Friday, April 25, 2008

Super Random Delegates

During campaign season, whenever I'm asked what I do for a living, I tell the asker that I'm a stand-up comedienne. Mostly because I really don't want to get involved in a discussion of who will/should win the current election. This year is worse than most.

I've been interviewed a number of times by student reporters so far. And each time I have to dance around the question of who will/should win. You see, I work for the government and it is against federal and state law for a public employee to appear to be campaigning.

Yet, the students want to know: will it be Obama v. McCain or Clinton v. McCain? There a simple way of deciding for yourself, the CNN Delegate Counter.

I've run the numbers and the information is interesting.

As it stands right now -- April 25, 2008 -- the numbers do not look good for Clinton, despite her recent win in Pennsylvania. The delegate counter shows, when setting all of the remaining primaries and caucuses at the same level as she won in the last primary, that Ms. Clinton would need to convince 68% of the remaining super delegates that she would be the best candidate to beat McCain.

Further playing with the numbers reveals that should she win 61% of all the remaining contests and of the super delegates, she'd still be one delegate short of winning the nomination. It's not unconceivable that she might win by such a large margin. She did, after all, win 70% of the Arkansas vote in February. Okay, so that was the only time she won more than 58% of any state, but this is American -- the Land of Possibility.

And the blundering politicians.

There is every possibility that Barack Obama will shoot himself in the foot politically. Howard Dean seemed impossible to be beat until his unfortunate yell of enthusiasm four years ago.

The reality is that the super delegates could end the political morass that the Democrats find themselves by all of them signaling their support for Obama. If they did that, he'd have 5 more votes than he'd need for the nomination. If they did the same for Clinton, she'd still be short of the 2,025 votes needed by 130.

Let's say that in all the remaining primaries and caucuses the two candidates tie, fifty-fifty. And let's say that, in the states and territories where the number of delegates are odd, the split favors Clinton. She would need 76% of the remaining super delegates to cast their vote her way.