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.
Fascinating…and disturbing. Especially since this is the first election IN MY LIFE (and I’m 36) where I’ve had ANY interest at all. Thanks for the write-up Abhi. Also, this will be the first election in which I plan to vote.
Kamil Hasan of Saratoga works for the Democratic National Committee.
Kamal Hasan was mistaken for a terrorist when trying to enter the US.
The fact that the Obama campaign is starting to talk in terms of categories that don’t really matter in terms of who wins the nomination (e.g., “pledged delegates”) suggests to me that it’s advantage: Hillary.
…cuz the post says –
just a small error, i know.
yeah, remember proportional representation. if obama wipes the floor in small states and gets enough in the large ones…can we???
My understanding is that, give reasonable assumptions about future performances, neither Obama nor Hillary can clinch the nomination with delegates resulting from the primary/caucus process–so, it will come down to the super-delegates. Hillary should clean up there, I’d think.
There’s also the unknown factor of Edwards’ delegates. He still has some and may even get more. Where he throws them (probably Obama) is not immaterial.
Are we really talking kamal hasan here or is this a fake kamal hasan?!??
Sorry for any errors. It is “Kamil Hasan”
Is it just me or does the American electoral process seem way more complicated than it should be. Super-delegates ? The electoral college ? All these sneaky ways to make sure that the plebes don’t take complete control.
All these sneaky ways to make sure that the plebes don’t take complete control.
well, we’re a republic, not a democracy. it’s not a bug; it’s a feature.
‘well, we’re a republic, not a democracy.’ please take that tongue-in-cheek. no need for a political science refresher 😉
Woot! I hate direct democracy. Unwashed masses and all that. . . . Seriously, though, you want some serious dose of democratic input, but not democratic tyranny. Go US Constitution!
where is direct democracy? oregon has lots of ballot measures. switzerland with its localism. ever looked at the german system? ozzie system? they’re not exactly super-simple. even britain’s first-past-the-post screws minor parties like the US system.
I’m no expert on poli-sci but parliamentary systems like in India and the UK sound much more straight-forward to me. You’re right about the first-past-the-post thing i guess. Doesn’t Israel have a way to take care of that ?
Ashvin, before you get too taken with any particular election system, please meet Arrow’s paradox.
I’m no expert on poli-sci but parliamentary systems like in India and the UK sound much more straight-forward to me.
the main diff is that the exec. and legislative functions are basically united in those systems, not the way people are elected. e.g., congress can get a bigger proportion of the popular vote, but lose a lot of seats vis-a-vis a smaller vote total party because they’re regionally based. so i don’t think it is any more direct or representative.
Doesn’t Israel have a way to take care of that ?
proportional representation. which ends up giving small parties a vice-grip on coalitions.
I like Ireland’s system, ie: the Single Transferable vote system – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Single_transferable_vote. Complex, but I think better than first-past-the-post systems.
As for superdelegates, Clinton has the lead right now, but remember it’s only been 5 weeks since Iowa, and a lot has changed. Significant portions of the democratic establishment are behind Obama, and there are a lot of undecided superdelegates. Odds still favor her, but predicting outcomes at this point is entertainment more than anything else.
I’ll keep Arrow’s paradox in mind. Yeah, I suppose there are imperfections everywhere. That’s enough poli-sci for me today. Good night 🙂
Although, more than any of this discussion of representation, probably the most disastrous “consequence” of the paradox is how the US voting system broke the seemingly innocuous and obvious constraint of the Independence of Irrelevant Alternatives when people who ranked Nader above Gore inadvertently ended up electing Bush.
Happens in India too. The waning of the Congress as a national force has led to increased influence of local parties which each get a few seats in parliament and form opportunistic alliances with the largest parties to advance their agenda, but these coalitions are always fraught with tension and prone to dissolution over real or perceived slights. (Although the hate of the BJP has been a solidifying force in the current coalition. Even a “progressive” like I will not deny that achievement of the BJP).
