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Monday, February 11, 2008

How Many Votes Does a Superdelegate Get?

posted by on February 11 at 13:18 PM

Now that we know the approximate turnout at the caucuses in Washington this weekend, we know about how many people make up a delegate. With 78 delegates at stake and 200,000 caucusgoers, each national delegate represents the vote of about 2,564 people.

That means each superdelegate equals 2,564 peons. (Did some superdelegates actually participate in their precinct caucuses? Greedy motherfuckers.)

Now, I’m not one of those supposedly “venomous” (Krugman has really gone batty) Obama supporters who thinks superdelegates shouldn’t count. The Democratic Party agreed on some ground rules, and those rules shouldn’t change mid-race. That goes for Florida (where Clinton announced campaign events before voting day) and Michigan (where Clinton went ahead and got left her name on the ballot in defiance of the party rules) too. But those rules do not in any way prohibit Obama supporters from asking superdelegates to take their state’s popular vote into consideration when committing to a candidate. The fact that they were created to exercise independent judgment means that they may decide independently to create the appearance of greater fairness—especially in a case like this, where both of the candidates are qualified and electable.

Clinton’s rejoinder is certainly snappy:

“Superdelegates are by design supposed to exercise independent judgment,” she said. “If Senator Obama and his campaign continue to push this position, which is to the contrary of what the definition of superdelegates has historically been, I will look forward to receiving the support of Senator Kerry and Senator Kennedy.”

Since each state has at least two senators, independent of population, don’t small states have a disproportionate number of superdelegates, just like in the Electoral College? I haven’t been able to find a breakdown of delegates by state, and even if/when I do, my hypothesis would require some further analysis. But if I’m right: Obama has been winning more states and more smaller states than Clinton. If all the superdelegates really fell into line—committing to the candidate who won their state—this could only benefit Obama. Let Clinton have her Kennedys and Kerrys. Power to the people!


OK, I did the research, and I’m wrong! (At least I beat the haters to it.) Using this state-by-state breakdown of committed superdelegates, I have determined that Obama would have won 158 supers so far if they all went the way of their state’s popular vote, and Clinton would’ve won at least 217 (Dem Con Watch doesn’t seem to know how many superdelegates are from Massachusetts). Feel free to check my math if you’re bored, I did it rather quickly.

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That means each superdelegate equals 2,564 peons.

How many hours do you think each of those superdelgates has donated to the service of their party over their careers? From reading the Slog, it sounds like the average peon donated three hours on Saturday.

Quid pro quo, Ms. Wagner.

Posted by Olo | February 11, 2008 1:27 PM

the superdelegates can do whatever they want annie. but they shouldnt be so stupid as to subvert the massively popular and loved candidate of obama, if he wins elected delegates hand over fist.

what % of obama supporters would legitimately support clinton if they felt his nomination was stolen from them?
same goes for clinton. if clinton pulls off a victory in elected delegates and the supers put in obama, do you think clinton supporters are just going to be happy to vote for a democrat?

Posted by Bellevue Ave | February 11, 2008 1:30 PM

Annie: Obama and Edwards voluntarily removed their names from the MI ballot. Clinton didn't violate the rules.

Posted by mikkomaus | February 11, 2008 1:34 PM

Annie, you are my favorite writer on The Stranger staff, but I still think Christopher Frizzelle is hot as hell. Thank you, Annie, for your consistent, reasoned and well-researched posts. I really can't see super delegates at the Democratic National Convention voting against the will of the majority of earned delegates; that would be bad politics. Momentum seems to be with Obama to win more earned delegates, but it is still mathematically possible for Clinton to win more with very strong wins in Texas, Ohio and Florida. If the supers then solidify the popular choice, it ought to unite the convention and the party going into the general election.

Posted by Bub | February 11, 2008 1:37 PM

the point of the super-delegates is to have their vote count. they can vote for whomever they choose. why else would they have a vote other than to have it count? and it doesn't count if they cannot choose where to place it.

pressuring them to vote a particular way also makes sense. these super-voters represent us, the just-normal-voters. if they feel strongly enough about their choice that they wish to potentially alienate their constituency, then they should.

