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Monday, February 18, 2008

Texas Getting Interesting

posted by on February 18 at 14:14 PM

According to a CNN/Opinion Research Corp poll

…the battle for the Democratic presidential nomination between Sens. Hillary Clinton of New York and Barack Obama of Illinois is a statistical dead heat in Texas, which holds primaries March 4.

In the survey, out Monday, 50 percent of likely Democratic primary voters support Clinton as their choice for the party’s nominee, with 48 percent backing Obama.

But taking into account the poll’s sampling error of plus or minus 4˝ percentage points for Democratic respondents, the race is a virtual tie.

And then there’s this:

Supporters of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton are worried that convoluted delegate rules in Texas could water down the impact of strong support for her among Hispanic voters there, creating a new obstacle for her in the must-win presidential primary contest.

Several top Clinton strategists and fundraisers became alarmed after learning of the state’s unusual provisions during a closed-door strategy meeting this month, according to one person who attended.

What Clinton aides discovered is that in certain targeted districts, such as Democratic state Sen. Juan Hinojosa’s heavily Hispanic Senate district in the Rio Grande Valley, Clinton could win an overwhelming majority of votes but gain only a small edge in delegates. At the same time, a win in the more urban districts in Dallas and Houston — where Sen. Barack Obama expects to receive significant support — could yield three or four times as many delegates.

“What it means is, she could win the popular vote and still lose the race for delegates,” Hinojosa said yesterday. “This system does not necessarily represent the opinions of the population, and that is a serious problem.”

Here’s a question: With Texas being so important to Clinton’s campaign, why did her team discover the Texas delegate rules just last month?

RSS icon Comments


Two questions:
1) Are you taunting ECB; and if so
2) Isn't that our job?

Posted by NapoleonXIV | February 18, 2008 2:24 PM


Posted by Reality Check | February 18, 2008 2:31 PM

"With Texas being so important to Clinton’s campaign, why did her team discover the Texas delegate rules just last month?"

The simple answer? Her campaign expected HRC to be the only candidate standing by now...

Posted by Peter F | February 18, 2008 2:34 PM

It's going to take a lot more than this to make Texas interesting to me.

Posted by Greg | February 18, 2008 2:40 PM

If this were reversed- if it were Obama ahead in TX but arcane TX rules disenfranchised black districts- *imagine* the shock and outrage. People would assume Clinton perfidy against the will of the people.

But because Clinton is so clearly a grownup, so organized, the SLOG chattering class tut tuts her not seeing this problem sooner.

Ah, the perils of omniscience.

Posted by Big Sven | February 18, 2008 2:42 PM

@3, totally correct, she expected to it to be a coronation.

Question for you HRC fans: If Hillary is the best choice, why cann't she unify her own party against Obama? If she is having problems with the Democrats how do you expect her to beat McCain?

And I will not even go into the poor management of campaign finances that the HRC camp has demostrated.

"Obama for America!"

Posted by Andrew | February 18, 2008 2:43 PM

Bradley --

The answer to your question is that Texas only became important when Clinton, Inc., couldn't seal the deal on Super Tuesday.

Didja see the re-hash of her interview with Stephanopolous just before Iowa in which she referred to the "laugh haul" as Super Tuesday, and that the race would be over at that point?

There's a whole Emperor Has No Clothes thing going on with Hillary -- and nobody on her staff has the latitude to deliver bad news. (See the "oh, we don't have any money?" meme from two weeks ago.)

Posted by oneway | February 18, 2008 2:49 PM

... but it's all moot because red states like Texas don't matter. Unless Hillary wins, in which case it's a firewall, even if she ends up with fewer delegates.

Posted by oneway | February 18, 2008 2:51 PM

I'm particularly surprised this wasn't noticed considering Nevada, unless they're now projecting a loss there and are trying to spin early why an Obama victory "doesn't count". Much as I'm an Obama supporter, Texas districting is in general something that is designed to disenfranchise certain groups, and probably should be changed.

