Is Going To Denver A Good Idea?

Yes. I’m not sure we will fix future primary seasons otherwise. It will also be good to get the Superdelegates on the record giving the nomination to the person who received fewer votes, which is really why they are all calling for Hillary to drop out. But going to Denver gives us time to evaluate why the person who received more popular votes got so many fewer pledged delegates. Here’s some clues.

First, via TalkLeft, we have a thorough analysis of primary vs caucuses that show how the pledged delegate lead was decided by only 3% of total participants:

Clinton’s lead is from 34.5 million voters (97%) in Primaries. Obama’s lead is from 1.1 million voters (3%) in caucuses….

…In the 37 primaries, Hillary Clinton is up 500,000 votes (counting Florida and Michigan and giving Barack Obama 75% of the votes of Michigan’s uncommitted delegates.) This give her a 67 delegate lead in the primaries. In the 13 caucus states, Obama is up 300,000 votes which has resulted in a 205 delegate lead.

Second, there were four states that had both primaries and caucuses. In every single case, the caucus results were dramatically different than the primary results. In each case, more people participated in the primaries than the caucuses. Texas had the primary and the caucus on the same day and showed the same differing results so its hard to argue that the no one was paying attention to the primaries (though that is self evident since more people participated in the primaries). You don’t have to rely on anecdotal evidence (which is plenty if you’ve ever participated in a caucus or driven through a strip mall where hundreds are working during the alloted caucus time) to realize that caucuses are nonrepresentative. The data speak for itself.

Finally, there is much to be skeptical about when it comes to caucuses and improprieties. Lambert and Alegre have more on that.

That doesn’t mean, that “the rules” don’t allow for Obama to get the nomination. They do. But “the rules” are so bad that they need to be revisited. Without an honest discussion of the process it will not be fixed for next time. Without superdelegates and future DNC “the rules” writers forced to grapple with the problems of our fundamentally flawed system, and be forced to legitimize these flawed rules, it will not be fixed. From my perspective, the damage to the party is going to be much more severe than people think. Ironically, it will be the GOP who are going to come and point out all these flaws and the people pushing “party unity” are only going to aid the GOP if they ignore these very real problems.

Bookmark and Share

Bookmark the permalink.

18 Responses to Is Going To Denver A Good Idea?

  1. Maria Pardo says:

    You are right: Hillary have shown better results not only in real popular vote but also if the number of delegates should be allocated proportionally to the population of each state: she would get 54% of delegates and Obama only 46%. Several things are wrong in the rules for allocation of delegates.
    If superdelegates wish that the Democratic Party wins the Presidential Election they should support Hillary.
    Hillary is the leader in the swing states, which will decide the presidential election. She has got 54% of popular vote of Democrat Primaries in those states and Obama only 46%. Besides Hillary is the leader in presidential elections polls (Gallup and other ones) in the swing states: she would win against McCain with 14% more votes than the Republican candidate, while Obama would loose against McCain with 7% votes less. She should be the candidate.

  2. Mark says:

    Hi Gilbert: Great post! Yep, this Democratic Primary has shown us all the weaknesses of the current primary process. Don’t plan on the superdelegates fixing it this time around by noting reality… umm… reality, what concept?

    I am not sure the primary process can be fixed. Those in control of power don’t give it up easily. This time, since I have been burned so bad by political bullies inside what used to be my beloved party, I will watch from a distance as the Democrats likely self-destruct.

    Like many others, I think this primary season has proven, without a doubt, that power is as power does, and the people can go get fucked. IMHO, it is not fixable from inside the party.

    IMHO, it is truly time for a third party that does have the kind of primary season that is as close to reflecting the will of the people and is truly a big tent.

  3. Andy Witmyer says:

    Hillary shouldn’t have been so dismissive of caucuses. In my opinion, her inability to to work the caucus systems ultimately cost her the nomination. Secondly, the nomination process isn’t about who got the popular vote – like it or not, that’s just the way it is. And I still have questions about her popular vote totals. Regardless, I think that taking this to Denver would be a huge mistake for the party and it would, I believe, cost us the election. If Hillary appears to be a major culprit in Obama’s defeat, it will not bode well for her future ambitions.

  4. green bean says:

    Hillary Rodham Clinton does have a case.

    African American is a fraction of the democratic party. White working class is a fraction of the democratic party. The younger voters are the new entry of the party.

    Turn off the noise is the real statistic. Despite of being out-spent, out-manned, out-funded, out-organized, out-media, out-foxed, out-mocked, she got the popular votes. He got the delegates counts. That by itself is a statement.

    Is it going to matter comes the General Election?

  5. Gilbert Martinez says:

    “The rules” have to change. Caucuses must go. Apportionment of delegates (if we decide to keep that) must change as well. It would be more useful to discuss the problems that call into question the legitimacy of the Democratic Party’s nomination process than to repeat standard talking points.