People at the news office out here in Lahore are still reeling from Obama’s anti-Pakistan comments. My family in Boston though are all die hard Obama supporters. Also, I know a few kids in Pakistan who have read Malcolm X’s autobiography, and have been invigorated by the plights of Blacks in America. They’re diehard Obama supporters. The youth will love him, if he wins.
I, too, like the STV, jackal 🙂 Wasn’t there a ballot initiative to introduce this in local elections in one of the northern states? (by northern I mean anywhere from Oregon to Minnesota. Ha. California has bankrupted my sense of geography into “up” and “over there to the right”).
Dude, I seriously think there will be a HUGE hullaballoo if MI and FL are allowed their delegates back. I think it’ll be interesting to see how (and if) the super delegates split. Conventional wisdom says the elite will lean Clinton, but among endorsements it seems split. Also, I feel like this huge focus on superdelegates (and how it’s relatively undemocratic) puts pressure on those delegates to vote in a way that aligns proportionately with the popular vote, depending on where you’re from.
I think both the Obama and Clinton campaigns have been well aware that this contest will probably be decided by superdelegates, Edwards delegates, and no one else.
Well a few things which will/should be important. If it does come down to the super delegates and if they do not decide to vote with the candidate having the larger number of pledged delegates, then thanks to the Clinton roots in the party, there is a good chance that she will win. However, if Obama does increase his lead in terms of pledged delegates, his campaign should make a lot of noise that the people have spoken and thus the super delegates should go with that. However, barring caucus numbers which are not yet public, Hillary has a slight lead in terms of actual votes (true democracy anyone??).
As to who is more electable, anyone’s guess but I’ll like to go with Obama. Clinton has always been a polarizing figure and the GOP would be able to fight her better. She and McCain have some policies which are quite close too (much to the irk of the conservatives but that’s a whole different thing). You can debate policy but how do you debate someone who is enthusing people so much using his charisma. Obama does have to step up the populist rhetoric in the next few days, simply because he is not doing well in low income groups where Clinton is doing well. Also, another point to note is apart from her home state’ of Arkansas, Clinton’s totals were 57% in New York, 56% in Mass, and slightly downward from there in other states – the only crown being MA despite Ted K. Obama had much higher margins in otehr states and also, a lot of them were swing states and thus will be important from a democratic elect ability point of view. Of course Ohio has yet to vote and we would not clearly know about Florida.
7 Ã‚Â· Saheli said
Edwards only has about 25 delegates. Half were won in Iowa. Iowa has the Caucus system, so those delegates will decide for themselves if they want to move over to Hillary or Obama for the convention. So Edwards only has about 12 delegates out of 4,000+.
Edwards has almost no chance of picking up more delegates. He may pick up a few die-hard/protest votes & crack 5%. But he would have to meet the 15% viability threshold to win delegates.
Besides, there’s no guarantee that those votes would go to Obama. Conventional wisdom is that Edwards prefers Obama because they teamed up against Hillary. That alliance seemed to be more about political expediency than principle or antipathy.
The delegate thing is not as clean as one man one vote. Here’s a snapshot of Nevada Dem
clinton : 5355 => 12 Obama : 4773 => 13
How is it that Obama gets more delegates from less votes??
On another topic, Terry McAulief said that they were open for a Hillary-Obama ticket, I havent heard any such comment from the Obama campaign about a potential Obama-Hillary ticket. Is that because Obama-Hillary is a non-starter for the Hillary campaign???
I think the Super Delegates might change their vote, if they are convinced that Obama is much more electable than Clinton.
Personally, I think Clinton/Obama ticket is the bet that the Democrats have of having one of theirs in the White house for the next 12-16 years. I am pretty sure that if Clinton and Obama can stop sniping at each other, and learn how to play nice, the Super Delegates are going to back Clinton.
RC in 25 –
Salon has a good article on this today.
This has nothing to do with this article but I thought I’d mention that I refreshed my browser and the banner totally said “Sepia Mackdaddy.”
I’m new here. Is that an old joke?
I went to a local Obama meet up and was really put off by the Obamanuts. Even his otherwise intelligent supporters now believe that silly platitudes instead of concrete policy positions is what you need to run the government. ‘Yes we can’, ‘Fired up, Ready to go’ ‘Elvis is back’ are more suited for a a Christian revival meeting than a political campaign.
