her supporters who say thaey won't vote for Obama in the general.

The long gthe campaign goes on the more significant those factors will be.

On a more positve note, Obama, while dmoving from twnety behind to ten (I'm rounding) behind, managed to increase his share of the Clinton-leaning groups:

One of the arguments the Clinton campaign is making to the supers, hoping they'll overturn the will of the voters, is that Obama can't win certain demographics. Yet looking at the exit poll numbers, it's clear that Obama has actually been making serious gains the past six weeks.

Obama's percent of the vote:

OH PA
60 and older 28 38
White 34 38
White men 39 44
White women 31 34
Less than $50K 42 46
No college 40 38
College 51 49
Catholic 36 31
Protestant


I don't know that the increases are bigh enough to call "serious" but, in spite of all HRC's nastiness, there has been some movement from her base to his and no bleeding the othehr way.

Wow. Frank and I are in agreement. Time to buy a lottery ticket.

I voted yesterday in the PA primary. And it wasn't until I was on the way to the polls that I finally made my decision. A LOT of voters have been in the same boat, why should the superdelegates be immune?

Obama/Clinton partisans aside, lots of people see this as a choice between two very good, yet very different candidates. You can't just put them on the same scale and say "X gets more points on the scale, so X is better". (well, you can, but it's stupid and you should be ignored)

I think it's adhering to GOP talking points to assume that the superdelegates are holding back because they're being shifty, finger-in-the-wind types.

Do you know what this reminds me of? All the hoopla about the 2000 election. "No time for recounts, give us the result now, now, now!" Yeah, that turned out SO well, didn't it?

I think that is a really good point. In fact, it’s the first good point I’ve heard anywhere for letting this drag on. The number of new voter registrations and the turnout point to a level of involvement I can’t recall before in my lifetime. And that I think is a good thing.

I'm beginning to wonder if there's a bit of Democratic kabuki going on here, using the primary as a way of creating a general election ground game under the cover of the primary season. I'm willing to bet that many more people are donating to the Democratic primaries -- having strong feelings on Hillary v. Barack -- than might do so for the general election. This could well explain the supers willingness to let this go on, particularly Dean et al. on the various Democratic Party committees.

I mean, you think Democratic fund-raising is scary-big right now? Imagine what will happen if Barack and Hillary merge their freshly-mobilized forces come the convention...

Bruce Baugh brings up a thought I had: how does ending it when Clinton has a mathematical though unlikely possibility of victory not disenfranchise the voters of Indiana, West Virginia, Kentucky, Oregon, North Carolina, Montana, South Dakota, Puerto Rico and Guam?

And how does Michigan and Florida play into this? I haven't really been paying attention, but last I heard Michigan was pretty much off for a revote even by mail. Doesn't that leave it to become a convention issue? And what about Florida? I am asking for input because I am admittedly not that well informed on the latest.

And J. Jerome has a good point: I read Adam's post as saying that the party has become "desensitized" to Clinton's argument that the superdelegates should be independent. Frex:

Heck, why have delegates or votes at all if they don't actually determine the nominee?

But doesn't that mean you should complete the voting?

So here is the problem from my point of view:

1) If the supers should follow the popular vote, don't you have to wait for the vote to come in unless it's really, really over?

2) What do you do with Mich. and Fla?

the only way it's over is if the supers cast their votes now as Publius wants and function as independents in the interest of the party. That would, in my opinion, be best for democrats. And why I am enjoying the infighting.

And where are you,Jes, on this issue? If all the votes were to be counted in 2000 in Fla, are you for seating Fla and Mich and waiting until those votes are in to make a decision? Does the interests of democrats allow for an exception here? Or are you hoping that Clinton finally pulls a Mitt Romney and bows out?

Oh, somehow I had totally forgotten about the Michigan/Florida issue.

There is no way of avoiding that ugliness now. I don't look forward to Clinton seriously arguing (again) that a vote in a place where only her name was on the ballot should count to put her over the top. It just illustrates that her respect for the rule of law isn't what we'd want.

If all the votes were to be counted in 2000 in Fla, are you for seating Fla and Mich and waiting until those votes are in to make a decision?

Speaking for myself, the difference here is that both candidates campaigned in Michigan and Florida in the 2000 election, whereas there was an agreement not to campaign there in the primary this year. It was an unfair -- or at least pointless -- exercise.

