By Big Tent Democrat
Speaking for me only
I found this passage from Jon Chait amusing:
The spin now is that Obama's delegate lead is "small but almost insurmountable" (USA Today) and that, since neither can clinch the nomination with pledged delegates alone, "the nomination is expected to be in the superdelegates' hands" (Los Angeles Times). These beliefs reflect the mathematical illiteracy that has allowed the press corps to be routinely duped by economic flim-flammery. A lead that's insurmountable is, by definition, not small. . . .
(Emphasis supplied.) Um, noooo. A lead can be large but surmountable and it can be small but insurmountable. An insurmountable lead is not, by definition, large, in my understanding of the English language (admittedly my second language.) And when a contest is to reach a certain number of delegates, the only MATHEMATICALLY insurmountable advantage is when one of the candidates reaches the magic number (2025 or 2214 total delegates being the one ones that matter here, not the majority of the pledged delegates) More . . .
Continuing in this vein, Chait writes:
The notion that the superdelegates will decide the race implies that pledged delegates won't matter--like a sports event that goes to overtime. Obviously, though, the pledged-delegate count determines how many superdelegates each candidate needs.
I find this passage funny as well. To say a game was decided in overtime is not to say the regulation time of the game did not matter. Indeed how the "pledged delegate" "regulation game" has gone is precisely why you now have this "superdelegate overtime." Moreover, that is not even a proper analogy. The nomination "game" requires crossing a delegate threshold (2025 without FL and MI, and 2214 with Florida and Michigan) - there is not a game clock per se. Obama will not cross the threshold solely with pledged delegates (John Kerry, Al Gore and Bill Clinton did, to provide 3 examples.) To wit, in order to capture the nomination, Obama needs to capture a certain number of super delegates. Presumably, if Obama maintains a 100 or so pledged delegate lead, he will need about a hundred less than Clinton.
It is fine to believe that Obama has, beyond a shadow of all doubt, won the nomination. But it ill behooves someone who is ridiculing the supposed "mathematical illiteracy" of people to demonstrate such shocking ignorance and lack of understanding of the English language and, apparently, the nomination process. I submit Chait should stick to making his arguments, and not to making fun of people - he becomes too easy a target when he does.
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