Sunday, June 01, 2008

The people's choice?

What the Daily Show has for some time been calling the Long, Flat, Seemingly Endless Bataan Death March to the White House proceeds apace.

Today was a meeting to decide the fate of the delegates in Michigan and Florida. Look it up if you want to find the exact details, I'm getting thoroughly sick of the whole thing. Bottom line: the two states will have delegates seated, but the number of delegates will be cut by 50% for each. Some Michigan delegates will also be apportioned to Obama, although Hillary still gets the majority of them.

To summarise the objections from the Clinton camp to Obama's nomination that still exist, as well as some brand new ones:
1) Hillary Clinton is leading in the popular vote
2) Hillary Clinton beats in John McCain in the general, while Obama loses
3) A black, racist liberal elitist like Obama cannot possibly win the general under any circumstances.
4) Awarding any Michigan delegates to Obama at all is unfair and undemocratic because he chose to remove his name from the ballot, therefore receiving no delegates is entirely his own fault.


For now, I only want to deal with (1), and mainly because what I'm about to say is I think one of those unpopular things that needs to be said: the popular vote in these Democratic Primaries is not a valid metric of what the majority of people want. You can think Michigan and Florida for that.

Because Obama was not on the ballot in Michigan, people who wanted to vote for him were not able to do so. I have also personally communicated with people who chose not to vote at all in either the Florida or Michigan Primaries because they had been told in advance that their votes would not count. Without these two groups voting, the existing vote tallies in those two states do not accurately reflect the will of the people in those two states. Therefore, including them in the overall popular vote tally, as Hillary Clinton does, is wrong. The fix? There isn't one: an accurate "popular vote" tally that includes all 50 states and sundry other competitions (Puerto Rico, Guam, Democrats Abroad, etc.) is no longer possible.

Actually it'd be enough to discredit the "popular vote tally" as a valid metric just by pointing out the absurdity of including a state in which 0% of all votes were awarded to Obama, but (a) I wanted to be thorough, and (b) as stated above, many Clinton supporters are now saying that it's Obama's own fault that he received no votes in Michigan.

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