I'm all for a revote in both states, btw -- which, incidentally, I would also have supported in 2000 -- but simply seating the delegates as-is undermines the democratic process: the candidates should be given the opportunity to make their case to the voters, who in turn should be assured that their vote will count come the election. Those opportunities and assurances were given (erroneously IMO) in 2000, but were definitely not given here in 2008.

Obviously Jes', and your, mileage may vary.

"I want cites to actual polling information, not an oral quote from someone, myself, before I'll believe any figures at all about an exit poll."

I think I wasn't clear here: I mean that I'd like a cite to an actual full poll, with full information on how it was taken, and the complete figures. Not a news story on a poll, or a report that someone has read some figures, but the actual full and formal and complete polling information.

There are far too many of these "I got figures from News Source X that says Y" reports that contradict each other for me to be interested in other than first-hand, rather than second or third-hand, information. Others MMV on this.

I should also say that I wouldn't put much credence in any figures, no matter how well measured, that are people's opinions as to what they'll do in the future. People tend to suck at predicting what they'll do in six months or more.

Greg Sargent saying that "MSNBC just announced" doesn't cut it for me. I want links to actual documents, or I'm not very interested at this point, myself. What was MSNBC's sample, who did the polling, what's their history, how reliable are they, what's their methodology, etc. are the questions I'd ask about any exit poll, myself.

But, then, I've done lots of polling, starting over thirty years ago, so I've helped chop the sausage, and thus am picky about this sort of things. No need to pay me mind on this. I probably shouldn't have bothered to say anything at all.

The superdelegates could end it effectively by splitting 50-50 & indicating that they were NOT planning to overturn the pledged delegate vote & hand the nomination to Clinton. But do you know why that would end it? Because people are guessing that Obama has already won too many pledged delegates in elections & caucuses for Clinton to be able to catch up mathematically. I mean, maybe we're guessing wrong, maybe she can win the rest of the states 65-35 or whatever margin she needs to catch up. But the superdelegates making clear that they are NOT going to overturn the pledged delegate winner hardly disenfranchises voters; if anything the opposite. The press might cover it differently, but votes would be votes.

i still get a kick out of the fact that Clinton supporters hold both of these ideas in their heads at the same time:

1. the Party's punishment of FL and MI amounts to "disenfranchisement". (though this was only clear to them once HRC started losing)

2. the Party's unaccountable super-delegates should ignore the pledged delegate count and popular vote totals when deciding (for Hillary, of course).

if the Party is punishes two states and ignores their votes, it's disenfranchisement. if the party ignore the votes of all states, it's the right thing to do.

Oh, and: "And 31% of the Obama voters would vote for McCain they say."

"your cite, sir."

Thanks. The cite doesn't, in fact, say what's claimed, though.

It says that "In a startling finding, only 53% of Clinton supporters say they'd vote for Obama against McCain, while 69% of Obama backers would vote for her as the nominee."

There's no info there on what the other 31% of Obama voters would do. Maybe they'll sit on their hands; maybe they'll start a third party; maybe they'll campaign for revolution; maybe they'll go nihlist; maybe they'll try to draft Gore; maybe they'll start building a generation ship to the stars; maybe they'll commit mass suicide; maybe they'll all take up macramé; maybe they'll do any number of possible things: where's the cite on what those 31% actually intend to do?

Where's the cite that actually confirms that "31% of the Obama voters would vote for McCain, they say"?

I'm assuming you're not both asserting that you are assuming that the 31% say they'd vote for McCain, right?

Because quite obviously that's not the only alternative to not being able to vote for Obama, right?

Not being able to vote for Obama \= voting for McCain.

So: cite?

Not being able to vote for Obama \= voting for McCain.

I think instead of \= you mean !=

I've not seen it the other way, although I'd be interested to know if that variant does in fact occur. every programming language i'm familiar with uses the !=

Cleek:

I think that's a good point. But a corollary would be holding the position that supers follow the popular vote and not waiting for all the popular vote to come in, wouldn't it? Or maybe if the supers voted now in the states already done it would be mathematically impossible for Clinton. Have to do the tally.

Obviously Jes', and your, mileage may vary

I agree that seating the delegates as is would be wrong. I actually think throwing out the votes in Fla. and Mich completely and not having a revote wouldn't be disenfranchising those voters as their state parties made a choice outside the rules. They can still vote in the general, after all. It's just the primary. They simply threw away their chance to help select the nominee. A revote would be a compromise.