Posted by infrequent | February 11, 2008 1:43 PM

mikkomaus @3:

Annie: Obama and Edwards voluntarily removed their names from the MI ballot. Clinton didn't violate the rules.

Um, mikkomaus. Aren't you the same one who said that Obama wanted to change the rules in the middle of the game when it comes to superdelegates--when in fact he wanted nothing of the sort?

Please, please, mikko -- keep standing up for disenfranchised voters in Michigan and Florida, for disenfranchised superdelegates. Please keep fighting against undisenfranchised caucus voters in Nevada and the inherently undemocratic caucus process. You really truly do reflect the views of Hillary Clinton, and people should hear the views of Hillary Clinton.

Posted by cressona | February 11, 2008 1:48 PM

Everyone should feel free to contact the superdelegates who happen also to be their elected representatives (I did, it was fun) if they feel strongly about this.

Wiki list of superdelegates:
Who's endorsing whom:

Posted by Levislade | February 11, 2008 1:49 PM

They represent YOU.

Feel free to phone them.

Feel free to write them - postcards are best, especially with cool pics.

Feel free to meet them in public and tell them what you want THEM to do to REPRESENT YOUR CHOICE.

(sorry to all 11 superdelegates who I have known for years, but someone has to wake you up)

Posted by Will in Seattle | February 11, 2008 1:51 PM

I was under the impression that Washington's 78 delegates represent all registered democrats, not just the ones that showed up to caucus. Don't get me wrong, I understand that the division of delegates is decided via the caucuses. I was elected a delegate for my precinct, and I like to think that I, along with the 5 other delegates, represent the 300 registered democrats in my precinct, not just the 100 that showed up last Saturday.

Posted by jameyb | February 11, 2008 1:52 PM

@9: We don't register by party in Washington, so it's a little hazier than that.

Posted by annie | February 11, 2008 1:55 PM

Bub, Hillary needs to hit every state she wins out of the ballpark to have a shot at taking the elected delegate count. the numbers just dont support that though. she has an average of 55% in states she won, obama has 60%. if the trend continues and hillary won pennsylvania, ohio, texas, vermont, rhode island, puerto rico, americans abroad, kentucky at 55% and obama won dc,indiana, virginia, hawaii, wisconsin, mississippi, guam, nc, wv, the rest of kansas, indiana, oregon, wyoming, montana, south dakota by 60% youd wind up with this

hillary 508, obama 699. she needs to win more states, period.

i'm already looking at obama sweeping tomorrow and by large amounts.

Posted by Bellevue Ave | February 11, 2008 1:55 PM

I was under the impression that Washington's 78 delegates represent all registered democrats, not just the ones that showed up to caucus.

There are no registered Democrats (or Republicans) in the State of Washington. That's the problem. If there were, the parties could just send them all ballots.

Posted by Olo | February 11, 2008 1:56 PM

The superdelegate allocation is even weirder than your guess, because a lot of them aren't elected officials but just high-ranking Dems in the party organization. There may be other factors too, I don't know.

I don't have numbers for all the states, but here are some for instances: Nevada has 25 regular delegates, 8 superdelegates. Alabama has 52 regular delegates, but the same 8 superdelegates, while Delaware also has 8 superdelegates to go with a mere 15 regular delegates. Idaho has more regular delegates than DE, but only five superdelegates.

Going just by percentages for the few states I have numbers for, I see a low of 13% superdelegates (out of the total delegation) for Alabama, and a high of 38% for North Dakota (13 and 8). Super-big states like CA and NY do indeed have low percentages of superdelegates, but it's not strictly linear with congressional representation.

Personally, I think after tomorrow it's going to be a moot point, as Obama will pull ahead in total delegates including the supers -- but if Clinton pulls out a win in VA or MD, this will go on.

