Back to previous post: Little Brother

Go to Making Light's front page.

Forward to next post: Live in San Francisco, it’s TNH!

Subscribe (via RSS) to this post's comment thread. (What does this mean? Here's a quick introduction.)

April 22, 2008

NBC News calls Penn for Hillary
Posted by Jim Macdonald at 08:53 PM *

The game is going into extra innings….

Comments on NBC News calls Penn for Hillary:
#1 ::: Spherical Time ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2008, 09:14 PM:

I love how they're so vague on how many votes they've actually counted.

Clinton wins Pennsylvania primary, the AP headline reads. But with how much of the vote in?

Besides, 6 percent really isn't a win for someone that had a 20% lead a few months ago, and has been attacking her opponent for calling blue collar workers "bitter."

That's a draw.

Yet I'm sure this will allow Clinton to continue campaigning for the next two months.

#2 ::: Spherical Time ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2008, 09:17 PM:

Ah. Now the article is twice as long. 9% of the vote has apparently been counted, as of this posting.

#3 ::: Stephen Frug ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2008, 09:30 PM:

Of course Penn is for Hillary; he's still on her payroll, used to run her campaign...

Oh, wait, that's not what you meant?

#4 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2008, 09:37 PM:

If these two go at it much longer, there won't be anything left to fight the Republicans with. At what point does the self-inflicted damage become no longer worth the cost? And McCain has barely lifted a finger yet.

8 years of an idiot from Texas and the Democrats are doing everything in their power to put a war mongering right winger into office.

Can someone please call it already, choose the candidate, and get back on track? If I see another fcking fear-based ad come from Hillary, I think I'll just fcking scream. Not that I haven't been screaming already.



#5 ::: John Chu ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2008, 09:40 PM:

I thought the expectation has always been that Hillary Clinton would win Pennsylvania? (BTW, is calling an election based on relatively few votes so unusual as to be worthy of mention? Really?)

In any case, I note that the tradition of characterizing Hillary Clinton wins as really draws stretches back to NH. Also, no one calls it a tie when Hillary Clinton says something which gives votes away to Obama. I mean, it's not like she never says anything damaging to her campaign.

Let her have her win.

It's been clear for months now that neither candidate will amass enough regular delegates to win the nomination outright. I believe this is true regardless of what happens with the FL and MI delegates. At this point, they're campaigning to curry the favor of super-delegates.

On one hand, that Democrats have two well qualified candidates is a good thing. On the other hand, that the Republicans already have a presumptive nominee and the Democrats don't puts the Democrats behind in campaigning for the presidency. Even scarier, one of the polls I heard on NPR had something like 20% of the Democrats polled planning on voting for McCain if the Democratic candidate they support does not get nominated.

The mind boggles at why anyone who supported one Democratic candidate would support McCain over the other Democratic candidate. In terms of positions, Clinton and Obama are much closer to each other than either is to McCain.

But, yeah, the Democrats have at least another month of primary campaign to go. Oh joy...

#6 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2008, 09:55 PM:

I must be missing something, but the recurrent (because it come up every four years) theme that campaigning Dems = bonus to Repubs confuses me.

Yes, they are being a little nasty, but who was complaining that the Bush campaign smears were handing fuel to the Democrats in 2000?

What I see, by and large, is a chance for the Dems to keep issues in front of the public, because they aren't having to fight McCain's attacks on them (which aren't going to be to policy, IMO, because if his pollsters are worth their salt, he knows he can't run on the issues, as the public hates the issues he's running on).

So the Swift-boating has to wait.

I don't believe the, "I won't vote for the other candidate running for my parties nomination, because I would rather vote for the greater of two evils," nonsense. Right now, those people are in the heat of the campaign, they aren't looking past it. They are saying, to themselves, "My guy is THE GUY, and the other one is a fake."

Give them a view of what McSame is actually planning to do, and they won't vote for him; unless they were already, secretly, planning to do it anyway.

#7 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2008, 09:56 PM:

It's like Barack Obama saw his shadow and we're going to have six more weeks of campaigning.

#8 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2008, 09:59 PM:

Greg London #4: 8 years of an idiot from TexasConnecticut and the Democrats are doing everything in their power to put a war mongering right winger into office.

FTFY. heh.

#9 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2008, 10:10 PM:

Terry@6: I don't believe the, "I won't vote for the other candidate running for my parties nomination, because I would rather vote for the greater of two evils," nonsense.

I believe it. I've had many people tell me they will vote for Obama if he wins the nomination, but if Hillary is nominated, then...

at which point they wince and seem to be undergoing great pains, struggling to figure out who they should vote for. Some have said they'll vote McCain.

I have not yet run into anyone who said they'll vote Hillary if she wins the nomination, but said they'd vote for McCain if Obama wins.

At this point, I don't care who the better candidate is between Hillary and Obama. I care who has the better chance of beating McCain. And my completely unscientific personal observations over the last couple months say Obama.

Cripes, I know people who've said they're looking forward to voting for Obama, people who had voted Bush the last two elections.

It's not that they are going to throw a tantrum and vote McCain if Hillary gets the nomination. It's that they think Obama is better than McCain and McCain is better than Hillary.

And whether or not their opinion makes sense is irrelevant if no one can changes these people's opinions about it in any significant way by election day.



#10 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2008, 10:16 PM:

Speaking of McSame, is there a way to report McCain's voting record for the last N years in terms of something like:

For 80% of the legislative votes, McCain voted the same as 80% of Republican senators.

Or something like that? I've gotten tired of the "maverick" bllsht, and it would be nice if there was a simple statistic that would show how much of a party follower he really is.

Something short and sweet but clearly showing that "maverick" is complete crap.

#11 ::: John Mark Ockerbloom ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2008, 10:16 PM:

CNN's website (which has some great data and displays, btw) has been showing an 8-10% spread (54-46 or 55-45) between Clinton and Obama, with a little over half of the vote counted. Which doesn't seem to be a clear triumph for either side, given that Clinton has been favored to win PA pretty consistently.

I'm not sure the margins will shift much. A good bit of Philly is in (where Obama's the strongest, 62-38 with 84% of the vote in) but very little of the Philly suburbs (nothing at all from Chester Coounty, and Montgomery County, with only 13% in, has a 54-46 Clinton margin, comparable to the state as a whole.)

Between the time I started this post and finished it, CNN's gone from 54-46 to 55-45, or a 10-point margin. Argh..

#12 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2008, 10:39 PM:

Greg: The problem isn't that McCain is a slavish follower of the party (he is), but that the pitch for a number of things has been that he went one way, and the party the other; or that he insisted, and that swayed the party (e.g. the kabuki of his, "anti-torture" amendment).

His stands (such as they were) on campaign finance, are presented as bucking the system.

Until, and unless, we can get the media to point this out, his maverick outsider status is secure, just as was Bush's "good ol' Texas boy, who made good in business" was.

#13 ::: A.J. ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2008, 10:40 PM:

Is anyone else suffering from cognitive dissonance where the Democratic primary is concerned? It's very confusing. The race is essentially over: Clinton isn't going to gain enough delegates to overturn Obama's lead, and the superdelegates are not going to overturn that lead. If this were a baseball game, we'd all be heading for our cars right now.

And yet, in the media at least, the race goes on. I used to be very excited about the primary. Now I'm just tuning it out, waiting for the supers to declare it over.

#14 ::: Michael Weholt ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2008, 10:42 PM:

I'd like to believe the argument that these extra innings will be good for the process, etc., etc., but I don't. If we were Republicans that might be true. But we are Democrats. We are self-centered. We believe that it is better to have our emotional needs satisfied than to have a Democrat we didn't support win...

Okay, I'm sorry. I take that back. Sort of.

I was over at AmericaBlog where there has been a lot of gloating about a web site, filed under "humor", called something like NiceTryGiveItUp.com where Obama supporters write little smart-assed notes to Senator Clinton, telling her to get lost.

I don't give a damn about Clinton anymore. I care about her supporters. We need them in the Fall. But I guess it's more important to taunt Senator Clinton than it is to get her supporters right with the idea of supporting Obama.

Because Obama is going to be the nominee, of course. It's over. There is no way the Superdelegates are going to destroy the party.

I was in Union Square over the weekend. A guy walks by with a T-Shirt that had a picture of Clinton and a picture of Obama on it. Above their pics, there was the text "Bro's Before Ho's".

I should have said something to him... one Obama supporter to another... but to my shame I just walked on.

#15 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2008, 10:50 PM:

I was a Hillary supporter at the beginning. I voted for her in NJ's primary.

Now I just wish she'd SHUT THE FUCK UP and go home.

#16 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2008, 11:08 PM:

Terry@12: the pitch for a number of things has been that he went one way, and the party the other; or that he insisted, and that swayed the party

Still, it's pretty hard to claim the title of a "maverick" if most of your votes follow most of the party members. I'm not looking to sway the devoted republicans, I'm looking for something that might sway the opinion of someone who might otherwise beleive the "maverick" shtick being repeated by the media over and over.

#17 ::: Tazistan Jen ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2008, 11:17 PM:

I've decided that Dems worst problem isn't the circular firing squad; its the fear and gloom. I understand it - there's a lot to be gloomy about. But if we just step back a tiny bit and look at things objectively, I really think it is unwarranted.

(1) this primary is bring out humongous crowds of Dems excited to vote for their candidate. We had a caucus here in CO, and instead of a list of 10 people in my precinct who could be bothered to go, we had nearly 80. People are really, really excited to vote for Dems this year. Repubs; not so much.

(2) Bush now has the highest disapproval rating in the history of modern polling. Everybody hates him and his stupid war. However much McCain may try to pretend to be a maverick, he wants to stay in Iraq for 100 years.

