The Popular Vote is Not a Legitimate Metric

I've been reading the back and forth on the popular vote discussion here for quite some time now and I am still amazed that the idea is so heartily embraced by many as legitimizing for whoever wins it.  There are endless arguments as to what it represents and how to count it, with myriad possibilities.  The fact that there is no clear agreement on either of these questions renders any interpretation of the popular vote as at best problematic and uncertain, and at worst meaningless.  There are two ways that using the popular vote as metric might be legitimized.

The first is if it was included by the party in the manner in which the nominee is chosen.  In this case, it would be clearly defined as to how it is measured and there would be one number sanctioned by the party for candidates, voters and election officials certifying results to follow. In this case, arguments about names on ballots, whether candidates could campaign, methods of counts for caucuses would be determined based on a set of rules.  However, this is not case for selecting the democratic nominee.

The second possibility is the moral argument that the nominee should reflect the voters' preferences.  There are many ways to do this.  One is a national primary.  Another is the representative system we currently have via delegates.  On phrase we often hear that is used to justify some current estimates of the "popular vote" is the "one person, one vote" principle.  It is argued that this is a much better way of representing voter preferences than a representative system via delegates.  In a situation where all voters in every state have basically the same process to confront when heading to the polls, this principle works fairly well, and has been a cornerstone in defining what constitutes a fair election.  However, the problem with applying this principle to the current campaign is that unlike in a general election, it does not well represent voter preferences, and when the totals are very close, I believe this renders it meaningless. (the why is below the fold)

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A simple election in Freedonia

President Rufus T. Firefly was nearing the end of his reign, and it was time once again to hold presidential elections in Freedonia, a country of 3 million people in three equal provinces.  The rules of the Dumont Party are that its nominee is to be selected at its national convention by vote of a majority of delegates from the three provinces, and each province was to be represented by 100 delegates to be selected according to whatever system each province chose.  It was a simple system, and everyone agreed in advance.

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Power to the People

The people are speaking.  Is our party listening?

Early in the primaries, Barack Obama promised that he would win more people over the longer he campaigned.  He said that every state becomes an "Obama state" once he goes there.  But an interesting thing happened as winter turned to spring, and the people kept voting in record numbers.  Hillary Clinton stole the momentum.   Her popularity soared; her appeal broadened; and she steadfastly became the darling of the masses, even as Barack was crowned darling of the mass media.

It started back in New Hampshire, when Hillary "found her voice," but what really happened is that the American people have found Hillary. And there's nothing like raw data to illustrate the point:  

*The Electoral Vote "Poll Watcher" shows Hillary gaining steam against McCain, now leading 310 to 228, with Hillary winning key states like Florida, North Carolina, and West Virginia.  (Obama trails McCain by over 30 EV's.)

*Over the last three months, Hillary has won more contests, gained more votes, and earned more delegates. Since March 4th, she has gained nearly 500,000 more popular votes than Barack Obama as voters in crucial battleground states have made their voices known.

*More Americans have voted for Hillary than any other presidential candidate this cycle. In fact, more people have voted for Hillary than any other primary candidate in history - nearly 18 million so far.

*Just yesterday, Hillary won 150,000 more votes than Obama in Kentucky and Oregon, even though delegate counts will be split fairly evenly.

*Hillary has now won nearly 64,000 more votes than Obama in total, when all caucuses and primaries are included.

Hillary Clinton just keeps winning.  She is the candidate who closes the deal with voters. Despite being out-spent by margins of up to 4-to-1; despite anxious efforts by Obama, his surrogates, and an obedient press corps to convince people that the race is over.  They keep voting for her anyway.  Thankfully there's a stubborn gene in the American people, a natural resistance to authority, and maybe that's why the people love Hillary.  They see her get up with the roosters every day, work herself to exhaustion in pursuit of a dream, and never give up or give in to the nay-sayers.  Hillary, in spite of all the odds, has become a genuine Made in the USA hero, a leader for the people and no longer just "Bill's wife," the other Clinton.

My candidate for President, Hillary Clinton, said in her Kentucky victory speech last night:

It is not just Kentucky bluegrass that is music to my ears. It is the sound of your overwhelming vote of confidence even in the face of some pretty tough odds. Some have said your votes didn't matter, that this campaign was over, that allowing everyone to vote and every vote to count would somehow be a mistake. But that didn't stop you. You've never given up on me because you know I'll never give up on you.