Does anyone know who's ahead in the overall popular vote, and by how much?

Posted by Beguine | February 18, 2008 2:51 PM


If Obama is the best choice, why can't he unify her own party against Clinton? If he is having problems with the Democrats how do you expect her to beat McCain?

I'm just fucking with you Andrew. Obama's going to win this thing. Though Clinton is the better candidate, enough of you people are enthralled with his "hope, hope, change, change" oratory- and have bought into the Republican meme that she's a bitch- that he's not even going to need the supes. But if you people don't show up in the general election- after he's been slagged by the Republicans for six months- I'm going to show up and bitch slap each and every one of you.

Posted by Big Sven | February 18, 2008 2:55 PM

God damn it. I shouldn't drink at work, and I shouldn't post at work, and I shouldn't post drunk.

"If Obama is the best choice, why can't he unify his own party against Clinton? If he is having problems with the Democrats how do you expect himto beat McCain?"

Posted by Big Sven | February 18, 2008 2:57 PM

@10, then Clinton should learn how to motivate the younger voters.

And thank you for advocating violence on Slog! (Just like a Hillary supporter?) Just fucking with you!!

Posted by Andrew | February 18, 2008 2:57 PM
Posted by DavidG | February 18, 2008 3:01 PM

Obama is ahead in the popular vote, such as it is, even including Florida and Michigan. I say "such as it is", since there IS NO COUNT of the popular vote in caucus states, since the populace didn't vote, they caucused. Washington's supposed 200,000 caucusers would have been more like 2 million if there had been a meaningful public vote -- but the proportions would have differed as well (probably better for Clinton though not enough to win).

Anyone who gives you a definitive answer on the "popular vote" is lying.

Posted by Fnarf | February 18, 2008 3:02 PM

The Clinton campaign knew the rules long ago. This whole shocked at learning how goofy the rules are thing is just more Clinton bull shit aimed at making an excuse ahead of time for her pending loss in Texas. The rules in Texas are not much different from here in Washington. The # of delegates from each precinct is based upon the # of folks who bothered to vote there in the last general election.
So Clinton is lowering expectations cuz they expect to get womped and can ill afford the loss.

Posted by Particle Men | February 18, 2008 3:07 PM


"Bitch slapping" isn't violence. Forging your boot pattern into someone's forehead- THAT'S violence.

I'm just saying- don't fucking flake out, endorsement-deciding youngsters. You've about to defeat one of the better, battle-tested candidates in recent memory with your ill-defined but none-the-less genuine enthusiasm for this "Kennedy-esque" (blerghghghgh...) candidate. Now don't fuck it up by getting grumpy and sullen when the Republican attack dogs drag him through the mud for the next six months.

Posted by Big Sven | February 18, 2008 3:26 PM

All I know is that I am NOT voting for Bahama.

Posted by stinkbug | February 18, 2008 3:40 PM

Can we please keep in mind that this not a public vote, but the method by which a political party selects whom to put forward as its candidate in the November election?

Let's not talk about "disenfranchisement" in regards to political party business unless participating in political party business is among the rights guaranteed to a citizen. Is it?

Posted by Phil M | February 18, 2008 3:54 PM

Sven@5, can I get recommended lottery numbers from you? I figure anyone who knows, with absolute certainty, what other people would think if things were different than they are must have some strong psychic abilities.

The most likely explanation for why this is a surprise to the Hillary camp is that it's the same story as the in-Casino caucuses in Nevada: they were cool with the rules when polls showed that the rules were to their advantage, and then once the polling changed they have had to adjust their high moral principles accordingly.

