Tag Archives: Superdelegates

The Extremely Likely Explosion to an Extremely Unlikely Situation

It’s been awhile since I’ve bothered to post anything substantive, and I recently entered a cycle in which I’ve posted nothing at all.  We are in the dregs of the campaign (yet again), and the arguments are entrenched.  Clinton continues to argue her tortured “popular vote” count, Florida and Michigan absurdly remain an issue, and Clinton supporters (or Republicans posing as Clinton supporters) continue to say that if Clinton doesn’t win, they’ll vote McCain.

It’s really hard to tell which argument is the most absurd and all have been argued to death.  Everything has been said ad nauseam, so repeating it here would be useless.  However, there’s one thing that absolutely has to be said in response to the last argument (and has been said in the past, a number of times by me, but not much recently). 

The apparent reason for the argument is that it would persuade superdelegates to endorse Clinton out of fear that these individuals won’t vote Obama in November.  Obviously, this shows a calculation such that its veracity is highly doubtful.  Assuming it was true however, just imagine what would happen if the superdelegates did overturn the election.  What in the world do these people think would happen if the superdelegates did vote the way they wanted them to?  Of course there are people on both sides who wouldn’t vote for the other side even if won fairly, but it would be far more damaging to the Democratic Party to steal the election away from Obama than it would be by allowing the results to stand: a fair win by Obama.

I can’t help but hit on this point again and again (as I have in this weblog).  It’s so obvious, and yet we continue to have Clinton supporters threaten a McCain vote.  It’s insane to say such a thing in the first place, and insane to assume that there would be no negative reaction if the superdelegates did overturn the result.

That said, the Magic Number stands at 45, and assuming the RBC doesn’t completely screw things up this weekend, it shouldn’t veer off from this too much.  So, yet again, it’s basically over.


Superdelegates: It is Now Time to Save Your Party

Superdelegates, I know you’ve probably been waiting to let this process “play itself out” and only make your endorsement only after all the Primaries are held.  Well, you’ve allowed the Party to become more and more split by your non-action, and in the past few days, we now have events like this: Florida delegates file lawsuit to get delegation seated.  If you care one iota about keeping your Party together, if you have any inkling of a desire to win in November, it’s time to finally act to end this nonsense that is doing nothing but angering both sides.

Plus, if you act now, maybe all the delegates from Florida and Michigan could be seated as is anyway.


Whether It’s Ineptitude or Bias, the Media is Keeping the Democratic Race Going

Over the past few days I’ve really been asking myself why I continue to post about the Democratic race.  Clearly, Obama has an insurmountable lead in delegates, and it would be nearly impossible for Clinton to overcome him overall even with the Superdelegates killing their party by overturning the pledged delegates.  I’ve even posted here that I was done writing about the Democratic race.

I’ve figured out, however, why I keep writing about it.  It’s not that Clinton has any realistic chance, and it’s not like the truly rational are buying her “Big State,” and “Popular Vote” arguments.  However, with the current state of the media, it’s become nearly impossible to not post.  When it’s a big thing when Clinton wins states she is expected to win and a small thing when Obama wins states he is expected to win; when Obama is criticized as vulnerable because doesn’t win the majority of blue collar voters in a number of states, yet still gets a reasonable portion of such voters in those states and actually has gotten the majority of them in a few states, against a fellow Democrat, while Clinton fails to come even close to win over a lot of other demographics (especially African Americans, younger voters, college educated, independents, Republicans); when “Obama can’t close the deal” matters more than “Obama has an insurmountable lead” or “Clinton can’t win”; when Clinton relentlessly attacks Obama, Obama responds by calling it negative politics, and Obama’s tactics are therefore equal to Clinton’s; when Clinton’s “Popular Vote” and “Big State” arguments are met by the media, not with the derision such nonsense deserves, but with view that there’s a “debate” on these issues (much like there’s a “debate” over evolution, apparently); when lapel pins rather than policies dominate the headlines; when Obama’s vague associations with people who have questionable views matter more than Clinton’s clear ties to people with worse than questionable views;  when the state of politics in the media is as such, there is no choice but to weigh in.

