Winning the Battle, Losing the War
With all the fighting over Florida and Michigan, I thought I'd look into the effects of counting and not counting Florida and Michigan. There's been a lot of argument about whether the Democrats absolutely have to have Florida and Michigan and whether not seating these states will hurt the nominee and other democrats in these states in November. Since nobody can predict the future, I start from the proposition that, while not seating the two states does not automatically doom the democrats to losing the presidency and possibly local races in those states, it poses some risks to the democrats' ability to capture the presidency and win local elections in MI and FL. Telling people you aren't going to count their votes rarely makes them more likely to vote for you. Any talk about the importance of protecting the democratic primary schedule must be balanced against the potential risks to winning in November (which, of course, is what this entire nominating process is supposed to be about).
Here's a comparison of the current delegate standings without Michigan and Florida, with Michigan and Florida, and with Michigan and Florida giving Obama the uncommitted vote in Michigan:
Notice anything? Obama leads whether Michigan and Florida are included or not. There are 566 pledged delegates at stake in the remaining contests.
Again, notice anything? Obama leads whether Michigan and Florida are included or not with ten contests to go.
So Why Are We Fighting?
Whether Florida and Michigan are seated or not, neither candidate will be able to get to the needed number of delegates solely with pledged delegates. The winner will be decided by the automatic delegates. Exactly where we are now.
If we count Florida and Michigan, Obama can still win the nomination. Depending on the results of the remaining contests he could still end ahead in pledged delegates and/or the popular vote. However, with the inclusion of Florida and Michigan, Clinton could overtake Obama in the popular vote and possibly even pledged delegates. Without Florida and Michigan, it becomes a lot harder for Clinton to win the nomination. In other words, the only thing gained by not seating Florida and Michigan is an increased probability that Obama will be the nominee. Not seating them does not prevent Obama from winning the nomination.
This is the question democrats must ask themselves, is it so important to ensure Obama gets the nomination, instead of him remaining one of two candidates who could get the nomination, that it is worth increasing the risk he will lose in November? Or as Big Tent Democrat put it the other day, do some people hate Hillary more than they care about the Democratic party?
Delegate counts come from http://demconwatch.blogspot.com/2008/03/florida-and-michigan-by-numbers.html
Popular Vote totals come from www.realclearpolitics.com. Note for the popular vote totals, I used the count that included caucus estimates and counted the WA caucus instead of primary, although personally I believe the primary results should be the count.