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In a Vote By Numbers World, Who Rules?

Paul Lukasiak, guest-blogging at Taylor Marsh's blog, crunches the numbers of votes cast so far in the Democratic presidential race. Why? Barack Obama is arguing that super-delegates should comply with the "will of the people."

Mr. Lukasiak's premise:

Based on exit polls, among the approximately 16.3 million people who identified themselves as Democrats, over 678,000 more voted for Hillary Clinton than Barack Obama. If we’re going to “let the people decide" who the Democratic nominee would be, shouldn’t we be basing that on the will of Democrats themselves?

Here's the table of votes. His analysis is below, but go read his whole post, I've just reprinted highlights:

As of February 16, 2008, 391,992 more Democrats voted for Clinton than Obama. (my emphasis.)

That number does not include results from the District of Columbia, because of a lack of exit polling data. If we include DC, and assume that 100% of the voters were Democrats, Clinton still has a lead among Democrats of 333,981 votes.

But that number also doesn’t include Florida. Add in Florida’s Democrats, and Clinton’s lead advantage increases to 565,684. Nor does it include Michigan; and even if we assign all the Democrats who voted “uncommitted” to Obama, Clinton’s lead among Democratic voters grows to 678,276.

As to Super Tuesday,

In fact, on Super Tuesday, 295,952 more primary voters cast their ballots for Hillary Clinton than for Obama, yet somehow neither the Obama campaign, nor the media, was paying much attention to Clinton’s lead in the popular vote. If we include all the states that held primaries before Super Tuesday (NH, SC, MI, FL) Clinton was up by 468,024 votes—that was 2.51% of the total votes cast. But talking about that number was not a media priority either.

Only now that Obama has a miniscule lead of 128,736 in the number of votes cast (and that includes assigning all the “uncommitted” votes in Michigan to Obama) has the media focused on total votes cast. This lead represents less than 1% (0.62%) of votes cast in the primary elections held so far, yet it is trumpeted by the media endlessly.

Update: Paul Lukasiak responds to several of you in the comments:

First of all, I tried to be as fair as possible to Obama in putting together the data.

When I include Michigan results in the totals, ALL uncommitted voters were treated as if they were Obama voters. (In the notes to the table I also mention that there was an exit poll question regarding who people would have voted for if all the candidates had been on the ballot -- and that it came out 46% Clinton, 35% Obama -- and noted that those numbers could have slightly improved Obama's bottom line, but because there were no cross tabs to party identification for those numbers, they were unusable for this project.

In the case of Washington DC, for which there was no exit polling data, I assumed that 100% of the voters would have answered "Democratic" to a "party identification" question, even though the highest percentage (from closed primaries -- like DC's -- in NY and NM) in that categories was 87%.

The purpose of the piece was not to demand that only "Democratic" voters be considered by super-delegates, but to use the analysis of Democratic voters to raise the issue of how Obama is now trying to "play the refs" after doing a very good job of exploiting the rules to his advantage. Obama is now trying to redefine the role of the superdelegates to be rubber-stamps based on the criteria that are most advantageous to him. But the fact is that those are not the only criteria, and IMHO, not even the proper criteria.

To me, the decisions of the superdelegates in a race where there is no clear winner should be to pretty much forget the results of the primaries, and consider what is best for the nation -- which means determining which democrat is most assured of winning in November, and if that determination is close, which candidate would make the best President. The fact that I think Hillary is the right choice is far less important to me than the idea that the super-delegates do the job they should be doing in a close race.

(Indeed, one critical factor that the super-delegates need to consider is who McCain will choose for VP. In my opinion, if he doesn't choose Huckabee, Obama may be the better candidate because I think he can make a number of otherwise "deep red" states at least competitive because Christian Conservative are going to be very unhappy, and Obama's message of hope and inspiration will appeal to "the better angels of their natures". )

and later in the thread,

...but Obama has been making three separate arguments (actually four, if you include the fact that his co-chair, Jesse Jackson Jr., is going to black superdelegates and asking them if they want to be the ONE person who keeps a black American from having the chance to be president) -- that total votes, total states, and pledged delegates are all important criteria.

The key difference between pledged delegates and popular support (votes) is because there is no consistency between states in determining "popular support". As I point out in piece, In Idaho (a caucus state) Obama got 79% of the delegates to county conventions, and is estimated to have a +12 advantage over Clinton in delegates to the Democratic convention. In New Jersey, where over 1,100,000 people voted in the Democratic primary, and where Clinton drew 110,000 more votes than Obama (56% to 42%), she will be awarded only 11 more delegates than Obama.

Setting aside the fact that hell will freeze over before a Democrat wins in Idaho this year, the very idea that 79% of people who would have voted in a primary in Idaho would have supported Obama is completely absurd. (Even in DC, Obama only got 75%).

Another point of comparison...in 2004, only 181,000 Idahoans voted for Kerry. In other words, Clinton's advantage over Obama in New Jersey was about 60% of the total democratic vote in the 2004 general election. But if you add Clintons and Obama's NJ and ID delegates together, Obama comes out ahead by 1.

Update: Comments over 200, thread is closing. Thanks for your thoughts.)

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  • for SDs, I agree this should be considered. But the OVERALL PV is more important, given the rules in place.

    As a future reform, closed PRIMARIES are essential.

    Agreed (5.00 / 7) (#20)
    by Jeralyn on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 06:31:16 PM EST
    It really makes me angry that Republicans and Independents can register as Dems for the day in some states to vote in a Dem. primary and affect the Democratic nomination.

    If they're not willing to commit to a party, they should vote in the general election, period.

    Parent

    they vote (none / 0) (#23)
    by jdj on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 06:33:03 PM EST
    in the general too. Whoever the nom is better appeal to some of those indies. I know McCain does.

    Parent
    The essentially (none / 0) (#27)
    by Jgarza on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 06:37:39 PM EST
    you disenfranchise people who aren't willing to commit to a party.  if you have a two party system, you have to have open primaries.  

    Parent
    Why? (5.00 / 2) (#31)
    by Florida Resident on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 06:39:42 PM EST
    Guess it sounded good :-) (5.00 / 2) (#64)
    by RalphB on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 07:04:36 PM EST
    because (none / 0) (#69)
    by Jgarza on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 07:08:26 PM EST
    in a two party system you only have two candidates.  If you don't have the right to pick who the nominees are, then you have been disenfranchised.  This is especially true if you live somewhere dominated by one party.

    Parent
    If you don't join a party (5.00 / 4) (#77)
    by andgarden on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 07:10:47 PM EST
    you disenfranchise yourself. Oh well.

    Parent
    bwahahaha (none / 0) (#79)
    by Jgarza on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 07:11:38 PM EST
    people getting disenfranchised is so funny, let me slap my knee and laugh

    Parent
    What part of (5.00 / 4) (#82)
    by andgarden on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 07:13:20 PM EST
    "they disenfranchise themselves" don't you understand?

    Parent
    so if you dont pick a party (none / 0) (#84)
    by Jgarza on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 07:14:41 PM EST
    your vote doesn't matter

    Parent
    It would in the general election (5.00 / 2) (#89)
    by andgarden on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 07:16:09 PM EST
    but in any case, it would be your choice not to join a party.

    Parent
    Independents (none / 0) (#197)
    by mouth of the south on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 09:46:40 PM EST
    Approximately 1/3 of the people in this country are independent.  You don't think they have a right to vote in a primary unless they are a Democrat or a Republican?  Come on!  Neither party can win a general election without independent voters.  They certainly have a right to help choose the candidates who will be running in the GE.

    Parent
    why? (5.00 / 2) (#198)
    by Florida Resident on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 09:48:23 PM EST
    Bwahahahaaha! (none / 0) (#74)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 07:09:54 PM EST
    My gawd, you will say anything.

    Parent
    really (none / 0) (#78)
    by Jgarza on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 07:10:56 PM EST
    so then i guess we should legalize white all white primaries, because as long as you can vote in the general.

    Parent
    Bwahaha! (none / 0) (#81)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 07:13:02 PM EST
    You get funnier by the comment.

    Parent
    really (none / 0) (#87)
    by Jgarza on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 07:15:41 PM EST
    what other restrictions should be on primary voters?  up the voting age, that would help Hillary too

    Parent
    As long as they are of voting age (18) (5.00 / 1) (#109)
    by Florida Resident on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 07:28:11 PM EST
    and registered as a party member they should participate.

    Parent
    I am a supporter of (none / 0) (#105)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 07:25:27 PM EST
    a common sense test.

    Parent
    Here, or to vote in a primary? (none / 0) (#113)
    by oculus on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 07:31:23 PM EST
    Both (none / 0) (#122)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 07:34:14 PM EST
    But especially here.

    Parent
    Well i have been (none / 0) (#124)
    by Jgarza on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 07:36:53 PM EST
    clear that i support same day registration, so IMO that requires same day party registration.  I'm for less hurdles to voting.

    Parent
    No you don't (5.00 / 2) (#137)
    by BarnBabe on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 07:49:29 PM EST
    Open primaries allow manipulation of who our party candidate will be. We did it in Michigan for Romney. Was it right? No. Was it done? Yes. Why did we do it? To try and keep Romney in the running so McCain would not win. I am in Penna and it is closed. But April is a ways off yet.

    We do not disenfranchise the independents. They get to vote for the final candidates and since they will not commit to a party, they get to make their choice then. If I lived in a state where my candidate was a safe bet, what is keeping me from choosing a candidate from the other party that I feel would be the easiest to bump off by my candidate? Nothing. Open primaries are very dangerous for both parties.

    Parent

    Has it occured to you (none / 0) (#39)
    by kid oakland on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 06:46:18 PM EST
    that state parties choose the rules for primaries and caucuses with an eye on their local self interest?

    Growing the party has to start somewhere.

    Here in CA, where DTS (Decline to State) voters had to ask for a Democratic ballot at their precinct...that meant something.

    Personally, in my multiple contacts with DTS voters I found many young people of all backgrounds who

    a) were already quite interested in voting Democratic
    b) were grateful for my help and knowledge re: how to do so
    c) were, in my estimation, very much open to joining our party...but simply did not want to state a preference at the time they registered

    I think your post makes a very misleading point about the nomination process and is actually conveying exactly the WRONG message our party should be sending. States should be free to run their primaries to grow our party locally, period. The candidates should campaign with that reality in mind.

    The nomination of the Democratic party is determined by the votes of delegates at the convention. I am very confident that the Pledged Delegates and Super Delegates will act in a manner consonant with our core values: the nomination will go to the winner of the Pledged Delegate contest by the pre agreed to rules.

    Parent

    What pre-agreed rules for SD's? (5.00 / 2) (#41)
    by Teresa on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 06:48:51 PM EST
    there are plenty (none / 0) (#50)
    by kid oakland on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 06:55:11 PM EST
    a) they are unpledged
    b) they cast their vote sitting with the state delegations
    c) it is a public vote
    d) their vote comes AFTER the primary season is over not before...ie. an SD vote is only final and fixed when cast as part of the first ballot in Denver
    e) SD's have an equal vote to other Delegates (except Dems abroad who have .5 votes)...but represent the minority of total delegate votes

    These rules shape the SD voter. The most powerful is that it is a public vote that comes after the Delegates chosen by the voters have been "Pledged" ie. the VAST MAJORITY of the deleates. It is a vote made sitting within a state delegation.

    You could easily see SDs voting in secret...or before the primaries, or in another room.

    Doesn't happen that way. It is a public vote for which they are directly, immediately accountable.

