Why Hillary Clinton Should Be Winning

Sean Wilentz backs up what was said a few days ago by Wesley Little on Rasmussen (see post here): “Under a winner-take-all primary system, Hillary Clinton would have a wide lead over Barack Obama — and enough delegates to clinch the nomination by June.”

We’ve been having a few discussions here on The Dem Daily about the Democrats convoluted mess of a system to choose a nominee — Wilentz is on the money:

Unlike the Republicans, the Democrats in primary states choose their nominee on the basis of a convoluted system of proportional distribution of delegates that varies from state to state and that obtains in neither congressional nor presidential elections. It is this eccentric system that has given Obama his lead in the delegate count. If the Democrats heeded the “winner takes all” democracy that prevails in American politics, and that determines the president, Clinton would be comfortably in front. In a popular-vote winner-take-all system, Clinton would now have 1,743 pledged delegates to Obama’s 1,257. If she splits the 10 remaining contests with Obama, as seems plausible, with Clinton taking Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Kentucky, Indiana and Puerto Rico, and Obama winning North Carolina, South Dakota, Montana, Oregon and Guam, she’d pick up another 364 pledged delegates. She’d have 2,107 before a single superdelegate was wooed. You’d need 2,208 to be the Democratic nominee. That would leave her barely a hundred votes shy, and well ahead of Obama. It is almost inconceivable that she would fail to gain the required number of superdelegates easily. No more blogospheric ranting about Clinton “stealing” the nomination by kidnapping superdelegates or cutting deals at a brokered convention.

But Clinton does not now have 1,743 delegates. According to CNN estimates, Clinton has about 1,242 pledged delegates to Obama’s 1,413. Most of that total is based on the peculiar way that delegates are apportioned in 2008. Some of it is because Obama’s backers are using the same kind of tactics as George Bush’s camp used in Florida in 2000.

Crucially, Team Obama doesn’t want to count the votes of Michigan and Florida. (And let’s note that in a winner-take-all system, Clinton would still be leading in delegates, 1,430 to 1,257, even without Michigan and Florida.) Under the existing system, Obama’s current lead in the popular vote would nearly vanish if the results from Michigan and Florida were included in the total, and his lead in pledged delegates would melt almost to nothing. The difference in the popular vote would fall to 94,005 out of nearly 27 million cast thus far — a difference of a mere four-tenths of 1 percentage point — and the difference in delegates would plummet to about 30, out of the 2,024 needed to win. Add those states’ votes to the totals, and take a sober look at Clinton’s popular-vote victories in virtually all other large states, and the electoral dynamic changes. She begins to look like the almost certain nominee.

Go read it all and chime in here…

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10 Responses to Why Hillary Clinton Should Be Winning

  1. Pingback: And If I Was Six Inches Taller, Had Abs Of Steel And Looked Like Denzel Washington I Would Be Jessica Alba’s Baby Daddy. But I’m Not. » Oliver Willis

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  4. Janis says:

    Interesting — so this dates back to 1968. That makes perfect sense in the context of the comment I made previously on this topic. The Dems began leaking helium like a day-old balloon almost at the exact moment this system was put into place.

  5. Jessica says:

    If democrats didn’t use the proportional system then, yes, Hillary would be winning. But we don’t, so she’s not. It’s a good idea to question the wisdom of previous decisions and talk about making changes. It is also worth remembering that all the candidates knew all the rules before this thing started. Hillary knew about the proportional system but clearly did not think it was necessary to factor that into her campaign. She also did not organize caucus states because she didn’t think she had to. Had Hillary attended to these rules, however convoluted, she might very well be winning under the current rules and there would be a deafening silence about the need to exorcise the demons from the democratic party.

  6. Janis says:

    Jessica it’s not just a matter of “well she didn’t so she can’t and he did so he will” or whatever.

    for me, I’m not just talking about this one election; I’m talking about the larger structure of a system that chooses one party’s candidate differently than the other, where only one of the playbooks matches up with the one used in the general election.

    In light of that, wondering whether or not this proportional business is a very good idea is a reasonable thing to be asking, especially since it does seem to have coincided with the Dems running people who consistently get their asses handed to them in the GE.

  7. coldH2Owi says:

    This system was put in place because the cigar smokers in the back room sent us the candidate. This system made sure all the various groups within the Party were represented. The Party bigwigs made Hubert Humphrey repudiate everything he stood for through his political life. That was 1968. They then abandoned the Party from then on, until Pres. Clinton came along & they felt OK about him. There was/is nothing wrong, Janis, with VP Mondale, Gov. Dukakis, Al Gore, or John Kerry. What they did wrong was to underestimate the evil within the wallets of the ReThugs. They also believed that good will win over evil, without much of a fight. I wish you, Janis, would quit making fun of, making light of those candidates in the past. They did the best they cold while battling not only the ReThug candidate, but the press as well. Another week & Dukakis would have won. Al Gore did win. & I also believe John Carey won as well. There are reasons we don’t want to act like the other party, good reasons. One of them is a proportional setup, so that no one is left out.

  8. Peace Out For Unity says:

    Ya gotta say no to the rest,so you can say yes to the best ! Let’s end the mandates of NCLB ! Go Win Clinton !!

  9. coldH2Owi says:

    John Kerry. Sorry Ms. Leavey. I think I actually spelled it correctly, then changed it. I need a vacay.

  10. coldH2Owi

    LOL! We agree on something:

    “There was/is nothing wrong, Janis, with VP Mondale, Gov. Dukakis, Al Gore, or John Kerry.”

    Considering they were up against the Republican Money Machine and Noise Machine, each of those candidates ran damn fine races. Of course it’s well known around here I am still very partial to John Kerry, and truth is, I was living in MA when Dukasis was Governor – I have a lot of respect for him as well.

    Frankly I think the best way to show support for Clinton is to highlight what she’s doing as a candidate, educate people on her record as opposed to constantly repeating the same anti-Obama talking points. And likewise the same thing goes for Obama supporters — instead of picking apart Clinton they should be educating people on Obama’s record.