What Fresh Hell Is This?

April 24, 2008

Maps - We Got One More!

Since I got called out in the OPJ's latest, I feel compelled to respond.

I have an enormous amount of respect for Maria, as everyone should know by now, but misleading is about the only word that can be used to describe this map showing (in a bloggeriffic snarky way) the extent of Senator Clinton's win on Tuesday:

As it shows only the counties that each Senator won as opposed to by what percentage each county was won by. Looking at it, you'd think the primary this past Tuesday was a complete Bush-Mondale sized blowout.

Take a look at this map:

Looking at it, you'd hardly guess that John Kerry's Blue Counties represent 48.3% of the vote to George Bush's Red Counties with 50.7%. Nor could you guess that Bush won by only 35 electoral votes (286-251).

I'm just sayin'.

And I'll say it again - for all the hoopla and the hype, Senator Clinton, who started the campaign in the state with about a humongous lead in the polls, won by only 9.2% (or so). And she only gained a handful of delegates at best.

No dichromatic map is going to change those facts. Sorry, Maria.


jaywillie said...

All of these false metrics being used to assess this contest are ridiculous.

The Democratic Party has rules. Everyone agreed to the rules. We hold primaries and caucuses in all 50 states and territories and we award delegates. There is no reason to judge this race in any other way.

Of course, the Clinton camp will say, "What about MI and FL?"

MI and FL are not easy to resolve. But political parties are allowed to set the rules for electing party leaders and candidates, so it's really not a matter of voting rights. No one is being prevented from voting in the general election.

So, legally, the party has every right to sanction states that move up their primaries against the party's wishes. Whether you agree with it or not, the DNC was trying this year to break the stranglehold IA and NH have on the nominating contest by representing more regions early on. While FL and MI definitely do that, had the DNC allowed them to move up their primaries, state after state would have done so(as many did), and each one sooner and sooner than the other.

One of the DNC's responsibilities is to maintain some order. If it hadn't stood by it's own rules, this nominating contest would have descended into absolute chaos.

So, my first point is that Hillary shouldn't have agreed to the rules and she shouldn't have stood with the other candidates on the matter of MI/FL. This is a fight she should have began much sooner, because the only way it ends now is with a bitter, divisive floor fight that will most certainly be broadcast to the nation on live t.v.

And it's a fight that she could very well lose. The result would be a severely weakened Democratic party trying to patch itself back together just as the general election campaign begins.

There was a time for her to challenge this. We could have had revotes, but when the DNC stripped MI in December Hillary was confidently saying(perhaps it was overconfidence since not even a single vote had been cast yet) that the race would be over on Feb. 5th.

But time's run out, which is my second point on MI and FL. You don't just hold an election over night, especially when one of the candidates is offerring to pay for it(because of this alone, the losing candidate could easily argue that the results were illegitimate). It takes time to set them up. And because of particular circumstances in MI and FL, some counties require judicial approval, meaning that any revotes might not take place until August or September.

She should have been fighting like hell for MI and FL long before she finally did.

All of the other the metrics...

Electability is too open for debate.

Correlating primary/caucus results with the Electoral College is just bizarre.

Who can stand up better to Republicans is certainly open for debate.

Winning the "big states" really doesn't matter - the pledged delegate system, like the electoral college, is designed to give weight to all the states. More populous states are rewarded with more delegates. It's done precisly so that small states have a say, so to make the "big state" argument is to dismiss the voters of numerous western and midwestern states that the Democrats are poised to win.

At the end of the day, all we have are the pledged delegates. And my position is that whoever leads in that count on June 4th is the Democratic nominee. That's who I think the superdelegates should endorse.

Imagine if you played a football game. At the end of it, your team had more points than the other team. But the referees also have a say and your opponent says to them, "We would have won if we only had more time. We're the better team, even though we have fewer points." Of course you're going to argue, "Look, we've got more points. We won."

The broader implications are that we shouldn't have superdelegates. The Democratic nominating process definitely needs reformed.

Anonymous said...

John K. says: Whew are you a sore loser. Don't get near any guns or take up religion. You are way too bitter.

Chad said...

I was with you until the end, jaywillie.

You make an excellent argument on, and in defense of, THE RULES. But then you advocate changing them in the end. Your position on the Superdelegates undercuts your position the rest of the way.

The Supers aren't the referees; they're players. The game isn't over until they step on the field and try to score their points. And THE RULES say they get to vote their conscience, no matter who's winning the pledged delegates or not winning the popular vote.

Now. I hate the whole idea of Superdelegates. I think they're even more of an affront to Democracy than the Caucus process and the Electoral College combined. But it doesn't matter what I think, and it doesn't matter how crappy the process is, because those are THE RULES. Which, as you say, everyone agreed to. And now must live with.

That means that Hillary and her supporters can't whine about Michigan and Florida not counting, and Obama and his supporters can't whine about the possibility of the Supers "overruling" the pledged delegates and "stealing" the nomination from him.

Both scenarios are perfectly fair and right according to THE RULES.