Unless the Superdelegates go to Clinton en masse, which is extremely improbable even ignoring that it would possibly destroy the Democratic Party, Obama will be the nominee.  This is a fact which cannot be ignored, and yet oddly is.  Because of this I would love to ignore further Clinton antics and return my aim to Republicans, but because of the extreme ineptitude of the media (I’m coming this close to finally calling it bias), I cannot.


Whose Supporters Won’t Vote in November?

A comment posted in The Fray by Lulabelle:

If Obama’s voters didn’t support Clinton, they would most likely stay home. If Clinton’s supporters didn’t support Obama, they would be more likely to vote for McCain. They may be more centrist, and they are the demographics most likely to vote, based on past experience. So which eventuality if worse for the Democrats in November? In the end, for the record, if Clinton is the nominee, I think the vast majority of Obama’s supporters will come around — particularly African-Americans, who know the Clintons’ hearts (better than most white people do) and know there’s not a racist bone in either of their bodies. The Clinton Administration record — not just their words — is unbelievably strong for people of color — indeed, for all minorities.

The following is a bit rambly, but bear with me:

I very much disagree.  If Clinton is the nominee, the independents, the young voters, and likely the African-Americans will, at minimum, stay home.  This is even more salient when one considers that the superdelegates would have to overturn the pledged delegates, which would inevitably lead to strong resentment amongst these groups.

On the other hand, it would be irrational for Clinton supporters to not support Obama.  Clinton and Obama do share similar policy positions, but the major difference here is that he would have won fairly.  We’re talking about entrenched Democrats here.

The polls are misleading on this point.  Clinton supporters tend to be entrenched Democrats.  Both sides are currently bitter (yeah, I said “bitter”) over the campaign.  However, once everything is settled, sooner rather than later hopefully, it’ll become clear that Republican opposition is far more important than being bitter over their candidate losing.  If Obama wins, he will have done so fair and square.  Clinton supporters have little reason to complain.  If Clinton wins, however, it will have to be done through the superdelegates overturning the pledged delegates.  Obama supporters, who are to a far lesser extent entrenched Democrats.  It’s all the more reason for them not to vote for Clinton in November.  For Clinton supporters, who tend to be entrenched Democrats, will not vote for McCain.  They will vote for Obama.

Furthermore, the polls to which Lulabelle refers do not ask the proper question.  They ask who such people would vote for if their candidate didn’t win, there was no “not vote” option.  As such, Obama supports picked Clinton in far more numbers than is probably true.

Clearly the Democrats do not want to lose the independents, the young, and the African-Americans, but this will happen if Obama loses unfairly.  This is especially the case with African-Americans, who will undoubtedly view a superdelegate overturn as ratifying the racism in the process.

If Obama wins, it was a fair result.  So while Obama supporters not only have Clinton’s dirty politics, her self-interest over those of the party, and the willingness to do anything to win no matter what rules she breaks as reason not to vote for her come November, they would also have the nomination stolen from them by the Superdelegates.  Clinton supporters, on the other hand, have… have… what?  That he’s “inexperienced”?  The difference-in-experience debate aside, even if it were true, it’s crazy to choose a person with a completely opposite ideology, as McCain, as President simply because that person is more experienced, especially when Obama would be surrounded by extremely qualified cabinet members and advisors.  It wasn’t Bush’s inexperience that caused his disastrous presidency, it was his ideology.  

Because of a lack of a rational reason for Clinton supporters to vote McCain in the general instead of Obama, and it would be irrational and foolish for Clinton supporters to not vote for him.  If Clinton wins, it will be a fair result, and it is more than rational for Obama supporters to not vote for Clinton.  Finally, independents and the young have been drawn to Obama not just for his policies, but for his promise of a change in tone in politics.  Clinton does not offer that.


Superdelegates Ratifying Racism?

