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Nomination C.O.P. APB: Cronin’s Primary/Caucus Analysis

Superdelegate, hear my cry! Before you climb astride the magical Unity Pony and plunge into the void with Barack Obama — a likely loser, with not even a secret plan to repeal the Old Rules of politics, who’d face suddenly even-handed media treatment against McCain, and who cannot possibly satisfy his coalition partners’ divergent expectations if elected — please take a Cooling Off Period to review the high-pressure sales pitch which leads you to commit the Party to a disastrous, divisive course of action.

For the sake of your many friends who would jump off the cliff with you, as well as those of us who already know we will not, please reconsider before it’s too late … and remember, it’s only too late when the balloons drop. Nomination C.O.P. is a continuing series of appeals to political wisdom and (where the shoe fits) buyers’ remorse among those who will ulitimately decide our party’s nominee.

A significant analysis of Primary results versus Caucus results (pdf) by P. Cronin is now reported and discussed at TalkLeft.com. Take-aways for Superdelegates:

  • As a first determining step, caucuses are neither accessible, transparent, well-regulated, nor representative.
  • Obama’s pledged delegate lead is purely an artifact of his performance in caucus states.

I’d further put it to you that Obama’s Superdelegate lead is a secondary artifact, a momentum or “stampede” effect of the much-reported pledged delegate lead. And I’ll have more to say on Caucus Effects, among other practical considerations, in future Nomination C.O.P. posts.

For now, read with interest … and by all means hold your horses!

49 Responses

  1. I hate to say it, but this quote:

    As a first determining step, caucuses are neither accessible, transparent, well-regulated, nor representative.

    is why Democrats like Donna Brazille LOVE caucuses. Caucuses help in gaming the system, which is JUST WHAT THEY WANT!

  2. I guess people are gearing up for Saturday. Ron, I posted the right song but the wrong video in that first post…could you take it down. I don’t like the imagery in it. thanks, Ben

  3. The caucuses are an absolute fraud! Nearly half his pledged delegates are from caucuses and yet many (BTD, for one) are saying that if Obama gets the popular vote count (again, including the bullshit caucuses where you can falsify the numbers with ease and without being accountable) he should be the nominee.

    The hell. This is a razor-close race. The most electable candidate should be our nominee; certainly not one who is simply unelectable.

  4. @Teresa: Caucuses are basically a way to cheat and run up the score. That’s it. They’re a joke: systemic voter suppression, disenfranchisement, intimidation, and straight-out stealing votes by writing up fraudulent numbers.

  5. Uh, didn’t one caucus go against Dean and he subsequently had an epic flameout?

  6. I am still waiting for a member of the creative class, those “high information” voters, those “knowledgeable”people who are so much better than the rest of us, to answer this question from semidi:

    “Knowledgeable people with well-informed opinions about policy” like Pam Spaulding, and Steve Benen, and Joshua Micah Marshall? People who are so “informed” that they’ve chosen to support Barack Obama, a man with all of the political experience of a high school student government officer? People who’ve completely overlooked his lack of qualifications, his sexism, his race-baiting, his practicing of personal destruction politics against Clinton, while he hypocritically decries such practices? People who are part of an online group that has all the hallmarks of a cult of personality and who refuse to acknowledge that he’s not only unelectable, but that he shouldn’t be elected?

    Yes, what did these “knowledgeable” Obama supporters based their highly informed choice on?

    What is it that we, “low information” voters, policy ignorami, Clinton supporters , do not understand?

    What did me miss?

  7. I think we have reason to gripe about FL and MI but not caucuses in general. Yes, they are stupid but never before have we been in this situation where we notice how blatantly undemocratic they are.

  8. Caucuses help in gaming the system, which is JUST WHAT THEY WANT!

    Probably not a coincidence that caucuses are primarily held in states w/ low Black populations. Black Americans aren’t stupid enough to put up with this. Tell them it might be difficult to participate in voting and see what happens.

    TX had a primary, so NV is the exception with 15% Black participation.

  9. Caucuses are not all bad, especially as party-building events in states with low Democratic presence and especially those with no voter registration by party.

    That said, Superdelegates should pay careful attention to what caucus results do and don’t signify.

  10. ben carlson: Yes, they are stupid but never before have we been in this situation where we notice how blatantly undemocratic they are.

    I don’t agree. If you look at state Black populations per capita, in decreasing order, it’s not until KS that there’s any hint of disenfranchisement.

    The reality is that white elderly and white women, i.e., Hillary’s base, suffered disproportionate disenfranchisement in this primary process. Why shouldn’t this be pointed out? Flip the situation around — if BO were running and the caucuses were held in states w/ significant Black populations while Whites voters participated almost exclusively via an all-day primary w/ absentee balloting, there’d be holy hell!!

