Selected, Not Elected
This Game Cannot Be Completed In Regulation. Overtime Commences August 25.
By Dan McLaughlin Posted in 2008 | 2008 Presidential Campaign | Barack Obama | Great Netroot Betrayal | Hillary Clinton — Comments (48) / Email this page » / Leave a comment »
Allahpundit looks at an analysis by Chris Bowers of OpenLeft (who is, obviously, no right-winger) admitting that the Democrats, with typical foresight, have created a situation in which it was, even before yesterday's results, essentially impossible for either of their candidates to clinch the nomination by winning primaries and caucuses. Thus, unless either Hillary or Obama concedes a winnable race for the good of the party (shall we take bets on the odds on the Clintons relinquishing power for the greater good? Anyone remember 1998?), the Democratic presidential nominee will not be elected by the voters but will be selected by the "superdelegates" (the party elite) and/or through machinations at the convention (mark your calendars - August 25!):
Read on and glory in the spectacle of our enemies divided and the sound of the lamentations of their women.
Here was Bowers' analysis on Monday - note that the split in delegates last night only exacerbates this:
+With Michigan and Florida removed from the equation, 2,025 delegates are required to win the nomination, and there are 3,253 pledged delegates.
+To date, four states with a combined 137 pledged delegates have held nominating contests.
+Currently, Barack Obama is projected with 63 pledged delegates, and Hillary Clinton is projected with 48 (source).
On Super Tuesday, 22 states and a couple territories with a combined 1,688 pledged delegates will hold nominating contests.
From this point, quick math shows that after Super Tuesday, only 1,428 pledged delegates will still be available. Now, here is where the problem shows up. According to current polling averages, the largest possible victory for either candidate on Super Tuesday will be Clinton 889 pledged delegates, to 799 pledged delegates for Obama. (In all likelihood, the winning margin will be lower than this, but using these numbers helps emphasize the seriousness of the situation.) As such, the largest possible pledged delegate margin Clinton can have after Super Tuesday is 937 to 862. (While it is possible Obama will lead in pledged delegates after Super Tuesday, it does not currently seem possible for Obama to have a larger lead than 75). That leaves Clinton 1,088 pledged delegates from clinching the nomination, with only 1,428 pledged delegates remaining. Thus, in order to win the nomination without the aid of super delegates, in her best-case scenario after Super Tuesday, Clinton would need to win 76.2% of all remaining pledged delegates. Given our proportional delegate system, there is simply no way that is going to happen unless Obama drops out.
Note: Hillary's actual lead, according to RCP, is now 900-824 (including pledged superdelegates), so this still holds, and of course the numbers are even starker for Obama. And it gets better:
Given that Michigan and Florida combine for 313 pledged delegates, it is likely that this situation won't be resolved without severe bureaucratic fighting on the DNC rules and by-laws committee, or even a credential fight at the convention itself.
And why should either candidate drop out? Clinton has a large lead in super delegates, and can make a real argument over the Michigan and Florida delegations. Obama, by contrast, will probably lead in pledged delegates at the end of February, and will be able to raise significantly more money than Clinton. And so, we are at an impasse.
I think [Bowers is] right about how the Democrats are going to handle this. Call it a party version of the "national popular vote" initiative. If the super delegates won't bind themselves to vote as a bloc, the pressure on whoever trails next month to drop out and avoid a convention fight will be enormous, thus raising the tantalizing prospect of a melodrama where Hillary has to commit hara kiri because the party establishment, of all things, simply doesn't love her anymore. Dude. Dude.
Popcorn. Stock up on it.