Thursday, March 10, 2016

Hillary Is Winning in All of the Wrong Places

by Pa Rock
Election Junkie

Hillary Clinton won the Democratic caucus in American Samoa.  She won it big, trouncing Bernie Sanders  68% to 25 percent.  Hillary will take four delegates from American Samoa to the convention this summer, while Sanders will only have two.  But the problem Hillary faces is this:  none of her followers on American Samoa will be able to vote for her in November.   The island is a United States "territory" and therefore unable to vote in the general election.

And sadly for Hillary, that is a variant of a problem that has been dogging at her heels throughout this election season.   Many of the places she is winning will not be able to help her win the big election in the fall.

The American presidency is, as we all remember so vividly from the election of 2000, won and lost with the electoral college, a voting arrangement where states cast votes equal to the number of congressmen and senators that they have - usually as part of a block of votes.  If a Republican carries Missouri, for example, even by only a vote or two, all of the state's eleven electoral votes go to that Republican - and the Democrat gets zip.  It' an archaic process designed to give an extra bit of power to very small states - and it is a process that needs to be abandoned in favor of one person - one vote.

In addition to American Samoa, Hillary has won twelve other states so far during this primary season.  Of those, she should be able to carry two easily in November:  Iowa and Massachusetts, with Virginia and Nevada as "maybes."  She stands no chance in hell of winning any of the other eight in a general election - Tennessee, Arkansas, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas.

Bernie Sanders, on the other hand, has only won nine states so far, but at least seven of those should fall into the Democratic column in November.  While Sanders won Oklahoma and Kansas in primary battles, they will likely vote Republican in the general - but his other victories so far - Colorado, Nebraska, Minnesota, Michigan, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine - should all be part of a Democratic victory in the fall.

By and large, Hillary is winning in the Deep South, states which she cannot possibly win in November, while Bernie is winning in states that are an important part of the Democratic victory package.

Of course Hillary has a commanding lead in delegate totals - or presumed delegate totals - due primarily to another arcane bit of "old politics" called "super delegates."  These are elected officials who get to go to the convention by virtue of their positions in the government, and not due to being sent their by members of the voting public as they express a preference for one candidate or another.  This wad of political cronyism is designed to stifle the democratic tendencies of the Democratic party - and it is likely to succeed in that affront to democracy.

Hillary has swept the Deep South, an area of the country that she can never win in a general election.  Now she better break out the old Hoover and start sucking up votes where they will actually count!

1 comment:

Don said...

Hillary is counting on the super delegates to hand her the nomination if Bernie gets too close in the rust belt states in which he has a good chance to win. What's really screwed up about the process is that states like California, which used to be a big part of Super Tuesday, are now shuttled back to the end of the process. The turnout there is always tiny now because the results are usually meaningless.

Hillary asks her partisans to vote. Bernie asks them to get involved in the political process. It's a bigger ask but much more important to the health of our democracy. And just for the record, I have very little faith in Hillary's truthfulness. With Bernie, you know what you're going to get because of his 40-year record of saying the same thing about the same issues. With Hillary, you get a carefully nuanced and modulated attempt to say what she thinks any current audience wants to hear.