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Friday, May 30, 2008

DNC Rules & ByLaws Committee Meets Tomorrow

George Wenschhof

The failure of the Democratic National Committee to resolve their primary schedule prior to the kick-off of the 2008 presidential campaign, will forever haunt the Democratic Party. While Senator Barack Obama is the presumptive nominee of the party, supporters of Senator Hillary Clinton will want to place an asterisk next to his win.

Short of a re-vote after the candidates actually campaigned in the states, some democratic voters will be left wondering what if..... Even a re-vote at this point would not be reflective of how the outcome of the vote would have been months ago. You have open primaries in one state which allows voters of another party to vote democrat and much has changed since then so a new vote would not reflect accurately the views of the voters.

By crunching the delegate numbers and doing some simple math, it also becomes obvious that even with adding delegates from Michigan and Florida, Obama will win. Today Obama leads Clinton in total delegates 1982 to 1782. Without Michigan and Florida, there are 86 pledged delegates in the remaining three primaries and 138 un-pledged superdelegates for a total of 224 delegates.

The number needed to secure the nomination is 2026 so one can readily see that Clinton will be unable to reach this figure. Even if she won all the remaining 224 delegates, her total (1782 + 224) would be at 2006, 20 delegates short. Obama, on the other hand needs only 44 (1982 + 44) of the remaining 224 delegates or 20%. If he picks up an average of 2 superdelegates a day, he will have reached 2026 after the primaries conclude in S. Dakota and Montana on Tuesday.

Michigan (128 pledged, 28 super) and Florida (185 pledged, 25 super) have a combined total of 366 delegates. If all of these delegates are seated (a very doubtful outcome), the new number of delegates needed to secure the nomination would be 2210. The remaining total delegates would then be 224 + 366 = 590. Clinton would need to win 428 of 590 or 72.5%, a highly unlikely feat. Conversely, Obama would need only 228 of 590 or 38.6%

So at this point, it is extremely doubtful Michigan and Florida delegates, even if added in full, could alter the outcome of this Democratic primary election. Even Harold Ickes, a strategist with the Clinton campaign says members on the Rules & Bylaws committee who are supportive of Clinton will most likely not support the full seating of delegates. Read more here.

All of the above number crunching makes the meeting tomorrow somewhat anticlimactic. However the Clinton campaign has scheduled a rally tomorrow outside the hotel where the meeting is held to promote the seating of the delegates. The Obama campaign sent out emails to their supporters to not protest. MSNBC has more about the meeting tomorrow here.

Committee members will hopefully be made aware of the above numbers and reach a reasonable solution tomorrow. In the future, the DNC punitive actions should never involve the disenfranchisement of Democratic voters who had nothing to do with actions taken by their state democratic party. This should be the next topic for discussion of the Rules & Bylaws Committee.

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