    I am confident they will respect the democratic process and the pre agreed to rules.

    Parent

    The "rules" you cite (5.00 / 2) (#55)
    by andgarden on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 06:57:30 PM EST
    have absolutely nothing to say about how the Super Delegates should direct their votes. Of course, you obviously already knew that.

    Parent
    Yes it does have something specific to say. (none / 0) (#106)
    by kid oakland on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 07:25:46 PM EST
    they are unpledged.

    They are free to vote as they choose. It is an unrepresentative, unbound vote.

    There are, however, rules for HOW they cast that vote.

    It's not secret, it's done on the floor of the convention seated with their state.

    I'm not saying anything new or shocking here. But it's important for people who don't know to have that information.

    SDs know that their vote will be public...that is why they are under pressure now to indicate what they intend to do. It will not be secret.

    Parent

    I think it's just puffery (none / 0) (#110)
    by andgarden on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 07:29:56 PM EST
    to support your opinion that SD should vote with the majority of pledged delegates, but whatever.

    Parent
    Heh (5.00 / 2) (#120)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 07:33:33 PM EST
    No kidding?

    Parent
    Is someone arguing that it should be (none / 0) (#112)
    by Teresa on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 07:30:18 PM EST
    secret?

    Parent
    OK. It sounds like you were saying there (5.00 / 1) (#57)
    by Teresa on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 06:58:56 PM EST
    is a rule that the SD's must vote for the delegate leader.

    Parent
    No (none / 0) (#94)
    by kid oakland on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 07:17:30 PM EST
    not in the least.

    They are unpledged delegates and free to vote how they wish.

    I am saying that it's not secret, it's in a specific context.

    If your state goes overwhelmingly for Clinton and you cast your SD vote for Obama...it will be publicly clear you did so.

    If it were secret you would not see all these SDs scrambling to say which way they are leaning ahead of time. They know that everyone will know their vote anyway. They know it's a public vote.

    Parent

    The Super Ds who are telegraphing (none / 0) (#121)
    by oculus on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 07:33:44 PM EST
    their votes are either trying to influence other Super Ds and/or upcoming contests and/or CYAing to try to guess the winner and thus insure they didn't mess up.

    Parent
    Please cite me those pre arranged rules. (5.00 / 1) (#43)
    by Florida Resident on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 06:50:28 PM EST
    We're talking something that is really complex (none / 0) (#85)
    by kid oakland on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 07:14:52 PM EST
    but here goes.

    The states agree to conduct primaries, caucuses and/or conventions to select delegates to the convention in Denver by pre-agreed to guidelines set down and agreed to with the DNC.

    The guidelines establish certain rules. For instance, delegates are awarded proportionally to candidates achieving over 15% support in a Congressional District, with another pool of delegates chosen "at large" from the state.

    States are free to hold caucuses or primaries. Some of these are open, some are semi-open, and some are closed. There is flexibility here. These plans are agreed to and run by the DNC...as we saw with the "at-large" caucus sites held in Las Vegas and won by Senator Clinton despite the lawsuit Bill supported to shut those caucus sites down.

    However, there were certain rules that were inflexible. One of which pertained to the caucuses or primaries held before the date of Feb. 5th. The goal of keeping large states behind the Feb. 5th deadline was laid out in the Pledge the candidates signed...it was an effort to create retail politics in four smaller states with diverse geography, make up and constituencies. This would allow all the candidates, whatever their name recognition to compete on a more level playing field.  States that violated this deadline...were susceptible to losing their initial Pledged Delegates since the candidates agreed not to campaign in those states. This is what happened with FL/MI for a variety of complex reasons. The rules, however, provide a clear path for those delegations to be seated. Either they can hold a caucus or primary within the rules or go through the credentials and/or rules committees. Either way, there's a process that everyone knows about.

    Now, the pre agreed to rules mean, most importantly, that, as complex as the apportionment of delegates in each of the separate territories and states (and these rules are REALLY complex), ALL the candidates knew ALL the rules well ahead of time.

    Those rules, that playing field will not and has not changed.

    This is a contest for pledged delegates by those rules, largely on a CD by CD basis per the primary and caucus preferences of the various states.

    That represents values held by our party. It also represents the one, clear, pre agreed to contest that would serve as the main way we select Delegates to our convention.

    (Super Delegates are also a part of the proces, and have their own rules which I've elaborated above.)

    As complex as all this is. It was all known ahead of time. By everyone.

    To win, you had to compete within those rules and allocate your resources accordingly.

    Respect for that process is tantamount to respecting the franchise of all those who donated, volunteered and most importantly, participated, according to those rules.

    It is not a case, with MI/FL, that they are the ONLY voters we have to concern ourselves with. If we retroactively reward MI and FL in a way that violates the rules, we disenfranchise the voters in states that followed the rules. Super Delegates and the DNC get this. There is a path to remedy it. A known path.

    As Democrats we have to respect the process that brought ALL of our participants to the table and which will in all likelihood, resolve itself in the seating of delegations from MI and FL fully empowered to participate in Denver on an equal footing.

    But yes this is a contest for pledged delegates by pre agreed to rules.

    Parent

    Yes (none / 0) (#101)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 07:22:25 PM EST
    There was a great deal of "elaboration" on those super delegate rules. One might say confabulation of them actually.

    Parent
    Isn't Michigan going to be able to seat some (none / 0) (#146)
    by BrandingIron on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 08:04:36 PM EST
    Heh (5.00 / 2) (#60)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 07:00:41 PM EST
    Actually, relying on the "expertise" of local Democratic Parties for choosing our nominee is what we are complaining about.

    the idea that choosing our nominee can become a local Party building exercise is PRECISELY what we are objecting to.

    But more than that, you act as if open primaries are a new development. That they are leading to great party building. the opposite is true. The Democratic Party has WITHERED in an open primary and caucus setting. It has been a disaster for local Democratic Parties.

    But what makes this hilarious is your newfound love of open primaries. What a coincidence that it coincides wit the development of your Obama love.

    I have ALWAYS argued against open primaries. A lot of other people have too. Some of them have forgotten their opposition to open primaries, conveniently as they became Obama supporters.

    I do not remember where you were on the issue, but I DO remember you NOT arguing FOR open primaries UNTIL NOW.

    Parent

    do you have evidence (none / 0) (#93)
    by Jgarza on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 07:17:23 PM EST
    that any one used to not support open prairies, or caucuses?

    Or does it just generally fit in with your habit of insulting Obama supporters?

    Parent

    Do I have evidence? (none / 0) (#97)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 07:19:27 PM EST
    I have KNOWLEDGE! they were in the trenches with me at daily kos, FIGHTING AGAINST Open Primaries!

    Look, the blogs did not start yesterday jgarza.

    Believe it or not, I was around for a lot of stuff before this election.

    Parent

    if only (none / 0) (#104)
    by Jgarza on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 07:24:48 PM EST
    all the other bloggers from "the beginning," stayed as pure as you.

    Parent
    I would settle for honest (5.00 / 2) (#107)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 07:26:29 PM EST
    You have no evidence (none / 0) (#130)
    by kid oakland on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 07:42:18 PM EST
    of my position one way or another because I did not have a public stance and am not taking one now.

    I am simply saying that states have the right to conduct their primaries and caucuses as they see fit to grow the party locally.

    I've been on the ground here in California doing GOTV consistently. I am not just a blogger, I am also someone who has made thousands of "voter contacts" and worked with folks from the DNC to the CDP to Labor etc. etc. on these very issues.

    We are moving DTS voters to the CDP here in CA. However, in 2008 we were quite happy to use any leverage we could get to bring people in. Having voters who vote our way registered is preferable to NOT having them registered. Each step we take, we bring more people into the process, and yes, we get them registered as Democrats the best we know how.

    Frankly, BTD, there are grounds where I'm not so sure that your argument holds. Minnesota and Wisconsin have open primaries and have grown their local parties nicely over the last decade...winning critical suburban independents into the fold and improving their local party strength.

    The debate over HOW we do the nomination process, however, is separate from the reality that there ARE very clear rules about how we are conducting THIS process in this midst of THIS primary season.

    In an environment where one campaign has aggressively grabbed at any rationale to overturn those rules including the delegitamizing of caucuses AS THEY WERE OCCURING, I am loathe to indulge you in a debate that has already been distorted to other partisan ends.

    Parent

    I see now (none / 0) (#134)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 07:48:05 PM EST
    You rally are NOT arguing for Open primaries then? You could have fooled me.

    At least you are not arguing that my position results from my support of Hillary, as you have done in the past, despite my lack of support for Hillary.

    You are really remarkable. you get to do all the things you ACCUSE me of but remain a saint in your own mind.

    Just to refresh your memory, your first response was to Jeralyn saying she supported CLOSED primaries. Your bitter and hostile comment would lead most folks to assume you SUPPORTED Open primaries.

    Lo and behold that was NOT your point at all.

    What was your point? well, the same thing that is always your point - everyone should support Obama, every delegate should vote for Obama, the rules require that we all vote for Obama.

    you knwo why I am all over you when you come here? Because it insults me that you beleive you could run the same BS sophistry that they eat up at Daily Kos here and expect us to take it seriously.

    This is not a web site for fools Kid O. Run your schtick where the pixie dust works, not here.

    Parent

    Once again (none / 0) (#152)
    by kid oakland on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 08:11:37 PM EST
    you break the comment rules of your own site.

    The reason I post here is because I think the readers at TalkLeft deserve to hear a considered alternative point of view that does NOT engage in bullying or name calling or smears to make its point.

    I consistently read arguments here, like the one in this thread advocating for closed primaries...which also form part of a rationale for one candidate to win outside the pre agreed to rules: in this case, I guess, by tallying up only the votes of "real Democrats" in this election.

    Reading this, I find myself truly boggled.

    1. That kind of tally is clearly against the rules and the laws established by the DNC. It won't happen.

    2. It represents truly poor leadership of one's party in the midst of nomination process.

    3. I don't think it is particularly effective or persuasive advocacy for any candidate.

    Ie. even if the ultimate goal is to sway Super Delegates, most of whom are either electeds or DNC members, it flies in the face of realities that I KNOW they see every day regarding our party. They WILL NOT go along with this for very plain reasons, it would be gross mismanagement.

    Stewardship of our party may well mean that we push to make primary reform part of our future guidelines (which may or may not be a good idea in every state) BUT it would be reckless for a political party to violate its own rules in the midst of a nomination process to favor one candidate over another.

    It won't happen. It would be utterly horrible stewardship of the party if Howard Dean came out and said...only closed primaries count...or..only non caucus states count...or...only the votes of "real" Democrats count...towards the nomination.

    Further, it is, in my view, not being an expert, but, like I said, being someone who busts his ass talking to voters and working with plenty of other folks who do so much more than I, just frankly grossly misleading to undermine an entire process that was agreed to well ahead of time in this manner. It is NOT effective advocacy for any candidate.

    Whatever you or I think of how primaries should be run...there were rules spelling out exactly how they would be run in 2008. Respect for the law, our candidates and the party dictates that we at least acknowledge that and the people who have invested so much in the integrity of that process.

    Like I said, I think the general line of argument on Talk Left has tended to throw wrenches instead of shining a light of late.

    I do what I can to contribute as a fair dealer.

    Parent

    Jesus (5.00 / 1) (#158)
    by andgarden on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 08:21:56 PM EST
    Ie. even if the ultimate goal is to sway Super Delegates, most of whom are either electeds or DNC members, it flies in the face of realities that I KNOW they see every day regarding our party. They WILL NOT go along with this for very plain reasons, it would be gross mismanagement.

