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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-25-2008, 08:57 AM Thread Starter
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Clinton Campaign's New Math

Yes, I found it on Digg, but it's timely and relevant...and revealing.

MotherJones Blog: The Clinton Campaign's New Math
The Clinton Campaign's New Math

Unless something truly monumental produces lopsided victories for Hillary Clinton in the upcoming primaries, her chances for the Democratic nomination rely on superdelegates overturning the will of Democratic voters. Knowing this, her campaign has regularly identified criteria upon which the superdelegates might choose Clinton over Obama, some of which directly reflect the voters' intent (pledged delegate count, popular vote) and some of which are essentially judgment calls (electability, readiness). The campaign's problem is that the former criteria currently favor Obama and the latter don't lend themselves to a slam dunk consensus. In fact, they have so far been rejected by the majority of Democratic voters, who think electability and readiness are either better found in Obama or are trumped by Obama's ability to usher in change. If superdelegates were to cite Clinton's electability and readiness in order to coronate a nominee, it could drive voters out of the party.

But the Clinton campaign has found a new angle: imaginary electoral college votes. It is sending surrogates out to push the idea that superdelegates should vote for the candidate who would have come out ahead if the primaries were awarding electoral college votes instead of delegates.

This has a veneer of legitimacy because the campaign can say, "In the fall, the president is chosen through the electoral college. If you want to know who would make the best nominee, look at the electoral vote math." In fact, Clinton communications guru Howard Wolfson said almost exactly this to the New York Times.

Now, is this spin? Of course it is. The Clinton campaign will and has spit out any criteria it can think of that shifts the media narrative in its direction. It is losing the pledged delegate count, it is losing the popular vote, and it has lost more states. But it is in front when it comes to this notion of electoral college votes because it has won more big states. "It is our belief that at the end of the day, superdelegates will need to take into account a variety of factors," said spokesman Phil Singer on a conference call on Monday. "And that includes which candidate is going to be best able to accumulate the requisite 270 electoral votes."

The problem here is that these fictitious electoral college results have little, if any, connection to the electoral college results in the fall. Clinton won California in the primary, giving her bucketloads of these imaginary electoral college votes. (Because of how the Democratic Party awards delegates, the delegate results were relatively even in California. Electoral college votes are winner-take-all.) The same happened in New York. But Obama will win California and New York in the fall if he is the nominee. He's a Democrat. Winning California and New York in presidential elections is what Democrats do.

And then there's the fact that the winner of a state's Democratic primary is not necessarily the best Democrat to win that state in the fall. Clinton won the Democratic primary in New Mexico, where Kerry lost to Bush by one percent in 2004. The Democrats may need Obama's ability to appeal to independents and Republicans to turn New Mexico blue in the fall.

The question is, how will the media cover the Clinton campaign's latest ploy? In a Politico article recently, Jim VandeHei and Mike Allen made the point that a hard look at the delegate count shows that Clinton has "virtually no chance of winning" the nomination. But the media has a couple reasons for pretending like it does:
One reason is fear of embarrassment. In its zeal to avoid predictive reporting of the sort that embarrassed journalists in New Hampshire, the media — including Politico — have tended to avoid zeroing in on the tough math Clinton faces...

One important, if subliminal, reason is self-interest. Reporters and editors love a close race — it's more fun and it's good for business.

The media are also enamored of the almost mystical ability of the Clintons to work their way out of tight jams, as they have done for 16 years at the national level. That explains why some reporters are inclined to believe the Clinton campaign when it talks about how she's going to win on the third ballot at the Democratic National Convention in August.
I would add another reason: many in the media hold to a twisted form of objectivity. Instead of taking a hard look at the facts and stating them plainly, it gives equal space to both sides' arguments and spin. I'm guilty of some of this myself.

So the media can either: (1) ignore the Clinton campaign's new math; (2) report the campaign's new math, but explain the fallacy behind it; or (3) report the campaign's new math and pretend like its just part of the back-and-forth of a dogfight campaign that either candidate can win. The first two are clearly superior to the third, but it is the third that keeps Clinton viable. The fact that her campaign has realized that content-hungry 24-hour news outlets will report most of their spin as long as they keep producing it demonstrates that though they might not win this nomination fight, they'll never be beat on the media management front.
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-25-2008, 09:24 AM
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I'm sure they're trying their hardest to dig up dirt on all of the superdelegates. They'll destroy their own party to get to the White House. Bill Richardson is villified as a Judas. These are the "with us or against us" tactics of the current administration.

