News from the Votemaster
Let's take a break from Donald Trump for a few minutes and take a look at how candidates are nominated. While the media are focused on the national polls and the state polls of Iowa and New Hampshire, what matters in the end is getting more than half the delegates to the national convention. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) understands this very well, so he is campaigning relentlessly in the South in the hope of sweeping Super Tuesday with its 543 delegates from the South (vs. 30 in Iowa and 23 in New Hampshire). Hillary Clinton is working to lock up as many superdelegates as she can; supposedly she has 440 already. Since it's delegates that matter in the end, a short introduction to how they are selected is probably in order. Basically, the national parties allocate each state a certain number of delegates based on complex formulas that take into account how many electoral votes the state has, how many party members are in that state's congressional delegation, and other factors. Generally, you get bonus delegates for doing well in your state. Some delegates are chosen by (congressional or state senate) district, some are chosen statewide at large, and some are ex officio delegates by virtue of being a governor, senator, member of the DNC or RNC, or holder of some important office. The party leaders and elected officials who are automatically delegates are called PLEOs. Both parties have both pledged delegates (people who have promised to vote for a certain candidate on the first ballot) and unpledged delegates (who can vote their heart on every ballot).
For the ultimate political junkie, heaven is studying the actual rules for how the delegates are allocated. For the Democrats here are the rules. For the Republicans here are the rules. If you want to get down into the weeds, they are rather complicated, and the allocation can yet change, for example, if a party wins or loses an office in a special election before the convention. Below is the allocation as it stands now. The data are available in .csv format here.
It is important to note that the Democrats have a much bigger convention than the Republicans do, with 4483 delegates vs. 2470. The number of people on the convention floor may be even larger, since some states have half, third, or quarter delegates. There are also alternates present, in case something happens to one or more delegates.
Starting today, when you mouseover a state on the map, the pop-up box gives not only the date of the primary or caucus, but also the total number of delegates the state has, including the PLEOs and other delegates who are not elected.
|State||Distr.||At large||PLEO||Bonus||Total||State||Distr.||At large||PLEO||Supers||Total|
|Amer. Samoa||6||3||9||Amer. Samoa||6||4||10|
|New Hampshire||6||10||3||4||23||New Hampshire||16||5||3||8||32|
|New Jersey||36||10||3||2||51||New Jersey||72||24||14||16||126|
|New Mexico||9||10||3||2||24||New Mexico||19||6||4||9||38|
|New York||81||10||3||1||95||New York||152||51||30||44||277|
|North Carolina||39||10||3||20||72||North Carolina||70||23||14||13||120|
|North Dakota||3||10||3||12||28||North Dakota||9||3||2||5||19|
|N. Marianas||6||3||9||N. Marianas||6||5||11|
|Puerto Rico||20||3||23||Puerto Rico||33||11||7||7||58|
|Rhode Island||6||10||3||19||Rhode Island||14||5||3||9||31|
|South Carolina||21||10||3||16||50||South Carolina||33||11||7||6||57|
|South Dakota||3||10||3||13||29||South Dakota||10||3||2||5||20|
|Virgin Islands||6||3||9||Virgin Islands||6||5||11|
|West Virginia||9||10||3||12||34||West Virginia||17||6||3||9||35|
Democrats Abroad is part of the Democratic Party and gets delegates just like states do. Republicans Abroad is not part of the Republican Party and gets no delegates. However, since it is not part of the Republican Party, it is free to take unlimited donations from foreigners, something Democrats Abroad is forbidden from doing.District = delegates chosen by district
At large = delegates chosen statewide
PLEO = Party Leaders and Elected Officials
Bonus = extra delegates given to Republican states good at electing Republicans
Supers = Democratic superdelegates
In a mixed development for the Republicans, Carly Fiorina's campaign to get CNN to change the rules for inclusion in the main debate at the Reagan Library in Simi Valley, CA, on Sept. 16. worked. Fiorina very publicly complained that the original algorithm, which included polls starting at July 16, wasn't fair to her because she took off after her excellent performance in the kid's debate on Aug. 6. The new rules allow any candidate who is in the top 10 in the polling from Aug. 6 to Sept. 10 to be included. Fiorina is very likely to make the cut now. It will also increase the number of people on stage from 10 to 11, putting #1, Donald Trump, at the exact center of the stage.
The Republican Party's first reaction was "Whew, now we have a woman as well." But in the long run, Fiorina's promotion may come back to bite them. The problem is that she is simply not a viable candidate for President. What the Republicans desperately need is to winnow the pack and get maybe three or four serious candidates. Breathing new life into the campaign of someone who is not going to be the nominee just continues the splintered field longer.
Although running a woman against Hillary Clinton might at first seem to be an interesting thought, Fiorina is the wrong woman. To summarize her career ever so briefly, Fiorina (nee Cara Sneed), was named CEO of one of America's most successful and respected companies, Hewlett-Packard, in 1999. She promptly fired 30,000 employees and almost ran the company into the ground. Finally, in 2005, the board of directors had enough and fired her. So she wouldn't feel bad about it, the board gave her $21 million in severance pay. The stock market reacted to her abrupt departure by increasing the value of the company by $3 billion the next day.
Can you imagine how the Democrats would play this in the general election? There is a fair chance they could find one of the 30,000 firees who would be quite happy to tell the country what they think of Ms. Fiorina. Of course, the Democrats would have to censor the ad and try again, but no doubt they could eventually find someone who could express his or her thoughts in language suitable for a television ad.
As an H-P competitor often says—one more thing. In 2010 she decided to enter politics by challenging Barbara Boxer for the Senate. She was crushed, losing by 10%. Somehow she thinks that a major failure in business followed by a major failure in politics qualifies her to be President. It's not going to work.
Fiorina is not stupid. She has degrees from Stanford and M.I.T. She knows the odds on becoming President are vanishingly small. But she does have an outside shot at being the vice-presidential candidate since the Republicans need some way to avoid a massive loss of women to Hillary Clinton. But even if she gets a fair number of votes, the Republicans have other options for the Veep slot. For example, Gov. Susana Martinez (R-NM) is not only a woman, but also a twice-elected Latina and incumbent governor of a Western swing state.
While we are on the subject of marginal candidates who won't go gentle into that good night, Ben Carson comes to mind. He is now second in the Republican field nationally and tied for first (with Donald Trump) in a new Iowa poll by Ann Selzer. Ann Selzer's polls are the gold standard for Iowa, so there is no doubt Carson is tied for first now, but the caucuses are 5 months from now and a lot can—and will—happen between now and then.
Carson is not a viable candidate because he is running against Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) for the same slice of the electorate. Carson has never run for public office before. Cruz is an extremely smart guy (with degrees from Princeton and Harvard) who defeated the entire Texas Republican establishment in his longshot 2012 Senate primary race against the sitting lieutenant governor of Texas. Cruz has also raised more money than anyone else in the presidential campaign except Jeb Bush. He is also very well organized in the South, which will play a huge role on Super Tuesday (March 1). Sooner or later, Carson's supporters will realize that Cruz stands for the same things Carson does, with the added bonus of being nominatable and possibly even electable (not likely, but a lot more chance than Carson). We are still in the love-fest stage of the campaign but that will be over long before the voting starts.
Although Carson, a neurosurgeon, is not going to be President, he might be a plausible candidate for Surgeon General in a Republican administration, and the longer he remains in the news, the greater his chances of getting that job.Email a link to a friend or share:
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