Saturday, January 19, 2008

It Ain't Begun

I don't know if I've mentioned this or not (I actually have quite a few posts lately I haven't finished), but I've come down strongly on Obama's side. I'll support Hillary if she wins, but it will be the same way I supported Bill: Reluctantly.

So perhaps I'm a bit biased when I say this, but I really don't like how everyone keeps treating these individual primaries as if they're all or nothing. As if coming in second place is some sort of campaign threatening catastrophe. Now, if you come in second in a state you were supposed to sweep, that's bad. Or a front-runner coming in a distant third, as Dean did in Iowa in 2004. But losing by a few points isn't the end of the world.

In particular, people keep treating this as if you either win all the delegates or you win nothing. But that's not how this work. Second place isn't a huge loss if got almost as many delegates as the winner. And right now, both Barack and Hillary have 37 delegates. And in Nevada, Obama apparently picked up more delegates than Hillary. So why is everyone acting as if this is some defeat for Barack? Sure, perhaps there's something wrong with a delegate system that can give more points to the second place finisher, but in any case, this wasn't a big defeat.

Losing by one vote in a real election is still a loss, but in a state-by-state system, this shouldn't even be a setback. The only reason these early primaries are so important is only because of the appearance of how the election will shape up; but they haven't been decisive. Sure, in prior elections, the nominee was pretty much determined after New Hampshire sealed the deal. But we've got two strong candidates duking it out for once, and it looks like we're just going to have to wait to see how this turns out, and hope they don't get too nasty about it. Sure, we can decide this in one candidate's favor if we really want to, but it'd be better to just wait.

1 comment:

A said...

Ah, great minds do indeed think alike. I just posted about this -- the magic number is 2,025 delegates, and Obama and Clinton have 38 and 36 pledged, respectively. SC adds 45 more. 1,688 delegates are up for grabs on Super Tuesday, 447 in the rest of February, 417 in March, and 512 after that. There's a long, long way to go yet.

Also, I'm in agreement about Obama. I've been a fan of his for a while, but he's continued to impress, and I'm really not pleased with the way the Clinton campaign has been behaving so far. I can't decide if it's clumsy, objectionable, or both. Either possibility worries and annoys me at the same time, whereas before I just felt ambivalence.

I'd like to hear your thoughts on the matter, though.