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Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Hello Washington

posted by on February 6 at 9:30 AM

Goodbye Super Tuesday, and hello Washington State.

After last night, the Republican race seems to have settled out in favor of John McCain while the Democratic race still remains a scramble for delegates between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. And for delegate-hunting Democrats, the next sizable prize is here in Washington, where 80 delegates and 17 superdelegates are on the table in our caucuses this Saturday.

That’s the largest number of delegates at stake in any Feb. 9 contest.

So welcome to the race, Washington, and welcome to Washington, national media. Here are some things that anyone—political reporters, residents, and electoral recluses who are just tuning in—should know about Democratic politics in The Evergreen State:

OUR DEMOCRATS: Former state party chair Paul Berendt describes the psychological and political make-up of Washington’s Democrats this way:

Our state is the home of independent, cranky, edgy Democratic liberalism. We are the home of a labor movement with muscle and workers tough enough to fight for their rights. People here get pissed off when you don’t respect the environment. We have more hikers and bikers than just about anywhere. We have a progressive social conscience that cares for those down on their luck. We are willing to fight hard for the equal rights of people who march to a different drum… There is a profound feminist ethic in our Democratic politics. Polls show that the percentage of women who vote Democratic in our state is one of the highest in the nation.

If that last bit, about the feminist ethic, seems to favor the candidacy of Hillary Clinton, keep in mind that Berendt is a newly-minted Clinton backer, having previously co-chaired the John Edwards campaign in Washington State. Another former Edwards co-chair, Seattle attorney Jenny Durkan, has moved the other direction, into the Obama camp, and she describes Washington voters this way:

We love to vote. We vote on everything, and anything. We love it so much, we sometimes vote several times on the same issue. Blend that love of voting with the fact that we all have opinions, and an abundance of coffee and it all adds up to a very raucous caucus. But we are also the true bell weather—when Obama sweeps here Saturday, the handwriting will be on the wall. Little ideas grow big here—just ask Costco, Microsoft, Nordstrom, and Starbucks.

Or, she might have added, just ask Howard Dean. Seattle—which will easily account for one quarter of the caucus votes this Saturday—was a hotbed of Dean support in 2004. Donations of time and money from the Seattle area played a huge part in propelling Dean’s insurgent campaign, and “former Deaniacs” are now a serious constituency here. This cycle, the Deaniacs and the Dean-style momentum in Washington are both very tangibly behind Obama.

The easiest way to see this is in donations. Obama has raised much more money in Washington State than Clinton ($1.7 million for him vs. just under $1 million for her), and he’s raised it from a considerably larger base of donors (average donation for him is $700, average donation for her is $1,200).

OUR CAUCUSES: Yes, it’s true, we have a Democratic caucus on Feb. 9 and a Democratic primary on Feb. 19. But only the caucus counts in terms of apportioning our 80 Democratic delegates. Trust me, you don’t want know why. State party chairman Dwight Pelz (one of our uncommitted superdelegates) tells me that last cycle’s Democratic caucus turnout was about 100,00 voters, and he predicts that this cycle’s turnout could be anywhere from 125,000 to 200,000 voters. “It’s going to be record turnout,” he says.

OUR POLLS: Good polls are hard to come by here in Washington. The most recent poll we’ve found, a Survey USA poll, gave Obama a 22-point lead among likely caucus-goers.

Also, this somewhat out-of-date Washington Poll, from Nov. 27, 2007, is worth a look mainly for the higher support Obama garnered among independents.

OUR SUPERDELEGATES: Here’s the list of our 17 superdelegates and an accounting of which way seven of them have pledged. Clinton is currently winning the Washington superdelegate race, with five superdelegates in her camp compared to two in Obama’s camp. Ten remain un-pledged.

Notable Clinton superdelegates: Our two female Senators, Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray, and King County Executive Ron Sims. (King County, which holds Seattle, is the largest and most liberal in the state, and the state Democratic party chair, Pelz, tells me that he expects fully half of Saturday’s caucus votes to come from King County.)

Notable Obama superdelegate: Rep. Adam Smith, whose district covers large pockets of liberal voters south of Seattle.

