Nevada Fall Out UPDATE: Obama Did NOT Win Delegates…Or Did He?

by matttbastard


Originally uploaded by Barack Obama

According to The Nation, despite getting thumped in today’s Nevada caucuses, the Obama camp claims that Obama still wins 13 national delegates to Clinton’s 12.

The press release:

Senator Obama was awarded 13 delegates to Senator Clinton’s 12. As Clinton Communications Director Howard Wolfson said, “This is a race for delegates…It is not a battle for individual states. As David knows, we are well past the time when any state will have a disproportionate influence on the nominating process.” [Washington Post, 1/16/08]

Chris Cillizza explains:

While the process of delegate apportionment is extremely complicated, it boils down to this: in the places that Clinton won, there were an even number of delegates that were split between she and Obama. In the places Obama won, there were an odd number of delegates, meaning that he often took two delegates to one for Clinton.

Cillizza also just reported that AP and NBC have both changed their delegate count to reflect the Obama camp’s claim, so apparently this is official [edit: I spoke too soon–see update below…and again.  Jesus.]

Of course, as John Nichols’ number crunching shows, Obama’s attempt at spinning the delegate count into a postive is the epitome of “Pyrrhic victory”. Other than African Americans (expect Obama to push that 80% hard going into AA-heavy South Carolina), Clinton dominated nearly every demographic, even left-leaning caucus-goers. But it was women and older caucus-goers–both of which turned out in droves–where junior Senator from New York drew the majority of her support:

According to entry polls, 59 percent of caucus participants were women. Clinton was winning them by a 52-35 margin over Obama.Clinton also benefitted from a generational divide that favored her candidacy. Among voters over 60, she beat Obama 61-28. Among voters under 30, Obama won 57-30. But older voters turned out in far higher numbers: 36 percent of voters were over 60, while just 13 percent were under 30.

White voters, who made up two-thirds of the caucus turnout, favored Clinton 52-31. Obama swept the African-American vote 79-16. But what was really striking was the level of Latino support for Clinton. With New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson out of the race, the Latino vote was very much up for grabs, and the New York senator scored a 64-24 sweep.

Clinton, who lost the Culinary Workers but retained support among unions representing teachers and public employees, narrowly prevailed among union households, by a 43-42 margin.

Clinton also did well among self-described “liberals,” a success that could surprise casual observers of the contest.

Caucus participants who said they were “very liberal” made up 18 percent of the electorate and they favored Clinton 51-35. Participants who said they were “somewhat liberal” made up 29 percent of the electorate and favored Clinton 46-35.

It was much closer among the 10 percent of caucus goers who said they were “somewhat conservative.” This group gave Clinton 46 percent, while Obama took 41 percent.

Ouch. Maybe the independent/Republican-courting “fluff Reagan/demonize Clinton” strategy wasn’t the best one for Obama to employ during a Democratic Party caucus.

Oh, and despite barely managing to get 4% of the vote, Edwards says he’s in it for the duration:

“Congratulations to Senator Clinton for her win in Nevada. Our campaign is very grateful to all those who demonstrated the loyalty and dedication to stand up for John Edwards in the face of very difficult circumstances and long odds, including our brothers and sisters in Nevada from the Carpenters, Steelworkers, Transport Workers, and Communications Workers of America.

“John Edwards is the underdog in this campaign, facing two $100 million candidates. But that is nothing compared to the real underdogs in our country – working men and women, middle class families, and all those who have no voice in Washington.

“John Edwards is in this race to fight for the real underdogs and to make sure the voices of the American people are heard in Washington, not the special interests. That’s why he’s the only candidate in this race who has never taken a dime from PACs or Washington lobbyists; the only candidate who will ban corporate lobbyists from his White House; and the only candidate who is honest enough to say we are in a fight for our country and we need to take on the special interests if we are going to have a country that works for hard-working families and the middle class.

“The race to the nomination is a marathon and not a sprint, and we’re committed to making sure the voices of all the voters in the remaining 47 states are heard. The nomination won’t be decided by win-loss records, but by delegates, and we’re ready to fight for every delegate. Saving the middle class is going to be an epic battle, and that’s a fight John Edwards is ready for.”

