Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Super Tuesday: Aftermath

If people were hoping for a clear trend after yesterday's megaprimary in the States, they were mistaken. It's still wide open as well as it should be. This means more door knocking, more debates, and unfortunately more negative advertising. But if America has to wait until April or May to find out who's made the final cut for November that really isn't a bad thing.

On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton ran up some of the larger states including New York and California; but Barack Obama ran the board in fourteen states. The delegate count still favours Mrs. Clinton slightly but that includes the "superdelegates" -- the ex officio office holders -- and they really aren't pledged to anyone; they could very well switch allegiances if they think Obama has a better chance of beating the GOP nominee. In terms of "earned" delegates, though, it was almost a dead tie. Neither are near the magic number of 2,025 to win outright.

On the Republican side, McCain should have wrapped this up last night; but in a huge shock Huckabee ran the board across the South. Even Romney did better than most expected. True, McCain won the lion's share of delegates yesterday but he's still far away from the magic number of 1191.

My observations this morning: First, for the Democrats, Obama raised nearly three times as much money last month as Clinton. I expect this to continue; and in the long run the odds favour him. Last night's speeches were also indicative: Obama sounded more like a confident winner while Clinton gave a stump speech -- not what one would expect with tens of millions of viewers watching.

Second, for the Republicans, McCain has the road to the nod; but he has to avoid the temptation to pander to right wing talk radio, most of which has already dismissed him. Invoking the "Reagan Revolution" is rather disingenuous as well. He has to stay true to himself. If he had done so eight years ago, he would have won and not Dubya and America would be a much different and better country today.

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S.K. said...

Clinton won big last night. Here's why. She won Democratic states. These states come with far more ex-0fficio super delegates than Republican states, the states Obama won. Many Obama states, will never vote Democrat anyways. The justification that Repubs like him won't turn these states blue. These states are dyed red. So who will the PArty support?

There are also far fewer caucuses left. In the last two months there are no caucuses. Women, people with children, the elderly, shift workers, all CLinton demographics are less likely to make caucuses. He has won far less primaries than Clinton. Most of his wins last night were caucuses.

Also, Florida and Michigan have said they are sending their delegates to convention. If they are not seated, they will stand in the hallway, which would be bad but won't happen.

So, even a tie for Mr. Obama isn't good enough. Super delegates can't hand him a win, against the wishes of Hispanics (who won for the rebubs last time), Florida Michigan and other Democratic states in favour of States that will never go Dem. He would have to win the committed delegates by at least 150 to justify handing him the win with Super delegates.

He is about 250 delegates away from that goal right now. Not impossible, but very unlikely.

BlastFurnace said...

Thanks for your comments, Shoshana -- always insightful, as usual.

To be fair, I'm not underplaying Clinton's wins in California, New York and New Jersey among others. I'll admit, grudgingly, she did do well. I still think in the long run the campaign will come out Obama's way. From here on in, it's mostly one to three states at a time; starting next week with the "Beltway" race in Virginia, Maryland and Washington DC. Focusing on just a couple of races at a time plays more to Obama's strengths than Clinton's.

It's also worth noting that even in New York, Obama managed to get 40% of the vote and 34% of the delegates up for grabs. (It's quirky but as I understand it the Democrats are using PR by district for some delegates, statewide for the rest -- and that's true in nearly all states.) Just a few weeks ago he wouldn't have even meet the 15% "viability" threshold in that state and many of the other states where he was competitive last night.

Do I think now Clinton could win it all if she gets the nod? I do now. Would Obama do better in the electoral college? Definitely.