Top 10 Myths
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.
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Chip Collis is a long-time commenter on the Huffington Post under the handle jungpatawan. 2008 Huffington Post All rights reserved.