News from the Votemaster
The latest word is that Florida will not hold a new primary and will not hold a caucus.
In a statement, Former Rep. Karen Thurman, chair of the Florida Democratic Party has ruled out a new primary. There will also not be a new caucus. The DNC is very unlikely to seat the delegation elected in the now-voided election of Jan. 29. What will happen is anyone's guess. Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) has proposed seating all the people elected Jan. 29 but giving each one half a vote. This would reduce Hillary Clinton's net gain to 19 delegates. The story is also at CNN and the NY Times. The whole thing is complicated because everyone is trying to do two things at the same time:- Make sure the people of Florida are represented at the Democratic National Convention
- Get partisan advantage for one of the candidates
Doing the first one isn't so hard, but if the best solution gives an advantage to one of the candidates, the other side is going to reject it. If there is no resolution, it could come down to a credentials fight at the convention, which would hurt the Democrats badly by focusing all the attention on the rules rather than on the candidate.
No matter what happens here, Michigan also has to be solved. In a way Michigan is worse because Barack Obama removed his name from the ballot in accordance with DNC policy towards the primary date. Hillary Clinton did not take any action, which resulted in her name remaining on the Michigan ballot. While Clinton may push for the Jan. 29 Florida primary to be accepted, the imbalance in Michigan is so blatant that a different solution is needed there. And in Michigan, the damage was entirely self inflicted. Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI) was the force behind moving the Michigan primary to Jan. 15. In Florida, it was the Republican-controlled state legislature that did it, more with an eye on the Republican nomination. The Democrats were just collateral damage. But they hardly protested. Michigan has a Democratic governor who is trying hard to find a solution. Currently, the most likely option is a state-run but privately financed primary. Clinton has agreed to this but Obama is dragging his feet (because Michigan, like Ohio and Pennsylvania, is full of older blue-collar workers who are partial to Clinton). If he agrees to a revote, it will probably happen, leaving only Florida disputed. One thorny issue yet to be resolved is who can vote. For example, can (conservative) Democrats who voted in the Republican primary Jan. 15 vote in the new Democratic primary? What about (conservative) Republicans who are just following orders from Rush Limbaugh? If Clinton wins Pennsylvania and a new primary in Michigan and gets half the Florida delegates, this will make a big dent in Obama's current delegate lead so we will have a difference of maybe 1-2% in delegates. What then? Anybody for just flipping a coin?
Now a few words about Congress. House incumbents who are not under indictment have a reelection rate exceeding 90%. Thus when a seat becomes open, it becomes a very attractive target for the party not occupying it. In 2008, an uncommonly large number of members of the House are not running for reelection for one reason or another, most of which will lead to fierce battles. The majority of the retirees are Republicans, giving the Democrats openings in many districts. Furthermore, the Democrats who are retiring are mostly from safe districts. Below is the list of seats in which the 2006 winner is not running in 2008.
Here are the delegate totals from various news sources rounded to integers (Democrats Abroad has 22 delegates, each with 1/2 vote). The sources differ because in most caucus states, no delegates to the national conventions have been chosen yet, just delegates to the district, county, or state convention. Also, all sources try to count the PLEOs (Party Leaders and Elected Officials) and unpledged delegates, who also get to vote at the convention. When different reporters call a PLEO and hear "Well, I like Hillary, but Barack has his charms too" they may score it differently.
Needed to win: Democrats 2025, Republicans 1191.
Here is another source for delegate totals.
-- The Votemaster