    Stewardship of our party may well mean that we push to make primary reform part of our future guidelines (which may or may not be a good idea in every state) BUT it would be reckless for a political party to violate its own rules in the midst of a nomination process to favor one candidate over another.

    This is sophistry of the highest order. You keep talking about "rules," but can never seem to produce any relevant ones.

    Parent
    Heck they already broke their own rules (5.00 / 1) (#163)
    by Florida Resident on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 08:34:20 PM EST
    when the stripped Mi and Fl of 100% of the delegates.  And again when they selectively did not punish IA NH and SC when they also pushed their contests forward.

    Parent
    they didn't (none / 0) (#169)
    by jdj on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 08:41:03 PM EST
    break any rules with that ruling.

    Parent
    Go read those rules (5.00 / 1) (#179)
    by Florida Resident on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 08:56:34 PM EST
    they say 50%

    Parent
    Go read those rules (none / 0) (#180)
    by Florida Resident on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 08:56:52 PM EST
    they say 50%

    Parent
    Also count the number of days the (5.00 / 1) (#181)
    by Florida Resident on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 08:58:18 PM EST
    IA caucus and NH and SC primaries preceded Feb 5 and see if they did not also violate the Rules.

    Parent
    The rules say (none / 0) (#162)
    by kid oakland on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 08:33:55 PM EST
    we award pledged delegates to states that conduct primaries or caucuses, open, semi-open an closed.

    The resulting Pledged Delegates have an equal vote at the convention, whether their state conducted a caucus or a primary, open, semi-open or closed, by the rules.

    The diarist is advocating a calculation that would run against those rules. Since we all know that won't happen, it's really more an argument meant to sway super delegates and rile up the supporters of one candidate over another.

    Ie. it delegitimizes a candidate for the Democratic nomination who won states with open caucuses and primaries by attacking the "Non-Democratic" voters who participated in those primaries.

    That's sophistry. That's changing the rules midstream.

    It's also just really bad politics. It will not win over people who aren't already on your side.

    I am saying, straight up, that many of the arguments made on this website have NEGATIVE consequences for Senator Clinton's campaign for the nomination and serve only to divide our party.

    If I supported Senator Clinton I would be talking about Health Care and showing YouTube clips of her speech in Wisconsin last night and encouraging people to GOTV by calling voters in Wisconsin. (an OPEN primary state with same day registration btw) I'd also be working the phones to Hawai'i where she has a very good chance in a caucus state.

    But hey, that's me. I really can't be more clear. Take it how you wish.

    Parent

    Ahem (5.00 / 1) (#167)
    by andgarden on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 08:39:33 PM EST
    The diarist is advocating a calculation that would run against those rules.
    that's just a lie.

    Parent
    You are misreading the post then (none / 0) (#174)
    by kid oakland on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 08:51:51 PM EST
    no need to talk about lies.

    From the diary:

    Based on exit polls, among the approximately 16.3 million people who identified themselves as Democrats, over 678,000 more voted for Hillary Clinton than Barack Obama. If we're going to "let the people decide" who the Democratic nominee would be, shouldn't we be basing that on the will of Democrats themselves?

    The DNC rules say that we award delegates based on the participants in the states by the established rules. The diarist is advocating that Super Delegates follow Paul Lukasiak and award their SD vote based ONLY on the votes of self-identified Democrats per exit polls.

    #1. This kind of post-hoc gamesmanship does not win over voters in primary states yet to vote.

    #2. It's not an effective argument to make with Super Delegates all of whom realize that we can't win the presidency w/o the votes of folks who don't identify as Democrats.

    #3. It's just really bad form to consistently make arguments like this when the truth is, if Senator Clinton is to win the nomination, she will likely have to do so only through winning the Pledged Delegate count...and she yet COULD do so...if she focused on positive arguments that bolstered her strengths: Health Care, support from working class voters, support from women and Seniors and perhaps, coming clean with the voting public about her stance on the war in way that turned her foreign policy experience and world travels into a strength.

    Instead the diarist is confirming a well-established media narrative that is Clinton's greatest weakness: that she is behind and that she will say or do anything to win, even disrepecting whole groups of voters and states.

    Parent

    here's your problem (5.00 / 1) (#177)
    by andgarden on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 08:55:33 PM EST
    However much you would like it to be this:

    if Senator Clinton is to win the nomination, she will likely have to do so only through winning the Pledged Delegate count.

    Is not a "rule."

    Parent

    Of course not (none / 0) (#183)
    by kid oakland on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 09:08:14 PM EST
    Super Delegates don't have "rules"

    but your problem, and I have to be clear here and try to respond to folks above and below this a bit since this thread will shut down...is simple.

    Barack Obama's arguments are consistent and have the advantage of helping him win votes in upcoming primaries.

    Your arguments, against Caucuses, against Open primaries, against small states, against red states, against "non-Democratic Voters", for changing the rules...or even merely creating the perception of advocating for changing the rules...all have the effect of dissuading voters from going your way.

    Ie. from winning primaries and caucuses.

    Clinton needs wins, big wins, soon, or she will lose, no matter what you think of my arguments.

    I'm not a highly paid consultant, but I'm not an idiot. Senator Clinton has been very poorly served by the public advocacy on her behalf.

    Most of what I tell people to do on Dailykos is GET INVOLVED. There's a reason for that. It works.

    Parent

    There's no (5.00 / 1) (#185)
    by andgarden on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 09:14:23 PM EST
    "of course not"  when you deliberately implied the opposite. As to the rest of what you write, I could be supporting the little green man from mars for President and your argument about what the "rules" are would still be meaningless.

    Parent
    Ahem (5.00 / 1) (#187)
    by Florida Resident on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 09:16:26 PM EST
    "Barack Obama's arguments are consistent and have the advantage of helping him win votes in upcoming primaries."  sounds like wishful thinking to me.  But maybe they will not that I think his arguments have been consistent but you have a right to your opinion.

    Parent
    Exactly (none / 0) (#178)
    by andgarden on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 08:56:31 PM EST
    k/o knows this, and is just producing noise.

    Parent
    Couple of points: (none / 0) (#193)
    by oculus on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 09:31:44 PM EST
    1. It is my understanding this is Jeralyn's blog and that she makes the rules;
    2. I don't think you come to TL to make sure the commenters here are exposed to fair, unbiased arguments;
    3. I haven't read anything in Jeralyn's post that says the rules should be changed this primary season; yes, there has been lots of discussion in the comments about whether closed or open primaries are preferable, but, who is suggesting here that delegates selected for the 08 Dem. convention should be disregarded if the primary in which they were selected was open as oposed to closed?


    Parent
    On the ground in Wisconsin, (none / 0) (#192)
    by Cream City on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 09:24:37 PM EST
    I can tell you that it is not an example you want to use for your argument.  Dem support has been slipping for years -- you do know that it was the closest state in the 2004 election?  And in terms of state elections, the current Dem gov followed decades of GOP govs.  Bush was the gift that got us back one house of the legislature, but that only has meant stalemates disastrous for the state, with the latest budget of any state this year.  Etc., etc.

    But no one ever will get Wisconsin to give up open primaries, I fear.

    Parent

    Rose colored glasses (none / 0) (#58)
    by Coldblue on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 06:59:23 PM EST
    to think that there has not been a false support in this process.

    But I guess we all wear our own shades of glasses, don't we?

    Parent

    Kid O (5.00 / 2) (#61)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 07:01:13 PM EST
    is well, you knwo what he is on this. Obama Obama Obama !!!

    Parent
    And you're a supremely objective analyst, right? (5.00 / 1) (#88)
    by Korha on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 07:15:55 PM EST
    I think it's pretty lame that you continually attack Kid Oakland as if everything he says is attributable to his support for Obama. Last I checked the guy makes articulate and reasoned points which are worth taking seriously.

    Certainly more articulate and reasoned than "Kid O is well, you knwo what he is on this. Obama Obama Obama !!!" -- Is that supposed to be a rebuttal?

    Parent

    This certainly is (none / 0) (#98)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 07:21:13 PM EST
    And I know it. How do I know it? Because the issue of Open Primaries has been discussed at the web site Kisd O and I FPed at at the same time. That would be Daily Kos.

    Markos and I had a virtual crusade against Open Primaries. My recollection is that Kid O AGREED with us. But I am SURE he was NOT a proponent of Open Primaries.

    What say you now?

    Parent

    Your relentless (none / 0) (#99)
    by kid oakland on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 07:21:29 PM EST
    violation of the rules of your own website does none of us any favors.

    If you have something substantive to say, say it. I've conveyed information as clearly and fully as I know how. That information would be true whomever I supported in this process.

    Personal attacks are just that.

    Parent

    I've said it (none / 0) (#103)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 07:24:39 PM EST
    Your love of Open Primaries is quite convenient and recent.

    you KNOW my opposition, Daily Kos' opposition, heck the Netroots opposition, to Open Primaries was of longstanding.

    I believe you agreed with us then.

    Now I see you no longer do. Now is it coincidental to your support for Obama? It is suspicious at the least.

    Parent

    Never done this before (none / 0) (#142)
    by blogtopus on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 07:59:20 PM EST
    But, Links to KO's opinion against open primaries?

    Parent
    Why did they not want to state a preference? (none / 0) (#145)
    by BarnBabe on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 08:03:59 PM EST
    They had to state one eventually and if they had a change in ideals then they had plenty of time to change their affiliation.  Registering to vote is very easy and considering that the GOP and the DEMs are so greatly different in their positions, I find it hard to believe that someone does not want to state a preference. You are saying that we have Democrats shaking behind closed doors who will not come out until it is the day to vote. I am not buying the Indy notion. I believe it is manipulation and surely everyone knows which side they lean if even so slightly.

    Parent
    I'm saying, for example, that I talked (5.00 / 1) (#156)
    by kid oakland on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 08:18:02 PM EST
    to numerous young African American voters in my home town of Oakland who are VERY inclined to vote for Democratic candidates but who are disaffected with the Democratic party for legitimate reasons.

    They refuse to register Democratic in part because of how Democrats have conducted themselves right here in Oakland.

    Now, as the face of the Democratic party in that situation (a white face, btw) my job was to listen, to respect, to empower, to include.

    In this case, as an advocate of the Obama campaign.

    It is possible that in conducting myself in this manner I won some new registrations to our side. Perhaps not.

    But the point is. If we had a closed primary in CA I would never have met these folks. They simply would not have been on the radar.

    Parent

    Would they have voted at all? (5.00 / 1) (#186)
    by BarnBabe on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 09:14:24 PM EST
    I am familiar with Oakland and understand what you are saying. But how many of those voters would have voted at all if not for the current candidates? I have been against the open primaries way before this election cycle. I keep hounding that word manipulation because that is what I believe open primaries allow.  They skew what Democrats want and vice versa. I have heard people in the legal system and other professionals state that they think like Democrats but register Republican for the sake of their social and professional circle. Well, that takes guts. Not. At least they get to vote for a Democrat in the final election but that might be what they are saying for our Democratic circle as they have lost credibility in my opinion. They are probably true blue GOP at heart. I am the only Democrat in my office and take the ribbing for it as there are some pretty serious money giving Republicans there. It would be easy for me to be an Indy but I stand up for my choice. The only good news is that they hate Bush. I appreciate your comment, but I have to continue to believe that open primaries are not good for either parties.