Posted by Fnarf | February 11, 2008 2:00 PM

as for letting florida and michigan back in. clinton would get 38 more delegates from it. and in michigan, since obama pulled his name from the ballot as per DNC
request, i'd assume he would get about 48 of those 54 delegates that went to uncommitted. hillary would receive 74 delegates, a 26 delegate difference.

so right now hillary folks want a to throw the entire DNC into disaray over a 64 delegate difference? again, hillary folks want to spite the entire DNC just so they can get their candidate nominated and thoroughly trounced in the general.

Posted by Bellevue Ave | February 11, 2008 2:06 PM

cressa @ 6: And I said I was referring to his previous position about superDs going with how their states voted.

I conceded that if either of them get a majority of delegates/votes and the superDs trump that it's no good--even if they're entitled to do that. Chill out.

But TODAY, I'm pointing out a mistake in the post about Clinton breaking the rules.

Posted by mikkomaus | February 11, 2008 2:08 PM

OK annie "power to the people" cheerleader, you're on:

1. Krugman is going batty saying Obama folks are venomous:
Right here on Slog you posed a PENIS joke against Hillary. Remember? "Barack's caucus is beigger than Hillary's"??

And when they say Chelsea is being pimped out...little reaction.

Yes, some Obama supporters are venomous. One is accusing Clinton of stealing the election for going after superdelegates.

That's pretty venomous.

2. You might want to check your math. Before you start cheerleading.
If you do the follow your state principle then Clinton gets not only Ted K. and Sen. Kerry but ALL superdelegates from CA TN AR NY NJ MA FI and MI.

3. It would be good to know hwo they allocated superdelegates -- based on electoral colelge, or based on % of Democratic performance 4 years ago?

Maybe there are some reporters around here, somewhere, who could, um, report on stuff like that?

4. Yes, Obama is winning more states and smaller states than Clinton.

BTW that statement is typical of your bias because you also could have said:

Clinton is winning more votes, and larger states, than Obama.

Same thing.

Anyway, check out and use their interactive 2008 electoral colelge map NOT for its intended purpose (GOP v. D) but for our purposes -- Obama v. Clinton. I went anhead and made all Clinton's states blue and ll Obama's red and I got CLinton is leading 205 to 136 in these fake electoral college votes.

Hey, maybe I could get a job at the STranger, I did some reporting!

Anyway if I didn't make an error this confirms what you said: OBama i sweeping the teeny tiny states with few people, who are less important int he electoral process, and Clinton is basically sweeping the larger, electoral college-vote rich states, which are the ones you need to win in November.

You can keep clicking and after Tuesday if you add DC MD VA Obama still doesn't catch up and basically if Clinton gets what she has now plus Texas and Ohio, she's the winner in this fake electoral college contest.

So, when we hear Obama cast about for the exact formula that will make him win (superdelegates should count the no. of states! No, the number of pledged delegates! No, the actual votes cast! No, the number of "Red states"! WHATever) there's another yardstick that can enter the discussion:

Who has won sstates with more electoral college votes than the other candidate?

Right now it's a landslide, Clinton over Obama 205 to 137. Yes, I counted FL and MI for Clinton.

5. Here's another incorrect statement in your post:

NOBODY agreed that MI and FL delegates would not be seated.

Not Obama, not Clinton, not the people of FL or MI.

6. You claim Clinton did some campaigning (what, she had her diner while the panhandle polsl were still open an hour? WTF? She's allowed to go there and have fundraiser dinners anyway) but in any event but Obama was running ads on TV for weeks in Florida. This is a clear violation of the rules contained in what they actually agreed -- to not campaign.


Let's see that's like actually a split of 205/341=60-40% to date.

If someone got 60% of the electoral college votes it would be a landslide.

Hillary's winning by a landslide -- why dontcha report that?

I am serious that this is ONE of the yardsticks that should enter the discourse btw. It poitns out two underreported truths:

-winning ID and ND and MS and stuff like that ddoesn't do jack shit for the D's in Noivember.
-winning all the teeny tiny states like Delaware and ND and ID does very little to show Obama is electable.
--Obama's failures to win CA where he was 10 points up and crashed to a landslide defeat, and the other large states, raise serious doubts about his electability. The late breaking undeiceded voters in those large states were breaking for Clinton by about 60%.