Posted by also | February 18, 2008 3:55 PM

So, another example of arcane insider rules that violate democracy. Here disparate voting power to The way it works out this time, one African American vote for Obama in Dallas counts more than one Latino vote for Clinton along the Rio Grande -- because 4 years ago more folks voted democratic in the district in Dallas than in the district in the Rio Grande.That's malarkey, there's no justification for making ANY voter 3/5 of a person or giving any voter less voting strength than antoher. I suggest that in the future we go with one person one vote.

And no, I'm not going to fail to point out that here we have Obama supporting the notion of inequality based on arcane insdier undemcratic rules.

Change, ha, ha. "Winning" is the actual theme. Same for HRC btw. They're striving politicians.

Posted by unPC | February 18, 2008 4:02 PM

no, Texas hasn't been interesting since the 5th Season of "King of the Hill"...

Posted by michael strangeways | February 18, 2008 4:24 PM

also@19, I have the numbers. And to you they're gold, and you don't get them. Why? Because to give them to you would be throwing them away. They're for closers.

Posted by Big Sven | February 18, 2008 4:43 PM

This might not be the most appropriate place for my request, but can people stop using "meme" for, like, a day. Jesus. There are other words in the world.

Of course, if I did something other than read internet posts all day I wouldn't be so damned bothered.

Posted by Adam | February 18, 2008 4:59 PM

@20: You realize that every single state apportions their delegates this way, right? Even the number of delegates for each state to the DNC is done this way. Are you stupid or lying when you pontificate about "arcane insider rules"?

The key difference in Texas that make it so disparate is that Hispanics overwhelmingly vote Republican in Texas. After all the whining from Hill Shills about how "Republicans/indies/youth/blacks/educated white people/middle-aged men/red staters shouldn't choose our nominee", they've pivoted on a dime to find a convenient exception for Queen Hillary.

This is the kind of cognitive dissonance that you find in fascist regimes.

Posted by ru shur | February 18, 2008 5:11 PM

It's not fair to say that the Texas system is designed to disenfranchise certain groups; that couldn't be further from the truth for a state Democratic party that's dependent on the soon-to-be Hipanic majority for its future viability. The party's rules state reward higher turnout in those districts that had high turnout for Democratic candidates in the previous presidential election with a higher percentage of the state's total delegates in the next presidential primary. The reason that several predominately Hispanic districts in South Texas don't have more delegates this time is that too many Democratic voters (who voted for Kerry in the primary) there voted for George W. Bush in 2004. It's a "you dug your grave, now lie in it" system designed to enforce party loyalty, not an exercise in deliberate disenfranchisement.

Just wait 'til HRC's campaign figures out that 25% of the delegates here aren't determined by the primary, but rather by "precinct conventions" (caucuses) in 18,000 precincts on the evening of the primary. We here in Texas are trying to figure out how many of those 18,000 aren't home to a single Democrat.

And those of you saying that Texas isn't interesting are forgetting that we have legal sex toys now!

Posted by Actually a Texan | February 18, 2008 5:22 PM

Sven, you are completely fucking deranged in your hatred for Barack Obama. Really, you are completely fucking batshit insane. Not just your little threats of violence but your complete denial of reality that allows you to describe Hillary Clinton as "... better, battle-tested candidates". When

Posted by wile_e_quixote | February 18, 2008 5:34 PM

What a waste it is, to lose one's meme.

Or not to have a meme, at all!

Posted by NapoleonXIV | February 18, 2008 5:45 PM

unPC @20:

That's malarkey, there's no justification for making ANY voter 3/5 of a person or giving any voter less voting strength than antoher. I suggest that in the future we go with one person one vote.

Obama backer though I am, I have to admit, unPC, that I find your posts enormously entertaining. It takes just a spectacular amount of chutzpah to compare the Texas Democratic Party's delegate apportionment to so shameful an episode in our nation's history as the tolerance of slavery in our Constitution.

Sometimes when I read unPC's screeds against Obama, I feel like I'm reading what Mark Penn would write if he were high on crack. UnPC, if you truly are not Mark Penn and you truly are not high on crack, I salute you all the more.