  11. ronk: Caucuses are not all bad

    I’m fine w/ the IA caucus because it’s a long process, and the results do tell you something about the candidates and their organizations (favored neighbor/son status notwithstanding). The rest of them — forget about it — there’s not enough campaigning and investment for genuine party-building.

  12. Oh, and it’s NV, then KS. Point remains the same.

  13. hlr,

    From what I heard, Obama gamed the Iowa causes unbelieveably by bussing in college students from IL. How can you have a fair process if people can register to vote after living in the state for a few days? And even then, they don’t check.

  14. Mark Rubin on the RFK smear:

    The Democratic party cannot afford to send out a candidate the majority of voters voted against. They cant afford to send out a candidate just to fullfill a false and corrupt media agenda. And the Democrats cant afford to send out a dirty politician as their presidential candidate. The country will not elect a dirty politician. Not one who has shown the capacity to be as dirty as Obama.

    What Obama did with Clinton’s remarks would have been too low even for Nixon. To exploit one of the country’s greatest tragedies for his own political gain would have been beneath Nixon. But not Obama.


  15. One man’s “gaming” is another man’s “test of field organizing potential”. I wouldn’t take anything away from Obama’s 38% Iowa win. (Gephardt had a neighboring-state advantage in 2004, and was considered a frontrunner on that account.)

    Caucuses are also events at which minority views are muscled out, shouted down, overruled from the chair, or under-counted on the sly. As every elected officlal knows well, whoever controls the gains a large share of control over teh outcome.

    They are also low-attendance events where small differences can make big differences. They are NOT robust, repeatable measures of (partisan) popular preference.

    Taken for what they are, they’re not evil … just weak.

  16. bostonboomer — I blame that more on the media.

    I don’t have a problem w/ IL students who were legally permitted to caucus in IA by virtue of their enrollment in an Iowan college/university. I expected the media to point out the next-door advantage, just as they did with Gephardt in ’88. Boy was I surprised when I got home from IA to hear that the primary was OVER!

  17. bostonboomer: And even then, they don’t check.

    Believe me, I know, I was there and attended the caucus as an observer for Hillary’s campaign. This whole thing has practically turned me into a Republican: I want to see some ID!!

  18. hlr,

    I don’t think all those students were going to school in IA. Of course student should be able to vote where they go to school. But that is also the IA system. They don’t check ID or make sure people live where they say they do. The whole system is a joke.

  19. OT, but, for those who know, I officially passed. Went much smoother than I had anticipated. I even had an extra hour to kill before the little reception.

    Thanks all, for keeping me sane and giving me something to think about over the last several weeks.

    If you want to contribute to my celebration Party on Friday, feel free to send me a check or money order.

    Off to celebrate.

  20. All the Republicans need to do now is tag Bambi as the Affirmative Action candidate–he gets a position unfairly, and once there doesn’t know his shit. Yeah, it’s a dog whistle. It’ll finish him off with white men.

  21. bostonBoomer?? Are you writing something about that TomInPain post?

  22. gq,


    Dr. Martinez, that is.

  23. Katiebird,

    No, I’m not writing anything. Are you? I hope so. That was a great piece.

  24. Yeh, I will — but not for a couple of hours.

    gq — Congratuations! (I hope you’re not home reading this)

  25. Katiebird,

    Sorry if I jumped the gun on you. Probably no one else will read my comment though.

  26. ggmartinez: Congratulations and best wishes! Does this make you now a member of the “creative class”?

  27. Congratulations ggmartinez!

  28. I have always distrusted caucuses. I really don’t want someone standing in a pile of muck in some barn choosing the next president of the US. A true primary allows everyone who wishes to get to the voting booth. Taking one hour out of a day and disallowing those who may be a minute or two late is not democracy. He may have been better organized but he does not possess moral fortitude.

  29. Dr. Martinez…congratulations!

  30. Politico says the DNC rule committee meeting on the 31st may go on into the next day. I wonder if Hillary is going to be there? The article includes comments from committee members. One example:

    DON FOWLER, South Carolina, committed to Clinton: “A solution I think acceptable to both states is to seat the full delegations, with each delegate getting a half-vote.

    “I would be inclined to go for it. I would listen very carefully to what the Clinton campaign wants, but I do not turn over my heart and soul to them. I observe some limitations.

    “There are a lot of questions that go beyond the mere politics of whether this helps Hillary or does this hurt Obama. The integrity of the process is involved here. If we meet this weekend and we act like a bunch of Katzenjammer Kids and throw things at each other, even if we reach a solution, that is going to make us look bad.