Maybe its lack of experience, maybe it's the "Bradley effect," WHATever, the tale of Obama's electability is still just a tale right now.

Most of all because of this:
he ain't running aginst the GOP yet.

Check it out.

play with who wins Ohio and Texas and I'd throw in KY for Clinton and PA as well. Clinton basically wins more electoral college votes IF she gets OH and TX.

Posted by unPC | February 11, 2008 2:14 PM

@14 : "hillary folks want to spite the entire DNC just so they can get their candidate nominated and thoroughly trounced in the general."

No. They don't want to alienate the constituents of two critical battleground states in the general election. Turning away those delegates, which as you mention go about half Clinton half Obama/uncommitted could sour local Democrats on the DNC and kill GOTV efforts in November.

This is MUCH MORE important than this fake issue of superdelegates.

Posted by josh | February 11, 2008 2:20 PM

long and wrong.

Posted by infrequent | February 11, 2008 2:21 PM

mikkomaus @15:

cressa @ 6: And I said I was referring to his previous position about superDs going with how their states voted.

Yeah, and you were misrepresenting his position. He wasn't talking about changing the rules as you claimed he was. He was exerting pressure. You know that as well as I do.

But anyway, please continue with your distortion du jour, re. Michigan.

Posted by cressona | February 11, 2008 2:25 PM

I love the slogan -"Power to the People"

My life time politics are very left.

But let's not be paranoid, assumptive and/or easily stampeded by the uninformed.

Gary Locke, Jim McDermott were working caucuses rooms. And I bet many more of the upper ranks of the Democrat party. Much of this blather is being put forward by the un informed.

In this area the Dems have been fairly left for a very long time. The 43rd and 37th might be mistaked for well mannered socialist in most cases.

Where the fuck does all the blather about betrayal, bad guys, etc. - where is that coming from. Republicans in waiting, newbies who have no clue, just amazingly uninformed.

Patty Murray will not betray the interest of the Democratic party. In fact with a Dem in the White House and big majorities in Congress - she will sound like Eugen Debs for the next four years.

I think the bad TV has created a mind set that all of America is lived in the shadow world of murder, intrigue and immoral people. My experience is to the contrary.

I decided for Obama at my caucus, but really can go Clinton in five minutes.

Mc Cain IS the enemy. Defeating him IS the game. And it will not be easy. I want to keep my eye on the prize, Kicking Ass in this election to give America a running chance to reform from the Bush years.

And I predict - you read it here from Essex - if Hillary sees a too rocky road, she will bow out. She is just as bright as Mitt Rommney, and much more political witted. The R's are already campaigning on a national basis. Dems cannot prolong that effort too long.

I find it strange that some people so under value her political smarts. And the fact that she has come so far toward being the first woman to get elected to the presidency. That feat is un precedented in American political history.

Just thinkin'.

Posted by Essex | February 11, 2008 2:29 PM

UNpc @16 raises a good point about Annie’s post, as she favors state by state pledge of superdelegates because it favors her candidate.

There’s a deeper issue of principle here, of whether the people will be allowed to select the candidate, or whether superdelegates will make the difference—regardless of whether they divide their votes according to the winner of the popular vote in each state or by personal preference.

In any case the news media is reporting vote counts by 1) national popular vote, and 2) national total of superdelegates.

If one candidate wins the national popular vote, they should be the candidate. Otherwise, Houston, we’ll have a problem.

Posted by BB | February 11, 2008 2:32 PM

cressona @19

And Clinton is isn't trying to change the rules by having delegates seated. They're both trying to exert pressure to win.

How is MI a distortion? The candidates weren't required to pull their names and none of them did in FL. But Annie's post gives the impression that Clinton cheated. If anyone broke their pledge it was BO in running ads in FL.

Posted by mikkomaus | February 11, 2008 2:42 PM

@16 - man that was long.

But most people active in Dem politics have been - repeatedly - suggesting that both Florida and Michigan can get delegates and seat them, provided they run a caucus now that it's not too early.

They knew the rules - they chose to break them.

