Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Is Hillary Out if she fails to win Texas?

Patrick Healy in the New York Times has an article that suggests that if Hillary doesn't win Texas and Ohio she may be out.
Mrs. Clinton held a buck-up-the-troops conference call on Monday with donors, super-delegates and other supporters; several of them said afterward that she sounded tired and a little down, but determined about Ohio and Texas. And these donors and super-delegates said that they were not especially soothed, saying they believed she could be on a losing streak that could jeopardize her competitiveness in Ohio and Texas.

“She has to win both Ohio and Texas comfortably, or she’s out,” said one Democratic super-delegate who has endorsed Mrs. Clinton, and who spoke on condition of anonymity to share a candid assessment. “The campaign is starting to come to terms with that.” Campaign advisers, also speaking privately in order to speak plainly, confirmed this view.
Texas was a favored state for Hillary. But it looks very close or even a slight lean to Obama now. Here is my count:

Texas rewards Democratic delegates in a several step process. This mechanism only seems complicated the first couple times through it.

126 Senatorial District Level Delegates allocated by primary results.

These are done by district so most split evenly except for urban areas that will give extras to Obama. In some rural and Southern areas with odd amounts of delegates Clinton may pick up the extra one but I think that doesn't balance out Houston, Galveston, Austin, Dallas, and East Texas. The actual delegates are chosen at the state convention but must reflect the primary vote.

42 At-Large Delegates allocated by the presidential preference of delegates attending the State convention (with a 15 percent threshold).
25 Pledged Party Leaders, Democratic Mayors and Legislators allocated by the presidential preference of delegates attending the State convention (with a 15 percent threshold).

Democrats have to be somewhat motivated to go out and vote in the primary. They have to be very motivated to stand up and be counted in front of their neighbors for a candidate and even more to go on to the next level and do it again and then go to Austin and do it. Their is a motivation and enthusiasm gap that exists among the candidates supporters in favor of Obama. Obama supporters have the fire and enthusiasm. Will the more experienced Clinton supporting politicians be able to stop it? Personally, I would be very surprised if Obama doesn't get a majority in these two categories.

32 Super Delegates made up of Members of Congress, Members of the DNC, past House Speakers and former DNC Chairs.

Nearly all right now for Hillary but rumors of switches. On reflection, Texas Democratic politicians are considering how they will fair with Hillary or Obama leading the ticket, and reaching for another drink.

3 Unpledged Delegates (Add-Ons) elected through a three-tier, post-primary convention process.

Often used for the last demographic balance nudge. Who goes to the next level conventions must be close demographically to those who attended the lower level.

By my calculations the Texas primary is a toss-up (63-63) and there is an Obama advantage in the caucus and conventions (40-27). Obama wins except for the super delegates. The too many super delegates (4-28, some that had declared for Clinton appear to be wavering) which are Hillary's and the unpledged (3). Hillary will only win counting super-delegates. Final 107-118-3. In reality, the party leaders pretty much pick the unpledged and it will be either 2-1 or all Hillary. At this point, counting the super-delegates to win a state is still a victory for Clinton.

To support your candidate so he or she gets the most delegates you have to vote in the primary plus then you have to attend the caucuses starting March 4th at 7:15 PM near where you live and then go to the local convention. If possible go to the state convention. If you are out of town on the 4th give the election judge or someone attending the caucus in your precinct a letter stating you want to support your candidate and want to be a delegate or alternate to the senate district/county convention.

UPDATE - based on tonight's results, BBC, I think I may have been a tad optimistic about Hillary's likely scorecard of delegates coming out of Texas but this has been an unpredictable political season. I urge all Democrats and progressives not to be bent out of shape about your candidate and the other Democrats. As Rob Kall writes - We need to stay TOGETHER. Even my sister, who says she will never vote for Obama for president, concedes he would be OK as VP and she would hate voting for McCain. We have seen what seven years of Republican failures are like, let's not make it twelve.

Will the winner be the candidate that conservative Texas Democrats dislike the least?

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