    Parent
    Strongly disagree (none / 0) (#59)
    by dmk47 on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 07:00:39 PM EST
    Closed primaries would shut out first-time voters. When you turn 18, you have no particular reason to register until the first election comes around.


    Parent
    It must be generational (5.00 / 1) (#66)
    by Coldblue on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 07:06:02 PM EST
    I knew what party to register with when I was 18.

    Parent
    How would it shut out first tiem voters? (5.00 / 2) (#72)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 07:08:57 PM EST
    That seems false to me.

    Parent
    In fact, fully open primaries remove any (5.00 / 1) (#83)
    by RalphB on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 07:13:38 PM EST
    incentive to actually join and support the party.  Why do that when you can vote anyway.  

    Example, I was a Democrat but became Independent in '00 and have no reason whatsoever to return to the party.  I can vote whenever I want and they don't bug me for contributions, etc.

    Make me register as a party member in order to vote in primaries and I might revert back to my old behavior and support the local party again.


    Parent

    And thats a bad thing ? (none / 0) (#91)
    by Joliphant on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 07:16:52 PM EST
    Washington was very much against the formation of organized political parties and history seems to bear him out.

    Parent
    Party registration (none / 0) (#111)
    by dmk47 on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 07:30:03 PM EST
    takes nothing, and doesn't represent a significant commitment of anything or to anything. If your conception of the party is of an exclusive club requiring various active forms of participation, the barriers to participating in selecting a nominee ought to be a light higher than just signing a piece of paper with no further consequence. In that case, caucuses forever!

    If your conception of the party lines up with what the party actually is, restricting primary votes to registered Democrats just needlessly restricts Democratic-leaning voters from participating and developing an investment in the party.

    Parent

    No, open primaries keep them from (5.00 / 1) (#116)
    by Teresa on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 07:32:18 PM EST
    an investment in the party, not the other way around.

    Parent
    Thanks. That was my point (5.00 / 2) (#129)
    by RalphB on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 07:41:44 PM EST
    but can't cut through the fog.  Independents have no investment in a party by definition.  Emotional involvement sure, but if that's the case they shouldn't mind joining up.

    Then they would be available for party building that goes on between elections.  That is after all what makes the party the party.


    Parent

    Absurd (5.00 / 3) (#86)
    by andgarden on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 07:15:29 PM EST
    I registered with a party at 18. The local political system is 80% Democratic, and I knew that if I didn't register with a party, my vote would almost never matter in a local election. Closed primaries encourage that kind of situation, and that's what we should be aiming for.

    Parent
    Yes only Dem's votes shoud count (none / 0) (#161)
    by PennProgressive on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 08:33:03 PM EST
    if we were to look at the vote count.I also think all primaries should be closed. If one feels strongly about picking a party's candidate, he or she must register for that party (and not just for voting at the primary). To come up with a bad analogy (I am also trying to watch NBA all star game)will you let an opposing team's coach to decide who should play for your team?

    Parent
    It's not much of a consideration (none / 0) (#51)
    by AF on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 06:55:35 PM EST
    If Obama wins pledged delegates and the popular vote including FL and MI, super-delegates who vote for Hillary are better off just saying they voted their conscience.  The argument that Hillary actually won because the exit polls say she won Democrats isn't going to convince anyone.

    Parent
    I don't care why SD will make their decisions (5.00 / 1) (#65)
    by Florida Resident on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 07:05:14 PM EST
    the point is that My wife and many other Democrats feel that the DNC and many state Democratic Committees have allowed non democrats to decide caucuses and primaries.  If you want to attract Independents new voters and crossovers run a good platform in the GE and make your Senators and Representative listen to the people.  But internal primaries should be for those who openly and through their registration identify for the party that is holding them.  Heck I'm voting for the Democratic nominee in 2008 and voted for Kerry in 2004 and I am a registered Republican.  So I don't need to vote in your primaries to realize who is a bad candidate and who isn't I also do not need to vote in your internal primaries to see if your platform is better than my party's platform.
    I voted for Corrine Brown in 2004 and 2006 will vote for her in 2008 but the day she is not the candidate I will have to decide who would best represent my district.

    Parent
    There's a big difference (none / 0) (#70)
    by AF on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 07:08:45 PM EST
    between holding closed primaries and holding open primaries but then disregarding independent votes based on exit polls!  That is what is being proposed here.

    Parent
    You could apply the same reasoning to caucuses (none / 0) (#80)
    by Korha on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 07:12:55 PM EST
    They over represent high-information dedicated party activists. Shouldn't they have a bigger say in deciding who the nominee is than people who show up on election day swayed by the last television ad they say?

    My rule of thumb is that the more voters, the better. No caucuses, open primaries.

    Parent

    Exactly right (none / 0) (#95)
    by dmk47 on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 07:17:39 PM EST
    Once you start deciding that one has to evince some level of commitment to the Democratic party to participate in choosing its nominee, the logic leads to caucuses pretty quickly. After all, registering for a party doesn't exactly require a significant commitment or expenditure of resources.

    How about, "if you're not a registered Dem and willing to spend 2 hours in a high school gym on a Saturday, you shouldn't have a say."

    Maybe some independents and Republicans vote in an open Democratic primary to screw with the party. I would guess that 99% and change are participating in Democratic primaries because they're interested in Democratic candidates. That should be encouraged, not discouraged.

    Parent

    What? (5.00 / 1) (#108)
    by Teresa on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 07:27:10 PM EST
    if you're not a registered Dem and willing to spend 2 hours in a high school gym on a Saturday, you shouldn't have a say

    How ridiculous can you get? Not that I think you really mean that. I have relatives that are die hard Democrats and because of physical limitations, they could never stand around for two hours in a gym, but they always vote in the primary.

    Parent

    For the record, (none / 0) (#118)
    by dmk47 on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 07:33:06 PM EST
    Until Mark Penn's asterisks came out, the universal assumption was that caucuses favored senior citizens. But no, I don't favor caucuses. I favor fully open primaries. Party registration is not a major commitment to the party. If you want to start creating barriers to primary voting based on participation/activism, they ought to be a lot more stringent than signing a piece of paper once, then never thinking about it again.

    Parent
    I'm sure my great-aunt in a nursing home (5.00 / 2) (#123)
    by Teresa on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 07:36:32 PM EST
    agrees that a caucus would favor her.

    Parent
    Maine's (none / 0) (#126)
    by Jgarza on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 07:37:58 PM EST
    Caucuses had absentee voting

    Parent
    Yes (none / 0) (#125)
    by Korha on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 07:37:30 PM EST
    Caucuses are bad. The point is that they are bad for many (obviously not all) of the same reasons that closed primaries are. Insofar as the democratic nominee needs to appeal to the overall democratic base to win the general election, caucuses distort that picture. Insofar as the democratic nominee needs to appeal to independents to win the general election, closed primaries distort that picture.

    P.S. Would Bill Clinton have won the nomination in 1992 in a straight closed primary system? Actually I don't know, but it would be worth looking into.

    Parent

    Clinton (5.00 / 1) (#175)
    by Shawn on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 08:53:30 PM EST
    If anything, he would've won the nomination more easily in a closed-primary system. His support was mostly from core Democrats - working-class whites, African-Americans, Hispanics, the elderly. Paul Tsongas, and to a lesser extent, Jerry Brown drew more of their votes from outside the party.

    Quote from '92 article on Paul Tsongas' withdrawl:

    Mr. Tsongas was virtually unknown when he became the first Democrat to enter the race soon after the end of the Gulf War. He won the crucial New Hampshire primary, largely because Mr. Clinton faltered on character issues there.

    Then Mr. Tsongas, preaching pro-business economics and "honesty," rode the momentum and press attention to victories in Maryland, Massachusetts and Rhode Island by appealing to well-educated, upscale liberals and independents.

    Parent

    It is interesting (5.00 / 3) (#30)
    by jdj on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 06:39:33 PM EST
    how many people here seem to say that Obama winning the pledged delegates is not enough. there alwasys seems to be a new hoop for him to leap through each day.

    Should Obama supporters now assume winning the pledged delegate count and pop vote are not enough now to expect superdelegate to sway his way? Clinton supporter get a say on which votes and states matter and which don't, after the fact?

    That's about the size of it (none / 0) (#42)
    by dmk47 on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 06:50:10 PM EST
    At least there's honest debate here. Taylor Marsh is to Hillary Clinton as Hugh Hewitt is to Mitt Romney.

    If Hillary Clinton were ahead in the popular vote but behind among registered Democrats, any chance we'd be hearing this argument?

    As for the suggestion of only closed primaries in the future --- that's not something the party controls. Primary rules are determined by state legislatures. Some states (e.g. Louisiana) have longstanding traditions of open elections. That won't change.

    The party could decide that caucuses will henceforth be closed to non-Democrats, but as we know, caucuses don't count.


    Parent

    If Hillary ways drawing indies (5.00 / 1) (#53)
    by jdj on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 06:56:25 PM EST
    that would be a good thing right?

    Parent
    It would be a good thing (5.00 / 1) (#68)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 07:08:00 PM EST
    as it is that Obama does so to some marginally better extent than clinton.

    But it would and remains a BAD thing that they have a say in deciding who our nominee is.

    You'lle xcuse me for wondering IF you were fighting for open primaries in all the states BEFORE you discovered they were good for Obama.

    You see I have the luxury of having argued for CLOSED primaries for my entire blogging career, since 2003. Oh by the way, that was a time when open primaries were considered advantageous to the candidate I supported, Wes Clark.

    The hypocrisy charges from you Obama folks is simply laughable.

    Parent

    Other than FL and MI being (none / 0) (#140)
    by jdj on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 07:55:59 PM EST
    stupid and the DNC responding stupidly. I don't have a major promblem with how the primary has been held. I think the mix of caucus and voting, open and closed elections offer a better test of the canidates. It is a mutliple event obstacle course rather just a sprint.

    Of course I have not really looked at it with the focus or interest that you most likely have. I am not a political blogger, just a wee cog in the machine.


    Parent

    I should have added (none / 0) (#144)
    by jdj on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 08:03:43 PM EST
    I didn't think it was a promblem when Hillary led either.

    I am happy to vote for either, I just prefer Obama because I think he can win the general by a sizeable margin.

    Given the conditions in which Hillary can still get the nom, I wonder if she will be able to win the primary at all.

    I know they don't hold water with many here, but national match ups against McCain weigh heavy for me.

    Parent

    No doubt it would be (none / 0) (#63)
    by Korha on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 07:03:07 PM EST
    she might be but if she is the MSM (none / 0) (#67)
    by Florida Resident on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 07:07:21 PM EST
    is certainly not talking about it.

    Parent
    There's no independent criterion (5.00 / 1) (#62)
    by tnthorpe on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 07:02:34 PM EST
    that is going to settle the Clinton/Obama impasse unless one candidate wins both the popular vote (even if that's a totally irrelevant number in the context of mixed caucuses and primaries and open and closed primaries) and the pledged delegates. Even if this happens, the margin of victory won't be much, and there's still the issue of  how badly the DNC has screwed up the Michigan and Florida numbers. The primary is practically and politically deadlocked, and unless the Dems figure out how to craft a political solution, deadlock will become gridlock and the election will go down the tubes.

    What must happen is a political decision, which the Superdelegates (or automatic delegates, depending on your status as Obamaniac or Clintonista) are well positioned to bring about. Let's hope they take this moment seriously.