(3) McCain is about a hundred years old and in poor health. He is appealing to people who don't know much about him, but the more people know him the less they like him. Nobody has been bothering to attack him much at all, while the two Dems have been going after each other. He's as popular as he'll ever be.

(4) Anyone who thinks that this primary is especially nasty or is running espacially late in the year hasn't been paying attention for very long. Plenty of primaries have been decided at the convention. The losers complain and groan and then nearly all of them get behind the winner.

(5) Doesn't anyone remember Deaniacs? They were furious and angry and depressed - and nearly all of them got over it and voted for Kerry.

I *am* tired of the primaries, but that is because I have been paying attention for way too long. Normal Dems start paying attention a few week before the candidates show up in their states. They are excited to be part of the excitement and have their vote count for once. Political junkies should quit projecting our reality onto normal people.

#18 ::: will shetterly ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2008, 11:18 PM:

AJ @ 13, never underestimate the ability of a party to self-destruct. The superdelegates were created because the Democrats were afraid of democracy; they may very well fulfill their mission this year.

realclearpolitics analysis of the polls says Obama can narrowly beat McCain, and McCain can narrowly beat Clinton. It also says here that Obama has a significant lead in the popular vote, but if that mattered to the Dems, they would've sought to end the Electoral College decades ago.

I think you're right to bet on Obama, mind you. But I see no reason to be confident.

#19 ::: John Mark Ockerbloom ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2008, 11:21 PM:

At this writing, CNN has 88% of the vote in, with Clinton's margin now at 10 points (55-45). We're starting to get more results from the Philly suburbs; Chester Co. is finally starting to sent in numbers (they favor Obama, but it's still early); Montgomery and Delaware are about 50-50 so far (Montgomery Co. is currently running 51-49 Clinton; Delaware Co. 51-49 Obama.) Other counties are still sending in results, of course (Clinton's margin has actually increased slightly over the last hour or two.)

CNN has called 77 (out of 158) pledged delegates that will be allocated in this primary. Based on what's been called so far, Obama's 160-odd lead in pledged delegates has been cut so far by a whopping 3 delegates. Yes, I know, there will be more allocated as all the results are reported and finalized, but there's not going to be much change in the net pledged-delegate advantage.

And there aren't that many more rounds to play. But I've stayed up long enough, I think, to see how this round will turn out. Off to bed...



#20 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2008, 11:36 PM:

Once upon a time I thought Mr. McCain was an honorable man. Then he voted to approve of torture. As far as I'm concerned he can burn in hell forever, I am certain he is going to because he WAS tortured and once said he was against it. I propose the demons waterboard him eternally, as in Dante's Inferno.

I'm not sure what I'm going to do if Hilary wins the nomination to be the Democrat side because as far as I can tell, she's not a change, she's part of the status quo.

I hope beyond hope that Mr. Obama wins. But I'm preparing to be disappointed.

#21 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2008, 12:10 AM:

Tazistan Jen @ 17: "Nobody has been bothering to attack him much at all, while the two Dems have been going after each other. He's as popular as he'll ever be."

Which is what makes it so frustrating that the Democrats are wasting their time beating up each other instead of going after McCain. I heard that there was this great plan to get out an early oppo ad against McCain to tie him to Bush nice and tight--frame the contest early on, so to speak. It fizzled, because none of the usual Democratic fund-raisers were too busy focusing on the primary contest, and weren't willing to put forth the dough to fight McCain unless their favored candidate was going to be the nominee. ARGH.

I think Obama and Hillary should both pretend like the other has already dropped out of the race, and attack McCain. It would be a show of confidence, for one thing, but it would also be good tactics--McCain's a soft target. They'd finally be able to attack entirely from the left, which would attract a lot more Democrats than their weird left/right mish-mashes. Going after a fellow Democrat is both hard and vaguely icky. Attacking Republicans would win a lot more votes.

#22 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2008, 12:12 AM:

Greg: I forgot the most important part of the myth: The votes he differed on, were the ones that really mattered.

Those other votes were unimportant because those were the times the party was right.

So he gets to claim to be the conscience of the "reasonable middle".

It's campaigning, and it's republican campaigning, so most of it is all smoke and mirrors, esp. when the big issues are ones they are in direct opposition to the majority of the people.

#23 ::: Scott D-S ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2008, 12:13 AM:

Extra innings, indeed. As several folks have pointed out, this probably just delays the inevitable. While Hillary will never admit it, she can't win without a MAJOR miracle - the numbers just aren't there.

But I really fear that the extended campaign - where Hillary continues to use just about any tactic she can to discredit Obama, and where Obama himself obligingly shoots himself in the foot periodically - is going to cost us the White House yet again. I hope beyond hope that I am incorrect, because I sure don't want 4 or 8 more years of the Shrub's politics with a bit of a twist. But I am beginning to get very nervous about this.

#24 ::: Jim Satterfield ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2008, 12:15 AM:

I'd still vote for Hillary over McCain. His ideas on health care, tax cuts, Iraq, the Middle East in general, pretty much anything economic and many other issues make a battle cry of "Four more years!!" seem accurate. She isn't as wedded to staying in Iraq just this side of forever as McCain. She certainly won't try keeping the Bush tax cuts and while I don't think her health plan is that great, it's better than anything any Republican will ever propose.

#25 ::: Jim Satterfield ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2008, 12:21 AM:

BTW, the only county that has a significant number of votes unreported is Chester County, which is currently breaking 55% for Obama with only 56% of the votes reported.

#26 ::: BigHank53 ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2008, 12:22 AM:

Greg @10:

I like to let the opposition do my researching for me.

McCain has a 100% approval rating from the Christian Coalition, and there are some other fruit-bat organizations that love him long time. Dobson's Focus on the Family was the only one whining, and that was while Huckabee was still in the race. Dobson will be endorsing McCain after the first debate between the nominees.

#27 ::: Josh Jasper ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2008, 12:47 AM:

An 8-10 point victory in a place where a good portion of the the rural voters still think Obama is a Muslim? That's a crap victory. If that's as far as she can push it, she can't win.

#28 ::: Jim Satterfield ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2008, 01:06 AM:

Yes, McCain also has a lifetime rating from the American Conservative Union of 80%. As the ACU has bought completely into every single Bush Admin position and other things his annual rating dropped recently to (*gasp*) 65%. McCain-Feingold is a no-no to these people as is anything positive for the environment.

#29 ::: Spherical Time ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2008, 02:31 AM:

John Chu @ 5: BTW, is calling an election based on relatively few votes so unusual as to be worthy of mention? Really?

Unusual? No. Bad enough that it should merit a derisive mention when it happens? Yes.

JMcD @ 7: It's like Barack Obama saw his shadow and we're going to have six more weeks of campaigning.

Odd, that's basically what the Fark headline was, only with Hillary rather than Obama. I agree with the sentiment expressed in both cases.

#30 ::: Giacomo ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2008, 02:50 AM:

This is getting boring. The pledged-delegate numbers are clear (Hillary can't win), the financials are clear (Hillary is bankrupt, while Obama has enough cash to buy a few Pacific islands)... I don't understand why she's not giving up.

#31 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2008, 03:11 AM:

Interesting primary facts:

-2.3 million people voted in the Democratic primary.

-Only about 800,000 voted in the Republican primary.

-Total Democratic turnout in 2004 was 2.8 million. Total Republican turnout was 2.9 million.

-69% of the voters in the Democratic primary were 45 or over, and 59% were female.

-Ron Paul pulled 16% of the Republican vote, giving him roughly 4% of the total voter turnout.

#32 ::: Raphael ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2008, 04:33 AM:

heresiarch @31:

Well, the Reps' nomination is already settled, after all.

Re the points people have made about how Bush's popularity level will sure stop McCain once the Democrats have gotten around to showing people that it's nonsense to call him a maverick, that voting for him is voting for a third Bush term, and that he doesn't share most people's positions on the issues- sure, but what makes you think that the Democrats really put much effort into pointing this stuff out, or that they'll beat the "maverick" image given how much the media seems to be behind it? I haven't lost hope, but I'm a lot more worried about this election than I used to.

#33 ::: Kevin Andrew Murphy ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2008, 05:56 AM:

Good lord, it's a horse race. Hillary won Pennsylvania as was expected, and the conventional wisdom is that she'll take the states around it too and narrow the gap. The question is whether it will be by enough.

I watched Colbert last Thursday where Hillary, Obama and Edwards were all there, grinning for the camera and doing their very best to keep themselves--meaning the Democratic party--firmly in the camera eye. Edwards hasn't backed either, not because he doesn't have a preferred candidate, but because what he's preferring the most is obviously to keep himself relevant and more than that push whichever of the two win, and the other one will be doing the same.

For all the fuss and bother about the Democrats destroying themselves, I'm really not seeing it. I think they're digging the skeletons out of the closet early so that when McCain tries it, he'll look like a clueless old goat trying to chew yesterday's news.

Obama is likely still frontrunner, but Hillary has herself poised to pick up the baton if he stumbles, and he certainly might. The Republicans have no such safety net, and for them, it's McCain or nothing.

#34 ::: John L ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2008, 07:15 AM:

There aren't enough delegates left in upcoming primaries to nominate either Obama or Clinton; either candidate could win every single remaining primary and they still wouldn't have enough to be the outright Democratic nominate.

Clinton knows this; Obama knows this. The only reason I can see why she continues to run is so that she can be a power broker in the convention and get some of her policies added to the platform, in exchange for her bowing out --at that time-- so there's no further bloodletting.

If she does feel that she can somehow sway enough superdelegates over to her side, she's blind to reality and how that would play right into McCain's hands. I hope she has figured that one out already.

#35 ::: John Chu ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2008, 08:05 AM:

#9: It's not scientific, but I do know one person who says she want Clinton for president, but will vote for McCain over Obama.