And the superdelegates know that if they vote one way and the nation votes another way they are in deep deep trouble.

These things have a way of working out.

Posted by Will in Seattle | February 11, 2008 2:45 PM

Personally, I think after tomorrow it's going to be a moot point, as Obama will pull ahead in total delegates including the supers -- but if Clinton pulls out a win in VA or MD, this will go on.

Fnarf @ 13 – If those trying to get superdelegates to follow the results of the caucuses/primaries are actually acting on principle, then Obama pulling ahead in delegates should make no difference. If they are in fact simply trying to leverage more delegates for Obama, as your post suggests, then the point is already moot.

That said, I think we can all agree that the point is largely moot as is.

Posted by johnnie | February 11, 2008 2:49 PM

States Obama won (from greatest to least percentage vote or delegate margin) and Democratic Senators from each:

ID - 0
AK - 0
KS - 0
WA - 2
GA - 0
NE - 1
CO - 1
MN - 1
IL - 2
SC - 0
ND - 2
LA - 1
ME - 0
UT - 0
AL - 0
DE - 2
IA - 1
CT - 1
MO - 1

Posted by RonK, Seattle | February 11, 2008 2:50 PM

A couple of things:

Small states aren't necessarily overrepresented among the superdelegates. First of all, you have to add in the House members, governors, and such. Secondly, it's only Democratic electeds ... Alaska, for instance, has GOP Senators, Representative, and governor. OTOH, all of Massachusetts's federal electeds (2 Senators and 10 House members) and its governor are Democrats. So maybe MA is overrepresented. That's a good thing.

Along with the "they will know which way the wind's blowing" argument, I'd make another one in favor of Obama when it comes to superdelegates -- DNC members. You know, like the state chairs and such, the Pelzes and David McDonalds of the world. Over the next couple of months, the chair of the DNC might take each of them aside and whisper about how the first party-related action a President Clinton would take would be to ditch the 50-state strategy. And how the second party-related action by a President Clinton would be to demand the resignation of the current chair of the DNC. How many DNC members are eagerly looking forward to the installation of a Terry McAuliffe clone and a return to the Beltway/corporate DNC?

Posted by N in Seattle | February 11, 2008 2:55 PM

unPC, the DNC leaders agreed that MI and FL wouldnt be seated. They told them to move their dates back and they didn't and this is what they reaped. I feel bad for the people who let their leaders do this to them. again, she would presumably get 64 more delegates than she has now relative to obama. is it really worth tearing the democratic party apart at the 11th hour over MI and FL flaunting the DNC and benefiting clinton?

Posted by Bellevue Ave | February 11, 2008 2:55 PM
Anyway, check out and use their interactive 2008 electoral colelge map NOT for its intended purpose (GOP v. D) but for our purposes -- Obama v. Clinton. I went anhead and made all Clinton's states blue and ll Obama's red and I got CLinton is leading 205 to 136 in these fake electoral college votes.

unPC, you're sounding increasingly unhinged with each post. Hillary wins CA and NY in the primary, therefore those states are unlikely to vote Obama in the general, therefore we should nominate Hillary? Is that the line of reasoning here? If you can't see why this little experiment of yours is very seriously flawed, I don't know how to help you.

Posted by tsm | February 11, 2008 2:58 PM

also, florida and michigan can go to hell if they vote republican.

all obama needs to do to win is carry south carolina, georgia, and one state with more than 12 electors, and repeat every state from the 2004 and he wins it, even if michigan and florida are republican.

Posted by Bellevue Ave | February 11, 2008 3:01 PM

heck, he wins virginia or north carolina, which went red in 2004 and its a lock.

Posted by Bellevue Ave | February 11, 2008 3:02 PM

@16: I don't want to feed you, troll, but I can't help it.

1) I did not and would never post anything having to do with penises and caucuses; I can't be held accountable for what another Slogger did. I do admit to sending text messages with the phrase "barack out with your caucus out" to friends; that is the extent of it. I'm a feminist and I strongly dislike misogynist comments about HRC.

2) I can't check my math because I don't have the numbers. Can you send me superdelegate totals broken down by state, if you're so sure of your assertion?