Very interesting thought by John Dickerson in today’s Slate Political Gabfest:  “Let’s say they didn’t play the race card, but Hillary Clinton continues to win these contests because she has this advantage among white voters, do superdelegates, if they were to give her the nomination, are they then kind of ratifying the racism in the system?”


While I think Clinton’s advantage among white voters is incredibly overblown, this is a very important question.




The Media Are Doing Keg Stands on the Kool-Aid Tap

It started awhile ago, when the math against Clinton became clear and yet the media refused to acknowledge that she was in a dire situation.  The usually reasonable Gary Eichten of MPR actually called the race “virtually tied” on multiple occasions, even ignoring that Clinton just can’t overcome Obama in the popular vote or pledged delegates.


After some time, the media finally did come around to the fact that Clinton can’t win, and in reaction, started exploiting the Wright and “Bitter” “scandals” in order to keep a narrative going.  I’m not saying the media is biased, I’m saying that they’re inept.


And the ineptitude continues.  After Clinton won Pennsylvania, even though there is no significant change in the race, and certainly none in the delegate count, the media continues to pound the message that Obama is in trouble.  He’s in trouble because he can’t win a certain demographic.  Let’s not forget that Clinton can’t win over far more demographics, but that wouldn’t keep the narrative going, would it?  Let’s also not forget that the majority of that demographic would still vote for Obama in the general.  But again, that would mean the story would be over.


At least Obama supporters aren’t the only people who recognize such things.  It’s hard to find any such stories in the media of late, they’re probably afraid of appearing “biased” against Clinton by reporting the truth, as they have been attacked of all election, but they do exist.  Perhaps my favorite of late is from Slate’s Trailhead Blog:


Right now, the Clinton Kool-Aid is on tap, and the media are doing keg stands. The same writers who once said Clinton was doomed are now ignoring the fact that the math is even more oppressive for Clinton. Obama will likely need to convince 25 percent to 35 percent of the about 300 uncommitted superdelegates to support him, and he will reach the 2,024 delegates needed to become the nominee. Put another way, Clinton needs to convince 65 percent to 75 percent of them to vote for her. That’s 200 elected officials and party bigwigs she needs to convince not to support the guy who has the most pledged delegates.

It’s still nearly impossible for Clinton to win without superdelegates, and is completely impossible for her to overcome Obama in voters.  And yet, listening to the media, you’d think that they were “virtually tied.” 




Democrats Might Vote McCain If Their Candidate Doesn’t Win

“Democratic Defection”
Democrats are ready to vote for John McCain if their candidate doesn’t win the primary.

(The above originally linked to a Slate article, but it has since been removed.  It was simply a report of polls showing that a percentage of Clinton supporters wouldn’t vote Obama come November)

To begin with, I’m not entirely sure I buy these numbers.  It seems to me that a lot of those being polled were trying to send a message that if they’re candidate doesn’t win, then the Party would lose in the general election.  For Clinton supporters, who are generally more the old stalwarts in the Democratic Party, this just doesn’t make sense.  It particularly doesn’t make sense because I’m still very unclear as to why Clinton Democrats hate Obama.  While I clearly disagree with them, I can understand why they prefer they’re candidate.  What he has done to garner this hate, I don’t know.

As I’ve said many times before, it makes some sense for Obama supporters to not vote for Clinton in the general election, especially if she takes the nomination in an unfair way.  However, I have never gone so far as to say it makes sense for them to vote McCain instead of Clinton.  Additionally, I mainly say that it only makes sense because it would be done in an unfair matter.  I would not be nearly as understanding if Obama supporters didn’t vote Clinton in the general should she have taken the nomination fairly (even despite her constant negative politics). 

As such, these numbers seem to indicate a far more irrational mindset, and is undoubtedly the result of this unnecessarily ongoing, increasing caustic, Democratic race.  It’s now all the more clear that the superdelegates need to step in to end this contest.  People need a lot of time to calm down, think rationally, and remember why they support Democrats rather than Republicans.  If this drags on until August, or even June for that matter, the Democrats are looking at a very real possibility of yet again snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.