    Re rationale for the rules (5.00 / 2) (#128)
    by oculus on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 07:40:07 PM EST
    for any particular state's primary/caucuses:  collor me sceptical, but aren't the rules in place to make sure the current crop of Dem. politicos retain their power in the state and locally?  

    a couple of points (5.00 / 2) (#135)
    by p lukasiak on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 07:48:14 PM EST
    First of all, I tried to be as fair as possible to Obama in putting together the data.  

    When I include Michigan results in the totals, ALL uncommitted voters were treated as if they were Obama voters.  (In the notes to the table I also mention that there was an exit poll question regarding who people would have voted for if all the candidates had been on the ballot -- and that it came out 46% Clinton, 35% Obama -- and noted that those numbers could have slightly improved Obama's bottom line, but because there were no cross tabs to party identification for those numbers, they were unusable for this project.

    In the case of Washington DC, for which there was no exit polling data, I assumed that 100% of the voters would have answered "Democratic" to a "party identification" question, even though the highest percentage (from closed primaries -- like DC's -- in NY and NM) in that categories was 87%.  

    The purpose of the piece was not to demand that only "Democratic" voters be considered by super-delegates, but to use the analysis of Democratic voters to raise the issue of how Obama is now trying to "play the refs" after doing a very good job of exploiting the rules to his advantage.  Obama is now trying to redefine the role of the superdelegates to be rubber-stamps based on the criteria that are most advantageous to him. But the fact is that those are not the only criteria, and IMHO, not even the proper criteria.

    To me, the decisions of the superdelegates in a race where there is no clear winner should be to pretty much forget the results of the primaries, and consider what is best for the nation -- which means determining which democrat is most assured of winning in November, and if that determination is close, which candidate would make the best President.   The fact that I think Hillary is the right choice is far less important to me than the idea that the super-delegates do the job they should be doing in a close race.

    (Indeed, one critical factor that the super-delegates need to consider is who McCain will choose for VP.  In my opinion, if he doesn't choose Huckabee, Obama may be the better candidate because I think he can make a number of otherwise "deep red" states at least competitive because Christian Conservative are going to be very unhappy, and Obama's message of hope and inspiration will appeal to "the better angels of their natures". )  

    Paul, Table Talk misses you! (none / 0) (#172)
    by echinopsia on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 08:48:54 PM EST
    Paul (none / 0) (#209)
    by auntmo on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 10:17:43 PM EST
    Thank you,  Paul .  I  read your  entire  post  at  Taylor  Marsh, and  the  comments;    we  have  all needed   the  information &  facts you have provided  to look at  the  situation   with much  less  emotion  and more  practical  thinking.  

    I  have  felt  for  a long  time, like you,  that  Obama  and his supporters  were  "playing  the  refs,"  and  the news  that  subtle  intimidation of  Black  superdelegates  just  reinforces  my  intuition.  

    I  do  agree  completely   that  we  must  look  at   popular  vote,  reconsider   the  value of  red  state caucuses  in  November,  and  get   past  the   "pledge  delegates" meme  the  Obama  crowd  and the media    perpetuates.  

    Forasmuch  as  I hear  posters  say  Obama's  voters  won't vote  for  Hillary  and  Hillary's  voters  will  vote  for him,    if  the party   plays  this  game  and  allows  either  side  to  "play  the  refs,"    I  fear  those  Hillary  voters  may  not  fall in  line  at all.  Perceptions  of  manipulation can go  both ways,  and  the party  as  a  whole  will suffer  when  all is  said  and  done.  

    Thank you again  for  your  analysis   and  for your  very informative  post  at  Taylor's place.  

    Quite  illuminating  for  all.  

    Parent

    As a tactical matter Obama might be the choice (none / 0) (#1)
    by Joliphant on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 06:03:07 PM EST
    His supporters seem to find Hillary unacceptable.

    While Hillary's find him an acceptable choice.

    Galling as it may be, the most childish often carry the day.

    You Can't Give into Tantrums or Bullies (5.00 / 5) (#12)
    by cdalygo on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 06:26:55 PM EST
    I understand where you are coming from with that suggestion. However, it only leads to disaster when you are dealing with kids and politicians (see W).

    Plus a few weeks ago that thought might have had more credence. But Obama's sexist remarks have turned off a lot of us. That goes as well as for his arrogant demands to anointed now. (It's especially galling when it's on the basis of votes from caucuses as opposed to primaries and states that normally vote solidly red in the election.)

    That doesn't mean I won't vote for him if he gets the nomination. Unfortunately that cannot be said of  some other Clinton voters who are less forgiving than me. (As a lesbian, I'm used to having my identity thrown to the side.)

    However, I can guarantee you the following. The DNC, which was slowly creeping up on my radar for donations (stopped after DOMA), will never get a dime. I condemn every one of them for not standing up to the barrage of sexist remarks from him and his supporters. They also should have stepped up when he began labeling the Clinton administration as a failure for Democrats and used every Republican "talking point" to promulgate that claim. Say what you want about the Clintons, unlike the rest of the Democratic party, they actually won the White House in the last quarter of the 20th century.

    Similarly, the most virulent of the pro-Obama blogs will never get another visit. Most proved themselves to be nothing more than an angry chat room of sexists (of both sexes) who flame and seek to stifle any opposition. Not that I mind tangling with them but ultimately it's a waste of time. The echo chamber fulfills their adolescent fantasies of being "cool."

    Parent

    As a lesbian (none / 0) (#21)
    by BrandingIron on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 06:31:22 PM EST

    how do you reconcile your vote with Obama having run that hideous "Embrace the Change" tour in South Carolina?  Serious question, I'd like to know.

    Parent
    I am not a member of the Gay lesbian and (5.00 / 1) (#28)
    by Florida Resident on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 06:39:02 PM EST
    Transsexual community but I have many friends and relatives who are and in relation to Obama's attitude towards them I think he's nearer to Huckabee than I feel comfortable with.

    Parent
    LOL I'm glad (5.00 / 1) (#34)
    by BrandingIron on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 06:42:14 PM EST

    someone else recognizes this.  "Embrace the Change" was not in the least bit progressive;  it just happened to be happening long before the primary, so it didn't get too much scrutiny.

    Parent
    I thin that has been part of the problem (none / 0) (#73)
    by Florida Resident on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 07:09:08 PM EST
    this primary the MSM has sort of dictated what the people get and most so called progressive blogs have gone along for the ride.

    Parent
    Nailed it (none / 0) (#102)
    by dmk47 on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 07:23:48 PM EST
    "And yet, if we are honest with ourselves, we must admit that none of our hands are entirely clean. If we're honest with ourselves, we'll acknowledge that our own community has not always been true to King's vision of a beloved community.

    We have scorned our gay brothers and sisters instead of embracing them. The scourge of anti-Semitism has, at times, revealed itself in our community. For too long, some of us have seen immigrants as competitors for jobs instead of companions in the fight for opportunity." --- Obama on MLK day

    You got it, he's just like Huckabee

    Parent

    As has been pointed out Ad Nauseum here (5.00 / 2) (#132)
    by blogtopus on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 07:46:51 PM EST
    Obama's rhetoric doesn't fit his actions.

    Parent
    While Hillary's find him an acceptable choice. (none / 0) (#4)
    by echinopsia on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 06:13:16 PM EST
    Um, no.

    Parent
    Ditto (5.00 / 1) (#37)
    by BrandingIron on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 06:45:57 PM EST

    Another "no" to that.  Obama's supporters find Hillary acceptable?  After he himself said that he wasn't sure that his voters would vote for Hillary?  And after he pretty much TOLD Hillary voters that he would get our votes?  No...a thousand times, no.

    Parent
    How does that (none / 0) (#117)
    by PlayInPeoria on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 07:33:00 PM EST
    work with the Unity message.... Dems should be encouraging Dems to vote for the nominee. That is awful.

    Parent
    Obama unity (5.00 / 1) (#133)
    by echinopsia on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 07:46:54 PM EST
    Dems can vote for nominee they want, as long as it's Obama.

    Parent
    Hillary will lose independents (none / 0) (#17)
    by jdj on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 06:30:04 PM EST
    to McCain.

    Personally I think whoever wins the most pledged delegates should get the nom.

    Parent

    And what makes you think Obama (none / 0) (#19)
    by Florida Resident on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 06:30:56 PM EST
    won't

    Parent
    National (none / 0) (#54)
    by jdj on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 06:57:19 PM EST
    Polls.

    Parent
    Have you checked any lately (none / 0) (#210)
    by Marvin42 on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 10:20:29 PM EST
    Because they don't seem to agree with your assertion that Obama won't lose independents to McCain. As of right now both candidates do about the same against McCain.

    Parent
    Again, no (none / 0) (#24)
    by echinopsia on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 06:33:33 PM EST
    There's no reason to think this and I've seen nothing to indicate it's likely.

    Parent
    IIRC there were two sets of polls (none / 0) (#36)
    by Joliphant on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 06:44:22 PM EST
    Saying that Hillary was unacceptable to the Obama supporters. I have no idea where they would be on the web or even to go about how to find them. I would hazard though that question has been asked and the results are known.

    Let me put in something that is not in doubt. The uncommitted vote in Michigan were votes against Hillary. Those are people that got out to the polls in horrendous weather just to say they didn't want Hillary.

    Parent

    And the results were (none / 0) (#40)
    by Florida Resident on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 06:47:59 PM EST
    Clinto 55% Uncommitted 40% and Kucinich 4%.  I guess the weather was just peachy for the Clinton supporters/

    Parent
    Help me understand (none / 0) (#46)
    by Joliphant on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 06:52:35 PM EST
    Are you saying that having a candidate listed on the ballot and having someone not listed on a ballot is an equivalent situation ?


    Parent
    Clearly you need Harold Ickes or Mark Penn (none / 0) (#100)
    by dmk47 on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 07:22:02 PM EST
    to explain to you that straw polls and contested elections produce equivalent results.

    Parent
    I must be dense (none / 0) (#115)
    by Joliphant on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 07:32:17 PM EST
    Because I just don't understand how those apply to the question.

    We were talking about how not having a candidate on the ballot and requiring their supporters to deviate from normal polling procedures affects their results.

    My contention was that initially there was a sizable number of voters that felt they had to cast their vote against. This was despite the fact that they were told that they would not have a delegate and that their candidate would not be on the ballot.

    My contention was this represented a large magnitude negative preference.

    So far there has just been the non sequitor of Hillary getting more of the vote. Well yeah, it doesn't hurt when you are actually on the ballot.
     

    Parent

    Yes, exactly (none / 0) (#205)
    by dmk47 on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 10:04:56 PM EST
    An election involves a defined period of fundraising, campaigning, debates, more than one choice on the ballot, building ground organizations, get out the vote efforts, etc.

    A straw poll is a snapshot of popular preferences in the absence of the necessary prerequisites of a legitimate election.

    Why not just give Hillary Clinton the nomination based on a 2006 internet poll?

    Parent

    It also includes flyers and other materials (none / 0) (#213)
    by Cream City on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 10:31:56 PM EST
    and in Michigan, those explained a concerted campaign that casting a vote for "uncommitted" was casting a vote for Obama.  Did you see the flyers, etc.?

    Parent
    Exit polls (none / 0) (#2)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 06:10:17 PM EST
    Exit polls have been wrong too often to base anything on them.  

    hm? (none / 0) (#38)
    by Nasarius on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 06:46:17 PM EST
    They're usually pretty good. If anything, I'd expect the Bradley effect to work in favor of Obama in exit polling.

