Wednesday, February 13, 2008

The State of the Race -- Everybody wins!

Full disclosure: I did not vote in the D.C. Republican primary yesterday. John McCain has effectively sewn up the nomination, I couldn't bring myself to vote for Huckabee, and it's a closed primary so I couldn't vote for a Democrat. Not that I would have. At any rate, there was no incentive for me to brave the ice storm, so I didn't.

In reviewing the results from last night, there were no real surprises. Both McCain and Obama swept the three races. It does, however, have different implications for the two parties.

On the Republican side, the winner-take-all, survival-of-the-fittest nature of the contests means that McCain won all of the delegates despite Huckabee's respectable showing in Virginia.

For the Democrats, however, the bullshit pussified proportional nature of their contests means that, despite Hillary's unmitigated ass-kicking last night, Obama didn't exactly land a knock-out blow. Granted, he did well enough to take the delegate lead, but it's not yet convincing. On a side note, I think this is just what the Democrats deserve with their whole "everybody's a winner" mentality. What is this, tee-ball? Sorry kids, there's only one trophy to hand out this time. But I digress.

Hillary has since pinned the fate of her campaign on the Texas and Ohio primaries -- which, to me, sounds suspicious like Rudy Giuliani's "Florida Firewall" campaign that crashed and burned.

Obama currently leads in the delegate count by about 40, depending on who you ask. Given his momentum, the structure of the upcoming races, etc., I really don't see how Obama falls behind in the delegate count. Having said that, however, I also don't foresee him totally running away with it.

This prospect provides an interesting dynamic for both the Florida and Michigan primaries. For those of you who are less politically nerdy than I, you might not be aware that Florida and Michigan do not technically have delegates due to punishment by the Democrat National Committee for moving their respective primaries ahead of February 4th. Hillary Clinton "won" both of these primaries. She won Michigan because she was the only name on the ballot and she won Florida because it was agreed that none of the candidates would campaign there. Which she didn't -- wink wink, nudge nudge.

If Hillary finds herself a few delegates behind come Convention Time, she very well might petition to have the delegates from Florida and Michigan seated. That is to say, have them count for her. Simply campaigning to have those delegates seated, I believe, would cause a major rift in the party. If they actually were seated and it gave her the delegate lead, it would be absolutely incindiary. As a Republican, I'm actually rooting for this outcome. It benefits Republicans for the Democrats to have a contentious, volatile primary complete with burned bridges and bruised egos.

This is to say nothing of the "superdelegate" shenanigans. Again, for those who actually have lives and don't know such things, there are about 840 delegates at the Democrat convention who can vote however they want. These "superdelegates" also have the potential to throw the convention into a tailspin. If Hillary is close in the delegate count at the convention, and a majority of "superdelegates" break for her, she could still feasibly become the nominee -- albeit undemocratically. This, too, I believe would be suicidal for the Democrats. Which is why I'm also rooting for this as a Republican.

As I said before, the roles in this election have been completely reversed. It was supposed to be the Democrats that settled their nomination early while the Republicans cannibalized themselves through their covention. It's much to early to make any sort of prediction, but thus far this election is going better for Republicans -- or, perhaps more accurately, worse for Democrats -- than anyone would have guessed six months ago.


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