BTW, according to electoral-vote.com's projection as of today, Clinton would garner 289 electoral votes vs. McCain's 239 with 10 too close to call. Obama would garner 269 to McCain's 254 with 15 too close to call. National popular sentiment has little to do with winning the Presidency. State by state popular sentiment has everything to do with it. Most of the time, though, that correlates with the national, so we get lazy.

#13: I'm with Will Shetterly on this one. If enough of them buy Clinton's message that she has a better chance of winning the battleground big states than Obama, she could potentially end up the nominee. I don't necessarily think it'll cause the party to self-destruct, but I wouldn't be surprised either. I hope the Democrat party unites, regardless of who becomes the nominee.

BTW, it's not just the super-delegates which make the system less reflective of popular will. According to NPR, they apportion the regular delegates by congressional district weighted by the number of people who voted in the previous primary. (i.e., if you had a comparatively heavy turn out last time, you get more delegates this time.) Why, oh, why did they come up with such a complicated system?

As a side note, if we determined the Democratic nomination the same way we determine the presidency, Clinton would be leading 235 to 203, not counting FL and MI. (Counting FL and MI, she would have 279, more than the majority.) I suppose this lends some credence to her "big states" strategy, but it was stupid to use it for the Democratic primaries. The Democrats' byzantine delegate allocation system doesn't reward this. I suppose the correct strategy is to concentrate on the congressional districts which voted in the heaviest numbers the last time.

Of course, if we did something sane like use the popular vote in a national primary, the process would be over already. Whether our candidate would have been Clinton or Obama would depend on when primary day was. i.e., if they held it early, it would be Clinton. If they held it late, it would be Obama.

#36 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2008, 08:22 AM:

Like a lot of people, I'm really, really tired, not just of the endless primary election but of endless blog rehashes of the primary election. No offense meant to anyone above, of course.

The best, most sensible thing I've seen this morning about last night's results is this post from the blogger "dday" over on Digby's Hullaballoo.

#37 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2008, 09:28 AM:

#20 ::: Paula Helm Murray :

I don't think Clinton will be the status quo, exactly. Even if she pretty much likes Bush's policies, I assume she'll throw out Bush's deeply incompetent cronies, and even if her people are corrupt (are they?), she doesn't seem to be committed to not paying attention to what she's doing.

I feel as though recent history for the US has been running by the rules of art rather than normal reality. I'd been assuming that the run of unnatural weirdness started with the Lewinsky scandal, but the reasonably peaceful collapse of the Soviet Union was pretty odd too.

There's a theory that people woefully underestimate the likelihood of improbable events, but do they usually clump like this?

Back to the more-or-less real world: Aside from anything else, the Clinton vs. Obama fight is sucking up huge amounts of money and people points.

#38 ::: Ursula L ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2008, 09:44 AM:

Further primary elections will give super delegates more useful information. Many of them are Democrats who represent specific regions - Democratic congresscritters and governors. Knowing how their state or district voted in the primary will let them know how best to vote to represent the people they are supposed to be representing, particularly if their state or district went strongly in favor of one candidate or another.

I'm loving the lengthy primary, as a matter of principle. Everyone's vote should be counted, not just those whose state went first in the primaries. Not counting the votes in favor of a fast result is what Shrub stood up for in Florida in 2000 - "every vote counts" as the basis of the nomination is a wonderful contrast for the Democrats.

Plus, I think it’s a net bonus simply because the lengthy primary has caused many people who weren't having a party affiliation to register as Democrats, particularly in states with closed primaries. People who think of themselves as belonging to one party or the other will tend to default to what they consider themselves to belong to, and vote differently only if they have a particular reason to do so. Not necessarily a strong force in favor of the Democrats, but a subtle one, and one that could have long-term benefits.

#39 ::: John Mark Ockerbloom ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2008, 10:01 AM:

"I don't think Clinton will be the status quo, exactly. Even if she pretty much likes Bush's policies, I assume she'll throw out Bush's deeply incompetent cronies, and even if her people are corrupt (are they?), she doesn't seem to be committed to not paying attention to what she's doing."

If that in fact were to come to pass under Clinton (and I'm not at all reassured it won't) then the increasing dictatorship-of-the-executive political philosophy will have officially captured *both* major parties. True, the Dems in Congress have done much less than I'd hoped in resisting it under Bush, but a good number of them *are* resisting it to some extent. If their party takes the White House and retains the established governing policy (even if they change some of the governing agenda) I fear it will become way too hard to reverse the erosion of democratic republicanism (lowercase intentional for both words) in the US.

That's one reason I'm not at this point ruling out voting for McCain if Clinton wins the nom., particularly if she wins dirty. We have to maintain a strong push for executive accountability in the government, and if that takes a government split between R control in the White House and D control in Congress, that may be our least worst option.

#40 ::: John L ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2008, 10:10 AM:

I saw prior to the PA primary, several Clinton supporters saying if Obama wins the nomination, they will vote for McCain. With the way this campaign is running, will either Democratic candidate alienate so many of their opponents' supporters that McCain ends up winning by default?

#41 ::: Alex Cohen ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2008, 10:13 AM:

As a side note, if we determined the Democratic nomination the same way we determine the presidency, Clinton would be leading 235 to 203

If we determined it by counting states won (the same way we determine the Senate), Obama would be leading. If we determined it by the number of times they appeared on morning talk shows, Clinton would be leading.

These sorts of arguments are at best irrelevant and at worst disingenuous. There is a set of rules in place (including discounting FL and MI). Coming up with a new set of rules post facto under which candidate X would have won is easy, but pointless. If those were the rules, then the players would have played differently.

It's like playing a game of Scrabble, getting beat by 100 points, and then saying "But if we figured out who won by who played the most tiles, I would have won!" That wasn't the game you played.

One of the worst aspects of the Bush administration has been its belief that it gets to write its own rules. That's not the way it ought to work, and candidates for office who might have the same flexibility when it comes to rules should be met with skepticism.

#42 ::: mac ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2008, 10:22 AM:

@9

"I have not yet run into anyone who said they'll vote Hillary if she wins the nomination, but said they'd vote for McCain if Obama wins."

I most assuredly have.

#43 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2008, 10:49 AM:

Greg, try this one:

McCain was tortured while a POW, and freely admits that he told them whatever they wanted to hear to get them to stop. He says he's against torture - but he voted to allow it. He hasn't offered any explanation for this, and no one seems to have asked him for one. He also needs to be asked why, given that he told his torturers whatever they wanted to hear, ours should expect to get any real information.

Also, he was a member of the 'Keating Five', in the savings and loan scandals of the seventies and eighties. He was the one who talked his way out of the consequences.

#44 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2008, 10:55 AM:

One interesting effect of the continuing primary is that the press has had less time to fawn over McCain, while Democratic issues are kept in the foreground.

Personally, I'll vote for anyone with a D after their name. I'm sufficiently disgusted, in fact, that I won't vote for anyone with an R after their name for any office.

My biggest fear this election cycle is the possibility of a McCain/Lieberman ticket. The media would orgasm. McCain would probably win in a groundswell of fake unity. We'd all go to hell in a handbasket shortly afterwards.

#45 ::: John Stanning ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2008, 11:24 AM:

Of course core Democrats will vote for anyone with a D after their name. The people we need to catch are the non-core floaters who might vote either D or R - it's they who could vote R, or not vote at all, if the right D isn't on the ticket. Both sides should be targeting those voters.

#46 ::: Paul Lalonde ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2008, 11:28 AM:

Can someone explain to me how one Democrat's ability to draw primary votes from another Democrat reflects either candidate's ability to draw in Republican and undecided voters in a general election?

#47 ::: Adrian Smith ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2008, 11:42 AM:

Larry Brennan @44: My biggest fear this election cycle is the possibility of a McCain/Lieberman ticket.

Particularly with the state of McCain's health.

#48 ::: Stephanie ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2008, 11:43 AM:

John Chu @35:

According to NPR, they apportion the regular delegates by congressional district weighted by the number of people who voted in the previous primary. (i.e., if you had a comparatively heavy turn out last time, you get more delegates this time.) Why, oh, why did they come up with such a complicated system?

I didn't learn until my county convention that we'd been apportioned according to the number of votes per precinct for the previous candidate for governor.

Now, our current Republican governor in Texas is no prize -- we call him Governor Good Hair. Still, his last opponent was such a nonentity that no one remembered his name until we discussed the process, and then we all looked blankly at one another and said, "Chris Bell? Did anyone vote for Chris Bell? I voted straight ticket, and I'm not sure I voted for Chris Bell."

Sadly, everything else about the convention made even less sense. Don't ask me how we appointed alternates during the state delegate selection process, because I still don't know.

Greg @9

I have not yet run into anyone who said they'll vote Hillary if she wins the nomination, but said they'd vote for McCain if Obama wins.

I have... at the Democratic county convention. We attempted to knock some sense into them.

#49 ::: Michael Weholt ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2008, 11:49 AM:

One silly thing I heard on the radio this a.m... silly in the sense that I don't think it amounts to much but others might...

I believe the guy said Clinton's vote in PA was 54.7% (which is rounded by the media to 55%) and Obama's was 45.3% (rounded by the media to 45%) which gives Clinton her "double-digit win".

But the difference is 9.4% which ought to be rounded to 9% which is not a double-digit win.

All of this, of course, means an astounding feat of Obama beating the expectations and will undoubtedly lead to a massive wave of Superdelegates crashing onto the Obama beach and lifting his boat as though they were a tsunami.

Next week: Angel. Pins. How many.

#50 ::: Sarah ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2008, 11:52 AM:

John L. @ 40:

I can speak to one Dem alienating the other's supporters, I think.

I was a delegate for Clinton in the WA district caucus - that's the second of four before we send people off to Denver, and it means I was elected delegate by my neighbors at the previous caucus. This is only my second time participating in a caucus, rather than a primary, so forgive me if I'm stating the blindingly obvious; I still find it confusing.