Message to Superdelegates: Stop Clinton Before She Destroys the Democratic Party

From CNN: Clinton: Pledged delegates can switch sides

From Slate’s XX Factor:  Hillary in 2012!

Not that she needs [David Brooks] to tell her it’s over—and has been for some time, if you’re going to be a total math drone about it. Honestly, if you didn’t know better, you might even have begun to suspect she was hanging in there at least in part to do the maximum damage to her party’s nominee, weakening his chances in the fall and building the I-told-you-so case for Hillary in 2012. But that couldn’t be right. Right?

The title says it all, Superdelegates.  If you don’t want to blow it yet again this year (and for the near future), it’s time to end it before Clinton destroys any possible chance for victory in November (or ever again). 



It’s Time for Clinton To Withdraw

Is anybody else getting rather tired of the Democratic race?  I guess if not, you must be a Clinton supporter, as they’re the only ones who seem to think that there’s any reason for her candidacy to continue.  With Obama in the lead with delegates, the popular vote, and the state count, there is no feasible fair way for Clinton to overcome Obama on any of these marks (she’s now arguing that she won more electoral votes than Obama.  I’m not kidding.  Electoral votes).  This leaves Clinton only the superdelegates, who are extremely unlikely to overturn the primary results.  I can’t imagine that even Clinton supporters really want this to happen.  And that’s even ignoring the fact that it would lead to a huge backlash against the Democratic Party and almost undoubtedly hand the election to the Republicans.

To be fair, not everyone thinks that the ongoing process is a bad thing.  The media, for instance, is only very recently recognizing the fact that Clinton cannot win.  And even then it’s only the media fringe that is picking up on this or, at least, writing about it.

There is a fairly loud contingency who believes that the ongoing race can only help the Democrats in the end because, they say, this keeps the Democrats in the spotlight while no one pays any attention to what McCain has to say.  There are two problems with this.  The first of which is that every time I open up news pages, there’s almost invariably an article or two on McCain.  There are, admittedly fewer than on the Democratic race, but this leads to problem number two.  There is rarely anything printed of interest anymore besides the latest, rather meaningless, poll numbers, or yet more coverage of the “battle of the umbrage-taking.”

In no way are these stories helpful to keep voters interested, nor are they helpful in showing either candidate in a good light.  The more attacks from Clinton against Obama, the more ammunition McCain will have come the general election.  Clinton is, after all, a fellow Democrat, and her words, and those of her supporters, therefore sting far worse than those coming from Republicans.  For example, in listening to coverage of Obama’s speech on race, Clinton supports have been far less positive about his speech than even Republicans, whereby Clinton supporters often simply dismiss it out of hand

And that brings me to my main point.  Right now, the two sides are quite split, and probably have more venom for one another than they do for the Republicans.  It’s an irrational amount of hate, it’s people not wanting to listen to what the other side has to say, and it’s wanting to criticize anything at all the other campaign does so as to gain any sort of points by doing so.

This DOES NOT help the Democratic Party, and the increasing apathy due to the “battle of the umbrage-taking” and the never ending race make the situation untenable.  With Clinton having no chance to take the nomination without a superdelegate overturn of the race, which would be a disaster in itself, continuing the race is very damaging to the Democrats. 

It’s time for Clinton to see this.  It’s time for her to see that the only way to win is to kill almost all chances for the Democrats in the general election.  It’s time for her to do what’s good for her party and what’s good for her convictions.  It’s time for her to withdraw from the race. 

Unfortunately, this isn’t happening.  In this case, it’s time for the superdelegates to finally step in, like Bill Richardson, to settle this before it destroys any chances to win in the general election.  That way, it will finally stop the irrational criticisms, and more importantly, it will give Democrats time for the vitriol to subside, and more properly direct their anger toward the more proper target, Republicans.




**03/25/2008 addendum**

David Brooks’ New York Times op-ed on why Clinton should withdraw.

