Sunday, March 30, 2008

It's a Popular (ity) Contest Now

The common media epithet for the January 29th Florida Democratic Primary was "beauty contest." Furthermore, the biggest issue surrounding the New Hampshire Primary was likability. Having delved enough into the history of your High School culture, I question whether this political race is just another popularity contest, pitting Socs against Greasers, jocks against T-Birds. Is it indeed a popularity contest?

I say it is, but in a different way. If this were, in fact, a beauty contest, my choice would be obvious. 60 years or not, Hillary Clinton is one sumptuous temptress. Deep inside, every male journalist has to be wondering what lies behind the pants-suit curtain (is it the fear of rejection that makes them favor Obama?).

But leaving the Meryton gutter behind, let's focus on the word "popularity." Pundits for Sir Barack Obama have argued that Mrs. Clinton has no chance to catch him. Some have gone even further, suggesting that she should drop out (Mr. Obama - to his credit - retreated from that position yesterday).

I am the first to accept the pledged delegate differential as daunting, but the "popular" vote can still be accomplished. It was universally acknowledged that - with Florida and Michigan - my dear Hillary Clinton would have had an excellent chance to catch up in popular vote. When Mr. Obama tramelled that attempt, many saw Mr. Obama's lead as insurmountable.

I entreat you, readers, to examine this chart from the illustrious Jay Cost. As Michael Barone shows here, my dear Hillary still has a decent chance. She will need her strongest showings in Indiana, Montana, and South Dakota, states that may or may not be favorable to her. She must exceed expectations in Pennsylvania, Kentucky, and West Virginia, while minimizing the damage in North Carolina and Oregon.

The other critical contest is Puerto Rico, where lawmakers have successfully changed the vote from a caucus to a primary. Clinton has soared with Latino voters (a large percentage of the Puerto Rican population, we assume), so if she can gain over 300,000 votes there, she would be in a prime position. Let's also factor in the growing trend of states wanting to feel important. The best way to have an impact on the race is to vote Clinton, so I expect her to gain a few supporters that way too.

In sum, Mrs. Clinton may not win a High School popularity contest with Mr. Obama, but she can win the popular vote. It was much the same way with Mr. Bennet, as he was first inclined towards Mr. Wickham, but later settled on me. The United States can do the same.

4 comments:

Hayley said...

I'm fairly certain as well that Hillary still has a chance -- I can only hope. I'll have to disagree with you on whose the better looking candidate though, Barack Obama certiantly beats Hillary. Clinton defiently will get Purto Rico's delegates but I don't think its large enough to have an impact. Its a shame that FL And Michigan stripped the Democrats delegates away.

Lauren said...

There's a reason why our founding fathers wanted to use an electoral college system rather than rely on the popular vote way back when. Of course, today with the internet and television, Americans, in general are much more informed of the choices they are making.
I guess that's why the delegate system came about within the Democratic party. The question really is- which vote has more validity in terms of electing a good president/democratic party nominee? In that process, you have to be aware of the ramificationsof each-popularity contest and all.

Sarah said...

The popular vote is the only real method to go by. Look at what the electoral vote did for Al Gore in 2000. This delegate system is seriously messed up, and Obama is going to run away with this because of those flaws.

By the way, I'm a Hillary supporter. I can't imagine that I'm as much of a supporter as you are, Mr. Darcy! You really have it bad for her.

Hans said...

Clinton is really dipping in the polls, but if history shows anything, she should get a resurrection in Pennsylvania. That's the only poll that matters between now and April 22nd. These things move in cycles. Keep your hope alive, Mr. Darcy.