Prior to the caucus, an Obama supporter who found out I was a Clinton delegate told me that I "could still switch sides and vote for Obama." Never mind that in doing so I would violate the trust of the people who chose me to represent their interests, to say nothing of the weeks I spent agonizing over my own decision. It felt like listening to those people who come door-to-door to convert you; what I thought of felt didn't matter, because he had seen the light. And this from a friend, even.

At the district caucus, one Obama delegate sitting near me said over and over again to Clinton delegates looking for a seat, "The Clinton people are on that side of the white line; this is for the real people." The fake chuckle after he finished his speech somehow failed to make it funny, but perhaps I'm just one of those angry feminists, or maybe fake people have lousy senses of humor.

Later, while we were debating the party platform, I asked a group of men with Obama stickers who were chatting loudly to take their conversation outside, because it was difficult to hear. Their eyes rested on my Clinton sticker rather significantly before one of them told me that "no one can hear back here [because you're yakking, moron!]; you should move up front." You know what? I've heard that same tone of voice an awful lot in my life, mostly telling me that women don't belong in X. It's funny how they always look at my chest before they say it.

And yeah, I know I can't blame Sen. Obama for some of his supporters. I know they aren't all like that. I know some of the Clinton supporters are jerks, too. And when it comes down to it, I'll vote for whichever Dem. is still around.

But I'm really fcking sick of Obama and his damn kool-aid.

#51 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2008, 12:02 PM:

Sarah, I'll vote for whichever one has the 'D' after their name.

I'm tired of Clinton's supporters and campaign people saying 'well, he didn't win [fill in group], therefore she's a better candidate', especially when the group changes from one week to the next. I'm not impressed by her in the way she probably wants me to be impressed, and the way her campaign is being run gives me a bad feeling about her potential as president.

Clinton and Obama are both a lot more conservative than I am, and they weren't even as high as my second-choice candidates.

#52 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2008, 01:05 PM:

One of the things I've really enjoyed about Making Light over the last couple of months is that it's been relatively free of the bitter your-supporters-suck, your-candidate-sucks fights that have infested the comment sections of some of my other favorite blogs. We haven't been perfect, but we've been mostly free of the worst of it.

I would be very happy to see that continue. I think most of us hereabouts who identify as Democrats, even if only loosely, can agree to stipulate that some Obama supporters and some Clinton supporters have behaved abominably, that both candidates have had notable moments of cranial-rectal displacement, that neither of them is the second coming of Franklin D. Roosevelt with laser-powered heat vision and special Barbara Jordan-enhanced bonus moral battery pack, and that a third Bush term under John "War On Everyone, Forever" McCain would be a much bigger disaster than electing other Obama or Clinton.

That said, from here it looks like the primary will be over in a few weeks, that one way or another we are going to have a nominee, and that we actually need to start scaling back the bitterness, resentment, duels-by-anecdote, and general ill will.

I think there's plenty to discuss about how we'd like to see the Democratic party run, what models we think effective at summoning and motivating people to be activists, and (of course) whether the Democratic party can be a force for good, or simply a faction of slightly-less-evil, slightly-more-reality-based corporate apparatchiks devoted to easing us into a marginally less dystopian nightmare future of unlimited money power.

Note: I am on record as an Obama donor and supporter; anyone who wants to take my let's-stop-fighting remarks as a rhetorical tactic aimed at undercutting the Clinton campaign is, I guess, free to think so. I don't think I'm that wily, but that's just me. More than supporting any particular Democratic candidate, I think that it's time for those opposed to the Republican regime to stop trashing one another in ways that can't be easily walked back over what has become in essence a contest of personalities. For quite a while I've been of the viewpoint that says "let the fight play out," and even now I'm not inclined to call for any particular candidate to give up, but I have come round in the last week or two to the view that the bloodletting is beginning to constitute an emergency.

#53 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2008, 01:07 PM:

Clinton and Obama are both a lot more conservative than I am, and they weren't even as high as my second-choice candidates.

That's putting it mildly.

#54 ::: Keith ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2008, 01:09 PM:

PJ Evens @51: Clinton and Obama are both a lot more conservative than I am, and they weren't even as high as my second-choice candidates.

Anyone who thinks there's a liberal in this race is fooling themselves. Or a regular viewer of CNN (but I repeat myself...) It's a battle to decide between a moderate conservative and a Conservative to see who will run against the festering authoritarian.

Or as Neil Gaiman put it, it's the Right Wing vs. the Super Sized Right Wing with fries.

#55 ::: John L ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2008, 01:12 PM:

Both my wife and I are registered Republicans. She tended to vote Democrat in the Presidential elections; I tended to vote Republican (until the 1990's, anyway). We joked with each other that our votes cancelled each other out.

This year we're both voting Democrat no matter who's the candidate. However, I'm dissatisfied with both of them. Clinton is showing herself to be way too eager to say whatever she thinks the listener wants to hear; Obama's got way too thin a resume' for my tastes, and I don't care for the hero worship his supporters keep talking about.

However, I know that I'm truly sick and tired of how the Republican Party has turned into the "Big Corporation and Fear" party, and McCain is just the latest incarnation of that entire philosophy. Either one's better than him.

#56 ::: Sarah ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2008, 01:38 PM:

PNH @ 52:

we actually need to start scaling back the bitterness, resentment, duels-by-anecdote, and general ill will.

I suspect this is at least partially for my benefit. If so, I think I failed to make the point I was trying to make.

I'll vote for the person who isn't McCain. I know in my head that the important thing is to get out of Iraq, to not get into Iran, to deal with the terrible economy and climate change. I know that Not-McCain is the best option to do those things.

But somewhere near my stomach, I get a huge, painful knot these days at the thought that I might wind up voting for the same guy who, a few months ago, I was considering voting for in the first place. It's the intervening experience of participating in the primary that's done that. It won't change what I do, but it's definitely changed how I feel about doing it.

I know it isn't reasonable; it's like saying that I was bitten by a German Shepherd once, and now they all make me edgy. I just try to keep it from affecting how I act. Maybe I should have internalized that more and not even brought my story up in this context, but I'm sure I'm not the only one who feels alienated from the other side, and wonders how the people who have acted as though I'm there enemy will treat me when we all gather under the bigger umbrella.

#57 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2008, 01:46 PM:

Sarah, I wasn't addressing you in particular. Indeed, I was already mentally drafting my comment before yours appeared.

I have friends involved in (and even more friends who are sympathizers with) both campaigns, and my comments are as much a function of extra-ML experiences as of anything posted here.

That said, I sympathize with the distress you feel.

#58 ::: David T. Bilek ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2008, 01:54 PM:

Patrick: How will you feel if Obama ends June 3rd with a 130-140 lead in pledged delegates and Clinton gets enough superdelegates to overturn that lead? I'm dreading that possibility because I'll be forced to make an awful choice. Voting for McCain isn't one of those choices, but staying home is pretty damn awful in this context.

Note: I'd be happy to vote for Clinton under most circumstances, I'm speaking specifically if she wins the nomination by overturning the clear will of the Democratic electorate.

#59 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2008, 02:23 PM:

I agree that that would be a huge problem. However, since it hasn't happened yet and probably won't, I don't see it as something people of good will should probably be tearing one another apart over.

#60 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2008, 03:24 PM:

Sarah: I know how you feel. Non primary related.

I live in Calif. We have a lot of referenda. They are put on the ballot by signature. I used to just say, "It's worth talking about" and sign all of them. I decided that was a bad idea when I saw some of the things being pitched (I was young, I didn't know better).

So now I don't sign them unless I have the time to read the actual text of the proposed law. The signatures are collected by people being paid to get them.

They can be pushy, so when I am in a hurry I lie. I tell them I'm not registered in this state. Monday I was at a college campus. I look young for my age, and the guys assumed I was a student (add a camera bag and a backpack to my features and it wasn't a terrible read). My way was blocked, with a presumptous pointing, attempting to force me to the table.

Since he had moved to make this happen I became even less willing to stop and peruse the text (I was in dire need of food). So I told him, without moving, neither to the left nor the right, that I wasn't registered in this state.

His response was an aggressive: "You live here now [unproven] and we can, "update your records.".

Which flat out pissed me off. I turned and said, still walking, "Then I couldn't vote for my representative, could I?"

Which shut him up. But it made me not want to look at petitions, becuase the truth of the matter is that sort of hard sell will cause students who aren't really living in Calif., to lose the ability to vote for the races which actually affect them.

I feel your pain, because I think the political process is important, and these yahoos made me not want to take part.

#61 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2008, 03:30 PM:

I suppose that defacing the page of signatures wasn't a viable option? "FORCED TO SIGN UNDER PROTEST", something like that..?

#62 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2008, 03:34 PM:

That's when you take out your cell phone, photograph him (and any other signature collectors in that group) and send it to the secretary of state with details of when, where, and what he said. She's looking for this kind of stuff, as possible voter fraud. (Even without the pictures, you might want to write her about it.)

#63 ::: John Chu ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2008, 03:56 PM:

Alex@41:There is a set of rules in place (including discounting FL and MI). Coming up with a new set of rules post facto under which candidate X would have won is easy, but pointless.

I agree.

Incidentally, I did not intend to be disingenuous. My apologies to anyone who was deceived. My intention was to illustrate that Hillary Clinton was using a strategy better suited for the presidential campaign than the primary campaign. She's apparently measuring success differently than everyone else. But a superdelegate may choose to assess her candidacy in the same way. There's nothing to stop that.

I also wanted to express a wish for a system is less murky, like a direct national primary. None of that takes away from acknowledging that we have the system we have.

