Bell Curve The Law Talking Guy Raised by Republicans U.S. West
Well, he's kind of had it in for me ever since I accidentally ran over his dog. Actually, replace "accidentally" with "repeatedly," and replace "dog" with "son."

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Final Details of the Path to the Nomination (or Ten Little Superdelegates).

Well, it's almost endgame. Obama is 50 delegates (49 by some counts) short of the nomination according to the current rules.

We don't know exactly how Puerto Rico, Montana, and South Dakota will vote in the primary, but Conventional Wisdom holds that Clinton will win PR (55 dels), while Obama will win Montana and South Dakota (16 and 15 dels respectively). A fair estimate is that Obama will get 40 of the last 86 pledged delegates. So that puts him 10 delegates away from the magic number: 2,026. Presumably, Obama will get the 10 delegates this next week, then allow pledged delegates to put him "over the top." No doubt Hillary Clinton's campaign is threatening as many people as possible not to be among the ten. How the rest of the 200 superdelegates react to the victory celebration is crucial. Clinton basically cannot win the nomination now unless she gets *all* of them.

Of course, Clinton's dream scenario is that MI and FL are seated in full, making the magic number to nominate = 2,209 and a majority of pledged delegates = 1,784. Obama will probably end up with approx 1,770 pledged delegates at the end of this process, just shy of a majority, assuming the 55 uncomitted Michigan delegates remain "uncommitted." The Edwards delegates (18 outstanding) could give Obama a majority of pledged delegates even without Michigan. That's the best case scenario for her. He would need about 100 more superdelegates. That scenario won't happen, though.

The reality will be some compromise. Given how close it is, any outcome that allows some of the Michigan delegates to be seated for Obama will give him a majority of pledged delegates, but leave him with more superdelegates to collect for victory. On May 31, the Rules and Bylaws committee of the DNC will consider plans to seat MI and FL delegations. My guess is they will take Michigan's plan to split delegates 59/69 in favor of Clinton and seat all of FL's delegates. That puts Obama in the lead with pledged delegates, but he will need 50 more delegates for the nomination.

Where will the 50 come from? We can guess that 18 of these will come from the rest of Edwards' delegation. That leaves 32. Then there are the add-on delegates. State parties select "add-on" delegates at their state conventions. Most states get one or two "add-ons" who normally are selected to endorse a candidate, and do almost so immediately. By looking over the remaining states, we can safely predict that Obama will get between 20-25 newly-elected "add-ons" between now and June 24th. So that still leaves about ten superdelegates left, even if Clinton manages to change the rules in her favor next week.

So that's where we stand. I believe Obama needs to attract just 10 currently-named superdelegates to win the nomination, and the question is whether he clinches on June 3rd or whether it takes another month.

Who will the ten be? We also know now that at least five superdelegates (including Nancy Pelosi, her daughter Christine, and Jimmy Carter) are expected to endorse the person with the most pledged delegates (Obama) on June 3rd. My guess is that by June 6th, Obama will have enough superdelegates in the bag that his nomination - via add-on delegates if need be - will be assured. The only question left, then, is when Clinton will get out of the way and let Obama have a big party.

Come on, ten little superdelegates!


Raised By Republicans said...

This was beyond over when West Virginia Senator, Robert Byrd endorsed Obama despite that state voting heavily for Clinton. The day after the Kentucky primary, the United Mine Workers of America, also endorsed Obama.

These are respresentatives of exactly the constituency on which Hillary pins her current hopes. That they are jumping ship even at her moment of supposed triumph in Apalachia, shows that the inevitable result is an Obama nomination.

Unless of course, this election turns out like 1968...which is apparently why Hillary is still in this. Anything could happen, right? Obama could get killed in June then Hillary would have to save the party.

The Law Talking Guy said...

The ironic thing is that if Clinton dropped out, she'd be in a better position to reassert herself if "anything" happened. Because the Obama faction would be more positively inclined to her. As it stands, if Obama were to be 68-ed (86-ed?) the Obama camp would want to nominate Edwards... and could do so.