Posted by cressona | February 18, 2008 5:55 PM

Jesus Sven, take a fucking Midol already. You know I have to wonder if Clinton supporters such as yourself, who mindlessly repeat the "she's a better candidate meme" without ever offering any evidence of exactly why she's a better candidate (other than mindlessly repeating the memes of "she's been tested", "she has 35 years of experience" and "she's been slimed by the Republicans already, so nothing can stick to her") might just sabotage the election if Obama gets the nomination by going out and voting for McCain. Then you'll be in the position to say "I told you so" to all of us who haven't drank the gallons of industrial strength Klinton Kool-Aid that you and the other Clinton supporters.

Given the bitterness that Clinton supporters feel, the racism that they've been willing to use to smear Obama, the hatred and contempt that they have for anyone who dares support any candidate other than HIllary Clinton, regardless of reason and the fact that some of them are completely and totally unhinged (Marcia Pappas anyone) or drunks who threaten to bitch-slap Obama supporters (you) it wouldn't surprise me at all if Clinton supporters decided that it would be better to take everyone down with them rather than not have her be the next president of the United States. You might think that Obama supporters are too lazy to show up to vote for him in the general, or that they won't like Obama any more after the Republicans go to work on him for the next six months. But as far as I can see there's a hard core of Clinton supporters who are the kind of sick, sycophantic fucks that would rather see a Republican president in the White House this fall than any Democrat other than Hillary Clinton.

Also Sven could you please tell us when Hillary Clinton has ever been "battle tested". Her election in 2000 was a cake-walk after Giuliani dropped out the race. She had to win against a relative unknown, Rick Lazio, who didn't exactly run a brilliant campaign. Her election in 2006 was even more of a cake-walk, the Republicans threw up a token candidate against her. So when has she been battle-tested? She never has Sven, and her weak and pathetic skills as a candidate and in running a campaign where she actually faces real opponents are on display for all to see every time she screws up.

Hillary Clinton walked into this election with a massive advantage in fundraising, a massive advantage in name recognition, a fist full of IOUs from Democratic power brokers and a husband who used to be president of the United States, but despite all of these advantages she's fucked things up so badly that she's now looking at losing it all to Barack Obama.

Please Sven, please, tell us all how going through two cake-walk elections for the US Senate and a complete inability to capitalize on any of the advantages I listed above makes HIllary Clinton one of the "...better, battle-tested candidates in recent memory ".

Posted by wile_e_quixote | February 18, 2008 6:06 PM

Perhaps it should be noted that the WaPo item does not support this interpretation.

Fundraisers were unpleasantly surprised? That would not be surprising ... nor would it indicate that the campaign just stumbled on to the Texas Delegate Selection Plan.

Unnamed "strategists" were unpleasantly surprised? A lot of people are identified by campaigns to reporters as "strategists" ... few of whom would ever be expected to know how Texas selects its delegates.

The WaPo report relates to an expectation-setting session.

Posted by RonK, Seattle | February 18, 2008 6:12 PM

This might explain why Hillary fired her last campaign manager.

Posted by mackro mackro | February 18, 2008 6:35 PM

..meaning the not-knowing-about-delegates-delegatin'-in-Texas thing.

Posted by mackro mackro | February 18, 2008 6:36 PM

Big Sven- Anyone who thinks Hill has a better chance against McCain is waaaaaaaaaaaay out of touch with reality. Who motivated more first timers to caucus? Who doesn't have a bunch of crazy GOP propaganda from 10 years ago percolating in the collective unconscious of America, feeling like truth to the idjit masses? What's worse in this country, sexism or racism against blacks? (Hint: There's ladies who won't vote for Clinton because she's a woman, but no blacks saying they won't vote for Obama because they don't think niggas can lead...)
From what I've seen- from all the swing voters I've talked to that believe crazy bullshit about Hill to all of the fresh black faces at the caucus I attended and the decrepit median age of Hill supporters there, I can't possibly imagine Hill getting better numbers than Obama vs McCain in the national election. She may yet take the nomination, but if she does, it's going to be a fucking disaster.