    “I am told the place [the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel in Washington, DC] is going to be packed with supporters of the two campaigns. I have a great apprehension that we are going to look like a bunch of people who can only holler and scream and can’t do what is right for the party.”

    Um….Don? It’s too late. You already look like a bunch of idiots.

  31. yay gqmartinez! way to go!

    Thanks for the link BBoomer. That was an intense article.

  32. Anyone know what time the meeting starts Saturday and if it is on Cspan? I’ll look through Gary’s post for the info but a hint would be great.

  33. tabbycat,

    It should be on C-span. I think the meeting is early in the morning, isn’t it?

  34. BostonBoomer: “Um….Don? It’s too late. You already look like a bunch of idiots.”

    ROFL! too true!

  35. tabbycat:

    DNC Rules & Bylaws Committee Meeting
    9:30 am –Saturday, May 31st

    Oral arguments will take place in the morning; discussion & debate in the afternoon. There will be no questions from the floor.

  36. and,

    “Count Every Vote” Rally
    Rally will be held outside
    Beginning at: 7 a.m. –until the delegations are seated!

  37. gqmartinez, congratulations!!! well done!!

  38. wow, I got a democratic party 2008 presidential campaign survey in the mail. this should be fun to fill out. they even have the nerve to ask what I think of the “50 state” strategy. they want to know if I think McCain will launch a swift boat campaign. best question of all – am I concerned that the republicans will attempt voter supression….LOL. oh, and do I think mainstream media organizations are biased? do I ever!

    and they wind it all up by asking for money. uh huh

  39. Thanks BB & hlr. I’ll be sure and be awake for it.

  40. There is a hilarious “special comment” posted at Taylor Marsh, and you have to see the accompanying photo of Obamamann. It’s hilarious!


  41. Right now topping Halperin’s The Page is an image that evokes a gruesome and violent end to Hillary’s (life?) campaign. Not to mention the image’s sexist referencing of the classic film cliche of the “damsel in distress” tied to railroad tracks and waiting for the “MY HERO!” man to save her. Would Obama or McCain ever be depicted in such a way? I’d bet not.


  42. well, I filled out the dem party survey. none of my honest answers were among the multiple choices, so I wrote all over the paper telling them what I really thought. I realized, sadly, as I inserted said survey into the envelope, that probably someone will remove it from the envelope, say “it’s one of those crazy dumb old lady Hillary supporters” and throw it in the trash (after checking to see if I pledged money, which I did not). how sad to feel that way, and in an election year no less. I’m sure glad I don’t derive my self-esteem from the dem party’s opinion of my worth. I’d be feeling pretty bad right now if I did.

  43. this is unbelievable!!! Thank you for this fantastic analysis.


  44. Wow!!!

    Where is the Democratic “leadership”?

    How is MessNBC still on the air?

    This is a must-see video, as vile as it is.

    Just breathtaking.

  45. Here’s a question I’ve been meaning to ask: how can Obama have won Idaho weeks ago when we only just had our primary election TODAY? Did he “win” on the strength of the caucus, to which only party geek-heads go (or can take off work to go. . . )? Just exactly how representative is that? And who decides whether a state has a caucus, primary, or both?

  46. Elliot Lake — In Idaho, only the caucus (with about 2% Dem turnout) is used in delegate selection. The primary (with expected 30% voter turnout) is ignored — it’s a “beauty contest”.

    State parties decide which you get, often influenced by state laws. (Some state governments schedule a primary election, whether the party wants one or not … and a very few states will have a primary election, but at the party’s option – and expense!

  47. I just heard that Nancy Pelosi is going to “interfear” on June 3rd to end the nomination contest. Does she think she can stop Clinton from going to the convention? Until everyone votes at the convention nothing is final. She can’t stop Clinton from going to the convention. Nancy should be ashamed of herself. She has not said a thing about the vitriol misygyny in the media or by her follow democrats and only shows herself to pull Clinton down. She has got to go!!!!


  48. Don’t the Supers know that they are going to lose if they stick with Obama. The only experience he has is the on the job training he’s getting now while he’s running. I have had to do my own research on Obama , thanks to the onesided media and what I have found on him, I don’t like and cannot trust this man to lead our country.

  49. For those who wish to stay together in a long term commitment to the ideals and rinciples that Hillary Clinton has spent a lifetime promoting, http://Together4Us.com offers access for activists, funders, students, policy-makers and ordinary people to come together in support of each other and their goals for America. Please come to our website and join, use the code below to put our linked logo on your website and distribute our message and this code to all your network. Spread the word. We will be happy to put up a reciprocal link, your own co-branded web page on our site, or your own blog.

    Thanks so much,
    Gretchen Glasscock,

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