Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Primary education

It probably still won't come to this, but it's good to learn about how the primary/convention process in the Democratic Party works on the off chance that it's not decided when the primaries are done.

The Clinton campaign is targeting delegates to convince them to vote for her at the convention even though they are 'pledged' to Obama. This is separate to the superdelegates issue. 'Pledged' delegates are apparently free to change their minds and vote for whomever they choose regardless of who the voters wanted them to support.

Then there's Texas, which has some bizarre rules for its primary, and they don't favor Clinton.
Several top Clinton strategists and fundraisers became alarmed after learning of the state's unusual provisions during a closed-door strategy meeting this month, according to one person who attended.

What Clinton aides discovered is that in certain targeted districts, such as Democratic state Sen. Juan Hinojosa's heavily Hispanic Senate district in the Rio Grande Valley, Clinton could win an overwhelming majority of votes but gain only a small edge in delegates. At the same time, a win in the more urban districts in Dallas and Houston – where Sen. Barack Obama expects to receive significant support – could yield three or four times as many delegates.

"What it means is, she could win the popular vote and still lose the race for delegates," Hinojosa said yesterday. "This system does not necessarily represent the opinions of the population, and that is a serious problem."
If nothing else, this campaign has been a great education.