However, given the rules we have, it means we can't anoint anyone the winner right now. We may not be able to declare a winner until the convention. It's highly unlikely either candidate will garner enough pledged delegates to win outright.

One of my current miffs is the dissonance in simultaneously arguing both that we need to enforce the rules with which we started the campaign, and that Obama has already won or should win because he has the larger plurality. No. That's not what the rules say. The rules say he needs a majority. If one wants to enforce the rules with which we started the campaign, one should do it uniformly.

I hear, on the radio, "you can't change the rules midway" argued in concert with "superdelegates shouldn't be able to put you over the top." Perhaps it's not wise for the superdelegates to put the trailing candidate over the top, but it's certainly not against the rules to do so. What's required of them is for them to pledge themselves to who they think is the candidate best able to win the general election. So, again, if they're following the rules, they aren't obliged to pledge as their constituency has pledged. They are not obliged to pledge based on the national vote count, or anything else. However, I don't always see the idea that everyone should follow the rules applied uniformly.

No one here is so irrational, fortunately.

#64 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2008, 03:59 PM:

I will vote for the Democratic nominee -- but pardon me if I mourn the fact that my candidate left the race without getting a fair chance to compete...

(I am an Edwards supporter, and I'd be in ecstacy if the delegates at the Democratic convention said, "a plague on both your houses" to Obama and Clinton and voted for Edwards instead!)

#65 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2008, 04:12 PM:

A complete stranger BCCd me a letter, supposedly from a missionary in Kenya, claiming that Obama is a muslim, a "racist," and running for president so he complete the work started on 911.

I wrote back pointing out the Snopes debunking post (http://www.snopes.com/politics/obama/kenya.asp) and asking if the sender was going to let everyone know, or remain a bearer of false witness.

I doubt it will do any good, but if it discomforts one blockhead for ever a few seconds I'll feel justified.

#66 ::: David Bilek ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2008, 04:14 PM:

I agree that that would be a huge problem. However, since it hasn't happened yet and probably won't, I don't see it as something people of good will should probably be tearing one another apart over.

I hope you are correct!

On the plus side, McCain is only about even with either candidate despite being unopposed for many weeks now and with Obama and Clinton beating eachother over the head with shovels.

My optimistic side hopes that once a candidate is selected he or she (probably he) will get a nice 7-8 point bump.

#67 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2008, 06:00 PM:

Stefan Jones @ 65: That's a text-book example of what "Reply-All" is for. Embarrassment for the sender-of-FearUncertaintyDoubt, and education for all! Hooray!

(Of course, it only works if the FUD-sender didn't use an undisclosed recipients list.)

Properly used, the combination of Snopes and Reply-All can sometimes inspire correspondents to stop sending you every.single.FUD/glurge/chainletter that crosses their inboxes. Unfortunately, a common side-effect is that they stop corresponding with you entirely. Use wisely.

#68 ::: elise ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2008, 06:16 PM:

Sarah @ 56: But somewhere near my stomach, I get a huge, painful knot these days at the thought that I might wind up voting for the same guy who, a few months ago, I was considering voting for in the first place. It's the intervening experience of participating in the primary that's done that. It won't change what I do, but it's definitely changed how I feel about doing it.

I don't have the huge painful knot in my stomach about the thought of voting for the candidate I do not currently support -- because I know what I'll do, and I am OK with that. I do have it when I think about interacting with friends and acquaintances who have said and done certain things during the course of the campaigns so far. Mostly, I hope I can just keep a wary amiability going at worst, and be as open-minded as I can. It's going to be a challenge in one or two cases, as I generally respond badly to [specific examples redacted]. But hey, their tempers were high, and the stakes were high, and people do things badly sometimes, and Gawd knows I have done so on occasion, and, well, you know the drill. (I'm talking about people I know, not J. Random Otherguy Supporter, just to be clear.)

I know it isn't reasonable; it's like saying that I was bitten by a German Shepherd once, and now they all make me edgy. I just try to keep it from affecting how I act. Maybe I should have internalized that more and not even brought my story up in this context, but I'm sure I'm not the only one who feels alienated from the other side, and wonders how the people who have acted as though I'm there enemy will treat me when we all gather under the bigger umbrella.

Mostly what bothers me that I've heard from "the other side" (which is not what I think of it as, but anyhow) -- let's say "the other wing of the party," OK? -- is how they won't BE in that bigger umbrella if things do not go the way they want in terms of nominee selection. I hope that's just one more of those things said in the heat of a flash-point moment which is not meant to be a final answer.

I'm going to take it bit by bit, and work for the best. I figure I'd be pretty amiable about meeting you in that tent. Dunno if that helps, but there it is.

I'm sorry people have been being jerks about this stuff to you.



#69 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2008, 06:18 PM:

P.J. The problem is, they were right, a college student has the option of choosing to keep home state residence, or school state residence. A lot of places (e.g. New Haven, Conn.) dislike this, and see the students as a threat, because they are a significant number of people, and if they were all to get involved, they could get things passed which changed the nature of things.

But, were I a student, I'd be within my rights to change my registration. What I dislike is that they are, in pursuit of a semi-honest buck, effectively attempting to disenfranchise people (it seems a tad hyperbolic, but let's say I had this happen to me in Ohio, and I came home for the summer. Odds are I'd not have filed the needed paperwork to vote absentee for Ohio, and here in Calif. I'd be SOL, because I'd have to re-register, and be too late to do it in time)

#70 ::: elise ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2008, 06:30 PM:

It also occurs to me (right after I hit the post button, of course) that maybe by participating in the process the way I'm doing, I am keeping myself from the worst temptations to either respond to jerkitude in kind, or to be a jerk myself. What I mean to say is this: I'm one hop away from going to the Democratic National Convention as a delegate. (One hop, though two chances to be selected: congressional district convention, and state convention.) Doing my best, there, to carry forward what I feel I have been entrusted with -- well, I think it helps me stay with the bigger goal, and not get into fights that aren't useful, or go off in a pyrotechnic pinwheel of frustration or something.

This coming Saturday is the first of those two chances.

If I go, I'll give you guys whatever eyewitness reports I can. (If I go, I might even find out first-hand whether lip-reading is as useful a skill there as it is on some other occasions. Heh.)

#71 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2008, 06:38 PM:

Terry, it was the implication that they can 'fix it' for you, and you can sign before it's fixed. I'd worry about what else they might 'fix' without me knowing.

I don't sign petitions like that anyway; too many of them are things that are better left off ballots, even when they're meant well.

#72 ::: Tazistan Jen ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2008, 06:53 PM:

As usual Digby has said what I tried to say a million times better.

http://digbysblog.blogspot.com/2008/04/going-distance-by-digby-i-hate-writing.html

A snippet:

"To me, this primary is actually a good thing for the fall. All this hand wringing strikes me as typical Democratic nervous nellie-ism. A huge increase in Democratic voter registration, building of strong ground operations in most states, new technologies being beta tested, lots of media coverage and battle testing for the nominee are of benefit to the nominee in the fall. Meanwhile, the Democrats stay at center stage while McCain wanders around in obscurity, failing to raise money and leaving a trail of gaffes in his wake. "

#73 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2008, 06:58 PM:

re 7: LOL!

re 63: I'm given to understand that there aren't enough votes left for either of them to win outright. Which leads to the superdelegate problem: they only matter in a closely divided situation anyway, so I can't figure out why anyone would think that "SDs shouldn't put you over the top" is an even vaguely rational argument. On the other hand, one wonders whether the whole SD idea was all that well thought through anyway. Oh well: in the usual way of political commentary, it will have been a good idea if McCain loses, and a bad idea if he wins.

Meanwhile I get to vote in three primaries this year instead of one. (Pfffft!)

#74 ::: Tazistan Jen ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2008, 06:59 PM:

Good luck going to the national convention, Elise. Definitely report back if you get to go!

#75 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2008, 06:59 PM:

A lot of places (e.g. New Haven, Conn.) dislike this, and see the students as a threat, because they are a significant number of people, and if they were all to get involved, they could get things passed which changed the nature of things.

Um, huh? Could you please give a cite for my supposed feelings about students registering locally? Your perception does not match my reality.

#76 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2008, 07:10 PM:

#67: It was an anonymous list.

But get this: Whoever it was responded and thanked me!

#77 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2008, 07:25 PM:

Susan: Cites I don't have handy (and no, I wasn't singling out you, nor saying that all people in New Haven were opposed) but New Haven came to mind because I was reading about students fighting to get registered, and the general opinion being against it.

I didn't make copies of the articles, because (at the time) it was a purely academic interest, so no, I don't have the citations handy, and it was years ago. Google hasn't been productive for me. What I recall was that some years (perhaps as many as ten) there was no small amount of contention because students at Yale wanted to register locally, and various; vocal, members of the town were against it, because they claimed the students were transitory, and not really interested in the real issues facing New Haven.

#78 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2008, 07:29 PM:

Susan, I think the "place" was a shorthand for "the political bosses who run the place." I certainly know that the town I went to school in had a large population of people who wanted only "permanent residents" to have the vote in local elections, and did things like have referenda on things the students were likely to oppose in early August. The faculty, staff, and student body of the university did not agree at all, of course.

#79 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2008, 07:33 PM:

PJ #43: This would be an extremely effective point, if opposition to torturing scary brown Muslims were an important issue that changed a lot of peoples' votes. Tragically, it isn't, and most of the people whose votes would be changed by that kind of point were already not voting for Mr 100 more years of war.

#80 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2008, 07:45 PM:

I hope this means Teller's going for Obama.

#81 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2008, 07:53 PM:

#80: This morning I saw a headline on msnbc reading "Teller and twin unborn fetuses survive shooting," so he may have other things on his mind.

#82 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2008, 07:58 PM:

Patrick #52: I agree with your last line--I think the November election could be given to McCain by this internal fight.