Fence-sitting superdelegates to watch: Gov. Christine Gregoire, who has promised to make her decision before the caucuses, and Rep. Jim McDermott (D-Seattle), who has not. Much has been made of Washington’s status as the only state to have it’s top elected positions—our two Senate seats and the governor’s office—filled by women. With our two Senators having already backed Clinton, there would be nice symbolism (for the Clinton campaign, at least) in getting the third top woman in this state to endorse Hillary. But the rumor is that Gregoire is leaning toward Obama, and the political reality (Gregoire is up for election this year after having won by only 132 votes in 2004) might be making Gregoire think hard about whether she wants to alienate liberal voters in Seattle, who seem overwhelmingly behind Obama, and perhaps conservatives and independents in the eastern part of the state, who are more likely to be hard-core Hillary haters. For McDermott’s part, he appears to be caught between his pro-Obama constituency in Seattle and a big debt he owes to the Clintons, who helped McDermott pay down legal fees in connection with his long-running court fight with Republican John Boehner.

OUR NEWSPAPERS: Both of this state’s major newspapers, The Seattle Times and The Seattle Post-Intelligencer, have endorsed Obama. So has Seattle’s America’s Hometown Newspaper, The Stranger.

OUR VISITORS: The Clinton campaign has suggested it may not spend much time here. Meanwhile, Barack Obama’s public schedule has him holding private events (read: fundraisers) in Seattle on Friday. And this report has Bill Clinton and Michelle Obama holding public events in Spokane on Friday.

RSS icon Comments


see everyone saturday!

Posted by Bellevue Ave | February 6, 2008 9:37 AM

I always find it ironic that the media calls one side the "Clintons" and the other side the "Obama" side. 2 aganist 1. Heck in a quote at the bottom of this article:

Quote: "For McDermott's part, he appears caught between his pro-Obama constituency in Seattle and a big debt he owes the Clintons"

I thought Barack was running against Hillary only?

Nice that the Clintonista campaign is sending Billy to do some rallying on her behalf.

I find it ironic and hilarious that Hillary won't even step foot in the state, as she knows she's likely to get her A$$ handed to her here on Saturday.

Hell, she'd probably draw more Hillary haters to any public appearance she'd announce. It's likely if she does show, it won't be at a public event. Rumor has it she's running afeared to show her face in public here.....


Posted by Reality Check | February 6, 2008 9:46 AM

America's hometown newspaper. I love that.

Posted by Mike in MO | February 6, 2008 9:47 AM

It seems like the Dem party rules are skewed to favor Clinton. Especially if it's a brokered convention. In the second round, when delegates are freed from supporting the caucus winners, she'll have the advantage of affirmative action for politically active females. The state Dem party mandates that half of the delegates are women.

The state’s total number of district-level delegates will be equally divided
40 between men and women as nearly as possible. The overall variance between
41 men and women cannot exceed one. (Rule 6.C.(1) & Reg. 4.8.)

Posted by Curmudgeon | February 6, 2008 9:49 AM

Hey Eli, RealClearPolitics here says that Washington has 68 delegates and doesn't talk about superdelegates. Can you give a source for your number?

Posted by NaFun | February 6, 2008 9:51 AM

@5: My source for those numbers is state Democratic party chairman Dwight Pelz.

Posted by Eli Sanders | February 6, 2008 9:52 AM

obama is winning all the caucaus states. his supporters are more energetic. washington will be no different.

NM is still a virtual tie.

Texas and Ohio is going to decide this thing.

Good luck to whichever Dem wins.

Posted by SeMe | February 6, 2008 9:52 AM

The caucuses will be a blast this time around. Hey Belltowners (especially those of us on the low side of the great income divide!), be sure to come to the Seattle Labor Temple at 1pm. It's a great venue. Let's compare health care reform plans and their impact on our sickly neighbors.

Posted by tomasyalba | February 6, 2008 9:53 AM

Your description is more about Seattle than the state as a whole. Most Washington Democrats don't live in Seattle.

Posted by Fnarf | February 6, 2008 9:54 AM

"Foom foom OOH! Foom foom OOH! Oh, it's time to go to caucus and I'm feelin' mighty raucous! Yeah no jive, let's caucus raucous! I ain't talkin' 'bout Caracas!"

