Pledged Delegate Majority Is Not Enough
Today, it's time to examine pledged delegates and remind everyone that pledged delegates are only part of the equation in a superdelegate's decision who to vote for.
Superdelegates were intended to act as brakes on a system run amok. That's what we have here, and it will be further derailed if rumors about only seating half of Florida's delegates are true.
The pledged delegate total is one argument for nomination. It is not a qualifying event. By itself, a majority of pledged delegates is not enough to win the nomination. This year, in particular, the legitimacy of the pledged delegate count is uncertain.
Here is a second graphic and fact-filled, number crunching report (pdf). [More...]
(The report is by John Norris, a businessman in Los Angeles, California. with an undergraduate degree in economics and an MBA from the University of Florida. He has never served a federal campaign in any official capacity , however, he is a devoted supporter of Hillary Clinton. It is being reprinted with his permission.)
- The super delegate system adds discretionary judgment to balance out quirks in the mechanical”pledged delegate system.
- They are intended to be “thinking delegates,” and their decision process is free of rules, guidelines or measures.
- They can wait until the first ballot on the convention floor to make their decision; and their endorsements are non-binding.
The nominee must win a majority of all delegates to clinch the nomination, not just the pledged delegates. Super delegates comprise about 20% of the total number of delegates.
- 33.9 million people have voted in 49 elections so far. Only 1 million of those were in the 15 caucus states.
- The Primary-only pledged delegate spread is less than 1/10th of one percent.
- The caucus-only pledged delegate spread on the other hand is 2:1, and gives Obama a 136 delegate advantage. Obama's win in the caucus states account for almost all of his pledged delegate lead.
- Caucus voters amount to 2.9% of the voters but account for 15% of the pledged delegates so far. In other words, one caucus vote counts for the same as five primary votes.
- In four states, ME, NV, IA and WA, we don't even know how many people showed up because counts weren't performed. Combined, the four have more than 13.4 million people (nearly 5% of the U.S. total) – yet we will never know the precise vote. All we have are estimates from Real Clear Politics.
- In the states that held both primaries and caucuses, attendance at caucuses averaged 40% of the primary turnout. This is an invitation to distort the results. Consider two examples:
238,000 Caucus turnout
691,381 Feb 19 2008 State Primary
38,571 Caucus Turnout
94,905 May 20 2008 State Primary
- Obama won all of the ten states with the least voters per pledged delegate. Clinton won seven of the ten states with the most voters per pledged delegate. The ten states with the least votes/pledged delegates were all caucus states. The ten states with the most were all primary states.
- Obama’s performance decreases substantially when the same state caucus is tested by a primary -- Washington and Nebraska are examples of this.
Caucus bias distorts voter intent and creates a false inevitability factor for superdelegates. If the superdelegates were to act on the basis of a caucus-biased pledged delegate total, we would end up with alienated voters and a weakened party, not to mention the wrong candidate.
It's up to the superdelegates now to put on the brakes.
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