IMO, the problem isn't really that many dedicated Democrats will vote for McCain, or will even stay home. But there are a lot of other people who are right now identifying strongly with Obama or Clinton, and who usually don't vote in Democratic primaries. An outcome that gets many of those folks to stay home on election day could easily change the election result.

The attacks back and forth could have that effect. If the campaigns convince a lot of voters that Obama's anti-American or anti-religion[1] or that Hillary's pandering to racists or whatever, there will be people who say "a pox on both their houses" and don't come to the polls.

A much bigger problem, to me, is that we're headed for a convention in which the result will be decided in a really contentious, back-room sort of way. This is tailor made for leaving a bad taste in the mouths of the loser's supporters, and for robbing the winner of legitimacy. There are a hell of a lot of ways that things could go down at the convention that would leave a seriously damaged nominee running against McCain.

It's not my party, so I guess it's not exactly my business. (They'll get my vote this year, but I'm not remotely a Democrat.) But this looks like an opportunity to do damage to the country on the scale of the botched 2000 election results in Florida. I'd really like to not see that happen.

[1] Does anyone else notice the weirdness of taking his out-of-context "bitter" quote as meaning he's dismissive about religion, while also attacking him for not having denounced his pastor and left his church when he didn't like some of the political and social commentary in the sermons?

#83 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2008, 09:00 PM:

Reading this thread inspired me to open up my wallet. Not to give to either candidate, but to pitch a C-note over to the DNC. This way, regardless of who wins, I'm still helping the better choice.

They've got a great little ad all queued up.

#84 ::: Jen Roth ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2008, 10:01 PM:

Sarah @50: That's crappy. I'm sorry those things happened to you.

John @63: "What's required of them is for them to pledge themselves to who they think is the candidate best able to win the general election."

Is that required? A lot of the SDs seem to think that they should be representing their constituents' expressed wishes. As far as I'm aware, there are no requirements whatsoever for how a SD is supposed to vote.

Larry @83: Wow, that is a great ad. Almost makes me feel like the DNC might know what they're doing. I'm sure it'll pass after I lie down for a bit.

#85 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2008, 10:21 PM:

Larry@83, that's an awesome ad. Perfect.

#86 ::: Michael Weholt ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2008, 10:24 PM:

#84 Jen Roth: As far as I'm aware, there are no requirements whatsoever for how a SD is supposed to vote.

I believe that is correct, yeah. I think the theory is that the Greybeards will choose wisely, unlike us grasshoppers perhaps, but theory don't mean squat really. They can do whatever they want, so long as they feel they can survive politically afterwards, I suppose.

Wow, that is a great ad.

Yeah, I've seen it a couple of times on cable. MSNBC, I think.

#87 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2008, 12:41 AM:

Terry:

It's ridiculously easy for students to register here, and they are encouraged to do so, along with registering their cars and getting our special city IDs (which have bought us a lot of federal harassment because we don't demand proof of citizenship before issuing them). One entire city ward consists solely of student dorms and is frequently represented by a Yale student (currently a junior) who sits on the Board of Aldermen and has the same voting rights as any other member. I can personally testify to this being the case since the late 1980s at least - and the student-alderman from 1989-1993 got so involved in New Haven that he is currently the head of the New Haven Chamber of Commerce as well as being a Yale official. Google Michael Morand. My current alderwoman is also a Yale student, and I don't even live in the student ward! I didn't actually vote for my alderwoman, but that was because she had no informed opinion about property taxes (very hot topic locally right now), not because she's a student. (The voting refers to the Dem primary, which is the only meaningful election in my ward. I think in most of New Haven it's probably easier for a Yale student to get elected to public office than for a Republican to.)

#88 ::: John Chu ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2008, 01:13 AM:

#84: Maybe you're right. My point still stands though. Actually, you make my point better than I did. Someone who claims to want to enforce the rules established at the start of the campaign can't go around insisting that superdelegates ought to pledge themselves in a prescribed way.

BTW, I heard a snippet of the Diane Rehm show tonight. A woman called in basically to say that because of Hillary Clinton's attacks on Obama, she won't vote in the general election at all if she is the Democratic candidate. This is after admitting that in previous elections she has voted "for the lesser evil." She quickly added that she didn't think Clinton was evil. (She apparently has also forgotten that Obama has also made his digs, albeit much more artfully, at Clinton, especially in the early days when he was behind. NPR has this habit of air their digs at each other in sequence. Caveat: I watch so little TV these days that I only hear about the TV ads on NPR. That may skew my perception.)

I'm sure there's at least one Clinton supporter who thinks the same of Obama is the Democratic candidate. (i.e., I don't mean to imply this is some sort of Obama supporter thing. If it had been the other way around, I'd be just as worried. I suspect if I'd kept listening to the show, I would have heard a Clinton supporter refuse to vote for Obama.)

Obviously, one phone doesn't a trend make. But the dogmatism is worrying.

#89 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2008, 01:18 AM:

Susan: My apologies. I have probably managed to misremeber the details. I'd plead old age, but Serge would laugh at me in the way only a francophone can laugh at one.

John Chu: What pisssed me off this morning was the NPR statement which made Clinton's win in Penn. seem some overcoming of odds, and a real threat to Obama; because it shifted the momentum.

#90 ::: A.J. ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2008, 01:43 AM:

Terry @ 89 & Susan @ 87:

Glad to hear New Haven is nice to its student populace. Berkeley isn't. The districts have been pretty carefully gerrymandered to prevent the large student populace from having any serious influence on the City Council. Bit of a pity: The on-campus student government here is probably as reasonable as the city government.

#91 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2008, 01:53 AM:

Terry Karney @ 89... I'd plead old age, but Serge would laugh at me in the way only a francophone can

Hmmm... I think I've just been made fun of. And twice too, within those few words. Today's kids... No respect for their elders.

#92 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2008, 02:19 AM:

Made fun of... No.

Made fun with... I hope.

Teased... most certainly.

#93 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2008, 04:36 AM:

John Mark Ockerbloom @ 39: "That's one reason I'm not at this point ruling out voting for McCain if Clinton wins the nom., particularly if she wins dirty. We have to maintain a strong push for executive accountability in the government, and if that takes a government split between R control in the White House and D control in Congress, that may be our least worst option."

That's what we have right now. The accountability isn't exactly flowing like the Mississippi. You want accountability in government? Vote Democrat. A Democratic Congress would be way more likely to hold a Democratic President accountable than a Republican one. After all, by attacking a fellow Democrat they could show the media how totally macho and not-wussy-like-that-other-Democrat they are.

John Stanning @ 45: "The people we need to catch are the non-core floaters who might vote either D or R - it's they who could vote R, or not vote at all, if the right D isn't on the ticket. Both sides should be targeting those voters."

That's what people keep saying, but I'm not convinced. That's the strategy that Democrats have been pursuing for the last several decades, and where has that gotten us? A constant slide to the right, and the inevitable disenchantment of actual, honest-to-goodness lefties, who ought to be the party's evangelizers. Instead of being out in public, telling all their friends and neighbors about how great their candidates are, they've been gritting their teeth and silently voting Democrat. That's not a recipe for success.

Meanwhile, the Republicans have hit upon a very different strategy. Instead of trying to appeal a little to a lot of people, they've focused on building their base: turning casual republican-leaning voters into die-hard Republicans: voting in every election, writing to their representatives, listening to Republican talk-shows; living the Republican® life. It's the electoral equivalent of the 1000 True Fans strategy. The best part is, because of the evangelizing effect, making one True Fan gets them two serious fans, and a handful of casual fans. It distorts the fabric of political space, exerting a gravitational pull to the right.

One of the reasons I like Obama is that he's engaged in the project of creating True Fans--to some degree, I admit, they are his True Fans, but others are True Democratic Fans. There are a lot of people--young people especially--who feel like politics is a rigged game played between Tweedledee and Tweedledum.* Why even bother getting engaged, they ask? It will only lead to disappointment. For whatever reason, Obama's breaking through to these people in huge numbers. He's building a generation of young people who suddenly see politics as a place where they can make a difference. That, I think, is a far better long-term strategy than triangulating ever center-ward.

It's not as much that I see Obama as a great liberal candidate as that I see him as the first step in that direction.

*They are right. Not all right, but mostly right.

Sarah @ 50: I'm sorry. One problem with drawing in a lot of new people is that a fair number of them won't really get it.

Patrick Nielsen Hayden @ 52: "Note: I am on record as an Obama donor and supporter; anyone who wants to take my let's-stop-fighting remarks as a rhetorical tactic aimed at undercutting the Clinton campaign is, I guess, free to think so. I don't think I'm that wily, but that's just me."

Of course, that's exactly what you would say.

C. Wingate @ 73: "On the other hand, one wonders whether the whole SD idea was all that well thought through anyway. Oh well: in the usual way of political commentary, it will have been a good idea if McCain loses, and a bad idea if he wins."

The existence of super-delegates enrages me so. What a slap in the face of democracy. I'm intensely hostile to the idea of super-delegates deciding the nomination largely because I don't think that they even ought to exist. If Clinton wins with SDs, oh I'll still vote for her, but I'll do it really fucking mad.

#94 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2008, 04:57 AM:

albatross #79: Mr 100 more years of war.

Hmmm, I don't think that centuries of post-apocalyptic barbarism after the Mesoamerican Long Count calendar recycles can really be categorized as "war".

Besides, we still have Nehemiah Scudder to look forward to.

#95 ::: John Chu ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2008, 08:06 AM:

#89: Yeah, I found that bizarre too. Like I'd said before, I thought she was expected to win PA. The only question was by how much.

Of course, I've heard both spins of the margin by now.

i.e., either

it's great for Clinton because despite Obama outspending her by something like three to one, he "only" narrowed the gap by ten points rather than twenty.

or

it's great for Obama because he whittled this massive lead down to a small one. And, hey, he's leading in the delegate count. Nothing is likely to change that, certainly not a mere 9 point Clinton victory in PA.

