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Key reason Obama is ahead in pledged delegates and something the media wants to keep a secret

May 31st, 2008 · No Comments

Just another example of a system that is flawed and a detriment to nominating a strong general election candidate:

A more subtle change was the distribution of delegates within each state. As part of the proportional system, Democrats award delegates based on statewide vote totals as well as results in individual congressional districts. The delegates, however, are not distributed evenly within a state, like they are in the Republican system.

Under Democratic rules, congressional districts with a history of strong support for Democratic candidates are rewarded with more delegates than districts that are more Republican. Some districts packed with Democratic voters can have as many as eight or nine delegates up for grabs, while more Republican districts in the same state have three or four.

The system is designed to benefit candidates who do well among loyal Democratic constituencies, and none is more loyal than black voters. Obama, who would be the first black candidate nominated by a major political party, has been winning 80 percent to 90 percent of the black vote in most primaries, according to exit polls.

“Black districts always have a large number of delegates because they are the highest performers for the Democratic Party,” said Elaine Kamarck, a Harvard University professor who is writing a book about the Democratic nominating process.

“Once you had a black candidate you knew that he would be winning large numbers of delegates because of this phenomenon,” said Kamarck, who is also a superdelegate supporting Clinton.

In states like Ohio and Pennsylvania, Clinton won the statewide vote but Obama won enough delegates to limit her gains. In states Obama carried, like Georgia and Virginia, he maximized the number of delegates he won.

“The Obama campaign was very good at targeting districts in areas where they could do well,” said former DNC Chairman Don Fowler, a Clinton superdelegate from South Carolina. “They were very conscious and aware of these nuances.”

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