Edwards – Kingmaker?

John EdwardsJohn Edwards suspended his campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination on Wednesday, January 29, 2008. Edwards suspended his campaign as opposed to terminating it. His campaign staff claims that Edwards’ decision to suspend the campaign rather than terminate it was nothing more than legal terminology so that he can continue to receive federal matching funds for his campaign donations.

Given the debts that all the candidates accrue during their campaigns, this is quite plausible – but so is another, darker reason. Edwards may well desire to play Kingmaker (or Queenmaker) in 2008.

When Edwards resigned from the race he told reporters that he would meet again with Clinton and Obama before deciding whether to make an endorsement. He set no timetable for deciding whether to endorse either candidate. Unlike Giuliani’s endorsement of McCain, Edwards’ suspended campaign makes his endorsement a potentially very powerful bargaining chip.

In suspending his campaign – instead of terminating it – Edwards gets to keep all 26 delegates he won in: Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina. After he officially exits the race, 10 of those delegates will be dispersed to the other candidates, with Obama getting 6 and Clinton getting 4. Under Democratic National Party rules, Edwards will maintain a say in naming the other 16 delegates. Edwards had also collected endorsements from 30 of the 852 superdelegates.

If the Democratic race is too close, it could result in a Brokered Convention. Edward’s delegates would place him in a suddenly very powerful position within the DNP as whole and in regards to Hillary and Obama in particular.

Well, at least he has better hair than Cheney!

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Out And Out

During the last week of January, 2008, America experienced a dramatic streamlining and parring down of the field of candidates for both the Republican and Democrat primary races. Both Republican Rudy Giuliani and Democrat John Edwards retired from their respective races.

Rudy GiulianiRudy Giuliani, who had bet most of his presidential campaign on a decisive Florida win, suffered a disappointing third-place finish in the state’s Republican primary Tuesday night.

Giuliani’s was the frontrunner in the crowded Republican field at first, but his strategy of focusing his attention on Florida while all but ignoring the other states’ Primaries left him unable to adapt to dynamic of the race.

When you run for president you spend a lot of time thinking about the qualities needed to be president Obviously, I thought I was that person. The voters made a different choice.

— Rudy Giuliani

Giuliani had Florida as the gateway to his presidential bid, but found that gateway locked. He is now backing Republican rival and longtime friend John McCain.

John EdwardsJohn Edwards, the former North Carolina senator, was in New Orleans, LA where he started his campaign, when he confirmed that he was abandoning his bid for the US Democratic presidential nomination. This was a shock to his supporters since Edwards vowed last week to stay in the race until Super Tuesday, when almost 50% of the states hold their Primaries.

Edwards finished a strong second in Iowa at the start of the campaign, but was quickly overshadowed and a distant third by Obama and Clinton.

It is time for me to step aside so that history can blaze its path.

— John Edwards

Edwards did not immediately endorse either Obama or Clinton for the Democratic nomination.

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Who Won NV?

The Nevada Primary is over and the press is proclaiming the results to the world at large. According to the media Clinton and Romney won their respective races. But is this actually the case? As with the previous NH primary, that depends on how you look at the primaries and caucuses.

The Democratic results from NV were: Clinton 5,355 (50.7%); Obama 4,773 (45.2%); Edwards 396 (03.8%). This shows that Sen. Clinton edged out Sen. Obama by at 5.5% margin, but did win the popular vote in the NV Primary. This is what the media is reporting about – though, unlike the earlier NH Primary, they’re also reporting on delegate counts as well this time.

Let us though once again look at the practical matter of the allotment of delegates, since its these delegates who will actually nominate the Democratic Partys Presidential Candidate. Its these men and women, plus 852 superdelegates, who will determine which candidate is nominated. Democratic primaries and caucuses award delegates on a proportional basis. Below is the break down of delegates for the 2008 NV Primary:

  • Hillary Clinton won 12 Nevada delegates
  • Barack Obama won 13 Nevada delegates

From the perspective of delegates the 2008 NV Democratic Primary Sen. Barack Obama achieved victory by a margin of 1 NV delegate. This is because many delegates are decided at the district level and Obama won the more heavily populated southern districts in Nevada.

On the Republican side of the 2008 Election race the results were more conclusive: Romney 22,649 (51.1%); Paul 6,087 (13.7%); McCain 5,651 (12.7%); Huckabee 3,616 (8.2%): Thompson 3,521 (7.9%); Giuliani 1,910 (4.3%). This shows Romney as a solid winner of the popular vote in the Republican primary.