But the superdelegates making clear that they are NOT going to overturn the pledged delegate winner hardly disenfranchises voters; if anything the opposite.

I agree. That would be another way to end the debacle if it then made it mathematically impossible for Clinton to win even with the remaining states (would it?). Then her hanging on would have no arguable purpose.

Bruce Baugh brings up a thought I had: how does ending it when Clinton has a mathematical though unlikely possibility of victory not disenfranchise the voters of Indiana, West Virginia, Kentucky, Oregon, North Carolina, Montana, South Dakota, Puerto Rico and Guam?

Unlikely can mean many different things. In this case, it means there is an extremely low probability that Clinton could win. I'm not too worried about disenfranchising primary/caucus voters in those states by the way. This is not a government election and party members have no right to vote. In most election cycles, these people would have no meaningful vote at all. That sucks, but that's the kind of thing they and the party could change if it really mattered. The truth is that helping ensure a Democratic victory in november is a great deal more important than the self-actualization of a few voters in states that scheduled their primary/caucus much later than other states.

And how does Michigan and Florida play into this? I haven't really been paying attention, but last I heard Michigan was pretty much off for a revote even by mail. Doesn't that leave it to become a convention issue? And what about Florida? I am asking for input because I am admittedly not that well informed on the latest.

I don't think there will be a revote in either state; it will most likely go to the convention. I believe that it is unlikely that the convention will seat the current delegates from those states if doing so would have any effect on the nominee.

Heck, why have delegates or votes at all if they don't actually determine the nominee?

But doesn't that mean you should complete the voting?

Not necessarily. For example, I think the superdelegates have a role as the emergency break in cases where something extremely unusual has happened or the electorate has gone nuts, i.e., if we discover that the frontrunner is a child molester just before the convention. Nothing particularly unusual has happened here though: we have two strong candidates who would both make good nominees.

Moreover, the benefit of additional voting at this point is very low. There are very few delegates left in play and we have a pretty good idea of they're going to break. However, the cost of additional voting is high: every extra contest we hold increases the probability that McCain wins in November.

1) If the supers should follow the popular vote, don't you have to wait for the vote to come in unless it's really, really over?

Not necessarily. The numbers are such right now that the only way Clinton could win would involve her doing substantially better in every single upcoming contest than she has ever done in any contest to date. PA was extremely favorable to her demographically, but she could only eke out a 10 point win; she has no hope of winning pledged delegates unless she can eke out wins much larger than 10 points in every single contest. The odds of that happening are very very small.

2) What do you do with Mich. and Fla?

Under the current DNC rules, FL and MI don't count. Clinton will attempt to get a decision from the rules committee at the convention otherwise, but that seems unlikely to work.

the only way it's over is if the supers cast their votes now as Publius wants and function as independents in the interest of the party. That would, in my opinion, be best for democrats. And why I am enjoying the infighting.

This isn't completely true. If the supers simply say today "I plan on casting my vote to match the vote taken by the pledged delegates", then the nomination campaign is effectively over.

And where are you,Jes, on this issue? If all the votes were to be counted in 2000 in Fla, are you for seating Fla and Mich and waiting until those votes are in to make a decision? Does the interests of democrats allow for an exception here? Or are you hoping that Clinton finally pulls a Mitt Romney and bows out?

Again, I should reiterate that people have rights in government elections that they don't have when it comes to the elections for private groups. I may have a right to vote for the President of the United States even if I'm traveling abroad with an absentee ballot, but I have no such right when it comes to voting for the President of the local volunteer association I work with. Private groups are not the state!

I don't see how the supers coming out now disenfranchises the voters in those primariy staes that haven't had electioons yet unless the suppers pick Clinton. The reason is simply that we have a much better than guess idea how the primaries will turn out: Clinton has to exceed seventy percent in every single one to catch Obama in delegates., That isn't going to happen. His win in NC and the reswults of Indiana, which willmostly likely be close, will wipe out her PA gains. His wins in ND and Montana will wipe hers in Kentucky. She will move up by winning by tgwenty five or thirty percent in Pureto Rico, but that won't help her and his big win in Oregon will offset that somewhat.

The next result will be that she moves up a little in delegates and maybe a little in votes: an Obama win overall.

So picking Obama doesn't disengranchise anyone. It does deprive them of the fun and excitement of a contested primary, which matters but is not the same as disenfranchisement since the result would be the same either way..