3) Obama had cable TV ads up that happened to air in Florida--he made no local ad buys. It's a borderline case. HRC, on the other hand, was telling reporters that she wanted Florida to count and announced a campaign event in Florida before the day of the election. That seems more problematic to me, but reasonable people can disagree.

4) No major news organization is counting Michigan and Florida in the delegate totals right now. The party's current position is that they won't be seated, so why would I irresponsibly assume the opposite?

5) Obama is supposedly leading the popular vote count right now, according to Meet the Press on Sunday--and that was before Maine. I don't know if they count caucus voters in those totals, but since Obama has been winning caucuses, I assume that would put him even farther ahead. The Potomac primaries are likely to extend that lead.

6) While Obama may not be able to win Idaho in a general election, he will certainly carry such true blue states as CA, NY, and NJ--which Clinton won in the primary. What matters, as always, are the swing states, like Colorado (Obama win) and Missouri (Obama) and New Mexico (Clinton, narrowly).

Posted by annie | February 11, 2008 3:03 PM

tsm @28, you should go back and read unPC's post. He's not using the electoral college as an example of how states will vote in Novemeber, but as an analogy for who is infact winning the current D primary race, were it set up as a general election and therefore, by extension, which of the two might be more likely to swing those states into the blue in November. That doesn't mean that CA couldn't go to Obama if he is the candidate, or WA to Hillary, but it does indicate that Hillary is currently performing better in the states that will be the most important after the conventions.

Posted by johnnie | February 11, 2008 3:04 PM

most important? the most important states are the ones that you could possibly win that you havent before. Georgia and South Carolina. Are you seriously saying that NY and CA are more important to win even though over the past 16 years they have been solidly Democrat states? you cant seperate the historical identities of the states when making this kind of analysis.

this is why hillary is losing in elected delegates; she focused on states that are already bastions of democratic voters and they havent made up the difference of all those small states. you could say "well barack didnt win NY, CA, and MA" but those states will almost always be Democrat states no matter who the candidate is. CA, NY, MA are irrelevant to winning because you can take for granted they will be blue. sure, you need to campaign there, but the fight takes place in georgia, south carolina, north carolina, and virginia. even without michigan or florida as democratic stae, if all things are the same as last election, and obama wins these states (and looking at the results of the turnout and his margin of victory in these states, it is possible.) he will win the election.

Posted by Bellevue Ave | February 11, 2008 3:12 PM

"If Senator Obama and his campaign continue to push this position, which is to the contrary of what the definition of superdelegates has historically been."

Some perspective here. Superdelegates were added in 1982, so "historically" is .. kind of meaningless. (Especially since there hasn't been an election this contested since then.)

Posted by Cow | February 11, 2008 3:14 PM
Posted by mikkomaus | February 11, 2008 3:16 PM

also, unPC seems to be getting more and more stressed/irate. i cant wait to see what happens if obama trounces hillary tomorrow.

Posted by Bellevue Ave | February 11, 2008 3:18 PM

Besides Washington and Illinois, has Obama won any states yet with Democratic senators, governors, or more than one Democratic representative? Enough to make a difference? More superdelegates come from states that Clinton already won. What's your next brilliant strategy against the conspiracy?

But really, does any RATIONAL person believe enough superdelegates will go against the majority of popular delegates to change the nominee? Destroying the party for all time? Oooh because they're afraid of the Clintons?

Take off the tinfoil hats people and go back to 9/11 Truthing.

Posted by ae | February 11, 2008 3:21 PM

so annie i' curious: why is it that just because a commentor disagrees with you, they are called a troll? fnarf and bellevue ave often make very inappropriate and mean-spirited remarks about ECB, but UnPC calls bullshit on your "reporting" and all of the sudden s/he is a troll. wow, obamatons are some really intelligent people.

Posted by huh? | February 11, 2008 3:23 PM

If I'm not mistaken, Wa. delegates (in theory) represent the candidates in proportion to the number of supporters they had at the caucuses. I know that can change at each level of the delegate selection process, but let's assume they reflect the results from Saturday.

