Friday, February 15, 2008

The Super Delegates may kill us

There's a lot of confusion over exactly how many delegates the two Democratic candidates possess. Of course, everyone is saying that Barack Obama has more delegates than Hillary Clinton. Adding up the numbers make that clear.

But the question is, how many more delegates, super or otherwise, does Obama currently have?

This morning I surveyed a number of news sources for the current delegate count. Before I even started I knew the super delegates were subject to interpretation, because they are usually counted only if they publicly committed to one candidate. About half of the 796 supers have done so depending on whose count you see.

The problem is, super delegates can say whatever the hell they want, but they don't have to commit until the convention. That means that nearly 20% of the total delegates are technically in play right up until the first ballot. So any delegate count that includes the supers has to be taken with a large grain of salt. A grain that may be bullied, coerced, bribed, or simply intimidated into changing it's preference at the very last moment.

Even so, I was quite frankly surprised at how variable the numbers are between competing news agencies. Here's what I found online this morning:

Obama 1253 (1096 + 157) (voter selected and committed supers)
Clinton 1211 (977 + 234)

NY Times (only pledged delegates won so far)
Obama 916
Clinton 885

Obama 1275
Clinton 1220

(FoxNews uses AP as source)

Obama 1116
Clinton 985

ABC News
Obama 1293
Clinton 1226

CBS News
Obama 1281
Clinton 1198

As you can see, Obama is definitely ahead, but by how much? Various counts give him 916, 1116, 1226, 1253, 1281 or 1293 delegates! Is it any wonder WHY people are confused about the process?

The New York Times election page has a concise explanation of the delegate situation.

There are late reports of the candidates making huge contributions to the reelection campaigns of some uncommitted delegates. The implications of this situation are too depressing for me to even discuss right now. And then, of course, there's the ugly specter of Florida and Michigan which will arise probably later rather than sooner, and have to be dealt with. We may be in for a hideous convention that makes the 1968 Democratic convention disaster look like a love-fest by comparison.

The fact is, unless one or the other candidate breaks out big in the next few weeks, we're likely to see months of back-room wheeling and dealing with the supers, which may leave us with an appointed nominee rather than one who is elected!

We will then see a new level of viciousness that will effectively destroy the Democratic party, and put John McCain in the White House for the next 8 years.


Anonymous said...

Tom Lantos was a Hillary Clinton superdelegate. No replacement, it appears.

CT Bob said...

No, I'm guessing the supers in Congress have to have been elected by a certain date in order to qualify. I'd imagine if they hold a special election to replace Lantos, the winner (if a Democrat) won't be a super delegate.

Tessa Marquis said...

super duper party pooper delegate?