Posted by christopher | February 18, 2008 6:58 PM

@20 "arcane insider rules"? Like the kind, oh, campaign managers might be expected to have a handle on?

And Obama is to blame for this undemocratic system because he's following said rules? Unlike brave, brave Hillary who's selflessly putting it all on the line for the disenfranchised masses of MI and FL? Ha ha.

Posted by banjoboy | February 18, 2008 8:00 PM


No, Obama is responsible these arcane-rules shenanigans because his spouse has been the most powerful person in the Democratic Party for the past sixteen years.

(Seriously, these people could have had Ickes out there cleaning up all this business for the past eight years. But why bother with the details when you're planning a coronation instead.)

Posted by oneway | February 18, 2008 8:32 PM

Same sort of thing happened in Alabama...Obama kicked Clinton's butt in the popular vote but only ended up with a single delegate lead.

Posted by Cato | February 18, 2008 9:07 PM


Wow. I mean- wow. Let me address, oh, maybe a half dozen or so of the things you said about me. The rest I'll let slide- though if you want to post another 1000 word screed I'll be happy to elaborate further.

fucking deranged in your hatred for Barack Obama

I have said many times in dozens of threads that I like Obama. I just don't think he's as good of a candidate as Clinton. I'm sorry that enrages you.

you are completely fucking batshit insane

Sure. Go with that.

Not just your little threats of violence

Hahahahahaha. Yes, I genuinely "threatened violence" against everyone who currently supports Obama but fails to vote in the fall. 'Cause I'm gonna know who that is. And where they live. Boy, I better block out all my weekends in November and December.

Why do I picture Jay and Silent Bob at the end of J&SBSB?

Particularly ungracious of you given that you quote me from a comment where I admit that YOUR FUCKING CANDIDATE IS GOING TO WIN THE ENDORSEMENT. But evidently that's not good enough, eh? I have to smile when I'm eating the shit sandwich of seeing my candidate go down in flames. Tough bar, wile_e, tough bar.

your complete denial of reality that allows you to describe Hillary Clinton as "... better, battle-tested candidates"

*Sigh*. Hillary ran a tough campaign against Giuliani, and was 8-10 points ahead of him when the Donna Hanover stuff came out. Giuliani and Lazio together outspent Clinton $60m to $30m. She won.

In 2006 John Spencer said Clinton "aids and abets our enemies" in the war on terrorism, yet didn't capture a single ward in Yonkers, where he had previously been mayor. He spent about $6m dollars.

Meanwhile, Obama ran once against Alan Fucking Keyes, who spend $50,000 on his campaign.

So that's what I mean by battle tested.

take a fucking Midol already

Is it playing the gender card to suggest that this is a poor choice of phrasing coming from an Obama supporter to a Clinton supporter?

You know I have to wonder if Clinton supporters such as yourself... might just sabotage the election if Obama gets the nomination by going out and voting for McCain

wile_e, if my record on this subject weren't so crystal clear, I would take umbrage at your comment. But since I've mentioned dozens of times both my twenty year involvement in the Democratic Party *and* my contempt for people who say "if candidate xyz doesn't win I'm voting Republican", your comment doesn't even phase me.

Given the bitterness... racism... hatred and contempt... regardless of reason... completely and totally unhinged... sick, sycophantic fucks...

Good god, wile_e. Is this your first election? Did you get this spooled up over Dean vs. Kerry, or (god forbid) Bradley vs. Gore in 2000?

But you're probably right. It's probably just that roughly 50% of the Democratic Party and most Democrats over the age of 40 are "sick sycophantic fucks."