29 Â· Pagal_Aadmi_for_debauchery said
I think this fundamentally misunderstands both his campaign and politics in general, in my opinion. I addressed the policy vs. rhetoric argument — a false choice, IMO — here.
29 Â· Pagal_Aadmi_for_debauchery said
That is probably true for most meet ups and political rallies . You probably won’t find too many intellectual and esoteric cheers at those things and it is the same whether it is a meet up for Democrats, Independents, etc. I went to a couple of political rallies many years ago and they reminded me of high school pep rallies and one had a rock concert atmosphere.
Or it could come down to Puerto Rico. It’s June 7 (the last one), a caucus and it’s winner-take-all. Imagine that!
Hillary 1033, Obama 937. It is too early to worry about these numbers right.
The only score that people need to worry about right now is…..GIANTS 17 PATRIOTS 14!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
How sad. You went to ONE campaign rally and were surprised that it seemed too upbeat? Have you ever gone to a campaign rally before? Clearly this is your first foray into the world of politics. The fact of the matter is, the mere presence of people like you at an Obama rally means that he has spoken to you in some way. It’s been a long time since we’ve had ANY politician elicit such results. Obama has a better chance to be elected vs. McCain. Independents will NOT vote for Hillary, but as you can see from Tuesday’s results, there is more than a reasonable chance that they WILL vote for Obama. Hillary’s and Obama’s policy differences are so small, so why not vote for the person who speaks to you and who has a better chance at actually assuming office?
How sad. You went to ONE campaign rally and were surprised that it seemed too upbeat? Have you ever gone to a campaign rally before?
It was not a campaign rally. It was a meetup which is completely different from a campaign rally.
The fact of the matter is, the mere presence of people like you at an Obama rally means that he has spoken to you in some way.
Not really. I am also going to McCain’s meetup next month. Its a way to meet women and I love politics and its a nice place to meet political junkies and possibly single women who live in your area.
It’s been a long time since we’ve had ANY politician elicit such results.
That’s genius. Respect.
29 Â· Pagal_Aadmi_for_debauchery said
Thank God not everyone is part of the Obama Lovefest. This charlatan is a tax-and-spend liberal spouting generalities to disguise his true agenda. I for one do not want be a part of Obama’s “higher purpose”. I already got meaning in my life and don’t need a politician to fulfill me.
Obama and KRudd are two classic examples of pollies who dont promise much but can generate enough excitement amongst young people to catapult them to victory. The question is ‘Can Obama pull off a Rudd’. Rudd beat the most consummate pollie in Australia ever on nothing more than a slogan. Obama will need to defeat the Clintons – a foe more formidable. McCain will be a breeze after the Clintons. Can Obama win with just the YBP vote ( youth black and professionals) vote. Most young people tend to be leftist whilst can any black person vote against Obama not feel really guilty. I have often believed that general voter apathy allows the extremists to win (except in compulsory elections).
And so are Hillary and McCain!
Am I the only one who thinks that folks are paying waaay too much importance to this election? I’ve been through four US elections, and never have I seen so much buzz during the primaries. Only after the second Presidential debate did the public wake up in an election year. Americans would generally go about their business even in an election year, because they knew that politicians would only end up taking care of themselves and in general make matters worse. They knew that politicians could not make their life better in any way.
Are we witnessing the formation of a bubble in public interest in American politics? Would the election of promise-all-deliver-nothing President (like the promise-all-deliver-nothing Speaker Pelosi) finally burst the bubble?
“This charlatan is a tax-and-spend liberal spouting generalities to disguise his true agenda.”
So you’d want an adminstration, similar to the one we have now, that is running the country down like a madman? Republicans have no business blaming the liberals about spending while they are funding a war that costs 20 billion a month, which shouldn’t have been waged in the first place. What is his true agenda by the way? I think he will be a president to remember, much like Kennedy, for years to come. There is no harm in a little bit of gassy talk – after all it dragged record number of people to vote in the primaries this time around.
