Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Obama clinches non-MI/FL pledged delegate majority (and most MI/FL scenarios also)

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Sen. Barack Obama tonight clinched a majority of the pledged delegates as currently defined, not counting Michigan and Florida. Under the current rules there are 3,253 pledged delegates, a majority is 1,627, and according to the DCW numbers, based on The Green Papers and estimates of tonight delegate allocations, Obama will have more than 1,627 delegates when the night is over.

Is this important? Officially, no, but symbolically, it could be in the minds of the only people that matter at this point, the remaining uncommitted superdelegates. A few of them, in our Pelosi Club, have explicitly said they would vote for the pledged delegate leader, and many others have hinted at it.. If they define the pledged delegate count as not including Michigan and Florida, we may see a large number of superdelegates endorse Obama in the next few days.

However, most everyone thinks that the delegates of Michigan and Florida will be seated in some form. Even the Obama campaign has said they want the Michigan and Florida delegations seated (although not according to the votes that already happened). But given that we don't know in what form the Michigan and Florida delegations will be seated, we have to look at the different scenarios to see how Obama fares under each one.

Option 1: No FL & MI: Pledged Delegate Majority (PDM) Clinched with the Oregon polls closed.
Option 2: Seat MI as 69-59. PDM Clinched with the Oregon polls closed.
Option 3: Seat FL with 1/2 votes (supers get full vote). No Michigan delegates. PDM Clinched with the Oregon polls closed.
Option 4: FL 1/2 vote, MI 69-59 split. PDM Clinched with the Oregon polls closed.
Option 5: Seat FL & MI based on the elections that have taken place. Not clinched tonight.

This is the only option under which Obama will not clinch the PDM tonight. Going into tonight he needed 102 pledged delegates to clinch the PDM. Now some of our blogging brethren say, lets give Obama the 55 Uncommitted pledged delegates in Michigan. But that's difficult to do. First, 19 of the delegates haven't even been picked yet - they don't get chosen until mid-June. Second, estimates of the 36 which have been picked range from 26-35 for Obama. But these are not Obama pledged delegates, and major media organizations are not recognizing that these delegates have endorsed Obama. And you certainly won't see the Obama campaign show these endorsements, as they don't recognize the validity of the Michigan election at all.

So until the Michigan and Florida situation is resolved, there will be some room for debate on this issue.

Understand, though, it doesn't really matter what I think. It matters what the superdelegates think, and it will be very interesting to see how Nancy Pelosi, Jimmy Carter, and especially Clinton endorser Maria Cantwell and others respond this week.


Galois said...

I think what somet of us are saying in counting the 55 uncommitted of Michigan for Obama is that should be considered yet another scenario. It's a variation on the 69-59 deal being discussed. The thought being that if a deal is struck which includes the Michigan delegation it could also include a requirement that the 55 delegates sign a binding pledge to Obama. Yes, this is outside the rules, but the situation is outside the rules to begin with and the committee has a lot of leeway into how the delegation will be seated. It's hard to imagine them seating it a way that is any more unfavorable to Obama than that. But this is a different scenario than "sitted as/is".

Matt said...

I agree with you on all your points. My only point is that there is still one scenario that he hasn't clinched the PDM. In every other one he has. Until the RBC meets, I don't think you can say he's 100% clinched under all scenarios. You certainly won't hear the Obama campaign say it.

Matt said...

I just changed the title of the post to better reflect the text.

Galois said...

Yes, I agree. I was just pointing it out as yet another scenario. I don't think Obama will make reference to any Michigan/Florida scenarios regardless of how many favor him because he doesn't want to get into process arguments. He can just let it play out.

Brian said...

Both Patty Murray and Cantwell are way out of touch with the base. Been in DC too long.

Bill LaBorde said...

"Understand, though, it doesn't really matter what I think. It matters what the superdelegates think, and it will be very interesting to see how Nancy Pelosi, Jimmy Carter, and especially Clinton endorser Maria Cantwell and others respond this week."

Why Maria Cantwell?

Matt said...

Because Sen. Cantwell is the only Clinton endorser who is in the Pelosi Club. She said (link in the Pelosi Club post):

“If we have a candidate who has the most delegates and the most states,” the Democratic party should come together around that candidate, Cantwell said. The pledged delegate count will be the most important factor, she said, because that is the basis of the nominating process.

That's why Cantwell is important. If she moves this week, and I don't think she will, but if she does, it could trigger a lot of other defections.

edgeways said...

I think the Pelosi club waits until the rules committee is done. It is highly unlikely they will change anything significant, but I bet the SDs are going to wait until it is official.

Insult Comic Dog said...

How about this scenario:

They seat the FL and MI delegates as elected (full votes, no MI delegates for Obama) *but* all the FL and MI superdelegates are disqualified.

Amot said...

Given the expectations that KY will be second WV (it was almost that bad) and Obama will win OR with 3-5% (that didn't happen at all), I believe SDs will flow to Obama today and tomorrow. Plus I think he has some in reserve just for that moment and will release them now. So my projection is 30 SDs more till the end of the week! And don't forget - the weekend has a major very interesting event!

mhigh said...

This is all well and good and correct -- except for one thing: The Clinton argument for the nomination is now less about the official rules and delegates, and more about the fuzzy concept of "I'm a better candidate for November, so you should throw out the rules and focus on the ultimate goal of electing a Democrat this fall". How can you win against someone who doesn't accept the same rules that you do? That's all part of her ridiculous 'popular vote' nonsense, she won't drop out until it is literally impossible to secure the nomination. Someone on another blog called it the "Huck Number", which is the number of delegates required to deny the nomination to a candidate (a la Huckabee). Last week with the 2210 goalpost and seating the FL/MI delegates fully, I worked Clinton's Huck Number to be about 72; I wonder where it stands today.

We'll probably still see a slow, steady trickle of superdels over the next two weeks, with one final "gush" during the first week of June. There's no overwhelming reason for any superdel to announce before that (unless Clinton does something boneheaded and forces this whole kabuki dance to wrap up quickly); and at this point the small number of uncommitted superdels remaining can sort of bask in the attention of the moment.

reddwarf2956 said...

You stated in option 5 that he did not clinch, but you did not state what both would need to clinch. What are the numbers?

I would be nice to see what the candidates counts (both pledged and unpledged) is relative to the press in one spot also.

tmess2 said...

Without having a good count on the 36 district-level uncommitted delegates, I don't know if any candidate can clinch a majority of the pledged delegates under scenario 5 by June 3rd. Obama has clinched a plurality as decided by the voters, but the Edwards and the uncommitted delegates would hold the balance of power.