On the other hand is the supers were to pick HRC now, all those Obama majority and Obama majority voters delegates that would get picked in the primaries (which would be held anyway) would be screwed although not techinacally disenfranchised since there would be a vote. Just a vote that didn't matter.

AS for Florida and Mich, they caused their own problem. HRC is (once again!) putting her own ambitin ahead of the party by promoting the dishonest faux victimiaztion argument they they have been disenfranchised. If she really wanted to settl the issue she would have agreed to the 50/50 split which the Obama camp supported.

It all comes down to this: is it better for the party to continue the campaign or not?
There are plenty of arguments on both sides of that.

even if the supers decide to end this today, the primaries in all those other states can still happen. they can still vote. they can still add their votes to the candidates' totals. they can do this because the nomination isn't officially decided until the convention, regardless of how the numbers work out before then. that's what happens in most elections.

it even happened in PA yesterday, with the Republicans.

I have friends in their 40s and 50s who have never been able to vote in a primary, because it was always decided by someone else. They're getting to do that this year, and it feels good to them.

And do they still feel good when, after voting, the "race" is still exactly where it was before they voted? In other words the whole election thing was nothing more than an ego contest between two, two, I don't know, two whatever they are?

Wonkie: “smewars” – Oh new word. I like that. I’m taking it as an abbreviation for “smear wars”. ;)

cleek, I went out to walk my dog and as I was walking I realized that I had made the wrong point badly.

Disenfranchisement means to lose one's vote.

Declaring a winner now doesn't disenfrance anyone since the primary elections will go on and people will vote.

What declaring a winner now will do is derive people of the sense that thheir vote is contributing toward the result. there are two problems with this: firs most of us in most states go to our primaries and caucuses knowing how the elction is going to come out and, second, it's an illusion that their votes are influential in determining the result since Obama has already won.

The remaining states are inthe same position I was in Washington in 2004: they can vote but they can't change the result.

However, because of the way the press has been presenting things and becuase of the lies of the Clinton campaign, there is a widespread misapprehensin that the upcoming primary votes can actually affecgt the delegate count and determine the winner.

The truth is the only primary wherein HRC is going to pick up a significant hunk of dlegates is Puerto Rico.

I like smewars too but i am unlikely ever to successfully type that exaact letter configuration ever again.

Dear Nick. Just a hasty note.

Al Gore and John Edwards are MORAL LEADERS? Are you kidding? No thanks, I'll pay far more attention to Benedict XVI than I ever will to those two frauds.

Sincerely, Sean M. Brooks

Again, I should reiterate that people have rights in government elections that they don't have when it comes to the elections for private groups

Turbulence: That wasn't lost on me. I really was interested in Jes' reaction simply because her sense of disenfranchisement seems pretty boundless. I wanted to see if where the boundary was. I don't see throwing out the Fla or Mich votes or having the supers decide it now as any sort of disenfranchisement. But, again, there is a contradiction to those that are saying the supers should follow the popular vote and then not seeing what the vote actually is UNLESS only the supers who's states have voted vote or unless, as katherine suggests, they declare they won't change the popular vote or vote 50/50.

I love you too Slarti.

adam: :" I'm not sure where you got the impression that I was saying that superdelegates are obligated to mirror anyone's vote"
I got it when you said this: "Seriously, who needs rules when we have an endless circus of post ex facto expectations? Heck, why have delegates or votes at all if they don't actually determine the nominee?"

And isn't that supposed to be ex post facto? Or wrong am I?

byrninman: "Yeah, Hillary Clinton will be a fearsome force come November, what with 60% of the public declaring already that they do not like her and do not trust her. She was already a dubious contender when this thing got started. Now she's just living day by day, no long term strategy. She just survived in PA at the expense of her national polls sinking yet further. She's driving a burning car right off a cliff, is the damn party going to unhitch itself first?

Then how do you explain this summation of various polling data (not including Pennsylvania which will give her an additional bump) which shows Clinton handily defeating McCain in the presidential election - she with 289 Electoral Votes; he with 239 Electoral votes; 10 votes statistically tied.

cleek: "it's a good thing for the GOP, since 47% of PA's Hillary voters say they will vote for McCain over Obama, should Hillary not be able to backroom her way into the nomination.

those people are not Democrats."

Party Ubber Allis. Ja wohl, mein Führer! (Stiff Germanic salute! Clicked heels!)

Then how do you explain this summation of various polling data ... which shows Clinton handily defeating McCain in the presidential election

by pointing to this poll of polls which shows the exact opposite.