    Also, I don't think you can seriously deny that independents are a significant fraction of Obama voters. It's a fact often touted by supporters.

    Parent
    usually pretty good (none / 0) (#203)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 10:02:00 PM EST

    also means sometimes not good.  The bottom line is that no one really knows how many indies voted for BHO or HRC.  

    Parent
    I was wondering about those numbers earlier (none / 0) (#3)
    by athyrio on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 06:12:02 PM EST
    and I figured that she was carrying the democratic voters and now to see that evidence is astonishing...To totally ignore the will of the democratic voter in favor of Obama is disgusting...It is like the party is totally ignoring us...

    They have been ignoring for a long time (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by Florida Resident on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 06:20:36 PM EST
    just look how many Democratic primaries and caucuses are open to non Democrats to vote.  Under the guise that they need those votes in the GE they have allowed non-Democrats to influence the candidate selection for the Democratic Party.  Sounds to me like a good way to alienate  your base.  Go figure

    Parent
    Popular vote (none / 0) (#5)
    by mouth of the south on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 06:16:57 PM EST
    This total that you gave includes Florida and Michigan where Obama was not even on the ballot.  You can't think that is fair.  Without those two states being included in the popular vote, Obama is ahead by ovwer 500,000 votes.

    Parent
    he was in the Fl ballot (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by Florida Resident on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 06:21:28 PM EST
    and he gave all uncommitted in MI to Obama (5.00 / 2) (#15)
    by Jeralyn on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 06:29:17 PM EST
    Please don't distort.

    Parent
    Obama was on the ballot in Florida (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 06:21:39 PM EST
    He was on the Ballot in Florida (5.00 / 2) (#25)
    by BluestBlue on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 06:34:30 PM EST
    And the only reason he wasn't on the ballot in Michigan is that he removed himself from the ballot and talked Edwards into doing the same.

    There was no requirement by DNC to remove your name from the ballot.

    Obama was also for letting the delegates in FL count when he did a pledge-breaking news conference in Florida back in September. Of course, that was before he lost the state.

    He also ran ads in Florida, breaking the pledge... please don't tell me they couldn't find a way to not run them in FL, when you are paying they will tell you exactly what you want to hear as long as they get the money! I'm not sure which of his high minded principles support this position.

    So, to sum up, he was for the delegates counting before he lost and then he was against the delegates counting due to his newly found principles!

    And he was for the pledge after he broke it, again due to his newly found principles?

    Parent

    the also use (none / 0) (#13)
    by jdj on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 06:27:07 PM EST
    the current delegate counts that favor Hillary the most. those numbers have little to do with reality.

    Parent
    Interesting data (none / 0) (#10)
    by Coldblue on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 06:23:04 PM EST
    ...of course those Democrats that voted for Hillary must not be aware of the 'movement'.

    Then again, maybe their movements are just fine :-)

    Or maybe the Movement isn't among (5.00 / 1) (#14)
    by Florida Resident on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 06:28:05 PM EST
    democrats as much as in the media or Independents.  Other than the AA vote most of his other votes doesn't seem heavily Democratic.  I'd like to see numbers on his number excluding the AA count to see how he fares among other Demographics comparing those who Identify as Democrats and others.

    Parent
    My comment was snark (5.00 / 2) (#26)
    by Coldblue on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 06:35:33 PM EST
    I would like to see a closed contest where there is a more difficult ability to game the nomination process.

    Parent
    I know I just used your comment as an (none / 0) (#32)
    by Florida Resident on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 06:41:02 PM EST
    entry point.

    Parent
    Wow (none / 0) (#48)
    by Korha on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 06:54:10 PM EST
    You can't just remove a whole swath of the democratic base like that and expect a revealing result. It'd be like doing an analysis of Clinton's support without white women.

    Parent
    Bingo (none / 0) (#155)
    by jdj on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 08:13:07 PM EST
    Or with out older voters.

    Parent
    You're forgetting (none / 0) (#164)
    by dmk47 on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 08:35:30 PM EST
    African-Americans had a chance to be real Democrats but then they decided not to vote for Hillary Clinton.

    Parent
    "Who" rules? (none / 0) (#18)
    by Hypatias Father on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 06:30:15 PM EST
    Why, the rules rule, of course.  The rules are not satisfying to anyone (i.e., both camps have hedged their bets), but they do provide a clear endgame.  Namely, superdelegates will vote for whomever they want to.  BUT, they will be heavily influenced by the winner of pledged delegates, depending on how wide the margin of victory.  It's going to be a bitter pill, but nonetheless the rules will specify which candidate will swallow it.

    I don't know the DNC has been (5.00 / 1) (#35)
    by Florida Resident on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 06:42:41 PM EST
    very good at violating its own rules.

    Parent
    Well, partially get your point, (5.00 / 1) (#92)
    by Hypatias Father on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 07:17:05 PM EST
    but it's not so much that the DNC is breaking the rules as that they have been poor leaders in enforcing better solutions to closing all sorts of loopholes in the primary dates.

    The rules regarding super-Ds and pledged delegates, on the other hand, have been in place for a long while.  Consequently, people will have to wait until the next cycle to change anything; it's too late now.  Currently, Obama holds the edge.  He truly could manage to pull this upset off.  But if Clinton comes roaring back in TX, OH, and PA, (which she certainly could do) then we can expect less hand-wringing over how the will of the people is being ignored, e-gads.  Maybe Obama supporters will pick up the chorus.

    Parent

    He wasn't on the ballot (none / 0) (#22)
    by jdj on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 06:31:36 PM EST
    so many of his supporters didn't vote. i think we can all agree to that?

    I will agree that his inexperience (none / 0) (#33)
    by BluestBlue on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 06:42:08 PM EST
    combined with the knowledge he wasn't going to win MI and he couldn't campaign in both MI & IA made him to take his name off the Ballot in Michigan, and his rhetoric convinced Edwards to follow suit.

    Then there was a campaign to get Michiganders to vote uncommitted. He thought that would make Hillary look bad, it just backfired. He should live with the results.

    He was on the ballot in Florida, and he ran ads there, unlike the other Dems.

    Parent

    So (5.00 / 1) (#45)
    by Korha on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 06:51:37 PM EST
    Are you really going to argue that Obama has run a more "inexperienced" campaign than Clinton so far?

    It looks to me that it's pretty much the other way around.

    Parent

    I didn't say inexperience in campaigning (none / 0) (#90)
    by BluestBlue on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 07:16:37 PM EST
    I was talking about more general political experiencing on what factors may come to play in the eventual endgame and what the problems might be with manipulating it. He has had some big wins in gaming the system, I'll grant you that.

    He has run a strong, tough campaign, far from the pure, high-minded and ethereal one he'd like you to see.

    He is a politician, like any other. People just project their hopes onto him that he is such a big "change" and is doing everything so different.

    His experience is definitely in gaming the system... look back at how he got rid of all his challengers in IL. Unfortunately those tactics aren't going to work in the General Election.

    Parent

    Huh? (none / 0) (#131)
    by Korha on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 07:43:38 PM EST
    Everything you are talking about is related to political campaigning. Either Obama has run a good campaign, or he hasn't.

    There's an Clinton talking point floating around that Obama doesn't know how to win elections and has never run a tough race. Reality has overturned that talking point--in fact he's even run a better campaign than Clinton has, and has certainly been the more astute politician.

    Those factors won't magically go away in the general election.

    Parent

    I think the point is he has never faced (none / 0) (#151)
    by BluestBlue on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 08:11:28 PM EST
    concerted negative campaigning, like the Republican smear machine.

    His prior campaigns were either unopposed because he was able to remove Democratic challengers from the ballot by gaming the rules or virtually unopposed because the candidate was so weak as to be nonexistent (Senate race).

    His games are not going to work in the General. The "Democrats for a day" will go back home to the Republican fold. His "big Red State" victories will be hollow memories.

    Parent

    He has never faced that partisan fire (none / 0) (#157)
    by jdj on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 08:18:15 PM EST
    in part because he doesn't draw it.

    Part of Obama's appeal as a canidate is how he is able to avoid or defuse the anger of many of those opposing him. Makes his point without dismissing the other side. One reason why the media loves him.

    Parent

    You'll see plenty of fire come November (none / 0) (#159)
    by BluestBlue on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 08:29:24 PM EST
    IF we are unfortunate enough to have him as the nominee, but your statement about him not facing partisan fire because he doesn't draw it is just false.

    Go back and look at how he removed his rivals from the ballot in the state legislature.

    Look at the lame Republican they got to run against him for the Senate.

    He hasn't been vetted, he hasn't been tested. McCain will have him on toast for breakfast.

    Parent

    Please. I mean seriously. (5.00 / 1) (#184)
    by Hypatias Father on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 09:09:06 PM EST
    Gather 'round friends.  First of all...

    McCain isn't going to have EITHER Barrack or Hillary on toast come November.  What kind of defeatism is that? As candidates hey are 10x smarter and more flexible, and as their supporters so are we compared to the slack-jawed goons thumbing their ride on the Straight Talk Express.  Barf.  We should be licking our chops.  I know I am.

    Listen:

    If it's Hillary, she is going to make them eat a big fat media sandwich with 'perpetual WAR sauce' slathered all over it.  Let 'em try their smug little sexist hoodwinks come November.  She won't have to pull punches the way she has to with Obama.  Aside from the mothers, fathers, sisters, and brothers of every wounded or dead American soldier, she's going to have the backing of every single leader from every single industrial sector that has suffered financial loss as a direct result of their little oil war.  She is going to have a belt of skulls, get it?  She will dance like Kali-Durga on a pile of their burned-out broken promises.

    If it's Barrack, he is going to pick and pick ever  so politely at McCain over and over, smilingly reminding all America that while he represents a new era, a tech-savvy job-nurturing future, his opponent will only excel at opening up no-bid contracts for likes of Halliburton, Blackwater, Enron, all growing fatter and richer over the next 100 years in the Middle East while the American middle class shrinks beyond recognition.  And when that hothead McCain and his lackeys finally lose their widdle tempers, which they certainly will, they will unleash an unfettered racist barrage the likes we have not seen since the defection of the Dixiecrats; thereby, forcing middle Americans everywhere to acknowledge what an idea-starved pissant regional South-will-rise-again excuse for a political party that the "Party of Lincoln" has shamefully devolved into.  

    Sorry for being blunt--and, yes, surely at risk of sounding overly optimistic--but whatever happens between Hillary and Barrack, the GOP simply is not ready for what is about to visited upon them.  

    Parent

    He has never faced that partisan (none / 0) (#189)
    by oculus on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 09:21:36 PM EST
    fire because:

    1. He challenged the signatures of his opponents for the IL Senata and he was successful, and
    2. Alan Keyes, though Republican, was not considered a serious challenger to Obama's campaign for U.S. Senate.


    Parent
    He hasn't won yet (none / 0) (#171)
    by echinopsia on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 08:43:03 PM EST
    And I wouldn't call it a tough race when the entire mainstream media acts like his marketing department.

    He hasn't even faced a serious attack - Clinton's been very gentle with him, she has to be.

    So, yeah. I'd say he's never run a tough race and hasn't proven he can win eletions. That's a fair assessment.

    Parent

    Neither Candidate (none / 0) (#191)
    by solon on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 09:24:09 PM EST
    in the Democratic contest has ever faced a serious competition until Senator Clinton faced Senator Obama. For Obama, Allan Keyes was not a serious candidate. For Clinton, she destroyed Rick Lazio in 2000 and faced no serious challenger in 2006. Not even Rudy would run against her.