Aaaaaaaand lastly...

drunks who threaten

That was a *joke*, wile_e, about my shitty typing skills and sloppy grammar. Anyone who knows me from SLOG night and knows where I work knows I don't have a job where you can show up drunk.

Posted by Big Sven | February 18, 2008 10:19 PM


Thank you for (reasonably) coherent, and more importantly concise, comments.

You're right, Obama has a lot of people excited about the process who weren't a year ago. (Though it seems cruel to me that we hold "crazy GOP propaganda" against one of our candidates. Especially given that the Republicans' own witch hunter, I mean independent counsel, spent millions of your and my money on investigating that propaganda and couldn't make any of it stick HRC.)

My concern continues to be the disconnect I see between (a) all of you Obama supporters expectation that Obama's oratory will lift the election out of bitter partisanship, and (b) the Republicans' commitment to bitter partisanship. (a) and (b) are going to come crashing together very soon, and when that happens I believe that Obama will have to fight back hard, or risk being the third volume in the Pleasant But Ineffective Democratic Presidential Candidates of the Twenty-First Century series. When that happens, I worry that a lot of the younger and more idealistic Obama supporters will lose their enthusiasm, and reacquire the "too hip to care" attitude that has plagued Gen X and Gen Y since forever.

So what I'm saying is: you all have won the day. Congratulations. But in redirecting the party away from its anointed candidate, you've taken on a responsibility to support your candidate all the way through the mud-slinging and bummer revelations and setbacks and campaign restructurings that will *invariably* occur between now and November 4th.

I know that right now this seems an obvious and easy thing to do. But remember these words as we move beyond the endorsement.

Posted by Big Sven | February 18, 2008 10:42 PM

Wow, Big Sven. You completely dominated on this thread. You have my admiration, Sir.

Posted by Aislinn | February 18, 2008 11:27 PM

This Texan thinks that Clinton would probably be the better President, but is planning to vote Obama. I had a conversation today with another Texas Democrat who feels the same way.

Our reasons primarily come down to electability. As my friend pointed out, the dozens of stay at home moms at our kids preschool are moderate Republicans for the most part. They would never ever vote for Hillary, but many have made favorable comments about Barack.

My hope is that just as we now speak about "Reagan Democrats" one day we will speak about "Obama Republicans."

It's unfortunate in a way because I think that Obama is the high risk choice. I think on a scale of one to ten in terms of how good a president a candidate would make Clinton is pretty much a guaranteed 8 with a wiggle room of one point. Obama is a total wild card. He could be a 10 but I think it is just as likely that he will be a four or a five.

It's the chance of a revitalized and expanded Democratic party as well as a more certain win in November that has me backing Obama. That and the fact that despite the fact that moderates like him more than Clinton, I think he is probably more liberal than she is.

Posted by Jim | February 19, 2008 1:08 AM

Oh, and to #24 who wrote that "Hispanics overwhelmingly vote Republican in Texas:" Are you high? What are you talking about?

Yes, there are Hispanic Republicans in Texas, and perhaps you can dig up a congressional district where they voted Republican, but I doubt it. One of the main reasons DeLay wanted to mess with Texas Congressional districts was to dilute Hispanic Democratic votes.

I mean, look at how screamingly blue the El Paso district is. In general the districts were gerrymandered past recognition to either pack Hispanics in districts like the El Paso district or dilute them with suburban whites.

Posted by Jim | February 19, 2008 1:20 AM

Thanks, Aislinn. It's nice to see my name in a sentence that doesn't also contain the words "deranged", "insane", or "unhinged."

Posted by Big Sven | February 19, 2008 1:35 AM

Oh yes, Big Sven. We were totally going to forget to vote in the national election. Thanks for reminding us.

Posted by christopher | February 20, 2008 10:18 PM

christopher- I didn't say you would forget to vote. I said that you would become disillusioned by the inevitable challenges and messy compromises that have effected every candidacy since the dawn of time.

Posted by Big Sven | February 21, 2008 2:25 PM

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