Posted by kid icarus | February 6, 2008 9:57 AM

Fnarf, dont you realize thats all that really matters in the myopic world of america's hometown newspaper?

Posted by Bellevue Ave | February 6, 2008 9:58 AM

@4, what kind of stupid rule is that?

Posted by Bellevue Ave | February 6, 2008 10:03 AM

fnarf- its obvious that senator obama will take seattle and thurston county (olympia)..what's your take outside those areas?

Posted by SeMe | February 6, 2008 10:03 AM

I waited in a crowd for hours at Westlake Center to get to shake hands with then-candidate Bill Clinton in front of then-The Bon. I listened to him promise he would use his mandate and a Democratic Congress to get us universal health care and to end the ban on gays in the military after the local spokeswoman for that cause, Col. Cammermeyer, asked him point blank if he would. He looked her in the eye and promised he would end that ban. Change was in the air; it was electric -- finally, the Reagan/Bush years of intolerance, censorship, and saber-rattling were over! Hooray!

I'll be caucusing for Obama this Saturday at my local high school.

Posted by Can't Wait | February 6, 2008 10:04 AM

I wish Cantwell and Murray would take a cue from Barbara Boxer, a superdelegate who is casting her vote behind "whomever wins the popular vote in California". Apparently (unlike our two senators) Boxer realizes that she derives her power from the people.

Posted by DOUG. | February 6, 2008 10:05 AM

Obama has out-performed Clinton at most caucuses, especially last night. But given her strength in the Latino population, she may be able to pick up some support east of the mountains. Given how many more delegates WA has compared to Lousianna & Nebraska, I think she's foolish to concede.

Posted by Gidge | February 6, 2008 10:08 AM

@9: Actually, if you read my post, you'll see that a quarter of the Democratic caucus voters are likely to be from Seattle, and fully half of them are likely to be from King County. So I think it's fair to say that Seattle and the surrounding areas will play a strong—and perhaps decisive—role in apportioning our state's delegates.

Posted by Eli Sanders | February 6, 2008 10:09 AM

I didn't say Seattle wasn't important, or that it wouldn't play a "strong role". But you're pretending that the rest don't exist.

SeMe, I don't have too much of a take, except that from what I've seen in farm regions, Obama should clean up in Eastern WA, possibly his biggest margins, but less so in Spokane and the other cities. In Western WA outside of Seattle, I think Clinton's going to do much better; places like Grays Harbor are textbook Clinton territory -- economically threatened poor whites.

Posted by Fnarf | February 6, 2008 10:14 AM

And one wonders how many independents and first-time caucusers might also turn out Saturday, due to 1) the horse-race excitement and 2) the new importance of the state in the national spotlight.

It's more than just the party faithful this time...

Posted by Andy Niable | February 6, 2008 10:14 AM

Can't Wait @14, I hope history doesn't repeat itself for you! Good luck not getting disillusioned all over again once Obama's in office. Good luck to all of us, really.

Posted by tomasyalba | February 6, 2008 10:14 AM

Eli, I'm confused. I thought the the number of delegates per precinct have already been decided. The absolute number of caucus-goers has no bearing on the results, only the relative number of supporters for each candidate at each precinct. Why does it matter, in the overall scheme of things, if there is a large turnout?

Posted by Curmudgeon | February 6, 2008 10:20 AM

Ugh, this is why I hate news media organizations with their obvious biases and particularly loathe the ones in WA. The news orgs want Obama to win, so they spin for Obama and against Clinton, creating the hype for Obama, then report on the hype. News creating news. Reading commentary like this, I feel ashamed that I am from WA.

Posted by dewsterling | February 6, 2008 10:23 AM

Bill Clinton will also be here this week.

Posted by The General | February 6, 2008 10:30 AM

@20, yeah, best of luck to all of us. I'd be lying if I said I really believed either candidate wasn't full of the usual shit, but I deeply want to escape the last few decades of abject, miserable cynicism.

The disappointment of the last session of Congress has really tempered my hopes, though...

Posted by Can't Wait | February 6, 2008 10:30 AM

@21 - The number of delegates per precinct has already been determined. The delegate count is determined by the number of Kerry votes in your precinct in the 2004 general election.