Taking Our Ball And Going Home: It’s Not Irrational

Recently, the women at Slate.com’s XX Factor have started to make a big deal about how Obama supporters wouldn’t vote for Clinton in the general election.  That is, since Clinton and Obama’s policies are similar, it’s irrational for Obama supporters to not still vote for Clinton should she take the nomination.

Rosa Brooks:

I don’t get it. How can someone be mad at Hillary for attacking Obama in the same way Republicans might/will attack Obama but threaten to retaliate against Hillary, should her attacks on Obama prove successful, by voting for … the Republican candidate?

Dahlia Lithwick:

And I agree with you completely that the people who say they will vote for McCain if their Dem of choice isn’t crowned appear to be drunk.

Emily Bazelon:

The other problem with the craziness you point to, Rosa, is that it makes the Obama-Clinton divide seem like it’s about policy and substance, as opposed to personal preference and leadership style…


…if the Democratic candidate who wins isn’t your guy or gal, he or she is still going to do a whole lot more to deliver for you on the issues you care about, if you’re liberal or semi-liberal, than the Republican.

Emily Bazelon is correct on one point at least.  The difference between Clinton and Obama is mostly personal preference and leadership style (there are definitely substantive differences too, more so than most analysts credit, but obviously McCain is far different than them than they are to each other).  However, that’s not to say one should vote for Clinton should she take the nomination.


Now, I freely concede that if Clinton takes the nomination fairly, then I would still vote for her.  If she took it unfairly (the superdelegates overturn the pledged delegates, or Michigan and Florida overturn the results), then, as I previously posted, I would have a big dilemma on my hands. 


However, it is not irrational for an Obama supporter to not vote for Clinton in a general election even if she took the nomination fairly.  It’s not only what your fighting for, but how you fight.  A big reason people have come to Obama is because he promises a change in tone.  We’re sick and tired of the political grandstanding instead of actually working together to get things done.  Clinton shows us that it’s not just the Republicans who are at fault for this type of political nonsense.  As such, if Clinton were the nominee, then it more than makes sense for Obama supporters, especially those who are independent or Republican, to not vote for her come November.


But there are definitely other issues that could cause an Obama supporter not to vote Clinton.  In fact, one such issue is about “the issues.”  The argument goes that Obama supporters should vote Clinton because they have similar policies.  The problem that this raises for many on the Obama side, however, is that, again, it’s not just about what you’re fighting for, but how you fight the fight.  With the way Clinton operates, turning off many people in the meantime, many of us do not think that Clinton would be successful in getting much done.  In fact, she might actually do damage to our issues, as well as to the Democratic Party.  As such, four years of McCain might not be worse than 4-8 years of Clinton.


And then there’s spite.  It’s perhaps the most “irrational” reason not to vote for Clinton.  Throughout this campaign Clinton has pulled out every political trick in the book to beat Obama.  It’s not about doing good for the people, it’s about doing whatever she can to get elected.  This includes backstabbing a fellow Democrat.  Is it really irrational to not want to vote for someone who backstabbed you? 


As I’ve said, should Clinton win the nomination fairly, I’d still vote for her, but I can see why some Obama supporters wouldn’t.  It’s not irrational at all.  Should Clinton win the nomination unfairly (and it’s looking like that’s the only way she can get the nomination), I will have a big dilemma on my hands.  Four years of McCain might just do less damage to the issues than 4-8 years of Clinton.  It wouldn’t be pretty, but it might not be that bad.  Additionally, should Clinton win it by superdelegates overturning the pledged delegates, not voting for Clinton it would send a message to the Democratic party that it’s not just about the party itself, it’s about those who support them.  That certainly is anything but irrational.


But as I pointed out in that previous post about my dilemma, there’s the Supreme Court to consider.  Without the Supreme Court, I would probably not vote in the Presidential election.  But considering the damage another Republican appointee to the Court would do for years and years to come, I have to, sadly, still vote for Clinton.  It’s not something I want to do, but I would have to.  However, because there are many legitimate reasons to not vote for Clinton in the general election, I wouldn’t blame others for abstaining from voting should Clinton win the nomination.