Friday, May 30, 2008

Hillary Clinton Wishes She Was a Republican

There's less than a minute left on the game clock in the primary season game of hoops, and Hillary Clinton is down by 200. She's still trying, still reacting to things Barack Obama does and says, and organizing protests at DNC meetings; in other words, she's fouling like crazy in order to extend the game. After all, Obama is only a mediocre free-throw shooter. But after the last primaries on June 3, the shot clock will be off, and she should be able to call off the horses and let Obama dribble the clock out until the convention in August.

If only Hillary Clinton was a Republican, she would have already locked up the nomination.

I had heard that if the Democrats used the delegate-selection system that Republicans use, then Clinton would be ahead in delegates, but I couldn't find any numbers to tell me exactly by how much. So I charted the delegates won by Obama and Clinton on a primary by primary basis in real life and as if they were apportioned using whichever rules the GOP was using in that contest. In most states, the Republicans use winner-take-all or winner-take-most, but there are a few (e.g. Iowa, North Carolina) where the splits are more proportional to the popular vote. I had to guess on some contests (particularly the winner-take-almost-all primaries), but I have come up with (I think) a fairly reasonable estimate of the difference between the number of pledged delegates Clinton would have and the number of pledged delegates Obama would have if the Democrats copied the Republican's rules, shown below.

Hillary Clinton is down by around 162 pledged delegates in real life, but she's up by around 429 pledged delegates in the GOP-style fantasy situation. Her chances are slim at best, and people are calling for her to quit campaigning and step aside at a deficit of 162. But if Obama had a deficit of more than 2.5 times that, he'd already have had to quit and yield to the mathematical certainty of a Clinton nomination.

So why fuck around with delegates, respective political parties? This is supposed to be a government where people directly elect representatives. Yet even the general election we have the electoral college, not the people, deciding who the next commander-in-chief will be, and sometimes the result can be very different. Why should the political parties mimic this inane system? Since a 600-delegate swing exists when different rules are in play, why must we mess around with unnecessary layers of representative amalgamation that serve only to distort the will of the people?

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Who's the Real Democrat?

This post is probably written a week or two late but I've been a bit busy recently.

Hillary Clinton has been making the absolutely ludicrous argument that she makes a better general election candidate because the traditionally blue states have selected her as their Democratic nominee rather than Barack Obama. This is insane for three reasons.

1. The Democratic primary has very little bearing on how the states will elect the president in November. Somehow I just don't see California, New York, New Jersey and most of New England voting for John McCain in November. Blue states don't turn into red states just because their shade of blue didn't prevail. Just ask Vermont.

2. If the democratic primary did have anything to do with the general election, wouldn't it be better if a candidate showed broad appeal from independents and some Republicans rather than narrow appeal from the hard-core leftist party members who would be more likely to vote a straight party ticket anyways? In general elections, the moderate voters will always determine the outcome of an election, since it is almost inconceivable to attract support from both the far-left and the far-right with no support from the middle (unless you're Ron Paul). Therefore, it would seem to me that the candidate the voters in the middle prefer should be the most viable candidate in November. Typically Democrats in red states tend to me more moderate than their blue state brothers, so if you're trying to pick off a few reddish swing states to win an election (Colorado, Missouri), you want to get in good with those Democrats. Admittedly, winning hard-core red states like Utah or Montana doesn't really say anything about the viability of the candidate in the general election, but it's for the same reason that winning Massachusetts and California doesn't say anything about the viability of the candidate.

3. Clinton could be arguing that not being able to win blue states means that Obama is not a true Democrat and does not share Democratic values. But take a look at these maps:

If these were general election maps, which color do you think would represent the Democratic nominee? Would it be blue which is found mostly in small rural communities, or would it be green which is found in large numbers in the big cities? In Ohio, Tennessee, Indiana, Missouri and Texas, Barack Obama (green) won the cities, which almost always go Democratic. In Pennsylvania, he won Philly big. The man won in San Francisco for god's sake! And yet, Hillary Clinton thinks that Barack Obama can't win these blue states. I hate to tell her, but Obama's support in these states came from the same people that will be voting for the Democrat in November, while Hillary's came from the rural towns and counties that will colored bright red on CNN's maps in November.

So, this is a really dumb argument that could favor either candidate.

(Thanks for the maps, NY Times)