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Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Good to Know

posted by on January 8 at 22:07 PM

The delegate count:

Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama each won nine delegates in New Hampshire’s Democratic primary, followed by former Sen. John Edwards with 4 delegates, an AP analysis of primary results shows. All 22 of New Hampshire’s delegates to the national convention this summer have been allocated.

Clinton and Obama won the same number of delegates, even though Clinton edged Obama in votes, because New Hampshire awards delegates proportionally, and the vote was relatively close.

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

New Hampshire is a tie? Interesting. But—silly me! I thought the superdelegates waited until the voters had their say.

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So all that gnashing of teeth was for nothing? And what will happen when, say, Edwards drops out and those 50 Edwards delegates go to one candidate or the other? Who the hell designed this whole process?

Posted by tsm | January 8, 2008 10:05 PM

It's a pretty good process, actually. What would YOU want to happen to dropouts' delegates? The superdelegates, on the other hand, are just weird. They're basically elected officeholders. It's normal for a lot of them to be pledged to someone before the primaries even begin. But still weird.

Posted by fnarf | January 8, 2008 10:09 PM

OK, more weirdness: New Hampshire has five superdelegates, and three went to Obama (they can go for whomever they want), two for Clinton, which means Clinton won the primary but Obama GETS MORE DELEGATES!


Obama won. Huh?

Posted by fnarf | January 8, 2008 10:24 PM

And how did Obama get any superdelegates in NH? I thought the party people were hardcore Clinton.

Posted by annie | January 8, 2008 10:31 PM

Not all the party people, but the majority for sure. Even though the party appartchiks remain loyal to the Clintons, Bill's been out of power for seven years and some new blood has crept in. As leader of the party, Dean has changed the make-up of the party's fixers to folks more of his liking. My guess is they would tend to favor Obama.

Posted by gnossos | January 8, 2008 10:37 PM

Youth! Youth! You..oh wait...never mind.

Posted by StrangerDanger | January 8, 2008 10:42 PM

The superdelegates were put into place to prevent an insurrection like McGovern from happening again. By putting more than 600 delegates under the control of the party elite, it would take a revolution for someone not favored to a decent degree by the party elite to win, and in that case, the superdelegates would go along with the revolution.

However, a narrow victory through delegate counts like the one McGovern engineered becomes impossible.

Posted by Gitai | January 8, 2008 10:46 PM

Fear and Loathing On The Campaign Trail (required reading for any political junkie) goes deep into the delegate process. Basically, in the golden olden days, the convention truly would be the final battleground, where delegates slugged it out and wheeled and dealed to get their man nominated. Every delegate count could prop someone else up by the end of the day. Sometimes the nominee wouldn't be determined until the last hours of the convention. Of course now, the middle primaries pretty much serve to wrap up a single nominee, and all these early delegate factions just throw themselves to that candidate long before the convention. These early primary states are still important because this is the time when delegate-swapping can still take place and push momentum in one direction or another, and their participants are the last bastion of this process. That's why these states will ALWAYS lobby to remain first in line.

Posted by laterite | January 8, 2008 10:47 PM

Setting aside superdelegates for a moment, it's interesting that even though Clinton got more delegates in IA (15) than Edwards (14, working kind of like the national electoral college did in 2000), nobody talked about Clinton coming in second.

But you all are happy to belittle her victory in NH. Are you going to be like this if she gets the nomination? Are you going to keep saying shitty things about her constantly? Just curious.

Posted by Big Sven | January 8, 2008 11:00 PM

Defensive much, Sven?

Posted by tsm | January 8, 2008 11:07 PM

Yeah, jeez. I haven't said anything shitty about her, Sven.

Posted by fnarf | January 8, 2008 11:10 PM

the superdelegates can (and do) change their votes along the way, regardless of pledges: remember 2004 when so many of them pledged for Dean early?

Posted by josh | January 8, 2008 11:13 PM

sven, hillary is kicking ass in superdelegates across the nation. go to CNN and get informed.

Posted by Bellevue Ave | January 8, 2008 11:21 PM

FYI, here are the Washington state superdelegates I could find:

Jay Inslee (Clinton), Maria Cantwell (Clinton), Adam Smith (Obama), Rick Larson (undeclared), Brian Baird (undeclared), Norm Dicks (undeclared), Jim McDermott (undeclared), Patty Murray (undeclared), Christine Gregoire (undeclared), Dwight Pelz (undeclared), Eileen Macoll (undeclared)

But there are supposed to be 17 total.

Posted by annie | January 8, 2008 11:26 PM

Josh, that is very true. I think the majority of them will swing if a clear winner emerges. And I think one WILL emerge, on Super Tuesday. Unless South Carolina is a blowout for Clinton or Obama, the race will be essentially tied until then.

But Edwards is not going to be a kingmaker. That doesn't happen anymore. Be pretty entertaining if it did! I'd actually like to see Democratic positions being visibly hashed out as late as August.

Posted by fnarf | January 8, 2008 11:44 PM

tsm, just tired of the incessant nit-picking and belittling of a great candidate.

If people treated Obama or Edwards as shitty as so many people on the SLOG treat Clinton, they would be accused of being cynical or mean spirited. But somehow it's o.k. with Clinton, because she the "establishment" candidate.

But as I've often said "the only thing worse than a poor loser is a poor winner." So feel free to pile it on- she didn't really win NH, she was an "architect of the war in Iraq", hell, she even killed Vince Foster!

Today all your carping is like the tinkling of distant cymbals in a summer breeze.

Posted by Big Sven | January 8, 2008 11:54 PM

bellevue, fnarf, everybody-

I should be less of a grump. It's late, I've had a long and exciting day, and I have a cold.


Posted by Big Sven | January 8, 2008 11:57 PM

I'm with fnarf in hoping that this thing actually doesn't get resolved until much later. Not just for the political drama, but because I think it will serve the dems well in the election. It keeps a big media focus on the dem agenda and gives the repubs less time to develop their strategy. I hope both Edwards and Richardson score a win or two pretty quick and keep it interesting.

Posted by gnossos | January 9, 2008 12:33 AM

grump away, Big Sven your points were good.

Posted by unPC | January 9, 2008 12:41 AM

Sven, I'm still saying shitty things about KERRY. I voted for him in the general, but why should my feelings change just because he won?

Posted by Phoebe | January 9, 2008 1:48 AM

Well, OK. Silly you.

Silly for not knowing what superdelegates are?

Or silly for reporting on the delegate contest and not knowing what superdelegates are?

Or silly for being proud of either of teh above?

Posted by RonK, Seattle | January 9, 2008 10:19 AM

This superdelegate thing is bunch of shit. I feel like no matter what she's getting the nomination. Her and Bill have way too much behind the scene power and leverage over them. It's just another way for the Democratic establishment to fuck itself over like it did in 2004.

Posted by cbc | January 9, 2008 10:22 AM

@21: Of course I know what superdelegates are--I learned quite a bit when I was a Dean delegate to the state convention in 2004. Silly you. But I haven't been paying attention to their distribution since early Dec, when many outlets were reporting that they weren't committing yet out of respect for voters. Silly me.

Posted by annie | January 9, 2008 12:07 PM

No denying that the worst enemy of the Democrats is the Democratic Party Elite (Money), Think Tanks and Washington Insiders. Kos speaks to this in Crashing the Gate.

The worst mistake we could make is to nominate an unelectable candidate. There is only one person who beats all the Republicans hands down.

All in all, I think the Dems' unity theme is playing well and should be continued. Its interesting how the other candidates have starting using Obama's rhetoric to frame their own positions now.

Posted by sam_iv | January 9, 2008 4:59 PM

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