Since Obama got about 65% of the delegates from Sat. why shouldn't the super delegates reflect the same percentage? If all the uncommitted Wa. super delegates went to Obama, he would have about 65% of the super delegates, and Cantwell and Murray could stay with Clinton. That would represent the results of the caucuses.

I don't think a winner-take-all allocation of super delegates, state by state, would necessarily help Obama. He would get all 17 of Wa. super delegates, but Clinton would gain far more than that in California.

And what exactly is the "vote of the people" in this case, Will? Clinton received over 2 million votes in CA. outpolling Obama by about 400,000 votes. Have you tallied the actual number of people who have supported each candidate by primary and caucus? If so, how does that look?

Posted by elrider | February 11, 2008 3:24 PM

All statements about who's winning the popular vote are void, because you're comparing primary states to caucus states. Even if you can get a count of all the people who attended their caucuses, that's a tenth the number who would have voted in a real primary. Vote totals from caucus states are not real vote totals; they're much lower.

Posted by Fnarf | February 11, 2008 3:28 PM

huh? @38: find ONE inappropriate remark I have ever made about Erica Barnett. I dare you. I have always treated her with respect even when I was vigorously opposed to her arguments, and I have REPEATEDLY chastised other commenters for not doing the same. Did it just today, in fact. Stop slandering me.

Posted by Fnarf | February 11, 2008 3:34 PM

@40: Honestly, I don't know if they're counting caucus votes or not. How would they even get that number?

But if they are estimating caucus vote totals and using them in the same way as primary vote totals, that's OK with me. You can always only count the number of people who participate, and that number is always a fraction of registered voters, which is always a fraction of eligible citizens. You're counting up all the people who have so far expressed a preference--that seems like a popular total to me. Though it does raise the question as to what they'll do with the WA D primary results.

Posted by annie | February 11, 2008 3:36 PM

Bellevue, CA is almost never a sure thing, and all candidates spend a great deal of time and money trying to assure its votes. If McCain is the R nominee, I think the state will be a fight for both Obama and Hillary. Otherstates, like OH and PA, where Hillary performs much better than Obama, are often up for grabs to a greater extent, though yes MA and NY are pretty secure. That said, many states where Obama has performed well are also secure, but not terribly significant in the larger view (WA, for example), while many (most?) aren't terribly likely to sway Dem in the general.

Posted by johnnie | February 11, 2008 3:38 PM

Johnnie, lets wait for PA and OH to come in before we say she performs better there.

Posted by Bellevue Ave | February 11, 2008 3:43 PM

Annie @42: the whole point is that millions of people who might otherwise have expressed a preference, and thus might have appeared in these popular vote counts, were barred from the polls in caucus states.

Posted by Fnarf | February 11, 2008 4:07 PM

barred from the polls? barred how? by their own conflicts of time and mobility, not by mandate of the party?

Posted by Bellevue Ave | February 11, 2008 4:09 PM

Krugman has not gone batty. He's right about a cult-like fringe of the Obama supporters. Those of us that respect both candidates and are not swept up by the current of "Yes we can" cheese sauce can certainly see it.

"in photographs, the faces of Obama's fans are often creepily reminiscent of those about to be wafted upward by the Rapture." NYT commentor.

Good times!

Posted by Aylin | February 11, 2008 4:21 PM

@45: Well, people who consider themselves independents or Rs could caucus here, whereas my friends who were registered as independents or decline-to-declare in closed primaries were barred from participating. Cuts both ways.

Posted by annie | February 11, 2008 4:22 PM



If you have evidence that this cult thing is real, talk about your evidence Who wants to hear one person's opinion about what you see on the faces of Obama supporters? They're seeing what they want to see.

Posted by elenchos | February 11, 2008 4:43 PM

isnt it sad that clinton could lose to an empty suit and a bunch of cult members?

Posted by Bellevue Ave | February 11, 2008 4:44 PM

The party mandated that the election require a physical presence at one moment in time. Even during a regular election the polls are open for 12 or 13 hours. That bars millions of Washingtonians from attending.