    There is ZERO question that Hillary received more votes than Obama. None at all. You can look at the certified votes to verify that if you want, but the numbers are what they are. The DNC can arbitrarily allocate delegates, but you can’t change the votes. Hillary received more votes.

  6. Gilbert Martinez says:

    green bean,

    You don’t have to look at demographics to make Hillary’s case. Since the end of February, hillary has received about 600,000 more votes than Obama. Contrary to conventional wisdom, the more voters found out about Obama, the more they rejected him over the last months. The voters wanted a midcourse correction and that is being ignored by the superdelegates. That is within their right and within the rules. I would just like to get them on the record.

  7. Gilbert

    I think regardless of whether Hillary takes this to the floor, which I highly doubt she will at this point, there will be discussion and hashing out on the mess created by the “rules.” It’s a given.

  8. Gilbert Martinez says:

    I wish I could share your optimism, Pamela, but after the RBC ruling on Michigan I don’t give them much credit. Not only was it against its own rules, but stealing 4 delegates from Hillary (even though Obama is now over the threshold by 30 delegates) was perceived as a short sighted cheek scratch to Hillary and her supporters.

  9. Gilbert

    It’s not so much optimism. There’s a lot of issues that will be hashed out at the convention and beyond.

    And I get that many look at the rules committee decision as unfair. I do too. But we have to keep moving forward and focus on what needs to be done. That includes changing the system for the future and putting a Dem in the White House.

  10. beachmom says:

    The rules were fine until Hillary started losing. Now it’s suddenly unfair? Why didn’t Terry McAuliffe fix them when he headed the DNC for years (presiding over 2000 and 2004, where I think we can all agree there were major electoral process problems in the G.E.) if they represented such injustice? Her team knew the rules (well, except Penn, apparently) and chose not to plan a proper strategy for a long nominating season. They screwed up, and now they’re complaining about Caucuses? Look, there are a lot of different ways to set up the rules to nominate a presidential candidate, and if folks want to revisit them, then fine, do so for either 2012 or 2016. But please: the Hillary campaign knew the rules and did not put together a good enough strategy to overcome an insurgent candidate who was a real threat.

    As to Denver, you have got to be kidding me. Everyone knows a fight at the convention spells general election defeat. We know the history on that. I find your arguments for Hillary (using DIFFERENT RULES than were agreed upon way prior to 2008) unpersuasive. If Obama had to deal with different rules, then his campaign would have had a different strategy. And enough already with the bogus popular vote metric, including Hillary Michigan votes while giving Obama zero. You’re telling me Obama got zero votes in Michigan, or would have if his name was on the ballot? (The Clinton campaign admitted the majority of Uncommitted votes were for Obama at the RBC meeting.) And her popular vote count blows off 4 caucuses that did not report popular vote figures. That is why it is not an accurate metric, since every state held a different election with … a different set of rules with only delegates being the real count. Look at your post again (linked to TalkLeft), and tell me how it doesn’t sound exactly like this?

    A statement from Detroit Pistons general manager Joe Dumars:

    I wanted to say a few words about the Michigan Solution. No, not that travesty of justice. I’m talking about a fair, common-sense resolution of the Eastern Conference Finals.

    But back to the series in question. Yes, Boston has won four games and Detroit only two. But it’s hard to imagine a more arbitrary and undemocratic way to determine this series’s outcome than “games won.” It is, after all, a bedrock value of the game of basketball that all points must be counted. But how can that be the case when every point beyond the winning point is ignored? There are literally dozens of layups, jumpers, free throws, and (yes, even) dunks that our opponents want to say don’t count for anything at all. We call on the NBA to do the right thing and fully count all of the baskets that were made throughout the course of this series.

    Once you abandon the artificial four-games-to-two framework that the media has tried to impose on the series, a very different picture emerges, with the Celtics leading by a mere 549 points to 539. Yes that’s right, the margin between the two teams is less than one percent—a tie, for all intents and purposes. This is probably the closest Conference Finals in NBA history, though I will thank you not to check on that.

    Hillary needs to concede.

  11. Beachmom

    Do me a favor as longtime Dem Daily reader and give our Clinton supporters the chance to process their grief and frustration.

    I know full well that you understand that grief and frustration as a longtime Kerry supporter. So now is not the time to pick a fight here about Hillary conceding or over the opinion of one front page writer about going to the convention.

    I have been actively urging readers here for weeks to support the nominee, and many are frustrated with me for that.

    As the editor/owner of The Dem Daily, I will work towards the goal of winning this election in November, and continue to urge the same of everyone here.

  12. Frenchdoc says:

    Beachmom: “As to Denver, you have got to be kidding me. Everyone knows a fight at the convention spells general election defeat. We know the history on that.”