As with the Democrats, let us once again look at the practical matter of the allotment of delegates, since its these delegates who will actually nominate the Republican Partys Presidential Candidate.

  • Mitt Romney won 17 Nevada delegates
  • Ron Paul won 4 Nevada delegates
  • John McCain won 4 Nevada delegates
  • Mike Huckabee won 3 Nevada delegates
  • Fred D. Thompson won 2 Nevada delegates
  • Rudolph Giuliani won 1 Nevada delegates

Mitt Romney actually did score a very decisive win the 2008 NV Republican Primary in all practical ways, both by popular support and by delegate allotment.

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Who won NH?

The New Hampshire Primary is over and the press is proclaiming the results to the world at large. According to the media Clinton and McCain won their respective races. But is this actually the case? That depends on how you look at the primaries and caucuses.

The Democratic results from NH were: Clinton 110,550 (39%); Obama: 102,883 (36%); Edwards: 47,803 (17%); Richardson: 12,987 (5%); Kucinich: 3,845 (1%). This shows that Sen. Clinton barely edged out Sen. Obama, but did win the popular vote in the NH Primary. This is what the media is reporting about.

Let us look at the practical matter of the allotment of delegates, since it’s these delegates who will actually nominate the Democratic Party’s Presidential Candidate. It’s these men and women, plus 852 “superdelegates”, who will determine which candidate is nominated. Democratic primaries and caucuses award delegates on a proportional basis. Below is the break down of delegates for the 2008 NH Primary:

  • Hillary Clinton won 9 New Hampshire delegates
  • Barack Obama won 9 New Hampshire delegates
  • John Edwards won 4 New Hampshire delegates

From the perspective of delegates the 2008 NH Democratic Primary was a tie between Sen. Hillary Clinton and Sen. Barack Obama.

On the Republican side of the 2008 Election race the results were more conclusive: McCain 86,802 (37%); Romney 73,806 (32%); Huckabee 26,035 (11%); Giuliani 20,054 (9%); Paul 17,831 (8%); Thompson 2,808 (1%). This shows McCain as a solid winner of the popular vote in the Republican primary.

Let us once again look at the practical matter of the allotment of delegates, since its these delegates who will actually nominate the Republican Partys Presidential Candidate.

  • John McCain won 7 New Hampshire delegates
  • Mitt Romney won 4 New Hampshire delegates
  • Mike Huckabee won 1 New Hampshire delegate

John McCain actually did win the 2008 NH Republican Primary in all practical ways.

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A Primary Truth

The votes or endorsements of 2,025 out of a total of 4,049 primary delegates are required to secure the Democratic party nomination, as of January 4th, 2008, these delegates are currently allocated:

  • Clinton 169
  • Obama 66
  • Edwards 47

The numbers above, counterintuitive as they are, are not in error. Due to something called superdelegates, who are not bound to vote based on the popular vote in each state, third place Clinton now has more than twice the number of delegates of the first place candidate Obama.

In point of fact, as of January 2, 2008 – even before the the Iowa Caucus – the delegate totals were:

  • Clinton 77
  • Obama 31
  • Edwards 16

Enacted in the 1970s, after control of the nomination process in the Democratic Party effectively moved out of the hands of party officials into the primary and caucus process, 852 superdelegates were created to offer some measure of overriding control to the leaders and key players in the Democratic National Committee (DNC), and to standing Democratic politicians and their supporters. This means that 21% of the total 4,049 delegates are not elected into their position nor are bound to vote in accordance with the will of the American people!

Currently these 852 power brokers are:

  • 482 DNC members
  • 235 Democratic House members
  • 49 Senators
  • 2 District of Columbia’s shadow congresspeople
  • 28 Governors
  • 56 Other Democratic power brokers

As if having 21% of the delegates outside the purview of the voters wasn’t bad enough in and of itself, the very rules that govern the Democratic primaries and caucuses lend extra weight and power to the 852 unpledged delegates. Under the Democratic Party’s Delegate Selection Rules, delegates are awarded by proportional representation, with a minimum 15% threshold required in order to receive delegates.

This means that in a close or sharply contested popular race – as 2008 looks like it’s going to be – there is a greatly increased chance that these 852 superdelegates will be the ones actually mandating who will be the Democratic Nominee for President.

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