*bleah*

#93: Is there some other way Clinton could win at this point? (Or some other way Obama could win, for that matter. I suspect even if Clinton were to drop out, her name will still be on the ballot and people will still vote for her.)

#96 ::: elise ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2008, 08:25 AM:

Kip @ 80: I hope this means Teller's going for Obama.

You owe me a new keyboard.

#97 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2008, 09:49 AM:

Has no one else noticed this? McCandidate spends years in an Asian POW camp, undergoing torture and conditioning. Returns home to become politician and rises to high office, and within striking distance of the Presidensity. Is this not essentially the plot of "The Manchurian Candidate"? Suppose McCain is in fact the North Vietnamese candidate?*

* Yeah, I know, things have changed in North Vietnam since then. But that's an occupational risk for sleeper agents: sometimes the employing country turns out not be the place you were fighting for anymore.

#98 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2008, 09:55 AM:

I'll tell you what's irritating me the most about the Never-ending Campaign: the way the candidates us 'we' whenever they talk about something they did, as in "we've done well in the last 79 primaries, and with your help, we'll take the next 354!". Now we know they're not royals (check the Almanac de Gotha if you doubt this), so maybe it's time for the candidates to take the mice out of their pockets and start talking like individual people instead of Borg press agents.

#99 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2008, 10:01 AM:

Tazistan Jane @ 72

McCain wanders around in obscurity, failing to raise money and leaving a trail of gaffes in his wake.

I wonder if Tom Toles could be persuaded to draw this. Depending on what a gaffe looks like when it's at home, it could be one of the funniest political cartoons evah!

#100 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2008, 10:40 AM:

John Chu @ 95: "Is there some other way Clinton could win at this point?"

Well, Obama could withdraw from the race, freeing all of his delegates. But no, not in any reasonably likely way. This is the source of my hostility* towards Clinton's continued presence in the race. Her only hope is the failure of democracy, which strikes me as a sucky thing to be aiming for.

Minus the SDs, the magic number of delegates is 1627. Obama is 140 short of that number, and Hillary is 296 short. Paints a different picture, doesn't it? Hillary would have to win more than two thirds of the delegates in every contest to pull ahead. It's because no one knows what the SDs are going to do that makes this race seem so open. Without them, things would be a lot clearer.

*Which is currently at the "head shaking and loud sighs" level of hostility, i.e. not too much. She didn't design the system, after all. She's just doing what she can to win.

#101 ::: Sarah ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2008, 01:17 PM:

PNH @ 57:

I'm glad to hear I wasn't the impetus. And I absolutely appreciate that people here are civil; it makes it a wonderful place to be. I'm going to sit over there and work on toning down my defensiveness for a bit. (I'd go outside, but who ordered frigid in April???)

Terry @ 60:

Yuck! That sounds like the sort of thing that would make me want a shower. You hear about how kids need to get involved in politics, but that seems like the wrong way to do it.

I'm with you on the initiatives; I used to sign everything, but after the OCA in Oregon and Tim Eyman here in Seattle, I've gotten pretty selective. Am I just being a cranky old lady*, or was participatory democracy better back when? I feel like the initiative process in particular used to have a lot less crazy in it.

Elise @ 68:

You're right, "other side" isn't the phrase I wanted. "Other wing" is better. I agree, it is upsetting to hear people say that they won't vote/will vote McCain/will vote Nader if the wrong Democrat gets the nomination. I guess I haven't heard it enough from people I know to be too worried about a trend, but it sounds like others here have. I tend to think that the people who do say things like that are just blowing off some steam, and won't really act that way when faced with the choice, but maybe that's just because I can't imagine saying such a thing seriously.

I hope your friendships that have been affected by this are able to move past it. I have one that may have gone a bit off, but that particular friend usually just needs time and then things are back to normal. I hope that's the case here, too.

We can have a big tent party. I'll bring root beer.

Elise again @ 70:

Good luck! I'll look forward to your report from Denver. I gave some thought to trying to go, but there's a bit too much on my schedule already. Someday, maybe; I'll happily participate vicariously until then.

I do think you're right; having a task helps to keep you focused and able to ignore the other stuff. It was only after I was all done that I got prickly about things.



* The "cranky" is pretty much permanent. The "old lady" is because I still haven't recovered from my trip to the university campus yesterday.

#102 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2008, 03:09 PM:

re 100: Well, as I understand it, those numbers tend to imply that the superdelegate process is working "correctly". The whole point is to bias the nomination towards more establishment candidates, so they don't get stuck with McGovern or Carter again. I don't know that this is such a good idea, but then we've been over that already.

#103 ::: linnen ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2008, 03:18 PM:

heresiarch @100

The problem is that the 'magic' number (2024) is about the TOTAL number of delegates, not the number of delegates minus the SDs. And right now, the lead is not as certain as either side would like.

So, it is very possible that both candidates will need SDs when the convention comes around. And the SDs will be looking at the GE to decide. (Arguments about the SDs must vote according to their constituents would create an interesting situation for Kerry and Kennedy.)

#104 ::: Ursula L ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2008, 05:50 PM:

re 102:

Well, the superdeligates being governors, congresscritters, and the like, they are likely to have had some closer interaction with the candidates than the typical voter. This could be quite useful in deciding between two equally or nearly equally popular candidates - the sort of information that makes for wiser tie-breaking than flipping a coin. Governing is also a different skill set than campaigning - using superdeligates to break a tie between good campaigners lets that factor get a bit more weight.

#105 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2008, 05:59 PM:

I think the "We" is meant to be inclusive of the campaign workers. I think, in that context, it's needful.

Imagine a bunch of people busting their humps to get out the vote, to distribute lawn signs, flyers, going to rallies. Compare that to the drive-by runs of the candidates.

Comes the day, and the fruit of all that labor is described as, ""I'm so glad I won in Pennsylvania, and that all the hard work I've done was successful".

I can see that whipping up some backlash.

#106 ::: John Chu ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2008, 06:37 PM:

#100:Minus the SDs, the magic number of delegates is 1627. Obama is 140 short of that number, and Hillary is 296 short. Paints a different picture, doesn't it?

Honestly, no, it doesn't.

It's just as valid as saying that Clinton deserves to win because if we had been tallying with electoral votes, she'd have a commanding lead right now. (Incidentally, that was not what I had intended to say before. I had intended to illustrate that she was using a strategy which made sense for the presidential campaign for the primary campaign. *sigh*)

Or as Alex Cohen@41 had said, if we tallied as if it were the Senate, Obama would have a commanding lead right now.

You can slice and dice as much as you like. It doesn't change the fact that, unless they change the rules, the most likely way for either Obama or Clinton to become the nominee is for the superdelegates to push him or her over the top.

I agree that the race would be clearer if we didn't have superdelegates. The race would also be clearer if FL and MI had simply scheduled their primaries at their appointed times or had the DNC been more accommodating (take your pick). The race would be clearer had either Obama or Clinton chosen not to run this year.

I'm not sure how any of this makes a difference one way or the other. Just as I'm not sure how superdelegates exercising their free choice can be construed as a failure of democracy. (Given the way the Democrats apportion delegates, I'm having a hard time seeing democracy in action here...)

#107 ::: David Bilek ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2008, 06:51 PM:

the most likely way for either Obama or Clinton to become the nominee is for the superdelegates to push him or her over the top.

John: But you're ignoring the fact that there is a both a practical and a moral difference between confirming the will of the voters and overturning it. One is not the same as the other even if both are allowed by the rules.

#108 ::: Scraps ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2008, 07:32 PM:

It would be absurd for the superdelegates to think they had more moral obligation to vote for the leading candidate than the one who was behind. If they can only vote for the leading candidate, there is no reason for them to exist at all. That's a separate argument. So long as they exist, in the system as it is, criticizing them (morally!) for daring to have an opinion other than the electorate makes no logical sense. To say that "both are allowed by the rules", as though one of the choices is only allowed in an underhanded gaming-the-system kind of way, as though it wasn't supposed to work this way, is disingenuous; this kind of situation is why the superdelgates exist, for better and (in my opinion) worse. I hope they vote for Edwards Obama, personally, and I'd like to reform the system, but so long as we're telling them they have a choice -- so long as the whole point of their existence is that they have a choice -- I'm certainly not going to call them immoral for making the wrong choice.

#109 ::: Nancy C. Mittens ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2008, 07:40 PM:

But how does a superdelegate determine the will of the voters? What if her district went for one candidate, but the state overall went for the other? What if one candidate has the lead in delegate count, but the other won the superdelegate's state?

#110 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2008, 07:48 PM:

Sarah, #56: Getting to this late, but I'd like to address your concern.

I am a deeply-committed Obama supporter. Nonetheless, if Clinton is the Democratic nominee, I'll vote for her -- and I don't think that you are a bad person because your first choice is not the same as mine. Furthermore, I will smack down anyone who tries to say otherwise, about you or any other Clinton supporter. The kind of behavior you described gives me a bad attack of "GET OFF MY SIDE, YOU MORON, YOU'RE MAKING ME LOOK STUPID!" (Although I'm sure that there are some people who are supporting Obama only because they'd rather vote for a n***** than for a b****, and some supporting Clinton for the opposite reason; that's a problem which needs to be addressed in the longer term, but we have to win the friggin' election first.)

I know I'm only one person, but I can't be the only one out here who feels that way.

Terry, #60: I'm with PJ, that's skeezy as all hell. My approach would be not to lie, but to say, "I never sign a petition without reading it, and I don't have the time to read it right now." If they push me again at that point, then I pull out the tactical nukes -- because that would make me wonder what was in it that they didn't want me to have time to see.