Posted by Poll Watcher | February 6, 2008 10:31 AM

@21-It's true that the number of delegates per precinct is pre-determined. But turnout matters for a few reasons. First, if a precinct doesn't have enough people who are willing to be delegates, those delegates either shift to another candidate within the precinct or (if no candidate wants to use those delegates) are lost completely. High turnout in a particular precinct may also help a candidate garner a higher proportion of the delegates. But beyond that, it's a sign of energy among democratic voters and will hopefully translate to higher democratic turnout in the general elections.

Plus, they may run out of sign-in sheets, toilet paper, etc., if turnout is really high.

Posted by Gidge | February 6, 2008 10:55 AM

@12 It's a stupid rule that was imposed before there were any viable female candidates to make sure that women were equaly represented at the state and national levels.

Please give us some credit-- not all women are going to vote/caucus based solely on gender.

Posted by SDizzle | February 6, 2008 10:55 AM

@25 You're correct, the delegate count was apportioned based on the 2004 turnout.

Overall turnout this week doesn't matter in the grand scheme. It doesn't really matter if there's a disproportionately large Seattle turnout. (see @17-@18) Imagine that 99% of the voters are from Seattle. Eastern WA etc. will still have their same amount of influence.

I personally think that it's dumb to have all these artificial constraints. We should have a binding primary with one-person/one-vote. Why should it matter which gubernatorial candidate was popular in my precinct when determining the weight of our precinct vote in picking a presidential candidate?

Would you buy a car based on how many people bought it 4 years ago? What if the bosses said "You can buy any color car you want, but we've decided that half of all cars will be red and the other half blue, and we've set the availability based on the popularity of colors with your neighbors 4 years ago?"

I know that we're not shopping, but I don't care for my vote being diluted and my preferences diminished. The party caucuses are like the electoral college. They are designed to temper change and prop up the establishment candidates.

Here are some snippets from the rules:

1. Washington State has a total of 97 delegates and 13 alternates. (Call, I. & Appendix B.)

1. Washington State is allocated 51 district-level delegates and 9 district-level
8 alternates. (Rule 8.C., Call, I.B. & I.I.)

a. The first tier precinct caucuses will be held on Saturday, February 9, 2008.
Delegates are elected to the legislative district (LD) caucuses and county conventions. The size of each LD delegation is determined by a formula giving equal weight to the number of active registered voters in each LD and an average of the Democratic presidential and gubernatorial vote in the 2004 general election.

Posted by Curmudgeon | February 6, 2008 11:02 AM

sdizzle, the rule is stupid on the face of it. why isnt there an allotment for black people, or asians, or gays? or gay morman women that are veterans?

Posted by Bellevue Ave | February 6, 2008 11:05 AM

and i know most women are smart enough to not vote solely based on gender. doesnt mean that they arent influenced heavily by it.

Posted by Bellevue Ave | February 6, 2008 11:06 AM

@27 I said "advantage" in @4

It's clear that Clinton does better with older women. It seems like the one's that have the time and money to participate as delegates are more likely to support her. The rule was adopted in Aug. 2007 when it was likely that Sen. Clinton would be the establishment candidate.

Posted by Curmudgeon | February 6, 2008 11:09 AM

Remember, if you live in Seattle, you get more delegates per precinct - yup, more votes per voter.


Because we vote for the Dem nominee for President here - so we get more delegates.

For example, in the boonies of Washington, a precinct may get 1 or 2 delegates - for 400 voters.

Here in Seattle you can get from 4 to 10 delegates - for 400 voters.

In Fremont, my three precincts get 6, 9, and 10 delegates - ok, who's been voting GOP or Green ... dang, it's MY PRECINCT! Curse you Ralph "GOP-is-my-luv-child" Nader!

So, caucus hard - you get way more delegates here and you deserve them.