I'm starting to see why so many people hate Hillary with such a passion.
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-25-2008, 09:57 AM
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Yes, that's exactly why I am turned off by Hillary. Richardson is a man of reason and if I were Obama I would put him on my shortlist for veep
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-25-2008, 10:00 AM
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Originally Posted by drewprof View Post
^^
Yes, that's exactly why I am turned off by Hillary. Richardson is a man of reason and if I were Obama I would put him on my shortlist for veep


That deal was cut the same week the Wright shit hit the fan, Obama needed the support at that time and Richardson wanted in before JE cut his own deal with Obama.........
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-25-2008, 12:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Gregs300CD View Post
I'm sure they're trying their hardest to dig up dirt on all of the superdelegates. They'll destroy their own party to get to the White House. Bill Richardson is villified as a Judas. These are the "with us or against us" tactics of the current administration.

I'm starting to see why so many people hate Hillary with such a passion.
It is hard to poke holes in that logic. I think lots of people are starting to draw the same conclusions.

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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-25-2008, 04:34 PM
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Help, the dryer is spinning out of control..

================================================== ===

"Pledged delegates in most states are not pledged," Clinton told the board, according the newspaper's Web site. "You know, there is no requirement that anybody vote for anybody. They're just like superdelegates."
The Associated Press: Clinton Tells Part of Delegate Story
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-25-2008, 06:50 PM
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I heard someone today use "The Tonya Harding Scenario" as a last ditch effort to win.

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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-26-2008, 12:41 PM
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Is this the end or a time warp to 2000 ?
==========================================
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- For the second time in three days, Sen. Hillary Clinton told reporters that the pledged delegates awarded based on vote totals in their state are not bound to abide by election results.
Pledged delegates up for grabs, Clinton says - CNN.com
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-26-2008, 02:53 PM
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Can she get any more contemptible?

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- For the second time in three days, Sen. Hillary Clinton told reporters that the pledged delegates awarded based on vote totals in their state are not bound to abide by election results.

It's an idea that has been floated by her or a campaign surrogate nearly half a dozen times this month.

Sen. Barack Obama leads Clinton among all Democratic delegates, 1,622 to 1,485, in the latest CNN count. Among pledged delegates, Obama leads Clinton 1,413 to 1,242.

"Every delegate with very few exceptions is free to make up his or her mind however they choose," Clinton told Time's Mark Halperin in an interview published Wednesday.

"We talk a lot about so-called pledged delegates, but every delegate is expected to exercise independent judgment," she said.

Clinton's remarks echoed her Monday comments to the editorial board of the Philadelphia Daily News.

"And also remember that pledged delegates in most states are not pledged," she said Monday. "You know there is no requirement that anybody vote for anybody. They're just like superdelegates."

Clinton also made similar comments in a Newsweek interview published two weeks ago.

The last time a major candidate lobbied pledged delegates to switch sides was at the 1980 convention, when Ted Kennedy's campaign tried to recruit delegates who arrived at the convention supporting eventual nominee Jimmy Carter.

After that battle, the Democratic Party altered a provision that required pledged delegates to support the candidate they had arrived at the convention to back.

Clinton advisers have cited the altered rule, which dates to 1982 and says only that pledged delegates "shall in all good conscience reflect the sentiments of those who elected them."

The same year, The Democratic Party created a new category of delegate -- the so-called "superdelegates" -- party leaders and elected officials who are free to support any candidate they wish, regardless of vote totals in their home states.

Some states require their delegates to support the candidate they are pledged to but most do not.

Earlier this month, Clinton adviser Harold Ickes first raised the prospect that pledged delegates were not legally bound to vote as election results indicate -- an idea that has drawn sharp criticism from supporters of rival Obama.

"Despite repeated denials, the Clinton campaign has again admitted that they will go to any length to win," Obama spokesman Bill Burton said again Wednesday.

The Clinton campaign has said that they had not been planning to try to actively convince the Illinois senator's pledged delegates to switch sides and would not do so in the future.

But on a conference call with reporters Tuesday, Ickes defended Clinton's Monday remarks and repeated his view that pledged delegates were free to switch their allegiance at any time.

"I think what Mrs. Clinton was trying to make clear was that no delegate is required by party rules to vote for the candidate for which they're pledged," said Ickes.

"I mean obviously circumstances can change, and people's minds can change about the viability of a particular candidate and that's permitted now under our rules ever since the 1980 convention."

He added that although the rules permitted them to campaign pledged delegates to switch sides, they had not engaged in such an effort.

The timing of the latest round of comments was not an accident, according to veteran Democratic strategist Hank Sheinkopf.

"It keeps them in play. It makes party players understand that they're serious, and they'll stay in the game," Sheinkopf said.

He added that party insiders were likely to view the threat merely as a bargaining chip by an extraordinarily seasoned political team.

Clinton spokesman Phil Singer dismissed the criticism entirely.

"I don't think she floated that idea. I think she was repeating the idea," he told reporters Monday. "Simply stating a fact I don't think is a cause for hysteria."
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