Monday, March 03, 2008

No Delegate Lead for Obama

As the adage goes, vote early, vote often, so we snuck the little one into the booth and cast an extra ballot.  Ok, so not really, but the kid, being a DCite, got into the game early.

Our time back here coincided with the presidential primary, so we went out and voted.  Our guy (or should I say, "gal") didn't win, so that was a bummer.  I'm still a supporter till the race is called.

The genesis of this post came as a reflection on Preya's post titled Why Voting For Hillary Now Is Bad For The Democratic Party.  Originally this post was to be titled "Voting on Vacation," but that sounded a bit pedestrian next to Preya's nicely titled thoughts. 

A simple response to Preya is that I do not agree that voting for Hillary now is bad for the party.  But on a wider view, I don't understand the hoopla and lack of analysis that we get from political reporters during this election cycle.  Yeah, Obama has won more states, but there are few who ask "do those states matter?"

For instance, Obama (re)started his momentum with a win in South Carolina, taking a 26 to 14 delegate tally.  But when was the last time the Democratic nominee won South Carolina in the general election?  You have to go back to 1976 when Carter took this neighbor to Georgia over Ford.  

Can we reasonably expect any Democratic nominee to turn this demographic tide?  

Of course, similarly, Hillary won Arizona and took a 35-27 advantage.  But will that mean anything in the general against McCain?  That delegate victory should be discounted when we are sizing up who would be the best candidate in the general election.  After all, as Al Gore showed, it's not about winning the popular vote, but rather, squeeking out wins in places that matter.  

Going by the Red State-Blue State breakdown for the 2004 Presidential Election, and using CNN's numbers on the pledged delegates and superdelegate estimates as of today, we see that, crazily enough, Hillary and Obama are tied (!!!) with 785 delegates in "states that matter."

"States that matter" are the 19 states which were blue in the 2004 Presidential Election.  After all, when viewing things thru the lens of trying to win the general election, is it really important to know how Kansas thinks on Clinton v. Obama?    

Clinton and Obama are tied in states that went Kerry - of course to win in 2008, they would need an additional state (Florida, or Virginia perhaps) while holding onto these states that matter.  Clinton took the 'non-contested' Florida results while Obama took Virginia.

Note also that these tied delegate numbers do not include numbers for Michigan (a blue state), which Hillary won (no delegates were awarded due to the calendaring issue) and for Pennsylvania, which won't hold the primary till April 22nd.

I am not saying that SC Democrats 'do not matter' - I am saying that Democrats in non-blue and non-purple states cannot help a Democratic nominee win in November with their action at the polls.  Given that, their actions at the primary polls should be discounted.  Heavily.      


Eric said...

Wow. So you would say to someone like me, a Democrat living in Alabama, "fuck off -- we don't want your vote"??

So, in addition to my vote in the general election counting for nothing, you'd like my vote in the primary to count for nothing as well???

With all due respect (and very little is due), that is elitist bullshit.

I wish we elected our president on a purely popular vote. The electoral college system sucks.

But it's the system we have, and it disenfranchises the people who live in the "wrong" state. In the 2004 Bush/Kerry election, nearly 40% of people voted in their state's minority (Bush voters in a Kerry state, and vice versa).

So under your plan, 40% of Americans should just stay home for all national elections, huh?

I'm glad that the Clintons -- who live and die by this red state/blue state garbage -- are losing to a candidate in Obama that has a legitimate "50 state strategy."

Even if Obama won't win in Alabama in November (he'll surely do better than either Kerry or Gore), he brings Democrats to the polls, which is good for down-ticket races. He also forces McCain to campaign in places like Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, etc.

Please don't tell people their votes don't matter. My vote in the primary counted just as much as a vote in one of the "blue states," and I'm proud of that fact.

D. said...

Nice comprehension.

Should 40% of those voters stay home? Well, yeah, maybe.

That's the thing with the entire, BS, 'go out and vote, it counts,' the anti-Green Party, anti-Nader backlash in 2000, etc.

Those trite sound bites, the MTV rock the vote BS, the bitching about Nader in Florida, all that is bull. There is hand wringing over more votes for American Idol vs. the Presidential election by the media as if that is a bad thing.

It is not. People out there are smarter than they get credit for. A lot of people do not go out and vote because they know their vote does not matter. EIther they are in the minority that is not gonna win or they're in the majority that is gonna win regardless, so they stay home. Your vote only matter if you are margins in a contested election - that is why the independent/swing voter matters so gosh darn much in the generals.

You have a lot of 'angry' for nothing. "So under your plan, 40% of Americans should just stay home for all national elections, huh?" McFly, over 40% ALREADY STAY HOME.

If we get to brass tacks, the only votes that matter in a tight Presidential race are those in Florida, Ohio, etc.. the swing states.

A 50-state strategy sounds nice and ebullient, but frankly it's naive to think that Clinton or Obama will spend more time campaigning in Alabama for the general than one of the swing states.

Sorry to burst your bubble, but if all of Alabama voted for McCain it would not change anything.