(mutters curses about Nader under breath)

Posted by Will in Seattle | February 6, 2008 11:15 AM

@29 There are less prescriptive "goals" for groups that exclude white-heterosexual-able-bodied men: :)

"Methodology for Inclusion Goals
(1) Washington State has decided that key constituencies identified in the DNC rules for delegate selection merit more than inclusion efforts not tied to some numerical goals for its delegation. Those constituencies are LGBT Americans, People with Disabilities and Youth. For all of these groups, for varying reasons, census data and traditional affirmative action analyses do not correspond with the issues of race and gender discrimination that has been a part of the tragic history of our country,
thereby requiring a remedy to correct the present effects of past discrimination. And yet, like the fundamental issues of race and gender discrimination, there is a basic recognition that must be made to include these groups as a part of moving our Party and our country forward so that all may enjoy participation in the political process. As a baseline, all of these groups will for the first time be included in the numerical goals in recognition of their presence in our Party. Below is a rationale for the goals set for each group. "

Posted by Curmudgeon | February 6, 2008 11:19 AM

I'm guessing Obama will "win" Washington, but Clinton will do much better than expected.

Then again, I'm in the 36th District, which will be a total Hillaryrama at McClure Middle School at the top of Queen Anne hill. (I'll be caucusing for Obama, however.) See y'all at the Kimya Dawson instore at Easy Street right after?

Posted by mackro mackro | February 6, 2008 11:27 AM

Nice summation, Eli.

Good point, Andy Niable @19

I'm a minor political wonk, and I vote religiously. But I've never been to a caucus. They usually don't seem like it would be worth the effort. It usually doesn't matter much anyway, and they're a monumental pain in the ass. Extroverts love them. Us introverts would rather hide in the corner or stay home.

But now it looks like it actually matters for once. I'm scrambling to find where my caucus place is, and I'm gonna go this time.

Posted by Reverse Polarity | February 6, 2008 11:29 AM

Superyesterday didn't produce an Annointed One so now WA's opinion counts, which means it is actually good for WA voters to have an opinion and to go to the cockus with the intention of voting for the person you think would be *the best president*. Wow.

Just a reminder for saturday: when you're shouting at your neighbors about health care plans and senate voting records, do not end your argument with any variant of the phrase "... and candidate [x] is so much more ELECTABLE than candidate [y]."
"Electable" is an asshole word and an asshole argument and if you rely on that as your basis for voting, then you should be sentenced to live among republicans for 4-8. "electability" helped doom us to the last 4 years. Vote for someone because you like what they say, do, and believe, not because your opinion of them depends on how other people will be voting. If you want to bet on a horserace, then go to the race track or watch a boxing match. When you vote for our leader, vote with a clear conscience for the one you want to lead us. And piss on the people who argue about the bullshit science of "electability" because that's just punditry and we have enough of that already.

Posted by hairyson | February 6, 2008 11:31 AM

@35--It doesn't have to be painful for the introverts this year. Under this year's rules, you can show up at your caucus, sign in indicating your preference, and leave before the second tally. Sure, you won't get to change your mind if you leave before the second round, but the preference you indicated on the sign-in sheet will be counted toward the final delgate allocation.

Posted by Gidge | February 6, 2008 11:39 AM


Right on. Opus rocks!

Posted by Smade | February 6, 2008 11:43 AM

hairyson, while it may be an asshole thing to say, it is true. voting for nader left people with a clear conscience right? and who won that year?

Posted by Bellevue Ave | February 6, 2008 11:44 AM

Electability is also a function of political skill. Some candidates say all the right things but they fight unnecessary battles and piss off the wrong people. The don't know when to trade away the small things to get something they really want. The don't remember who helped them get where they are.

Kucinich was utterly unelectable. The only halfway decent reason to caucus for him would have been to keep him around in the debates -- to influence the real candidates. Anyway, we're past that now.

So yeah, electability is a reasonable criterion, but don't just parrot what some pundit said. If you're going to say someone is unelectable, bring data. Have a specific reason, not hearsay.

Posted by elenchos | February 6, 2008 11:46 AM

I'm sorry if this has already been answered at some point but I'm still a little confused about the process...

"OUR CAUCUSES: Yes, it’s true, we have a Democratic caucus on Feb. 9 and a Democratic primary on Feb. 19. But only the caucus counts in terms of apportioning our 80 Democratic delegates."

So what's the point of voting in the Democratic primary on Feb. 19th? How does that affect it all?