    One underlying theme in this thread, and one from yesterday, is that Democrats seem scared that the Republicans will "define" them. If a Democrat votes based on how a Republican will treat a potential Democratic candidate, then the Republicans will have won and it won't matter if it is Senator Clinton or Senator Obama.

    Yesterday, a thread discussed the fact the Grover Norquist said it would be easy for the Republicans to define Senator Obama. If you take Grover on his word, which is very problematic since it is not his job in life to help Democrats, that is a problem. It is not any better for Senator Clinton. The National Review's cover story is "Please nominate Them," (Hillary and Bill).

    The point is that democrats should not be worried about the rhetorical battle of definition. Regardless of the candidate, the Democrats need agency to attack McCain, a nominee whom the conservatives hate, the evangelicals don't support, and the Republicans rejected in 2000.

    If the Democratss lose, it is because either Senator Clinton or Senator Obama and their supporters let the Republicans define the campaign.

    Parent

    At some point (none / 0) (#196)
    by solon on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 09:43:57 PM EST
    the Democrats need to find ways to gain the rhetorical advantage over Republicans and gain back the independent vote. Both "Obama is inexperience/ hasn't been vetted" and "Clinton has the wrong experience," will be definitional arguments employed by Republicans.

    For the past two Presidential Elections and two of the last three Congressional elections, Democrats let the Republicans define them. The Democrats should not be worried and, instead, gain their sense of agency back, either through Hillary's strategy of partisanship or Obama's strategy of consensus.

    Parent

    This is absolutely right (none / 0) (#208)
    by glanton on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 10:12:37 PM EST
    Haven't we all, regardless of which candidate we're supporting in this primary, had it with the GOP framing/definition tactics.

    I (unlike solon) strongly support Hillary Clinton at this point, in large part because I don't think she or her campaign will be at all in the business of allowing McCain et al to define them.  She has taken the media's best shot to date, and is still standing.  

    But it is indeed high time to seize agency and deploy strategies for defining the terms of debate, whichever nominee it is.  And I feel strongly that either Clinton or Obama will run campaigns light years superior to the one that Kerry "ran" in 2004.


    Parent

    Anyone in Florida? (none / 0) (#56)
    by solon on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 06:58:13 PM EST
    I have been curious on the following point, but since I do not live there, does anyone know about the state of the campaign before the primary in Florida.

    While the candidates pledged that they would not "campaign" there, to what extent were they able to fundraise and organize their campaigns there?

    I know that Senator Obama purchased at least one national ad that broadcast in Florida and that Senator Clinton held a rally there the moment voting closed (which suggests some level organization), but to what extent could their forces organize?

    Parent

    About the rally (none / 0) (#160)
    by BarnBabe on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 08:30:06 PM EST
    I grew up in Ft. Lauderdale and still have many relatives and college friends there. We talk often and luckily, they are all Democrats. They are not happy not having their votes count. In as much as the Fla legislatives all agreed to move the primary up, what are the people to do? If you are mad at your Democratic rep, would people prefer they vote them out of office? I don't think so.

    I was on the phone with my Aunt a little while ago. She was saying that if their votes do not count, they might just not vote period. She might be a little over dramatic on this, but it is a sign that they are not amused. And they were split between the 3 candidates.

    As for the rally, I was so glad that Hillary had one as that was the only time the MSM gave to the Democrats that night. It was all GOP until they had to break away for her rally. All the candidates should have just done the same rather than complain that she was grandstanding. (BTW-I wanted Edwards). They all gave up a night of free coverage. It was so GOP that they were not even putting up the Democratic numbers.

    Parent

    All candidates were allowed to attend (none / 0) (#195)
    by Florida Resident on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 09:42:37 PM EST
    fundraisers in FL and both Clinton and Obama held many.  Obama had one technical violation when he held an Impromptu Press Conference in Tampa (that is considered campaigning).  Other than that not much going on in Fl prior to the primary except every now and then someone would complain that this candidate or that candidate was pandering to rich by holding private fundraisers in mansions and exclusive suburbs.

    Parent
    How is the vote for (none / 0) (#29)
    by Jgarza on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 06:39:25 PM EST
    caucuses is by delegates or actual participation?

    This whole article is pretty bad (none / 0) (#44)
    by Korha on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 06:50:30 PM EST
    In fact, on Super Tuesday, 295,952 more primary voters cast their ballots for Hillary Clinton than for Obama, yet somehow neither the Obama campaign, nor the media, was paying much attention to Clinton's lead in the popular vote.

    That's because the percentage margin in the popular vote was 50.7%-49.3% Clinton-Obama. Not exactly a blowout landslide, is it?

    Only now that Obama has a miniscule lead of 128,736 in the number of votes cast (and that includes assigning all the "uncommitted" votes in Michigan to Obama) has the media focused on total votes cast. This lead represents less than 1% (0.62%) of votes cast in the primary elections held so far, yet it is trumpeted by the media endlessly.

    And what was Lukasiak doing in the preceding paragraph?

    But, since this is actually the Democratic primary, perhaps we should look at how Democrats have actually voted. Based on the available exit polling data, we find that Hillary Clinton has a commanding lead over Barack Obama in the number of votes - As of February 16, 2008, 391,992 more Democrats voted for Clinton than Obama.

    What is that, a margin of 2%, among democrats only? Hardly commanding when there are a dozen states yet to vote.

    As Democrats, it is our votes that should be the determining factor in a close race. We're the voters that the party can depend on, and ignoring the will of Democratic voters can lead to Democratic voters ignoring the will of the party.

    Lots of states have open primaries. Are we arguing against that now? On what rationale? Even if you think that primaries should be restricted to democrats only, the fact is they weren't. Do all the millions of other people who voted not count? But I will concede that it appears that Clinton is very marginally more popular than Obama among democrats.

    Perhaps more to the point is the question of which states these votes are coming from. Are they from potential "swing states" - states where 5% or less of the electorate determined who won the state's electoral votes in 2004? Are they from states that are outside of that 5% margin, but where its still close enough that a Democrat should make an effort anyway to ensure that the GOP candidate has to divert time and resources there, rather than concentrate on states where Democrats hold an edge? Or are they from states where one party has a lock, barring a complete landslide?

    What? Lukasiak goes in the course of one paragraph to arguing for the disenfranchisement of all independent votes cast in the democratic primary to arguing that the most important thing actually is the "swing states" that, you know, contain all those important independents. How can this guy simultaneously argue that only democratic votes count in the primaries AND that the most important thing for the superdelegates to consider is who is most equipped to pick off "swing state" voters in the general election (but not by appealing to independents, because those votes don't count)?

    Of course extrapolating from the demographics of the democratic primary to the general election is complete bunk. But, Lukasiak does not make that argument--which is interesting, because it doesn't  even work out for him. Obama has in fact won more swing states AND red states than Clinton has, while Clinton has won the democratic strongholds of CA, NY, MASS, and NJ. This whole line of thinking is simply contradictory to Clinton's (and Lukasiak's) whole electability argument.

    Not a good rebuttal (5.00 / 2) (#96)
    by frankly0 on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 07:18:39 PM EST
    This is a poor counterargument.

    Look, the fact is that Paul L is raising an important basic question: when we speak of the "will of the people" in a Democratic nomination process, who is supposed to be included in that reckoning: all those who vote, for whatever reason, or the vote of the Democrats? If you're going to make a "moral" argument relying on "the will of the people", it's pretty important to know what you're talking about, and who "the people" really should be.

    Now, you may argue that it's important to include non-Democrats in the voting, because that allows some degree of "reality-testing" of a candidate outside the party. But that is primarily an issue of electability, not of "the will of the people".

    But when it comes to the issue of electability, what Paul seems to be pointing out is that the issue becomes very complex (complex to the point that the wisdom of superdelegates might rightly figure in decisively). In terms of electability, of what value are caucus results, which can be dominated by a highly skewed population? Of what value are major wins in states like Idaho, and Alabama and Georgia, etc., when they are unwinnable states? Again, this is something the superdelegates might rightly judge.

    And, while the current vote of independents might favor Obama, it is superdelegates who might best judge whether that would hold up over the campaign in the general election. Michael Dukakis was once up 17 points in the polls, and then lost quite badly in the election. And superdelegates might also very reasonably consider whether a candidate like Obama might lose the blue collar Democrats who are now voting for Hillary, because he can be defined as a far out liberal more readily than she. They will not want to see McCain Democrats the way they once saw Reagan Democrats.

    Parent

    Look (none / 0) (#114)
    by Korha on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 07:31:36 PM EST
    Now, you may argue that it's important to include non-Democrats in the voting, because that allows some degree of "reality-testing" of a candidate outside the party.

    This isn't theoretical--they did vote. Millions of them. Talking about disenfranchising those votes on the basis of an arbitrary distinction designed to swing the nomination to a candidate that is not currently winning under the rules that were set up by the party is.. well, wrong.

    Yes, the superdelegates can vote however they want. But if there is a clear leader for the nomination in both pledged delegates AND overall popular vote, then they will destroy the party if they vote against that leader, whoever it is.

    As for Paul Lukasiak, the guy's just contradicting himself. Again, you can't simultaneously claim that appeal to independents (as measured in votes) shouldn't matter when determining the nominee AND that appeal to independents is the primary criterion that the superdelegates should think about (as measured in votes) when determining the nominee.

    Parent

    You're missing a number of points (5.00 / 1) (#143)
    by frankly0 on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 07:59:37 PM EST
    Look, the voters who were NOT Democrats did, in fact, vote. But the question is, in what sense do they represent "the will of the people"? In votes in other types of organizations, it is only full fledged members whose votes are really allowed to count on various issues, such as for leadership positions. Should a Republican who happens to vote in a Democratic primary be allowed an equal vote to any Democrat? On what ground? Remember -- this is NOT a general election -- so on what ground and in what sense is his vote being "disenfranchised" if it does not count toward "the will of the people" of actual Democrats?

    While you raise the prospect that choosing someone who loses in the overall popular vote will "destroy the party", why wouldn't it "destroy the party" to choose someone who lost the popular vote among Democrats? Why should other Democrats not rightly greatly resent the choice of such a candidate? Why should it be non-Democrats who in effect get the decisive role?

    And your claim that Paul L is contradicting himself on the issue of independents is certainly not borne out by your argument. It is entirely possible for a candidate like Obama to win the independent vote, and yet for superdelegates to judge that that advantage is not likely to continue through the general election. The argument is simple: it's very easy for a fresh face, not yet "defined" by the Republican attack machine, to win among independents, and yet be made to lose those independents in a major way when the attack machine launches into action. That's the story of many a Democratic candidate, and it's certainly superdelegates who might best judge that issue.

    The best way to think of the inclusion of independents in the primary process is a piece of data -- but data whose significance is subject to a great deal of interpretation. In the case of an undefined candidate like Obama, it may be that the independent votes for him are rightly judged to be evanescent and meaningless, though for another, better vetted candidate, it might mean something quite important.

    Parent

    A further point (none / 0) (#168)
    by frankly0 on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 08:40:04 PM EST
    With regard to the votes of non-Democrats in primaries, one way to think of their contribution is that they DO in fact get a say towards the pledged delegates, no matter what. In fact, that was ALL they were ever promised in terms of the significance of their vote. They can certainly not be said to be "disenfranchised" in any case given that their votes count in that way.