Party Ubber Allis. Ja wohl, mein Führer!

if the word "Democrat" is to mean anything, then given the very slight differences between HRC and Obama on the actual issues, especially relative to McCain, a person who would prefer to vote for McCain over their non-preferred Dem has very little legitimate claim to the word - your inane argument ad Hitlerum notwithstanding.

Jay,

If you look at electoral-vote's Obama/McCain projection (there's a link from the page you cited), it shows Obama with 269 electoral votes, which--given Democratic control of Congress--is enough for him to win. So much for your claim that Obama is unelectable.

(I wouldn't actually put too much stock in electoral-vote's maps. Though if you insist on taking these prognostications seriously, you should check out fivethirtyeight.com, too.)

Superdelegates who endorse Obama early will be punished more severely by the Clintons after and if Obama loses.

Sincerely, Sean M. Brooks

Posted by: Sean M. Brooks

Purely as a point of information: there's no actual need to type your name yet again, given that you fill out the name field, you know.

There's no need to append a sentiment, either. These are comments on a blog, not letters, or even emails. And they're addressed to everyone who reads them, not to any individual or cluster of individuals.

Not that there's anything wrong with being redundant, or adopting whatever style fills your heart with joy, of course. But we do actually get that your name is Sean M. Brooks, Sean M. Brooks, Sean M. Brooks, Sean M. Brooks and that you're sincerely sincere, Sean M. Brooks.

Cheerfully,
Gary Farber

Gary - let Sean have his affectations. If it helps him achieve his dream of being the blog avatar of fussy bow-tie conservativism, who are we to critize?

Party Ubber Allis.

If you're going to invoke that Most Inane of Arguments, at least get your damn German right.

Die Partei über alles.

You know, the networks are overanalyzing. This from an AP article:

About one in five Pennsylvania voters said the race of the candidates was among the top factors in deciding how to vote, according to exit polls, and white voters who cited race supported Clinton over Obama by a 3-to-1 margin.

Results from all the primaries suggest that whites who said race was important in picking their candidate have been about twice as likely to back Clinton as Obama.

An AP-Yahoo News poll found that about 8 percent of whites would be uncomfortable voting for a black president. The actual percentage is probably higher because voters are shy about admitting a racial prejudice to pollsters.

One in five Pennsylvanians going 3-to-1 for HRC because of race. That's a 15% to 5% split. And there is your margin. Obama didn't lose because he was too liberal. He didn't lose because he's not gritty. He didn't lose because he's not a scrappy fighter. You've got your margin right there. He lost because he's black.

Given that much the same is in play in Ohio and that he is hopeless in Florida, his electoral map looks ugly. Why is it that he can't put her away? Because people who are racists are more racist than they are anything else. I doubt you can swing a voter who votes against you because you're black.

That there is HRCs captive base. That is why he can't put her away. And if it holds up, then maybe she's right. He can't win.

From my understanding of it, without those three states, now you're relying on the unlikely -- Obama snatching a red state -- to win.

Obama is viable in North Carolina, Nevada, New Mexico, and Colorado.

Current polling shows HRC losing Penn and Mich.

My point is that it won't be a cake walk for either of them. In fact if this was a betting opportunity, I'd bet on McCain against either,

However the big state strategy has already failed twice so maybe it is time to try a different way.

Then how do you explain this summation of various polling data (not including Pennsylvania which will give her an additional bump) which shows Clinton handily defeating McCain in the presidential election - she with 289 Electoral Votes; he with 239 Electoral votes; 10 votes statistically tied.

You're right, I take it back. I'm sure that November will pan out exactly as it says on that map. I will now cease using my own insights to render opinion and defer to extrapolations from an agglomeration of disparate polls as much as 10 months before the election.

Sorry to tell you that you webpage isn't worth the paper it's printed on, we're just going to have to use our own noggins on this one. My noggin tells me that just about the unpopular politician in America is not going to do well against one the most liked and admired politicians in America in a face-off, especially since she has now decided to define the election in terms that play to his strengths. This is right around the point that the narrative of the election gets fixed, and Hillary is making it about 'patriotism' and '3am' phone calls. The John Kerry windsurfing ad had already played by March 2004.

Obama didn't lose because he was too liberal. He didn't lose because he's not gritty. He didn't lose because he's not a scrappy fighter. You've got your margin right there. He lost because he's black.

Questions about Obama's 'patriotism' are just a cipher for his being black and therefore dubiously American.

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