Posted by D | February 6, 2008 11:49 AM

You forgot to mention how many people in this state are still pissed off(myself included) that they actually have to declare a party preference in order to take part in the primary which in essence means that the primary here is decided by a minority of a minority of people.

So in essence this post of mine is a big F U to the parties for screwing up what used to be an actual representation of what the voters wanted in this state to begin with.

Yes, everyone says that the other party's voters could somehow swing the delegates for one individual or another, but I really don't think that would happen. Most voters here are too independent to really care what the party machinery would like them to do.

Posted by Brian in Seattle | February 6, 2008 11:53 AM

I agree. I want a binding proportional primary, and I want it now.

What I really want is for it also to be on the same day as OR, CA, ID, NV, MT, WY, UT, CO, NM, and AZ, if not ND, SD, NE, KS, and OK as well, on the fourth of July, on a rotating schedule with four other regional primary days. But I'll settle for just the primary.

Posted by Fnarf | February 6, 2008 11:55 AM

@ 29-31 So you're assuming that women will switch to Clinton even after having caucused for Obama? Seriously-- he has just as good of a record on "Women's Issues" as Hillary does.

I agree that it's stupid to regulate gender equality and not racial/religious equality, but you also have to consider that the population is roughly half male half female whereas it is not half black/asian/mormon/diabled/gay/whatever.

Posted by SDizzle | February 6, 2008 11:59 AM

also, look at what electability actually means; do they have the ability to get elected? why are you going to vote for someone who has an inferior chance at that if the worst case alternative, a republican, would get elected?

Posted by Bellevue Ave | February 6, 2008 12:00 PM

The primary election vote on the 19th is "meaningless" for helping Obama or Clinton get the nomonation. It is only a beauty contest that was required under State law and which our Democratic Party here in Washington decided wouldn't count towards picking the delegates who end up picking other delegates who end up picking delegates ot the democratic national convention in Denver who then pick Obama or Clintton. The start of THAT process is your precinct caucus held on 2/9 at 1 pm, you have to show up to have your vote "count."

Then on the 19th vote or not as you wish in the primary.

Whoever wins that gets a minor public relations bounce but not any more delegates in the nominating process.

Posted by Cleve | February 6, 2008 12:00 PM

@42: You don't have to be registered as a Democrat to participate in their caucus. Same for Republicans. It's about as open as you can get.

Posted by DOUG. | February 6, 2008 12:01 PM

Sorry if someone already posted this, I got tired of reading everyone's comments...

Im just gonna break things down so y'all know, the whole gender of the delegates thing doesn't cause a bias toward one candidate or the other because it the caucuses work like this:

1. You go to your caucus

2. Everyone votes for their candidate.

3. Based on how many people vote for each candidate the number of delegates each candidate gets is then calculated.

4. Then you get together with the people who voted for your candidate and decide who you want to act as your delegates. Half of these must be men and half of them women.

For Example: Say your in your precinct you have 8 delegates up for grabs.

Everyone votes.

When everything is calculated you find that Obama will be getting 6 delegates and Hillary will the remaining two.

The Obama supporters will then break off and decide who their delegates are, 2 of those people must be men and 2 of them women.

Clinton's supporters also break off and choose their delegates. 1 of those must be a man and 1 must be a woman.

And that's that. So go vote.

Posted by Queen_of_Sleaze | February 6, 2008 12:05 PM

I plan on going to the caucus on Saturday AND voting in the primary. I'll caucus for Obama and in the primary I'll cast a write-in vote for the honorable Mr. Nomo Caucuses.

Posted by Mike of Renton | February 6, 2008 12:09 PM

hey anyone who hates caucuses:

the way to change it is to join the Democratic party, serve as precinct committee officer for your precinct, and lobby the hell out of the Washington State Democratic Central Committee (sounds vaguely USSRish doesn't it?) and go bitch at them especially next January when they all want to be voted back onto that committee and tell them caucuses suck and are stupid.

It's like a club. You have to join to have the right to complain about the leadership and the decisions they make.

Posted by unPC | February 6, 2008 12:32 PM

@48--Thanks for the overview. One correction: the delegates at the precinct level do not have to be evenly split between genders. They do have to be split at the subsequent levels (district, county), provided there are enough nominees from each gender. It's not a big deal, but may be confusing for folks who have gone through trainings and not heard anything about that.

