Thursday, March 06, 2008

This just in: Obama won Texas

By Nancy Jane Moore

NPR reported tonight what I suspected all along: unofficial results show that Barack Obama has a substantial delegate lead in the Texas caucuses.

I added up the partial delegate totals on the Texas Democrats website and figured out that if the current ratios hold up, Obama is likely to end up with 37 delegates to Hillary Clinton's 30. Add that to the projected totals from the primary (Obama 61, Clinton 65) and you get the actual outcome of the race: Obama 98; Clinton 95.

Now that's not a concrete number yet. For one thing, all the caucus results haven't been totaled up yet. (Don't ask me why. The process isn't that complicated.) For another, what we're calling caucuses are actually precinct conventions, which elect delegates to the county conventions, which elect delegates to the state convention, which elects delegates to the national convention. It's conceivable that some odd things can happen in all that process.

But still, it seems very likely that Obama took more delegates than Clinton in Texas. Since getting delegates is the purpose of the process, it should be clear that whichever person ends up with the most delegates wins. Winning the popular vote in the Texas primary was good for Clinton's momentum and it got her very close on delegates, but she didn't win Texas.

I know some people are now complaining about the process. But the system wasn't invented to help Obama. It's been in place for awhile. It was designed to give heavily Democratic districts a stronger voice in selecting the Democratic nominee. And that's what it did. Those who are objecting to it now should have argued for different rules back when it was set up.

Obama's success in caucus states makes one thing very clear: His campaign knows how to do grass roots organizing. The people who ran my precinct convention weren't political insiders; they were enthusiastic people who showed up and brought their friends.

The Democratic Party has been weak in this area for a long time -- a real shortcoming in a party that should represent the interests of the working class. Obama is showing how it's done. The rest of the party should be paying attention.


K said...

Being from Texas, and actually having seen what went on at ground level... this is a crock.

Not only did we experience mayhem and foulplay at our caucus, but there were reports of it all over Texas!

Intimidation was ridiculous.. especially towards the elderly. Anger was rampant.

Yellow cards given during the voting day by an Obama supporter, were filled out without names.. so they could be given to anyone. tell me that the votes in FL and MI shouldn't count?

This whole campaign has been ridiculous.

Nancy Jane Moore said...

I'm sorry you had a bad experience, but I don't believe bad behavior was the norm at the precinct conventions -- though I'm sure there was confusion, given the number of people who showed up.

At my convention, both sides treated each other with respect. Even though the Clinton people were way outnumbered, we elected one of them as secretary, and made sure everyone's vote was counted. We leaned over backwards to follow the rules. And, in fact, we adopted resolutions proposed by one of the Clinton people -- showing that, in truth, we're on the same side.

It's clear from the partial caucus results that Obama came out ahead. Giving Clinton a win she didn't earn distorts what really happened.

As for Florida and Michigan: First of all, Obama didn't campaign in either place. Clinton was the only one who left her name on the ballot in Michigan. Neither of those elections followed Democratic Party rules. You or I might have decided to let them have their election anyway, but that's not what the party did. Allowing Clinton to have those delegates when the other candidates followed the rules about not campaigning there and she didn't would be massively unfair.

Neither the rules that knocked out the Michigan and Florida votes nor the rules that gave Texans two votes were adopted for the advantage of any particular candidate. They're just rules. They might be bad or good, but deciding that they're bad because following them disadvantages one particular candidate is clearly unfair to those who followed the rules.

And actually, I don't think this campaign is ridiculous. I think it's good to see the powerful amount of Democratic enthusiasm out there, the large number of people who want to participate in the process. If we're split on who we want, so what? Who would have thought we'd be split between a black man and a woman, instead of the usual choice of the least bad among a group of white men.

JamesK said...

Having been at a caucus I saw first hand why Obama wins them. His supporters are younger and louder and intimidating in numbers. The older Clinton supporters are intimidated by thhem and usually leave in enough numbers to let the Obama supporters out vote them. I have friends and relatives in other caucus states that have seen the same thing. It got to the point in Texas that the police were called to several Caucus locations to quiet the "Campaigning" down. While in the event I witnessed no "overt" threats were not made. There was the feel that things could get out of control at any moment. Many Clinton supporters either stopped talking or got up and left. The thing I don't understand is how this was left out of the news? I only saw one local news story on one event in Texas and it was greatly minimized, uncharacteristic of normal news reporting.