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Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Good Morning.......Fired Up And Ready To Go

End Of The Nomination, At A Glance

by: Chris Bowers

This is the final nomination at a glance post that I intend to make. Tomorrow, the 2008 Presidential Election Forecast, which I will update just about every day between now and November, will replace it

The Democratic nomination campaign is over, and there is no need to keep a running, updated count anymore. Massive pro-Obama superdelegate movement, combined with the John Edwards endorsement, were the final straws. At this point, Obama now holds a commanding lead, even if Florida and Michigan are seated exactly as the Clinton campaign hopes they are.

Best-Case Clinton Delegate Count

Type Obama Clinton Edwards Remaining 50% + 1
Pledged 1,612.5 1,442.5 20 189 1,627
Super 305.5 288.5 0 257 --
Florida* 69 105 11 0 NA
Michigan 31 47 5 45 NA
Total 2,018 1,883 25 491 2,208.5

* Two Edwards delegates in Florida have now indicated they will support Obama

Even if Michigan and Florida are seated based entirely on the results of the January "primaries," which is extremely unlikely, then Obama leads by 135 delegates even without the remaining 25 Edwards delegates and 19 Michigan uncommitted delegates added to his total. There is simply no longer any path for Clinton to reach the nomination. This is probably why Obama is poised to declare victory on Tuesday night:

Senator Barack Obama has chosen to spend Tuesday night not in Kentucky or Oregon, the two states that will be holding their primaries that day, or even at his home in Chicago. Instead, Mr. Obama's staff announced on Saturday, he will be returning to Iowa, where he won the Democratic caucuses way back in January and has at least two good reasons to revisit now.

Much more than nostalgia seems to have motivated that decision. If things continue to go as well for Mr. Obama this week as they have so far this month, with a romp in North Carolina, a strong showing in Indiana and daily growth in his support among party superdelegates, he could actually end up with enough pledged delegates to proclaim, without fear of contradiction, that he is now the Democratic nominee for president.

They should change the "could" to "will" in that article. As a result, it will be exciting to live blog Tuesday's returns. Here are a few more notes on the end of the nomination at a glance series:

  • On Tuesday night, Obama will also be able to secure victory in a metric that has long been important to me: the popular vote. Even if Michigan and Florida are included in measures of popular participation, notions to which I am actually quite open because no other delegate selection events were made available to the residents of those two states, about 260,000 more participants in Democratic delegate selection events preferred Obama to Clinton. While the uncommitted vote in Michigan and lack of popular totals in four caucus states make a final count impossible, exit polls and voter turnout estimates among those groups provide conclusive, incontrovertible evidence that more participants in Democratic delegate selection events supported Obama than Clinton. This metric might not matter to you, but it even with all the imperfections in the process it does matter to me, and I am very glad that our presumptive nominee will finish ahead in this category. (See here and here for more information on this.)
  • Biggest Upset Ever. The enormity of Obama's accomplishment should not be underestimated. He succeeded where Ted Kennedy, Gary Hart and Bill Bradley failed: defeating a candidate with overwhelming institutional support to win the Democratic nomination. Going into this campaign, the Hillary Clinton had fifteen years of power building at her back, and Obama was able to edge her out in only fifteen months.
  • Best Nomination Campaign, Ever: The three nomination campaigns I remember when I was growing up were 1984, 1988 and 1992, all of which were lengthy, unpredictable contests with numerous twists and turns. The next three Democratic contests, 1996, 2000 and 2004 were incredibly weak and boring by comparison. For quite some time, I have longed for a campaign when everyone got to have their say, not just Iowa and New Hampshire. I longed for a real contest over who would lead the Democratic Party, and even though the ideological component of this campaign was mainly identity-based, we finally got another one of those. As a blogger and a political junkie, I wanted few things more than to be able to become a leading expert on delegates and delegate counting. Over the last four months, I have relished that role about as much as I have ever enjoyed anything as a blogger. Truly wonderful.

On balance, the nomination campaign was overwhelmingly positive for the Democratic Party. Three million new Democrats were registered. Democrats took a huge lead in partisan identification. Our small donor and activist bases were greatly expanded, with twice as much money already being raised from donors of $200 or less than the 2004 Democratic presidential candidates raised during the entire cycle. And, despite all the attacks, Obama's lead over McCain is as large is it has been in nine months.

It has been a hell of a ride, and I like where we are. It is time for delegate math to be but aside, and for electoral math to take center stage.

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