I’m curious why you think he’s a charlatan. Overly idealistic, unrealistic, sure there’s an argument possibly there. But seeing as some of his defining experiences come in community organizing, and how he’s gotten 5-10% of people who’ve voted for him to volunteer or donate, he does have a genuine belief in a ground-up approach to government. As Reihan Salam put it, “he believes that democracy requires an active and engaged citizenry, and that government can create frameworks to help individuals and neighborhoods flourish.” (http://theamericanscene.com/2008/01/25/deranged-clinton-syndrome). He’s not selling something he doesn’t believe in, or have experience in. At the very least, he’s genuine and has a view that’s more in line to an old-fashioned reading of how the framers theoretically saw demoracy — ie: active and engaged citizenry.
A liberal, he is; I’ve always been bemused by how that’s somehow been turned into a dirty word in America. The liberalism of Rawls can certainly hold it’s own intellectually and merits no special denigration. Besides, with a defense budget (largely focused on conventional military needs in decidedly unconventional wars — pork anyone?) topping 700 billion, I am curious to see if a tax-and-spend liberal might actually improve on these low-tax-and-spend “conservatives” in fiscal matters.
Is a “tax-and-spend” liberal better than a debt-loving conservative? Let’s not pretend that we’re not paying for grossly unbalanced budgets and an expensive war just because it’s not reflected in your (current) annual tax bracket.
Nope. I think there’s a reason for all this energy, and a lot of it centers around having (relatively) exciting candidates in a time of relative uncertainty. Isn’t this kind of excitement typical during the waning periods of wars and/or during economic uncertainty? Wasn’t this the kind of energy we saw during Kennedy and Reagan’s elections?
I think one of the factors is the large Super Tuesday. Since, the primary is being held in so many states together for the first time. Before this election, the nominations would have been decided long before most people get to vote in the primaries. By the time their vote really counts (I mean the general election), their choices a very limited. This time people can make a difference, and I guess they are excited because they get to participate in a democracy
Ha! If people really cared about these things, you would have seen Ron Paul leading right now. Unfortunately, the dude spoke too freely about his radical ideas and thus he never gets more than single digits. I am not so sure about his dissembling the fed and gold standard ideas, though they are worth giving a thought. However, his ideas on foreign policy make a lot of sense, the US does not need to have a presence in every country out there. Unless of course you want to afford driving your hummer for the price of water.
Of who’s left, you take what works best. The republicans are such a joke anyways, they talk about small Govt. and look where we are after the last 8 years of a republican president and so many years of them being the majority. They are more BS than the dems. And does anyone really think McCain’s ideas on the war and foreign policy are going to help reduce spending? And Huckabee is not exactly Mr Less Spending either. Plus their ideas on social conservatism – freedom anyone? I’d rather see Obama waste money on some poor bloke at home than on being unsuccessfully high and mighty abroad.
Thought you were married? You dog*. But you’re right in theory. There always seem to be a lot of pretty women standing around during these political things.
you know, based on their names, hasan, mujahid and mohib all sound like they’re muslim. not that there’s anything wrong with that (here’s to hoping this important disclaimer catches on here & in the media). any thoughts on how this turned out? from my reckoning, with muslims comprising no more than 20% of US desis, so that’s fairly disproportionate. what kind of criteria figures into their selection?
Thought you were married? You dog*. But you’re right in theory. There always seem to be a lot of pretty women standing around during these political things.
I was but I am not married anymore. I got divorced last year.
Hmm… kind of like a political version of “The Wedding Crashers”. Actually didn’t McCain have a cameo in that film ?
McCain’s meetup may not have the age group you would want though 🙂
41 Â· jackal said
The framers wanted a government that mostly left people alone. A minimal amount of activism and engagement by the citizenry is necessary for the government to function – but too much is coercion.
I am already “engaged”. I stand in line for hours at the DMV, spend hundreds of hours working to pay taxes and then spend hours filing and organizing my tax papers, follow the various regulations, etc. I don’t want anymore of this “engagement”. All this saccharine talk of engagement, activism and serving “a higher purpose” is a roundabout way of saying “I want to force you to participate in my agenda”.