Susan/Terry: The college-student-registration thing can also go the other way. Some 15 years or so ago, the local Baptist college in Nashville made a huge push to register students locally specifically so that they could elect a City Council candidate who was wildly unacceptable to the majority of permanent residents in that district. (Which included my then-in-laws, which is how I heard about the whole thing.) The candidate was a faculty member at the college, and I've always wondered whether there was any pressure brought on the students to register and vote.

#111 ::: linnen ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2008, 09:16 PM:

David Bilek @107

Unfortunately there is such a thing as 'Buyer's Remorse'. If I was partial to one at the beginning of the cycle but changed my mind, Where in the process is my change in choice? Are you telling me that my 'voter's will' in cast in stone once I vote in a primary?

And there is the problem with those that voted in a primary for somebody OTHER than the current choices. In most cases the candidate releases delegates or endorses someone else. (And if my alternative choice was someone else?) In this primary Edwards only suspended his campaign. I don't know if he even released his delegates.

#112 ::: linnen ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2008, 09:21 PM:

Oh yes, what about the various 'Democratic Voter for a Day' that the Republicans have pulled over the years? Are the SDs to respect the 'voter's will' in those cases?

#113 ::: Ronit ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2008, 09:43 PM:

re 104

Good point, assuming superdelegates make their decision based solely on who would be the best person for the job, rather than personal history, who they owe favors to or who they would like to owe them a favor.

A friend says this is like throwing the election to the House of Lords. It irritates me no end.

#114 ::: Scraps ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2008, 09:55 PM:

I don't think that's much of an analogy. You aren't born a superdelegate, and even conceding that many of them are no doubt children of privilege, they still worked to achieve their positions in the party. It's a lot more like having a close vote of shareholders decided by the board.

That is to say, sure it's an elite -- and all good Americans know how bad that is -- but it's not an elite position that was entirely unearned, in most cases.

#115 ::: Matt McIrvin ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2008, 12:09 AM:

Mark Schmitt talks here about the purposes of the superdelegate system, and claims, with some support, that its main intended purpose is not to avoid unelectable or anti-establishment candidates, but to get prominent Democratic officeholders from all the states to the national convention and keep the Democratic Party from splitting into national and state factions alienated from one another, which to some degree it had done. The article makes me more sympathetic to the system than I had been before, though I agree with Schmitt that the inclusion of DNC members is less justifiable.

#116 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2008, 03:01 AM:

linnen @ 103: "The problem is that the 'magic' number (2024) is about the TOTAL number of delegates, not the number of delegates minus the SDs."

The magic number I gave (1627) is >50% the total of delegates minus the super-delegates. As in, were the superdelegates not an issue, what would things look like at this point?

About 87% of the electorate has already voted, but only 82% of the delegates are known. The SDs are dragging their feet, because they don't want to be caught supporting the eventual loser. It is because of this that the race still seems fairly open at this late a date. The existence of the super-delegates is dragging this out.

John Chu @ 106: "It's just as valid as saying that Clinton deserves to win because if we had been tallying with electoral votes, she'd have a commanding lead right now."

I'm not trying to make a case that Hillary ought to drop out or whatever. Not at all--she's simply pursuing the best strategy that the system offers her. I'm not criticizing Hillary; I'm criticizing the stupid, messed-up system that makes precipitating a major failure of democracy a reasonable strategy. It shouldn't even be an available option--superdelegates shouldn't even exist.

You seem to think that the claim I'm making is: "If the system were set up differently, my favored candidate would win, so we ought to act as though that system were in place." It's not. What I'm saying is: "The system is borked, and we ought to change it so that it creates better, more democratic results."

Scraps @ 108: "It would be absurd for the superdelegates to think they had more moral obligation to vote for the leading candidate than the one who was behind."

I'm pretty comfortable making moral claims that don't necessarily align with legal obligations. For instance, I'd say men had a moral obligation to treat their wives humanely even before taht behavior was legally required. I happen to believe that giving a bunch of party insiders substantial influence over a theoretically democratic process is a bunch of bunk, and ought to be tossed out. If you buy my moral claim that the superdelegates are a terrible idea (which you are free not to), then it's perfectly reasonable to demand them to hew to my moral code, even if they aren't legally bound to do it.

"If they can only vote for the leading candidate, there is no reason for them to exist at all."

Precisely!

#117 ::: Mycroft W ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2008, 03:09 PM:

Note 1: I have a stake in this election, as the 800-pound gorilla not only sleeps where it likes, but can do a good job of convincing the other animals to sleep where he wants them too. However, I don't have a vote.

Note 2: for the same reason as note 1, I'm of that political stripe that says that the Democrats are right-wing (I'm almost loony-left in my own country). So take my opinions with the standard ROW-bias.

Real Note: in much of the rest of the British-influenced world, fixed campaign dates are not heard of. Yes, it causes its own problems (primarily, that the government gets to trigger the vote when they think they have the best chance of winning), but it does tend to calm down the back-dating of the start of the election (we just start campaigning when it looks like they might call the election in a couple of months, instead of years ahead of the date).

Frankly, there are 9 weeks of campaigning for President between the two nominees. That seems more than adequate. This whole "we need to have an undisputed convention so we can stop sniping in-house and start going after the Republicans" thing seems to deny that the 9 weeks they're guaranteed is enough. Given that we have elections in 35 days from call, it boggles this poor Canadian mind.

Actually, from experience, a good, disputed national leadership convention can raise awareness and publicity for your campaign significantly more than a week-long anointment. I can't imagine watching any of the RNC. What is it besides a massive waste of money and ego-boo? A disputed DNC, that might be interesting. I might just hear the ideas of the candidates.

But if you want to start the campaign in April rather than in July, more power to you. I'll turn off until (American) Thanksgiving, though, thanks. Too much of this crap and I start thinking that "a plague on both your houses" becomes the correct response, despite the proof that it isn't. I'm sure I'm not the only one.

And that's without mentioning the cost (which, probably isn't much more than it would be with the two candidates campaigning against each other).

#118 ::: John Chu ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2008, 10:23 PM:

#116: Actually, what I was saying was "If wishes were horses, then beggars would ride."

I mean, if you're going to fix the system, why limit it to eliminating superdelegates? What about giving voters in FL and MI a say in who becomes the nominee? By your standards, we've already witnessed a major failure of democracy.

#119 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2008, 03:41 AM:

elise, if you make that hop and do end up DNC-bound, drop me a line? I'm in the area, and it would be excellent to see you again.

#120 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2008, 05:41 AM:

John Chu @ 118: Gotta start somewhere.

#121 ::: John Chu ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2008, 06:43 AM:

#120: Ok, but I can't help but feel the hyper-focus on superdelegates is ultimately misleading. I'm glad that you realize there actually are other issues here. For example, the way delegates are actually apportioned.

Otherwise, it really does sound like "I want to fix the bit of the system which would allow my candidate to win" whether that's what you intend or not.

#122 ::: Matt Austern ::: (view all by) ::: April 27, 2008, 12:44 AM:

I'm an Obama supporter, and I'm pretty annoyed with some of the things Clinton has been doing for the last month. That said: if she is the nominee, I will vote for her, donate a lot of money to her campaign, and tell everyone I know all of the reasons to vote for her.

It won't be that hard, and I won't have to be dishonest. There's the anybody-but-McCain aspect, yes. (I don't want a war with Iran; I don't want Stevens to be replaced by another Scalia or Roberts; I don't want another 8 years of excuses for doing nothing about climate change.) But the other part is: I'm pretty sure that if Clinton gets the nomination and beats McCain, she will be the best President we've had in my lifetime. Maybe that's not as high a standard as one might like, considering what kinds of Presidents we've had for the last few decades, but if you're holding out for something more than the twice-in-a-century level then maybe you should consider the possibility that your standards are too high.

#123 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: April 27, 2008, 06:39 AM:

Matt: You feel that Hillary would be better than Bill was? I'm curious to know why. (Without, I might add, necessarily disagreeing.)

#124 ::: Matthew Austern ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2008, 11:44 PM:

Why I think Hillary would be a better President than Bill?

As background, I should remind you that I don't think Bill was a particularly good Democratic President. His major legislative victories were in his first couple of years, and they were the sorts of things that a sane conservative Republican (if such a beast still existed) would have pushed for: balancing the budget and pushing through a business-friendly trade deal. He was politically skillful in that he managed to survive and win two elections, but he didn't get any major new liberal legislation passed, he didn't shift the debate in the country to a direction more friendly to liberal policies or to the Democratic Party, and he didn't get more Democrats elected to other offices. His political skills were focused on himself; he presided over a time when his party lost both houses of Congress and most of the states. He survived, and for a few years he prevented Republicans from inflicting the worst of their damage. So I don't think it's asking too much to think that a Democratic President could do better.

Why I think Senator Clinton would do better than her husband:

The first reason isn't to Bill's blame or Hillary's credit: if she's elected she'll be President in more favorable circumstances. If she runs a smart campaign in the general election she'll have at least two years with something like 55 Democratic Senators, and most of the Democrats in Congress will be real Democrats. There were still a few Dixiecrats in Congress ten years ago, but the ideological realignment of the parties is mostly complete now and the partisan margins in Congress today mean more than they used to. And in addition to raw numbers, I think the mood of the country is more conducive today to bold Democratic leadership today than it was 16 years ago.

The second reason: to at least a limited extent I believe Clinton's argument from experience. She'll be able to learn from her husband's mistakes. She has a better relationship with her party's Congressional leadership than he did with his, and she won't make the same mistakes in negotiating with the Republican leadership that he did.

Choose:
Smaller type (our default)
Larger type
Even larger type, with serifs

Dire legal notice
Making Light copyright 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 by Patrick & Teresa Nielsen Hayden. All rights reserved.