Posted by Gidge | February 6, 2008 12:45 PM

That's what I thought, thanks.

Posted by D | February 6, 2008 12:57 PM

"If that last bit, about the feminist ethic, seems to favor the candidacy of Hillary Clinton.."

As the cliche goes, "Feminism is about choices". Those leaning toward the "feminist ethic" will vote for whomever they damn please, thank you very much.

Posted by me | February 6, 2008 1:05 PM
Posted by wbrproductions | February 6, 2008 1:27 PM

@39, 45
I don't think Nader or Nader's voters are to blame for Gore behaving like an automaton and "losing" to the manager of a TX baseball team (with some help from katherine Harris and the supreme court) - but I don't want to rehash the '00 election.
I don't agree, Bellevue Ave, that you or I can determine someone's "electability" because that means we are divining opinions and votes of many people we do not know. I think political vote divination is an artform practiced by many during this time of year but that doesn't make it accurate or in any way credible.

I agree with you: "have a specific reason." You are citing reasons in your example though you're calling it 'being unelectable.' I can argue with someone's reasons for not liking a candidate (or at least understand them) but I can't argue with someone's stargazing determination that a candidate is "unelectable." I don't think "electability" is a reason - it's sheep-think: I'm afraid that my candidate's beliefs are not good enough or convincing enough for the rest of the country. Nevermind that I don't know what goes on in anyone else's head. If I really am afraid that so-and-so isn’t palatable enough to other voters but I like that candidate, then I need to go out and campaign for that candidate. Just don’t use the lazy “electability” excuse to switch candidates.

When we go to a caucus, which could be a big argument with our neighbors, we state our opinions with reasons because it's possible to convince someone if you have reasons. If all you have is "electability" tingling your senses, then there's not much someone else can argue with.

This caucus is our once-every-four-years opportunity to actually vote for the candidate we each like most. After this, the nomination is out of our hands (unless you get involved with the state party or with a candidate’s campaign) and I will have the choice in November essentially between two candidates because that’s more or less the system we have, whether or not I like the choice.

Maybe I'm an idealist in thinking that a candidate can win on the strength of their ideas (yes, putting aside all the other necessary politicking that goes on). Or maybe this is semantic and I just don't like the word "electable". Either way, this voter would prefer that other voters have better reasoning than their ability to read other people's minds.

Posted by hairyson | February 6, 2008 1:39 PM

hairyson, you are an idealist. and you dont talk to enough people who arent democrats.

Posted by Bellevue Ave | February 6, 2008 1:48 PM

and i have no problem with people voting independent of the politics that takes place, but i do have a problem with the complaining that happens afterward when they stammer for an explanation as to why their candidate lost.

as for the premise of being an independent voter, you should apply this across all lines of thinking. I dont care if democrats win or lose. people think that a person like me is bluffing when i say that i will vote for mccain over hillary (essentially, if obama doesnt get the nomination, I will vote republican). there is no bluff there because i really don't care which party wins. i may wax on what the implications of either party winning, but i know that i want someone i prefer to be in office.

Posted by Bellevue Ave | February 6, 2008 1:53 PM

@50 Thanks for the info.

Posted by Mike of Renton | February 6, 2008 2:03 PM

Bellevue Ave, you're probably right @56 that I live in my own politically insular world. And I was making the assumption that most Slog readers would vote for a democrat over a republican, which may not be true.

Posted by hairyson | February 6, 2008 2:07 PM

I'd vote for a Republican.

If I was on a jury ...

Posted by Will in Seattle | February 6, 2008 2:35 PM


I'm in full agreement with Bellevue Ave and feel the ame way that if Obama doesnt get the nomination, I will vote Republican, as there is NO way I'll vote for Hillary under any circumstances.

Posted by Reality Check | February 6, 2008 3:53 PM

I don't understand how Obama and McCain are more alike than Clinton (or is that a misrepresentation of your voting preference?) - but I look forward to hearing about it on saturday!

