Tagprimary

Math of the Democratic Primary

Finally, our long national nightmare is over. Yesterday, the last of the states voted in the Democratic Primary. Although Washington D.C will vote on the 14th, no one cares about them because, one, it will vote overwhelmingly for Clinton and two, because taxation without representation still holds true for the nation’s capital ironically. Anyway, to summarize the results of the primary:

Hillary Clinton now has:

  • Won a majority of the popular vote count
  • Won the most states
  • Won the most primaries/contests [1]
  • Won the most closed primaries
  • Won a majority of the pledged delegates

Bernie Sanders has:

  • Won a majority of caucuses

Ergo ‘super delegates’ will and most already have pledged support for Hillary Clinton (571 to Sanders’ 48) pushing her over the edge for securing the Democratic nomination quite comfortably.

Caucuses versus Primaries

As Five Thirty Eight projects, if the caucuses were primaries instead i.e. voters cast a ballot instead of spending time debating for a few hours before casting their vote, Hillary Clinton would end up winning a majority of those as well. A grand total of 10,000 people caucused in Alaska. If it was a primary, an estimated 57,000 would cast their ballot.

But why estimate when Washinghton State provides the perfect experiement. It held an official caucus that awarded the delegates on March 26. Bernie Sanders won 73% of the vote compared to Clinton’s 27%. Nearly 237,000 votes were cast in this caucus. The state also held a primary on May 24. This time, however, Hillary Clinton won 54% of the vote compared to Sander’s 46%, and even though these results wouldn’t matter and it was purely a symbolic primary, more than 800,000 votes were cast in this primary. I’ll leave it up to you to decide which method gives the opportunity to the most people to exercise their choice.

Even though Clinton won most of the open primaries i.e. open to non-Democrats, I would argue that all primaries should be closed. If you want to elect a nominee for the Democratic Party, you should be a member of the Democratic Party. It’s that simple. If you want to claim youself as an Independent, you’ll have to wait until the General Election to cast your vote. There are umpteen third-party candidates in the fray if you are not satisfied with the two major party candidates.

On to the General

However, remember that, given the structure of the country’s winner-take-all Electoral College, unless your third-party wins the majority of the electoral votes, your vote will benefit the eventual winner from the two major parties. This year, such votes will help elect Trump. You can still exercise your choice but that’s the unintended consequence whether you like it or not and nope, this is not being passive-agressive. It’s just the way things play out.

there is a chance

This Democratic Primary wasn’t really close although it went through to June. But that was mostly because California hadn’t voted hence giving the person who was behind a probable although very unlikely chance. If California had voted on Super Tuesday, we wouldn’t be having this conversation today.

Congratulations to Hillary Clinton. Now onward to beating Trump in the general.

Footnotes:
  1. includes territories that vote in primaries but not in the general. A total of 57 geographic contests were held this year []

A Third-Party Run for Sanders?

By now, Bernie Sanders has all but exhausted his options for winning the Democratic nomination. Even after his win in West Virginia today that had its inordinate share of idiosyncratic voters [1], he trails Hillary Clinton by 285 pledged delegates. He would’ve to get three-fourths of the votes in California to even get tantalizingly close.

However, the super delegates who often vote in favor of the candidate who wins the majority of the pledged delegates, will put Hillary over the top and some more. After dissing the super-delegates as undemocratic and as ‘the establishment’, he cannot count on their support especially if it is to countermand the majority of voters’ wishes [2]. So what’s the next step for Bernie Sanders?

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Footnotes:
  1. Registered Democrats who are in fact Republicans and have been for a long time []
  2. Hillary Clinton currently has nearly 3 million votes more than Bernie Sanders []

The mess that’s the primaries

When I first came to this country and got interested in the politics[1], I was impressed by its primary system. Coming from the land of the Gandhis, the idea that any member of the political party could run for President, appeal to the party base, and effectively be nominated as the party’s nominee for the highest office in land was as democratic as it got.

To be fair, the system has worked well and although it’s not as democratic and fair as most would like it, it still got Barack Obama nominated against the Clinton machine.But increasingly, it has gotten ridiculous. Candidates announce their intentions to run almost 1.5-2 years before the actual election date and the subsequent months is just an endless drama of poll numbers. Governors are rarely in their states, Senators barely register their votes in Congress, and other do-nothings are simply peddling their future media and book campaigns. Running in a primary is basically outsourcing your personal expenses on the gullible donors for at least two years. No other reason exists for Huckabee and Santorum running almost every election cycle.

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Footnotes:
  1. After all, it was the year of the infamous recount []

Super Delegated

Obama has now passed Clinton in the Super Delegate lead, the last criteria Clinton had in her favor. What other statistic can she claim now? I’m sure Clintons can think of something. As Bob Herbert says, the Clintons aren’t exactly known to exit gracefully.

Experience vs. Change

Even if you have been casually channel surfing over the past few months, I’m sure you have heard these slogans over and over again – “I’ll be ready on day one; experience matters” or the more catchy – “Change you can believe in; yes we can”. Clinton and Obama have been at loggerheads for over an year now vying for the Democratic nomination and even after their 20th debate last night, we still aren’t sure who is the nominee. Hopefully Texas & Ohio (and oh yeah, Vermont & Rhode Island too) should put us over the hill on the slope toward the Presidential contest in November. It doesn’t help that the Republicans have their nominee already picked out notwithstanding the attention-seeking antics of Huckabee.

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Are Super Delegates democratic?

The primary season to elect the nominees for the Presidential election for both the Republican and Democratic parties has been pretty interesting this time. Usually the primary candidates battle it out for the first few states and then after those states vote, the nominee is all but decided. traditionally it has been Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina that had decided the nominees. However this year has been different and even after a year-long campaign before even the first primary and two-thirds of the states done with their primaries, the Democratic nominee is still undecided. Although McCain has emerged as the Republican nominee, Huckabee is still winning states throwing the party in chaos.

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The Primary Season Heats Up

The United States Presidential Primary field just got a whole lot narrower this morning. First, John McCain emerged victorious in yesterday’s Florida primary in what may be considered one of the greatest comebacks in recent political history. Languishing far behind the front runners, Guiliani and Romney, his campaign was nearly bankrupt in the summer and his stance on immigration and the Iraq war were proving to be disastrous. But resilience and a lackluster Republican field allowed him a second chance. Second, John Edwards stepped out of the Democratic race making it a Clinton-Obama face off. The garibon-ka-saathi Edwards had no choice but to announce his withdrawal after the other two candidates hogged not only the limelight but also garnered millions. Even Edwards admitted that he has to step aside to let history blaze its path because if the Democratic nominee makes it to the White House it would be the first time a woman or a black candidate makes it. Only a McCain nomination would threaten that possibility.

The primaries on Tuesday will more or less decide the nominees for both parties as more than 20 states go to the polls and nearly 1600 delegates are at stakes. You need a little over 2000 to garner the nomination. I just hope we don’t have a brokered convention where much horse trading ensues because that will simply embitter people and reduce the voter turnout in November.

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