Wednesday, March 05, 2008

It's About Delegates

Let's add some perspective to last night's results counting. First, the tv talking heads are soooo into horse races because it gives them something to talk about. Second, the conventional wisdom "CW" switches so quickly depending on what gives them a narrative to talk about.

John Aravosis put it like this:

Look at what the pundits were saying before this evening. They were saying that even if she wins Ohio, Hillary is toast when it comes to the number of delegates.

Charlie Cook via Chuck Todd:

NBC political analyst Charlie Cook writes in his CongressDaily column, "[W]inning by slight percentages in Texas and Ohio aren’t real wins for Clinton. A 'win' would be anything that significantly closes the gap in delegates. Symbolic victories mean nothing at this point, other than encouraging her to plow ahead in this campaign, amassing a greater campaign debt than already exists and delaying her ability to get on with the next phase of her life."

Jonathan Alter used the following assumption when determining earlier today that Hillary is toast:

Let's assume Hillary beats expectations and wins Ohio tonight 55-45, Rhode Island 55-45, Texas, 53-47 and (this is highly improbable), ties in Vermont, 50-50....

So no matter how you cut it, Obama will almost certainly end the primaries with a pledged-delegate lead, courtesy of all those landslides in February. Hillary would then have to convince the uncommitted superdelegates to reverse the will of the people. Even coming off a big Hillary winning streak, few if any superdelegates will be inclined to do so. For politicians to upend what the voters have decided might be a tad, well, suicidal.

Alter gave Hillary Ohio, Rhode Island, Texas, and a tie in Vermont (which she didn't get). And even then, he determined that she can't win enough delegates.

As Al Giordano points out at The Field:

...And even later than that - it will take much of tomorrow to sort out - the 67 delegates to be determined by the Texas caucuses.

The effort to stampede the spin based on partial results is getting media traction for one reason only: National political reporters don’t want to get off the bus yet. They don’t want to go back to the office, with grumpy editors on their case and on site. They want to keep the game going longer. [...]

Other media and other blogs can choose to go along with the media spin. Not me. Only a month ago the media spin on the night of Tsunami Tuesday was that Clinton “won” the overall “national primary” that day. Within days, though, reality set in, and was then reflected by 11 states in a row (12 if you include Vermont coming in first tonight).

It’s about delegates. That has been The Field’s analysis all along, and that will continue to be the basis of the conclusions here. Stubborn? Yes. Will time prove this emphasis to be right? Yes.

PocketNines has an excellent diary which needs to be read in full. Here's his intro:

...the issue here is that the way this is discussed in the media narrative does not fully educate the audience how daunting the math is for Hillary Clinton. Chuck Todd is clearly the best at articulating all of this, and I am convinced he understands these numbers in detail. However, even Todd has not been terribly aggressive in stressing the difference between needing 62% or 65% of the remaining delegates and the voting margins required to make that happen.

He goes onto to crunch the numbers about the percentage increase by which Hillary needs to take all the rest of the states in order to increase her relative delegate count in a very straight-forward way which even math-allergic people will get. The bottom line, Hillary can't get there from here.

And as JedReport points out in this video (which he must have stayed up most of the night creating), Barack Obama is still winning. By the rules. Yesterday doesn't change that.


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