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Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Coming Soon: A Brokered Convention?

It was Scenario 2. Here's what I wrote yesterday:

Clinton makes up dozens of delegates in one fell swoop and the momentum completely shifts in her direction. The media then begins to cover her more favorably, though they have always covered her fairly. (Note: The media "bias" was a farce. The media always covers the primary winners much more favorably. Horserace coverage is nothing new. They are bias towards Obama not because he's Obama. They were bias towards Obama because he was winning. It was because any coverage of a winner always looks good.)

Obama will still have an overall delegate lead (or an extremely thin deficit) after the Pennsylvania Primary, and thus stays in it, despite once again being the underdog. Scenario 2 is the only potential catalyst to a brokered convention.
And so it was, and so it will be. Ladies and gentlemen of the Democratic Party, you are headed towards a brokered convention, and the Republicans are loving it.

As it stands, there is no official number for the Democratic Primary delegates, as votes are still coming in from last night's states and delegates are still being allocated. From a general standpoint, however, Obama's 150 pledged delegate lead was cut to about 120. Here are estimates, based on current returns from last night's states (Texas: 65-61 Clinton, Ohio 75-64 Clinton, Rhode Island 13-8 Clinton, Vermont 9-6 Obama) (Note: Texas has 67 more at large still to allocate later in the primary cycle.):

Obama - 1330 pledged delegates + 195 supers = 1535 (still needed: 490)
Clinton - 1207 pledged delegates + 244 supers = 1451 (still needed: 574)
Difference: Obama +84


There are still 654 pledged delegates and 355 superdelegates left to allocate. The target for the nomination is famously 2,025. To obtain that mark, Obama, who is leading with 1,535, would need 75% of remaining pledged delegates. Clinton would need 88%. Neither has ever won any state with that type of margin, so it certainly cannot be expected that either could possible win at near that rate through Puerto Rico, the final primary, on June 7th. There will not be a majority without superdelegates deciding it. If some superdelegates hold out until the convention, waiting for promises from the desperate candidates, then the Democrats will not have a nominee until then.

It is unlikely that there would technically be a brokered convention. It is highly improbable that the convention will need more than one ballot to decide between two candidates. Still, the potential for this primary to see a brokered convention has not been this great since John Edwards dropped out of the race. His 26 delegates barely put a dent in the 4,048 delegate total, which means the candidates would have to be within 13 of each other when this is all over to not go over the 2,025 benchmark.

The potential for a brokered convention still lies with the superdelegates and their ability to abstain from voting as long as they wish.

Ultimately, this situation is a mess for the Democrats in a myriad of ways, all of which I'll discuss tomorrow. See you then.

1 comment:

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