Democratic Primary Tight? It’s Been Over for Weeks

Almost one month ago I went on YD2008 Radio and explained that I had done the math and it was just not adding up. Hillary Clinton could not win the democratic nomination unless she squeezes out a quite substantial superdelegate differential, and I didn’t see that happening. Since then there have been various pundits who have argued either for or against this argument.

Take Neil Cavuto for instance, whose mathematic skills challenge middle school students on a bad day. Neil argues that analysts are forgetting Pennsylvania, another big primary that comes in April, and of course North Carolina. When all is said and done, the Democratic Race will be as close as it is right now.

I guess momentum could change things. But many a pundit’s been burned on this momentum thing — it was supposed to help Obama in New Hampshire after Iowa and it didn’t — and help Mitt Romney in Florida after Michigan and it didn’t do that either.

All I’m saying is it isn’t over.

A pundit didn’t tell me that.

The numbers did.

If the numbers are talking to Neil, he is in trouble. The issue from the very beginning has been the pledged delegate count, not the current delegate tally, which differs from analyst to analyst, news source to news source. Superdelegates may say they are for a candidate, but there is nothing binding their decision– a point that is rearing its ugly head as many Hillary supporter are preparing to defect to Barack’s corner. The pledged delegate count is decided by votes, and this places Obama in the lead by over 150.

Now, you may interject here to tell me that is the point. Superdelegates could alter the entire fabric of the Democratic race. This might be true, but I highly doubt it. If there is a Superdelegate coup, the Democratic ticket is all but lost, and this would leave the Party in a severe restructuring frenzy.

The topic of delegates and math was brought up by Newsweek’s Jonathan Alter, who gave a very different stance than FOX’s Neil Cavuto. In fact, he begins his article with a complete refutation of Cavuto’s:

Hillary Clinton may be poised for a big night tonight, with wins in Ohio, Texas and Rhode Island. Clinton aides say this will be the beginning of her comeback against Barack Obama. There’s only one problem with this analysis: they can’t count.

In his March 4 article “Hillary’s Math Problem,” Alter goes through a series of hypothetical tallies for each democratic primary and gives Hillary Clinton the benefit of the doubt and then shows that she cannot erase Barack Obama’s pledge delegate lead. If you are a Hillary supporter and are crying foul at the moment, I urge you to check the Slate’s Delegate Counter. The numbers do not add up.

Right now there is a blood bath of negativity sweeping across the Democratic Party, tearing apart any hint of future solidarity. The confrontation between the Obama attorney Bob Bauer and Clinton spokesperson Howard Wolfson on a recent conference call is just a taste of what is to come. And when all is said and done, the Democratic Party is either going to have a publicly distorted and weathered Barack Obama as its nominee, or Superdelegate coup that leaves Hillary Clinton a political pariah.

Update
David Plouffe from the Obama campaign just issued an email statement on March 5 titled “the math”:

Our projections show the most likely outcome of yesterday’s elections will be that Hillary Clinton gained 187 delegates, and we gained 183.

That’s a net gain of 4 delegates out of more than 370 delegates available from all the states that voted.

For comparison, that’s less than half our net gain of 9 delegates from the District of Columbia alone. It’s also less than our net gain of 8 from Nebraska, or 12 from Washington State. And it’s considerably less than our net gain of 33 delegates from Georgia.

The task for the Clinton campaign yesterday was clear. In order to have a plausible path to the nomination, they needed to score huge delegate victories and cut into our lead.

They failed.

  • Michael,
    Leave the Italian man who likes his twinkies out of it, who do you watch, Jim Cramer from Mad Money? I hope you didn’t follow his financial advice, if so your portfolio probably has taken a beating. As for Neil Cavuto, the man has the best ties and is a master at the back handed compliment.

    I think the reason for confusion over the fuzzy math is you need to be a genius to figure out the delegate count. You have these super delegates that, simply put, is fraudulent. Who can figure them out? So now we need to play with the numbers and try to figure out who has what and who has a chance and who doesn’t. It’s like trying to figure out Hillary Clinton’s child poverty plan, everyone has a different answer as to how much it costs. I feel like I’m back in financial accounting where everyone has a different numeral answer and none of us are correct. We could even see some issues like we saw in the 2000 election with the electoral college, it should be interesting to say the least.

    “Right now there is a blood bath of negativity sweeping across the Democratic Party”, so what’s new? This is party full of left wing zealots and red diaper doper babies!

  • Stalin

    This is awesome. You just knew this was going to happen. I am going to enjoy wathing the Democratic party beat the crap out of each other. Hillary is now going to steal the election by convincing enough superdelegates that she has the momentum and big states needed to beat McCain. Both sides lawyer up while Obama supporters will riot in the streets and vow to not support her in the general. McCain becomes president. This is going to be fun.

  • nzpudding

    Will it be made public which superdelegate voted for whom? I hope it is.

  • Michael

    NZ: check out this CNN site on the superdelegates. It gives a list of who they are, and if they have declared their position yet:

    http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/02/19/dem.delegates/index.html

  • Jim

    Actual Texas Results give Obama 6 delegate win!

    Obama Total Earned Delegates 99
    Caucus Delegates 38 Primary Delegates 61

    Clinton Total Earned Delegates 94
    Caucus Delegates 29 Primary Delegates 65

    Actually, if you include both the caucus vote and the primary vote together, Mr. Obama not only wins the delegate math, but also the popular vote in Texas. Obama won by tens of thousands of votes cast. If you have a problem with counting the caucus vote in the popular total, then you have a problem with the sate democratic party.

    Republican Veterans for Obama

  • Babs

    Jim, quick question. Who are “Republican Veterans for Obama”?