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February 17, 2008



Two things:

Her post on the math begins with these ominous words - "Based on exit polls . . ." Exit polls are hardly precise enough for the kind of math she's calculating with exit poll data.

Secondly, the total number of votes doesn't make a difference. It's all about state party rules and the (at times bizarre) systems for awarding delegates. Let's play by the rules, ok?

And that's why I disagree with the MoveOn.org and Obama camps that the superdelegates should be "bound" by the popular vote in their jurisdictions. That's not what superdelegates are, plain and simple. We have rules, and we should stick to the rules. The superdelegates are free-agents, and we should trust the system (a kind of market system, actually) to work.

But "play by the rules" is also why the Florida and Michigan delegations cannot be seated based on the non-contested primary elections that took place in those states. The rules said, plain and simple, that the candidates would not campaign there and that the delegates would not be seated. We can't change that now without having a fairly-run, contested election. Neither candidate made appearances in those states, neither campaign ran significant ad campaigns, neither campaign muscled much of an organization on those states. Those races were not contested, and so the results of these non-contested races cannot used to award delegates.

John Petty

Hi Chris, I agree with you on super-delegates, and you're right that we should just "trust the market" on this one.

Something needs to be done about MI and FL. The nomination is probably going to come down to those two states. They are somewhat different situations, as I understand it. The GOP legislature set the date for the primary, although it's also said that the Dems in the legislature acquiesed in it. A fairly high percentage of people voted in that primary--higher proportionally than, say, NY--which ought to count for something.


I agree. Both sides need to play by the rules going in--meaning supers can decide how they want to vote and Florida and Michigan shouldn't be seated at the convention (unless someone has it wrapped up and they won't affect the outcome).

In the future, both situations obviously need to be examined. Why do we have these supers that could potentially override the desire of Democratic voters across the country? What should be done about the ridiculous acceleration of the process that led to MI, FL being stripped of their delegates?

As for the first question, I say get rid of the supers or limit their numbers (20% of the total seems like far too much power). On the second I think leaders from both parties as well as secretaries of state from across the country need to get together and sort this primary calendar out somehow.

John Petty

The reason for the superdelegates was a reaction to the "McGovern rules" of 1972 which, basically, took elected officials and other "big Democrats" out of the delegate picture--or, at least, made them actually run for the office, at the risk of losing.

The superdelegates things was a way for these folks to get somewhat back in the picture. I don't mind it myself. It makes sense that officeholders, and the like, should have a little bit of extra say.

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