    I guess that’s Senator Obama’s problem to solve… but his campaign has strategized so well so far, I don’t see any problems here.

    Besides, there is nothing stopping him from campaigning for the GE and the rest of you to help him do that. So, quit wasting time on blogs and go fight the Republicans.

    (I think I’m going to have a lot of fun with this, which I’ll do at my own place, out of respect for Pamela)

  13. coldH2Owi says:

    Frenchdoc –
    What’s up with the attitude? I know, as Pamela says, folks need time to process their disappointment & defeat, but stop the patting on the head crap. That’s not much of a way to educate someone.

  14. Frenchdoc says:

    Cold… I wasn’t patting on the head. I was being downright sarcastic. But like I wrote, and in light of Pamela’s more recent posts, I’ll do that at my place. This one was just too good to pass.

  15. alrudder says:

    On the POPULAR VOTE, MI and FL

    There are five actors here. The DNC, Clinton, and Obama, MI and FL.

    The DNC decided to have four small states go first. Small states force candidates into retail politics.
    Iowa and New Hampshire started and Nevada and South Carolina were added for their representation of
    urban voters, unions, Latinos, and blacks. The Feb 5 rule was in place, as Terry McAulliffe had done 4
    years before, in order to have a period where the candidates were not incentivised to campaign in the
    big states.
    Furthmore, the candidates made a non-compete agreement with the four early states not to campaign in the
    big states. When Michigan and Florida went early, Obama and a couple other candidates took their names
    off of the ballot in Michigan with the understanding that the delegates would not count.

    She abided by the non-compete agreement in both states but her name was on the ballot in both states. She had
    an appealign candidacy and had 16 years as a national celebrity, and not surprisingly, she won both states

    Obama, as stated above took his name off of the ballot in Michigan to honor the spirit of his accord with
    the four early states. The expectation was that the delegates would not count.

    As for Florida and Michigan, the facts are a bit different. Michigan was in more control of Democraitc state officials, however Florida party officials seemed to support what the Republican politicians did in their state. The RNC, by the way halved the delegate in Florida for the same punishment.

    More facts: we do not have any popular vote tabulation from four caucus states, three of which were won by Obama. We do not
    know the popular vote. Without campaigns, we do not have a realistic view of what MI and FL would be. One
    candidate had significantly more name recognition than the other, and those are big states.

    The above are facts, I think I was fair in context, and in the narrative.

    Now for my opinion….Simply put, Michigan and Florida made a calculated risk that backfired. Party officials
    in both states thought that the race would be over on February 5 and that the delegates to the convention
    would be extras in an informercial as usual. MI and FL officials sacrificed their own delegations so that they
    could have the candidates campaign in their states. It turns out, all 50 states got attention. Now they are
    complaining that the punishment is too harsh with the changed circumstances.
    As an American who by the way happens to be black and an attorney, I was offended by the comparison to equal protection and voting rights. These primaries are the internal
    processes of a private organization. Even though the government helps count the votes in primaries, these
    are private matters. No constitution lawyer could claim these are real legal issues.

    Lastly, both states could have appropriated public money for another contest and declined to do so. MI and FL
    officials wanted instead to use in internal party mechanisms that they had flaunted, to salvage the participation
    of their state’s delegations.

    So in sum, MI and FL flaunted the rules, the circumstances changed, and they didn’t want to deal with the consequences.
    Clinton wanted to change the agreed up rules (that Terry McAuliffe enforced in his DNC capacity) midway way their
    interest changed.

  16. Alrudder

    Rather than dispute and discount what is the valid opinion of writers here who are Clinton supporters, I’m advocating that old friends of The Dem Daily like yourself and Beachmom, have some respect for our Clinton supporters who are going through something not unlike what we all went through after the ’04 election.

    Emotions are high right now.

    While I strongly advocate supporting the nominee and will personally work towards defeating John McCain, Clinton supporters will be welcome here, and I hope in time we can all start to work together.

    I also intend on continuing my support for HRC in whatever she may do next be it in the Senate, as perhaps the VP nominee or whatever.

  17. Frenchdoc

    It’s always been my intention to support the nominee. I’ve always made that pretty clear here. As I have said twice now in this thread, Clinton supporters have a place here and I expect our old readers to respect that and remember what it was like as a Kerry supporter here online not so very long ago.

    It’s my understanding the HRC will continue to be active on the issues that matter to so many of us and I plan to support that here.

  18. Alrudder

    I want to add I really appreciated this earlier comment from you and the understanding shown towards the fact that Clinton supporters here have some stuff to work through, so I was saddened to see you jump on this thread with a dispute.

    I spent a fair share of my tenure working on the Kerry blog in ’04 working on the goal of bringing the supporters of the other candidates around to supporting Kerry as each candidate subsequently dropped out and supported Kerry.

    So I’ll stress again, it’s important that people here will be understanding all the way around.