Epic? More like quixotic. And this is coming from a Gravel supporter–trust me, we know from chasing windmills.

More from Steve Benen, Kyle and the expected assload of commentators over @ Memeorandum.

Update: Via DDay, don’t believe the Obamabot hype:

OK, I just spoke with Jill Derby, the head of the Nevada State Democratic Party. Regarding the Obama claim that he’ll actually get more delegates out of this, essentially that’s spin. Derby said that the caucuses are an “expression of the support of Nevadans today.” Around 11,000 delegates were elected today. That will be winnowed down at county conventions and eventually at the state convention in May to the 25 that will go to Denver for the DNC. In 2004, Kerry didn’t win every delegate on Election Day, but most of the delegates that eventually went to the DNC were his. Once there’s a presumptive nominee, the delegate numbers are subject to change. It’s non-binding.

Digby updates with the official Nevada Democratic Party statement:

Statement by Nevada Democratic Party Chair Jill Derby Regarding the Nevada Caucus

(Las Vegas, NV) Today, two out of three Nevadans who caucused chose a Democrat instead of a Republican for president. That is an overwhelming majority vote for a new direction. Just like in Iowa what was awarded today were delegates to the County Convention. No national convention delegates were awarded. The calculations of national convention delegates being circulated are based upon an assumption that delegate preferences will remain the same between now and April 2008. We look forward to our county and state conventions where we will choose the delegates for the nominee that Nevadans support.

Jesus. We really are in bat country. Pass the motherfucking ether.

Update 2: Greg Sargent passes along the following muddy clarification from the Nevada Democratic Party.

“No national convention delegates were awarded. That said, if the delegate preferences remain unchanged between now and April 2008, the calculations of national convention delegates being circulated by the Associated Press are correct. We look forward to our county and state conventions where we will choose the delegates for the nominee that Nevadans support.”

Got that? The weasels are closing in.

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John Edwards, Populism, And The Record

by matttbastard

(originally uploaded by John Edwards 2008)

In an interview published this past Thursday, populist US Senator Russ Feingold accused John Edwards of ideological patent infringement:

The one that is the most problematic is (John) Edwards, who voted for the Patriot Act, campaigns against it. Voted for No Child Left Behind, campaigns against it. Voted for the China trade deal, campaigns against it. Voted for the Iraq war … He uses my voting record exactly as his platform, even though he had the opposite voting record.

When you had the opportunity to vote a certain way in the Senate and you didn’t, and obviously there are times when you make a mistake, the notion that you sort of vote one way when you’re playing the game in Washington and another way when you’re running for president, there’s some of that going on.

As Chris Hayes observes, “Edwards has been pretty forthright about admitting he made bad votes and even, in the case of Iraq, apologizing for them” before going on to note that he’s “never heard any persuasive explanation of why [Edwards] was such a lame senator.” Apologies be damned; I for one find it hard to set aside a 6 year voting record that is the inverse of Edwards’ current policy positions, especially when he’s now asking for the keys to the White House. Whether his Senate decisions were ultimately made based on bad advice, naked ambition, or a fear of alienating his conservative Southern constituency, Edwards can’t expect to be afforded a clean slate simply because he’s now really, really sorry for not acting upon his apparent populist principles when it actually counted.

To be fair to Edwards, the other two (viable) candidates have also shilled a progressive product throughout the campaign that is largely at odds with their respective records in office (and, in the case of Obama, his conservative political philosophy). But Edwards has been the candidate most keen to tether his campaign to populist rhetoric, leaving him more open to charges of hypocrisy. The sudden adoption of a Feingold-esque policy platform smacks of opportunism, a carefully crafted postion calculated to maximize support–which may explain why many leaders in the labour movement have been hesitant to endorse his campaign.

I’m with Jonathan Singer: “when someone with Feingold’s standing…comes out with such blunt and strong language — and backs it up with real tangible facts, in this case in the form of votes on the Senate floor — it’s worth paying heed.”

Update: After Edwards’ ugly third place performance at the Nevada Caucuses today, this issue is largely academic.  The only question is whether he should drop out now, or wait till February 5th.

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