Coming out of Super Tuesday it looks like Clinton and Obama are tied in the only race that matters: the race for Democratic delegates.
In a surprise twist after a chaotic Super Tuesday, Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) passed Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) in network tallies of the number of delegates the candidates racked up last night.
The Obama camp now projects topping Clinton by 13 delegates, 847 to 834.
NBC News, which is projecting delegates based on the Democratic Party’s complex formula, figures Obama will wind up with 840 to 849 delegates, versus 829 to 838 for Clinton. [Link]
So let’s play this out to its logical conclusion. If the trend continues then Obama may win states like Virginia, Maryland, and a few other smaller states, but Clinton will probably take Ohio and my state of Texas (states with a large number of delegates). Regardless, the votes will be close enough that the delegates will be split fairly evenly by the time they get to Denver in August. If that is the case then the final decision as to who is the Democrats nominee will come down to two important, but little known groups. The first group is the Superdelegates comprised of Democratic party insiders (which you can assume will probably break for Clinton who is more connected to the establishment). They each get a vote and do not have to reflect the popular vote in any way. Currently Clinton has more committed to her (but they can still switch all the way through the end of the convention). As I scanned the list of Superdelegates I spotted only a single desi on it. It was Kamil Hasan who is currently committed to Clinton. Here is an article from 2006 explaining how Hasan fits in to the Democratic Party and why he was anointed “super”:
Kamil Hasan of Saratoga has a new job: collecting serious cash from the Indo-American community for the Democratic National Committee.
That job may not be as powerful as senator or congressman. But for the Bay Area’s roughly 155,000 Indo-American community members, Hasan’s appointment represents another step the well-educated, affluent immigrant group is taking to gain political clout. His goal is to raise at least $5 million through a newly formed Indian fundraising council in time for the next presidential election.
What’s most important, community members said, is that the appointment isn’t just about Hasan: It’s about the voice of the entire Indo-American community, about 2 million strong. [Link]
p>There is a great example of “emergent politics” for you right there. Kamil Hasan speaks for 2 million strong.
The DNC Credentials Committee is the other group we need to get real familiar with. They are the group that will eventually decide what happens with the Michigan and Florida delegates that got stripped away as punishment for those two states deciding to move up in the primary calendar without the blessing of the Democratic National Committee led by Howard Dean. Hillary won both those states despite the fact that neither candidate was allowed to officially campaign there. If those delegates are suddenly reinstated then the advantage clearly goes to Clinton. Obama would want to fight that. The Credentials Committee is chaired by one woman and two men. All three are former members (according to their bios) of the Bill Clinton Administration. Thus, at its face, it looks like Clinton has an advantage there as well. Also, don’t forget my post from last week. Dean recently announced that Pakistan-born Iman Malik Mujahid, founder and president of Chicago-based Islamic teaching materials distributor Sound Vision Foundation, was named to the credentials committee as a member and has a vote in that committee.
So, despite my earlier post about the Indian American vote and how it skewed, it may turn out that the only desi votes that matter in all of America are those of Hasan and Mujahid.
The reason this whole topic of Superdelegates and the Credentials Committee is so important is because it is possible that Obama wins the most delegates as determined by the direct vote of the people…but Clinton wins the final total if you count the Superdelegates and the stripped Michigan and Florida delegates. Can anyone say “Florida 2000?” Only this time it will be a vicious internecine battle that would harm the Democratic Party.
Late this afternoon it seemed that the Obama campaign finally started to become wise to these possibilities:
Obama, at his Chicago press conference just now, lays out his path to the nomination, which depends first on having a majority of pledged delegates.
“If this contest comes down to superdelegates, we are going to be able to say we have more pledged delegates, which means the Democratic voters have spoken. Those superdelegates, those party insiders would have to think long and hard how they would approach the nomination,” he said.
“The argument we would be making to superdelegates is, if we come into the convention with more pledged delegates then i think we can make a very strong argument that our constituencies have spoken and I think that’s going to be pretty important when it comes to the general election,” he says. [Link]
UPDATE: Looks like I missed a desi SuperDelegate. A helpful tipster from the DNC fills me in:
Mona Mohib is another South Asian DNC at-large delegate. She was appointed by Terry McAuliffe, and is the Vice Chair of the DNC APIA Caucus. She currently works at the Democratic Governors Association.