Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Obama Battleground Update #2

Top 10 Myths

Keeping Hillary

in the Race

[Senator Obama's point about Clinton's option to stay in the race 'as long as she likes' is well taken, and we don't post this piece to quarrel with it. Rather, the following provides a fairly good picture of the lay of the land so far. --CarlD]

By Chip Collis

Huffington Post April 2, 2008

I have noted a number of myths suggesting Hillary should stay in the race. Here are ten enduring, kudzu-like myths, with the debunking they sorely need.

Myth: This race is tied.

No, actually, it's not. Obama has the lead in number of states won, in pledged delegates and in overall delegates. Nothing will happen in the remaining primaries to substantially change that. As to the one thing Hillary does lead in, superdelegates, her quickly shrinking margin is among DNC personnel only. When you look at the elected superdelegates, Congressman, Senators and Governors (i.e. people who actually work with both Obama and Clinton) Obama leads there, too.

Myth: Okay, the popular vote is tied.

There are people who claim that because of the 3% separation, that Obama's lead in the popular vote is a "statistical tie." This is a myth because, when you can actually count things, there's no need of statistics and no such thing as a margin of error. The popular vote is not an estimate based on a sampling, like a poll. Like the general election, there are winners and losers and, so far, Obama is the winner.

Myth: Fine, but what if we count electoral votes? Now Hillary is ahead!

Not so much. The proportions of electoral votes to population versus delegates to population are pretty comparable. So if you allocated electors proportionally in the same manner that you allocate delegates, Obama is still ahead. If you allocate them on a winner-take-all basis, then that would be the same as allocating the delegates on a winner-take-all basis, so why bring electors into it?

Myth: But if we did do it like the Electoral College, that proves Hillary is more electable than Obama, because of states like California.

This is perhaps the saddest little myth of all. It's ridiculous to suggest that Obama will lose New York and California to McCain because Clinton won them in the primaries. No, come November, those states will join with Obama's Illinois to provide 40% of the electors necessary for him to win.

Myth: Very well, then, Mr. Smarty-Math. But if we counted Michigan and Florida, then Hillary would be winning!

Nooo, she wouldn't. The margin would depend on how you allocate the delegates, but Obama would still be ahead. And he'd still be about 100,000 ahead in the popular vote, too, despite not even being on the ballot in Michigan. However, it would enhance Hillary's chances of catching up in the remaining races.

Myth: Ah HA! So Dean is keeping them out just to help Obama! And Obama is keeping them out.

That's two myths, but I'll treat it like one. The only people who can come up with a solution to this problem are the states themselves, to be presented to the Rules and Regulations Committee of the DNC for ratification. It was Rules and Regs, not Howard Dean, who ruled that Florida and Michigan were breaking the rules when they presented their original primary plans. If the two states cannot come up with a plan to reselect delegates, they can try to seat whatever delegates were chosen in the discounted primaries by appealing to the Democratic Convention's Credentialing Committee, which includes many members from Rules and Bylaws.

Myth: If they don't get seated until the convention but a nominee is selected before these poor people get counted then these states are disenfranchised.

There are two ways to debunk this myth: semantically and practically. The first is based on the word "disenfranchised:" these people have not been deprived of their right to vote. Through the actions of their states, their votes don't impact the outcome. Now, you may say that that is specious semantics (Myth: I do say that!) but practically speaking, this is the usual effect of the nominating process, anyway. All of the Republican primaries since McCain clinched the nomination have been meaningless, but those voters are not disenfranchised.

Florida and Michigan tried to become more relevant in the process by breaking the rules. They risked becoming irrelevant instead.

Myth: Well, I say they are disenfranchised, and Hillary Clinton is their champion.

Only when it suits her. Last fall, when the decision was first made to flush 100% of Michigan and Florida delegates, Clinton firmly ratified it. That was because the typical punishment of only 50% representation also kept the candidates from raising money in those states. Figuring that she would wrap up the nomination handily anyway, the clear front-runner agreed with all the other candidates - including Obama - to completely "disenfranchise" those two states.

Myth: Well, never mind 2007. She's doing more now to bring them in.

Not really. Recent stories in the St. Petersburg Times political blog said that 1) the Obama camp has reached out to the Florida Democratic party about a compromise and that 2) the Clinton camp will discuss nothing else but re-votes, which are legally, practically and politically dead.

Myth: Whatever! Hillary can still win! I know she can! She and her 37% positive rating will sweep through the remaining primaries and Michigan and Florida, winning 70% of everything and superdelegates will flock to her banner and Barack Obama will personally nominate her at the Convention and John McCain will give up and George Bush will even quit early so she can take over and... and... and... can I have a glass of water?

Yes, and you should lie down, too.

AlterNet is a nonprofit organization and does not make political endorsements. The opinions expressed by its writers are their own.

Chip Collis is a long-time commenter on the Huffington Post under the handle jungpatawan. 2008 Huffington Post All rights reserved.


Chris Lowe said...

Mostly I agree with this; on the "disfranchisment" point one could argue that caucus states disfranchise many people relative to primary election states, but the Clinton people have no objection in principle to caucuses -- or had none until Obama proved more successful at mobilizing for them.

However, there is one Obama myth that we should recognize: the idea that Obama wins in primaries & caucuses in "red" states means that he is more likely to carry those states in the general. This is just a non sequitur.

Take Idaho, for example (next door to us in Oregon). Senator Obama won it going away. But he won among the Democratic minority. That says absolutely nothing about his ability or otherwise to win Idaho in the general. His chances of doing so are vanishingly small. The same is true of a number of southern states that he won within the DP.