Funny thing...that pesky notion of one-person-one-vote-rules in a democracy, such an irritant to the power-brokers who want Hillary Clinton to pad dutifully back to her seat in the Senate, and forget about the 18 million people who want her to be President, including 2.3 million in Florida and Michigan who knew exactly what they were doing.

Power to the people, that's the lesson from November, 2000.  It's not too late to take it to heart.  Hillary Clinton can close this deal for the Democrats in November.

Note: popular vote statistics from Real Clear Politics

Cross posted at texasdarlin

TexasDarlin, all rights reserved
Not affiliated with the Hillary Clinton campaign

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If there is one thing I will carry away from this year's state primaries  to select a candidate for the general election, it is that the ideal of a democracy--one person, one secret vote---does not hold sway within the  Democratic Party.

. The caucus system has been gamed, and in many cases it cannot be deemed a fair representation of the will of a majority of the democratic party's voters in the state;

. the apportioning of delegates has been weighted  so that losers can carry away as many delegates as winners, and in some cases carry away more;

. the leadership of the national committee can behave in arbitrary and capricious ways with no apparent checks and balances;

. there is no means by which the will of the people who support the party can influence decisions;

. high level financial backers have a determining influence;

. functionaries will adjust decisions  so that some states are disproportionately punished compared to others when rules are "violated."

. And finally, like the cherry on top of the cake, a high level Democratic Party official who has great sway over the nomination process regularly appears on television as a Pundit.

Who could dream this up?

It is as if the Democratic Party never heard of a conflict of interest. Does not in fact care about democracy. And will be damned if it will be seen as caring about the will of the majority of its party members. One might also term this as a return of  Father [Dean] Knows Best, but I didn't believe the original so why should I take this remake at face value.

So how can we be surprised  when one of the candidates for the Party's Nomination ignores the results of two state primaries-- the last one in West Virginia where he was swamped by 40 points losing every single county in the state, and then last night in Kentucky where he was trounced by 35 points--to give a speech  in  Iowa ??? Yes, you read that right, Iowa.

The capitol is Des Moines,and since 1972 it has gone Republican 5 times, the last time being for George Bush in 2004. But hey, what's history.  So it is there in Republican Iowa that the Democratic nominee  proclaims himself the apparent victor of tfhe Democratic nominating process  by announcing he has a majority of delegates needed to nominate.

Only in our Brave New World can Losing be Winning.

George W. Bush set the playbook for how to game the electoral process and we now have a Democratic candidate running the same campaign with the active collusion of the Democratic Party leadership against the will of at least half the Democratic Party rank and file.

Reality check. 2029 delegates are needed to win the nomination.  [This excludes Michigan and Florida because the DNC is mad at them and so is pretending they are not there on the map, 2 million plus voters don't count and their delegates are like Casper's ghost or maybe invisible ink--which only becomes apparent  to those who know how to look.] By the way, anyone who may be reading this and who is from outside the country, I am not making this up. Everything I am saying can be documented. Please look elsewhere if you want help with instituting your own democratic process.

So now we are down to the wire; and  at this point, with only two weeks and three states left in the primary process, with 2026 delegates needed to win the nomination Obama has won 1653 pledged delegates. Clinton has won 1499 pledged delegates. That is a difference of 154 pledged delegates. DING DING DING    Super Delegate do not count  at this time. They only come into play unless  the magic number of delegates has not been reached.  And although many have declared their choice at this time,  they do not represent the will of the people, and are therefore not truly applicable to the pledged delegate state-by -state nominating process.

Conclusion. Help me out here. We have a deadlocked nomination.  Neither candidate has won a majority of the pledged delegates. It is that simple. Spin it anyway you want. Go to Iowa. Run a victory  banner up the flagpole.  Scream yourself hoarse, it doesn't effect the bottom line. Hillary Clinton is right. This fight is not over. We have a nomination that for all intents and purposes is virtually tied up. And now here is the kicker. Al Sharpton et al threatened riots in Denver if their guy is denied the nomination by Super Delegates. Yoohoo. Guys. Anything you can do, we can do better. So fasten your seat belt. This Thing is Still Up For Grabs.

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Obama wins majority of pledged delegates

It's been a hard-fought race, but Obama has won a majority of pledged voters under the DNC sanctioned contests.

However, there's more:

"If Obama picks up approximately 50 delegates tonight, then he'll clinch a majority of the pledged delegates even if you add in Michigan and Florida as they originally voted." 008/05/20/1042914.aspx 008/05/20/1042914.aspx

Let's see how OR results play out!

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