Posted by Fnarf | February 11, 2008 4:58 PM

The Nebraska caucuses were scheduled at various times throughout the day in different locations, from noon to 6 pm. That alleviates some of the mad rush, and the need for large facilities. Now if a caucus-goer could have some flexibility as to which time slot to attend, you could bring in a lot more people.

Has anyone thought about letting voters mail in a primary ballot, but also having those with a lot of free time and a gregarious nature get together to choose the delegates?

Posted by elenchos | February 11, 2008 5:10 PM


caucus determines a result, the primary either affirms or denies the result.

Posted by Bellevue Ave | February 11, 2008 5:28 PM

Do what?

Posted by elenchos | February 11, 2008 5:36 PM

Re: update. Annie, aren't we standing on principle here, the principle of power to the people you declared? If so, of what relevance is your update? Unless of course, people aren't arguing on principle but politically, in order to best (they assume) aid their candidate.

Posted by johnnie | February 11, 2008 5:58 PM

I hate posting twice in a row, but Elech @ 49 - re: "They're seeing what they want to see." Indeed they are. I of course, am reading the they in a way you might not have intended, but it's true in all possible cases.

Posted by johnnie | February 11, 2008 6:04 PM

Reminds me of the babe.

what i mean is, the solution should be, the caucus should create a result that is either affirmed or denied by a primary vote.

Posted by Bellevue Ave | February 11, 2008 6:04 PM

@55: I made a hypothesis--that the preponderance of smaller states might give Obama the superdelegate edge. Did the math, and it ain't true. (Yet.) Isn't it good form to admit when you're wrong?

Now, as for the power going to the people, yes! Absolutely! But, um, remember? We were talking about totally unenforceable hypotheticals? So yeah, I was just playing out the scenario the Obama campaign is presently advocating in the media and the Clinton campaign is pushing back against.

Posted by annie | February 11, 2008 6:11 PM

Annie, it is often good form to admit you're wrong (except when it isn't). However, it's also good to be honest about motivations. People aren't generally concerned about how to best represent the will of the American populace here (with a few exceptions), but are blindly parroting campaign positions that will best favor their candidate. Note those who demand that Sen.s Murray and Cantwell change their votes (power to the people!) while simultaneously arguing that no votes from Florida or Michigan should count (power to? Barack?). Though these may not be your positions (are they?) it does take some tortured logic to reconcile these positions, and whatever reconciliation is attempted is mostly a mask for more political motives. That said, my comment about the update was directed at a more general audience.

Posted by johnnie | February 11, 2008 6:22 PM

DNC creates Super Delegates with no restrictions on how they vote. Part of the system.

DNC rules committee tell FL that because the Republican Legislature moved the primary too early they will lose all their delegates. A ruling of a committee that will be resolved by the convention. The most undemocratic act in this whole campaign was telling FL and MI they had to wait for IA, NH and SC. MI and FL have every right to ask the convention to seat them and if the Obama delegates refuse good-bye victory in 2008.

Candidates agree not to campaign in FL or MI. Fundraisers in those states are allowed. Only Obama breaks agreement by running national ads that will reach 97% of cable households in FL.

Annie, if the national ads were in fact a good value a week before super Tuesday, all campaigns would have run the numbers and would have known that. So either Obama ran national ads that didn't make financial sense to get them in FL or ran them because they were a better buy even though they violated the "agreement".

Posted by brilliant | February 11, 2008 7:32 PM

obama doesn't technically need michigan or florida to win. if picks up ga, sc, and either nc or va he would win the general election.

regardless hillary would gain 64 delegates on obama from this and that's counting them at full value. and really this sets a precident that's states can do whatever they want consequences be damned. if the dnc makes rules it doesn't enforce why have any rules at all?

Posted by Bellevue Ave | February 11, 2008 7:51 PM

Each Superdelegate gets 82 zillion votes.

Because of recent government cutbacks, regular delegates 2/3 of a vote.

China gets all the rest.

Any questions?

Posted by NapoleonXIV | February 11, 2008 10:24 PM

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