Obama's efforts in Idaho nonetheless were valuable for longer term efforts to wrest the state from ultra-conservative control. Clearly he energized and raised the morale of many people.

But the Obama movement as well as the Obama campaign need to look to the general with the electoral college rules in mind. It will be winner take all.

On the other hand, there will be no restrictions based on party affiliation or non-affiliation, setting up an interesting contest between the vaunted appeals to independents and cross-overs attributed to both McCain and Obama.

Still, illusions based on internal Democratic Party results under different rules should not be entertained, and the meaning of "he has won more states" should not be misconstrued nor exaggerated.

Anonymous said...


From Larry Pinkney of the

Enter Barack Obama, de facto pro-Zionist, corporate-backed, “unilateral” militarist, double speaking, wolf in sheep’s clothing - U.S. presidential candidate in the year 2008.

Barack Obama: a candidate of “color” touted as a “peace” candidate while simultaneously calling for “unilateral” U.S. military actions in other nations. A candidate who cynically claims to oppose the war in Iraq, while simultaneously having stated that he differs little with George W. Bush, since he (Obama) wants to have U.S. troops fight the war of occupation in Iraq “better,” and/or “more effectively.” Indeed, of late, Barack Obama and some of his colleagues in the Democratic party have begun to utilize the hypocritical and misleading political line, that U.S. troops and/or the war profiteering corporations in Iraq should be redeployed to a different region; which Obama knows full well is not ending the war but rather actually expanding it like a malignant cancer.

Moreover, due to Barack Obama’s blatant and unconscionable loyalty to apartheid Zionism, which is essentially the same as America’s racist Manifest Destiny doctrine, it is quite obvious that one of the next major targets of U.S. imperialist ambitions in any possible Obama presidency would most assuredly be an attack against the sovereign nation of Iran. This of course presupposes that the Bush/Cheney clique does not preempt such a move by insanely launching its own military attack against Iran, under some fabricated pretext, prior to the end of this regime’s term.

Anonymous said...

Why do "PROGRESSIVES" support Obama who actively campaigned for Joe Lieberman and sought him out to be his mentor in Congress?

From CounterPunch:

And in March 2006, Obama went out of his way to travel to Connecticut to campaign for Senator Joseph Lieberman who faced a tough challenge by anti-war candidate Ned Lamont. At a Democratic Party dinner attended by Lamont, Obama called Lieberman "his mentor" and urged those in attendance to vote and give financial contributions to him. This is the same Lieberman who Alexander Cockburn called "Bush's closest Democratic ally on the Iraq War." Why would Obama have done that if he was truly against the war?

Anonymous said...

The "Progressives" for Obama support a candidate who sides with the Republicans on limiting the recovery that victims of medical malpractice could obtain through the courts:


Votes wherein Obama aligns himself with Republican Party interests aren't new. While in the Illinois Senate, Obama voted to limit the recovery that victims of medical malpractice could obtain through the courts. Capping non-economic damages in medical malpractice cases means a victim cannot fully recover for pain and suffering or for punitive damages. Moreover, it ignored that courts were already empowered to adjust awards when appropriate, and that the Illinois Supreme Court had previously ruled such limits on tort reform violated the state constitution.

In the US Senate, Obama continued interfering with patients' full recovery for tortious conduct. He was a sponsor of the National Medical Error Disclosure and Compensation Act of 2005. The bill requires hospitals to disclose errors to patients and has a mechanism whereby disclosure, coupled with apologies, is rewarded by limiting patients' economic recovery. Rather than simply mandating disclosure, Obama's solution is to trade what should be mandated for something that should never be given away: namely, full recovery for the injured patient.

Carl Davidson said...

I'm sure you can find more poor positions taken by Obama, 'anon,'. We can.

The question is what to do about it.

If you read the 'Progressives for Obama' I doubt if you'll find a 'full endorsement' of all Obama's stands. What we say is he's staking out centrist positions in a progressive-center coalition, the progressive pole of which needs some more clout, and we have taken on the task of organization it, quite independently of the campaign.

What we do say is that he's 'the best option,' and we don't feel compelled to apologize for or prettify every up and down. He is what his is, and he's not John McCain.

Progressives have four activist choices. 1) Join his campaign, 2) Join ours or something like it 3) register a minority opposition vote by voting Green or for a socialist candidate, or 4) join McCain's 'Depress the Progressive Vote' effort by encouraging everyone to avoid the ballot box.

The first three are fine, so long as you don't vote by yourself, but take scads of young antiwar voters to the polls with you, lecturing them about illusions on the way if you like, but they'll still figure out what to do.

The last choice isn't fine, and doesn't even pass the test of small 'd' democracy.

I suppose one can sit on the fence a while longer, as we did earlier. But rather than accumulating clout that way, at a certain point it runs in reverse, and you miss the option of joining and engaging a vibrant and insurgent interracial movement of young people, and having an organized voice, both in 2008 and after November.

Guitarsandmore805 said...

The delegates in Florida and Michigan need to be seated whether Hillary drops out or not. It looks real fishy that some states were allowed to move their primary dates and others were not.

The right to vote is the basis of why we are doing this whole thing to begin with. Playing games with the right to vote makes us look like a third world country. It reflects badly on the Democrats and it reflects badly on Obama.

What is he afraid of?

We can't want to win so bad that we corrupt the system otherwise we are no better than the Republicans.
The primaries must be fair.

Taking away the right to vote is not an acceptable solution to the problem that Florida and Michigan created for themselves. We're supposed to be the smart people, the creative people, we need to come up with a good solution for Florida and Michigan.

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