    But Obama supporters are insisting that they count in still further ways, namely as part of a compelling "moral" argument that they represent to the superdelegates some part of "the will of the people" that must be slavishly followed. THAT is where the argument just goes seriously wrong. There is no reason to bring in such votes as an inherent part of "the will of the people". It is altogether right for superdelegates to go instead with the will of the people as expressed by only the votes of Democrats.

    It is nothing but a convenient contrivance of the Obama campaign to insist that the overall popular vote, rather than the vote of Democrats alone, should prevail in the judgment of superdelegates.

    (I'll say, though, that I expect that at the end of the day, Hillary will win both on the popular votes of Democrats, and on the overall popular vote.)

    Parent

    Re: Independents (none / 0) (#190)
    by p lukasiak on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 09:22:49 PM EST
    After super tuesday, I did a fairly quick comparison between the "independent" and "moderate" vote.  

    What I found was that Obama did much much better among "independents, but Hillary did better among moderates.  (For every 100 Hillary "independent" votes, there were 150 Obama "independent" votes; for every 100 Hillary "moderate" votes, there were 89 Obama "moderate" votes).

    The way the exit polls are set up, anyone who doesn't answer "Democrat" or "Republican" to the party ID question is placed in the "independent" category -- "indepedent" runs the gamut from the Socialist Workers Party to the American Nazi Party, and does NOT correlate to the "moderate" voter who thinks the Democratic party is too liberal and the GOP too conservative.  

    There is a reason that candidates "move to the center" once they get their party's nomination -- the "center", i.e. the "moderates" are the key demographic in swing states.  

    Parent

    Paul (none / 0) (#212)
    by auntmo on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 10:31:40 PM EST
    Yes indeed,   and  no Democratic  Presidential candidates  have  won  in  years  without  being  able  to reach those  moderates  in  swing  states.  

    Far leftwing  liberals  sponsored/endorsed by   Teddy  Kennedy  and  MoveOn.org,  while  Markos  loves  that,    DO NOT  win   general   elections.    

    Parent

    A lot of people have argued against (none / 0) (#47)
    by Florida Resident on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 06:53:33 PM EST
    open primaries and caucuses for the longest time.  That's why the Republicans are doing too often the base would rebel.

    Parent
    should have said not doing it (none / 0) (#49)
    by Florida Resident on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 06:54:14 PM EST
    I support open primaries (none / 0) (#71)
    by Korha on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 07:08:51 PM EST
    I personally support open primaries, which are a sign of party strength and not weakness. We're supposed to be "Big Tent Democrats," right? Independents make up a huge and critical segment of the electorate, and we should be looking to nominate the candidate with the broadest and not narrowest appeal. I don't think your example of the Republican Party having closed primaries helps your case very much. Remember that John McCain, their strongest general election candidate, rode to the nomination on the backs of independents in New Hampshire and elsewhere.

    Even if you don't support open primaries, the fact is still that there were a lot this year and millions of people DID vote in them. We can't rightfully say their vote somehow doesn't "count."

    Parent

    And may loose a lot of the Base in the (none / 0) (#76)
    by Florida Resident on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 07:10:39 PM EST
    GE.  

    Parent
    Korha (none / 0) (#215)
    by auntmo on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 10:35:54 PM EST
    Open primaries  allow  the  "Democrat  for  a  day"  voters  to   influence  a  Democratic primary   that  they have  NO INTENTION  of  voting   Democratic in   November.   Thus,   numbers  are  unreliable for  predicting  same  in  the  GE.    

    Lotta  that  went  on  this  year  with Republicans  voting  in  Dem primaries or  caucuses   with  no  intention of  voting  either  Dem candidate  in  the  GE.  

    These  are  not  the  "will of the people"  for  the  Democratic  Party.

    Parent

    Another point (none / 0) (#52)
    by Florida Resident on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 06:55:41 PM EST
    They sure are making a big lead of Obama's lead although it's even smaller

    Parent
    because the remaining states (none / 0) (#147)
    by jdj on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 08:06:22 PM EST
    seem to favor Obama.

    Parent
    Oh the old crystal ball trick (none / 0) (#150)
    by Florida Resident on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 08:10:19 PM EST
    You're welcome :-) (none / 0) (#119)
    by RalphB on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 07:33:20 PM EST


    Check this out (none / 0) (#127)
    by Florida Resident on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 07:39:42 PM EST
    i've seen that before (none / 0) (#136)
    by RalphB on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 07:48:30 PM EST
    it goes right along with the "Democrat for a Day" campaign they ran.  Now who's the candidate who will say or do anything to win?

    Parent
    Another Obama acolyte (none / 0) (#141)
    by BluestBlue on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 07:59:05 PM EST
    trying to game the system. Remeber the "become a Democrat for a Day" campaign in Nevada (and Florida according to Corrente)? It was brought to you by Obama's campaign.

    It may get Obama a win in the primary, but Democrats will be the worse for it in the General Election. This is the definition of "Win the battle, lose the war"

    This is what skews our numbers, Republicans crossing over in the primary when they have no intention of voting that way in the General. Obama's numbers will deflate like an old balloon the day after the party.

    This is one of my concerns about Obama... he is always for the shortcut, the easy way out. I don't see any evidence of him able to do the hard slog of governing.

    Bush wasn't interested in governing either. Bush didn't have the background or experience needed. Bush had no real accomplishments to show. The media refused to vet Bush. Any negative comment about Bush was seized on as heresy. All those negatives in Bush's past were hidden deep and off limits...

    Hmmm, an awful lot of parallels building up here.

    Parent

    oh please (none / 0) (#148)
    by jdj on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 08:07:26 PM EST
    do not go there.

    Parent
    While I agree that the parallels exist (none / 0) (#154)
    by blogtopus on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 08:12:36 PM EST
    between Obama and W's PRIMARY CAMPAIGNS, I think there is too much dirty laundry since 2000 then to make any comparisons stick.

    Besides, Bush won, right? Who cares if Obama uses all the tricks in the book to get his prize... presumably he'll be using them in the GE, too.

    Parent

    I care because what Bush did in his (none / 0) (#165)
    by RalphB on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 08:36:34 PM EST
    primary campaign said something about his presidency as a whole.  I don't want anymore of that.

    Parent
    Bush didn't win (none / 0) (#170)
    by Florida Resident on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 08:42:28 PM EST
    The florida manual vote recount was stopped by the US Supreme Court.  Had the re-count been completed in all probability we would have had 8 years of a Gore presidency.

    Parent
    Which supports a closed primary (none / 0) (#173)
    by BarnBabe on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 08:49:01 PM EST
    Very blatant for sure and exactly my argument.

    Parent
    Popular vote vs Pledge Delegates (none / 0) (#138)
    by Saul on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 07:53:21 PM EST
    Is there a difference between these two? If there is which one rules as far as the Super Delegates are concerned?  I thought I heard Obama say that Super Delegates should go to who ever has more pledge delegates.  I could have heard it wrong.

    Yes, there is a difference (5.00 / 1) (#153)
    by p lukasiak on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 08:11:40 PM EST
    ...but Obama has been making three separate arguments (actually four, if you include the fact that his co-chair, Jesse Jackson Jr., is going to black superdelegates and asking them if they want to be the ONE person who keeps a black American from having the chance to be president) -- that total votes, total states, and pledged delegates are all important criteria.

    The key difference between pledged delegates and popular support (votes) is because there is no consistency between states in determining "popular support".  As I point out in piece, In Idaho (a caucus state) Obama got 79% of the delegates to county conventions, and is estimated to have a +12 advantage over Clinton in delegates to the Democratic convention.  In New Jersey, where over 1,100,000 people voted in the Democratic primary, and where Clinton drew 110,000 more votes than Obama (56% to 42%), she will be awarded only 11 more delegates than Obama.

    Setting aside the fact that hell will freeze over before a Democrat wins in Idaho this year, the very idea that 79% of people who would have voted in a primary in Idaho would have supported Obama is completely absurd.  (Even in DC, Obama only got 75%).  

    Another point of comparison...in 2004, only 181,000 Idahoans voted for Kerry.  In other words, Clinton's advantage over Obama in New Jersey was about 60% of the total democratic vote in the 2004 general election.  But if you add Clintons and Obama's NJ and ID delegates together, Obama comes out ahead by 1.

    Parent

    SD's not being pledged (none / 0) (#149)
    by Florida Resident on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 08:09:06 PM EST
    can vote for whoever they as a person deem to be the best candidate.  That is why so much pressure is being used to influence how the vote.  By both sides.

    Parent
    Well if we get thanked for nothing (none / 0) (#139)
    by blogtopus on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 07:54:35 PM EST
    Here's some more.

    [as the plane prepares to take off]
    Hanging Lady: Nervous?
    Ted Striker: Yes.
    Hanging Lady: First time?
    Ted Striker: No, I've been nervous lots of times.

    I don't see why people are in a twist about this whole thing. Rules don't apply at any level in this campaign season, so why expect candidate A to follow one set of rules and candidate B to follow another?

    The fact that anyone is claiming someone is breaking the rules in the primary is laughable. It doesn't matter what the rules are, all that matters is how hard can you work the ref?

    if we're going off exit polls (none / 0) (#182)
    by andreww on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 09:07:24 PM EST
    then does Obama get to claim victory in NH, MA, and CA?

    bwahahahah (none / 0) (#200)
    by andgarden on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 09:53:35 PM EST
    you're new here, aren't you?

    Too bad this thread is at 200 (none / 0) (#201)
    by oculus on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 09:59:12 PM EST
    comments!

    Parent
    Maybe they'll open an Open Thread (none / 0) (#202)
    by Florida Resident on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 10:00:55 PM EST
    Entitled: in defense of BTD (none / 0) (#204)
    by oculus on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 10:04:50 PM EST
    by BTD.

    Parent
    Clinton Red States Wins (none / 0) (#206)
    by marcellus on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 10:05:26 PM EST
    What about red-state Clinton wins? (Arizona, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Tennessee). Which are winnable for Clinton in the General Election?  Arkansas for sure, and maybe New Mexico?

    By Clinton campaign logic Arizona, Oklahoma, Tennessee should be considered insignificant.

    Obama Blue State Wins (none / 0) (#207)
    by marcellus on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 10:07:58 PM EST
    Which one of these blue state Obama wins will not count for the General Election?  (Illinois, Washington state, Washington DC, Minnesota, Maryland, Connecticut, Maine, Delaware)

    night folks got to go to work. (none / 0) (#211)
    by Florida Resident on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 10:21:32 PM EST


    Comments Over 200, now closing (none / 0) (#214)
    by Jeralyn on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 10:34:10 PM EST
    Thanks everyone, this was a lively discussion. I look forward to more posts by Paul.

    not to nitpick, but I have a different lead amount (none / 0) (#216)
    by dc2008 on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 11:12:13 PM EST
    Not to nitpick, but when including the Michigan uncommitted voters for Obama I get a lead of 331,690, not 128,736.  It's still a close race, obviously, but not as close as that.  I used figures provided by MSNBC here.

    Last night I attended a lecture by political (none / 0) (#217)
    by hairspray on Sat Mar 01, 2008 at 12:41:07 AM EST
    science faculty from a local college on choosing the superdelegates as defined by the state parties.  Like many here, I  believed the caucuses were intended to build the party and develop a democratic kinship.  This is pure hogwash. The main intent was to allow the party insiders to select the delegates who would then select the  party nominee.  Caucuses were made difficult for the general public and were usually not widely publicized.  It worked well until the age of instant communication.