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Sunday, March 16, 2008

Obama Picks Up Delegates in Iowa

George Wenschhof

Just when you thought you had heard it all in the democratic party nomination process for their candidate for President, Iowa brings yet another wrinkle. We have all learned about caucuses versus traditional voting poll locations, proportional allocation of the delegates to the candidates based on popular vote district, the Texas two-step - a traditional vote and then a caucus all on one day, and of course those superdelegates that make up 20% of the total available delegates available for candidates to win - yet the voters have nothing to do with which candidate wins them.

If that run on sentence doesn't make you dizzy, how about Iowa holding their state convention yesterday and Senator Barack Obama picking up at least five and maybe nine more delegates than he was awarded when he won the first of the approximately 40 primaries and caucuses held to date. You can read more here at the and the

The caucus manner of selecting delegates used by many states in the democratic party nomination process has come under increasing fire with this being such a close race. When Howard Dean was Governor of Vermont, while on a Canadian television talk show, he talked about how this process was hardly democratic for it excluded so many voters. Of course, this was replayed numerous times on TV prior to the Iowa elections in 2004 where he finished third, essentially ending his bid for the democratic nomination for President.

However, he had a point back then, as do the present day naysayers. At caucuses, it is generally the activist that takes part for the process is typically an hour or more in length and the time is set for a particular time during the day which excludes many workers. Many voters
also do not wish to have everyone see who they are voting for and then have to enter into a debate about changing their vote to another candidate.

Another interesting change that recently occurred that has fallen under the radar pertains to Puerto Rico. On June 7th, they are scheduled to hold the last contest for delegates in which they have 55 pledged delegates and 8 superdelegates. Interestingly, only 20 states have more delegates. Puerto Rico was scheduled to hold caucuses and just changed to a traditional vote with polling locations. This is interesting for the Clinton campaign has been railing about how unfair caucuses are and that caucuses have been favoring Senator Obama.

Making sure all the democratic voters in all the states are able to weigh in on who they want to be their candidate for President is important and it is refreshing to see that this may be the case in this election year. Even holding a Democratic Convention in Denver this August without the nominee already chosen is also something that could bring back faith in the voters in the political system. In spite of what some democratic party leaders feel, this will add to the excitement and voter turnout in the Fall.

The recent election year coronations of the democratic party nominee for President without any meaningful debate on the platform of the democratic party has been disheartening for many voters.

One thing should be certain after this election year and that is the democratic party has their work cut out for them in restructuring the current process for nominating their candidate for President.

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