Count WHOSE vote?
Paul Lukasiak runs the numbers:
Only now that Obama has a miniscule lead of 128,736 in the number of votes cast (and that includes assigning all the “uncommitted” votes in Michigan to Obama) has the media focused on total votes cast. This lead represents less than 1% (0.62%) of votes cast in the primary elections held so far, yet it is trumpeted by the media endlessly.
But, since this is actually the Democratic primary, perhaps we should look at how Democrats [i.e., not Republicans or low information voters in "open" primaries] have actually voted. Based on the available exit polling data, we find that Hillary Clinton has a commanding lead over Barack Obama in the number of votes – As of February 16, 2008, 391,992 more Democrats voted for Clinton than Obama.
In terms of actual Democratic voters, the numbers from Super Tuesday are astonishing – and were, of course, ignored by the media. Out of over 12,100,000 votes cast by Democrats that day, Clinton beat Obama by nearly 7%, and just short of 837,000 votes. And if we include all the primaries that took place before Super Tuesday (NH, SC, MI, FL) the Clinton advantage among Democrats rises to 7.5%, and well over a million votes.
As Democrats, it is our votes that should be the determining factor in a close race. We’re the voters that the party can depend on, and ignoring the will of Democratic voters can lead to Democratic voters ignoring the will of the party.
I agree. The idea that we're selecting the Democratic nominee on the basis of Republican votes gives me the creeps. Or perhaps I should say--for you old-timers--the CREEPs.
On the whole, Clinton has done far better than Obama in the swing states. In deep blue states, its been about even, but in deep red states, Obama has dominated. This raises the question of the extent to which primary voters in states where a Democratic nominee has little chance of winning should be able to determine the party’s nominee.
The Obama campaign, and now the media, are arguing that “super-delegates” aren’t supposed to determine who the nominee will be. But in a close race, who better to determine which candidate will be best for the nation, and the party, than the professional politicians and party activist who best understand how elections work.
And while legitimate arguments can be made on both sides of the “super-delegate” debate, there is simply no question that the system was not set up to allow the nominee to be chosen based in very large part on primary and caucus victories in states that Democrats aren’t truly competitive. The very idea that a 12 delegate advantage from a state like Idaho trumps an 11 delegate advantage from a swing state like New Jersey should be anathema to the party. Nor should racking up a combined 449,000 vote advantage in the “practically impossible to win” states of Georgia and Alabama be considered more important than a 416,000 vote advantage in a competitive/must-win state like California.
Yet this is exactly what the Obama campaign is arguing --- that the reality of the electorial college map should be irrelevant, and that only raw vote totals, “pledged” delegates, and the number of states won should matter to the super-delegates. And the media simply repeats this argument without question.
NOTE The data.