Posted by hairyson | February 6, 2008 4:03 PM


i agree with obama on a few issues, but I like who he is and his ideas for the future and working with both parties to get shit done.

i agree with mccain on a few issues and dont think that he is as much of a republican asshole as everyone thinks he is.

both have things i dont like about them, but they have redeeming things that i do. hillary doesnt have anything redeeming about her and she doesnt have anything to like about her. her ideas on the economy are especially distressing to me.

Posted by Bellevue Ave | February 6, 2008 5:09 PM

That's stupid, Bellevue Ave. You're not voting for a person, you're voting for a team, an entire administration. Everything from the head of the EPA to Supreme Court appointees depends on who wins this election. If you think the Republicans, with their anti-science, anti-justice, anti-common-sense positions on almost everything, will fill those positions as well as Democrats, you're nuts.

Posted by Fnarf | February 6, 2008 5:38 PM

fnarf, different issues appeal to me on different levels. i think mccains team isnt going to be horrible and i agree with some of where he stands and what he will do. same with obama... they have very little overlap on some issues but those arent the ones that really matter to me.

Posted by Bellevue Ave | February 6, 2008 5:53 PM

But issues ultimately don't matter that much.

I know everyone is hyperfocused on the trivia of what each minor vote or utterance means to each of the 2,000 issues on the Dem platform, but the reality is, that's not what happens when a president is elected. Hardly any of what they say after "we need to ..." is ever going to actually get to the President's desk. You're voting for an administration, a team of thousands and thousands of people who execute the laws of the US. Who's going to be picking the next set of US attorneys? Who's going to be picking the regional FEMA heads? The UN ambassador, the World Bank rep, the top staff at the Forest Service?

Posted by Fnarf | February 6, 2008 7:49 PM

The constituency is with Hillary so far since she has more popular votes. If superdelegates are asked to change their position in the middle of the game then maybe the pledge delegate game should be changed to reflect the actual % of votes in each state vs congress districts.

It would be suicide if Hillary wins the most votes and doesn't win the nomination, I will not vote for Obama if this happened. It would be 2000 all over again.

Posted by A.M. | February 7, 2008 5:41 PM

No personal offense, A.M., but who gives a sh*t who you won't vote for? Vote, don't vote, it's your decision, but don't try to pull that psychological crap on us . . . "if you don't do what I want, I'm not voting for the other candidate (sticks tongue out)."

Good. Then don't.

Posted by Lisa | February 7, 2008 7:40 PM

Yes, let’s take a look at Hillary’s so called “lack of experience”. As a Senator she continues to be an advocate for children and families and a national leader on homeland security and national security issues.

1. After 9/11, she worked diligently to secure funds to recover and rebuild. She fought to provide compensation to families of the victims, small businesses and front line workers at Ground Zero and improve homeland security.

2. In her work on the Senate Armed Services Committee, she has been working to see that our military has the necessary resources. She has visited Iraq and Afghanistan to learn first hand the challenges our combat forces are facing.

3. Hillary passed legislation to track the health status of our troops so that conditions like Gulf War Syndrome would not be misdiagnosed.

4. She is an original sponsor of legislation to expand health benefits to members of the National Guard and Reserves.

5. She has introduced legislation to tie the Congressional salary increases to increases in the minimum wage.

6. She has supported a variety of middle-class tax cuts: marriage penalty tax, property tax relief, reduction of the Alternative Minimum Tax

7. She passed legislation to create jobs in struggling communities through the Renewal Communities program.

8. She has championed legislation to bring broadband internet access to rural America which helps support the economic growth of the community.

9. She continues to strengthen the Children’s Health Insurance Program which she developed to help low income and working families.

10. She has authored legislation that has been enacted to improve the quality and lower the cost of prescription drugs.

11. She has sponsored legislation in the global fight against HIV/AIDS

12. She has passed legislation that will bring more qualified teachers into the classroom

13. She is one of the original sponsors of the Prevention First Act to increase access to family planning.

14. She introduced the Count Every Vote Act in 2005

I could go on, but suffice it to say, Hillary’s hard work has touched all of our lives.
Thank you, Hillary

Posted by noelle15 | February 9, 2008 8:14 AM

If the superdelegates do not adhere the the vote of the people of the state, then they need to be ousted ASAP.

Posted by Walt | February 10, 2008 11:20 AM

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