Thursday, February 07, 2008

Democrats Headed for the Rocks

Now that the Super Tuesday delegate count is known, we can see how incredibly close the Democratic race actually is. Among pledged delegates, Obama leads Clinton 635 to 630. Among committed super-delegates, Clinton leads Obama 193 to 106, meaning Clinton has just 82 more delegates than Obama.

Let’s run some numbers. There are 4,049 total delegates, pledged and super, making the magic number 2,025. In the remaining primaries, there are 1,942 delegates still up for grabs. There are also another 543 super-delegates who have not stated a preference (a list of committed super-delegates is here).

Clinton needs 1,202 more delegates. Obama needs 1,283 more. For one of these candidates to secure the nomination without the super-delegates coming into play, one of them would need to win all the remaining primary delegates by a 2 to 1 margin. That’s 66%. Unless one of them is caught on a boat with Gary Hart, it’s just not going to happen.

This nomination will be decided by super-delegates who are free to change their votes however they please and are bound to no election results. You think the Republicans are at each other’s throats? Wait until every significant (and nearly every minor) Democratic official is forced to pick a side. The only hope that this will be worked out amicably is if one of these candidates manages to win something near 60% of the remaining primary delegates and the other concedes for the good of the party.

But if they keep splitting elections 50/50, neither is going to step aside for the other. That will not be pretty and the Democrats will be unable to avoid the perception that the nomination was decided in some smoke-filled back room. With all the favors the Clintons could call in, you have to like Hillary’s chances. Of course, Obama has the Kennedys behind him and that family could call in a few favors (and wring a few arms) as well.

Super-delegates were created to avoid the turmoil of a brokered convention. Instead, they could very well cause a broken convention. Democratic leaders need to figure out a plan right now to avoid the potential disaster ahead.

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Blogger bucyrus said...

Don't forget the MI and FL delegates. Those will enter the conversation, too.

Here's a question, which side do you think's more likely to hold a sore loser's grudgelike the anti-McCain folks on the right?

I think it's the Obama folks. If Hillary wins, IMO she needs to strongly consider putting Obama on the ticket with her.

6:49 PM  
Blogger Alan Stewart Carl said...

I think you're right. Obama's supporters will be more upset if he doesn't get the nom. Some of his more moderate supporters could very well decide McCain is the better choice over Clinton.

8:06 AM  

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