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January 28, 2004
IT'S THE DELAGATES
UPDATE 13:28 God I love CNN (the Web site). Right here they answer every numbers question you've got about delegates. Currently, Dean has 113, Kerry 94, Clark 30 and Edwards 36. You need 2,161. There are delegate numbers for each state as well. There are currently 4,321 total delegates to the Democratic National convention, inclusive of 801 unpledged or "superdelegates."
I'm certainly not an expert on any of this. Haven't had to be as there have always been clear winners and losers. I'm partly writing this to clear my own head about this, so please correct me (or agree with me) as I go along.
While Kerry is being touted as the runaway winner and Dean the disappointing loser in all of this, those who are blathering all this should keep in mind that is the delagates to the Democratic National Convention, not the winners in each state that decide a party's nominee.
That means that rather than winner and loser we should look more at the delagate numbers - much like Electoral College over popular vote, though that comparison isn't perfect.
So in Iowa, there were 40 delegates up for the candidates. In New Hampshire there were 22 up for the candidates.
So far then, Kerry has 33 (20 from Iowa and 13 from New Hampshire).
Dean has 20 (11 from Iowa and 9 from New Hampshire).
Edwards has 19, (19 from Iowa and 0 from New Hampshire.
All the rest in contention (this means Clark only) so far have no delegates. So, in a very concrete way, they are all on par with each other at this point.
As has been pointed out, no candidate has become president when not winning either New Hampshire or Iowa. This mean's Dean has a tough road ahead.
Or does it? Remember it's the delegates and perhaps he's keeping that in mind.
If there is not a clear out and out winner by the end of the last Dem. primary - early March - then we will see what will amount to the Iowa caucus situation on a grand scale. If there are more than two candidates in the running still no one will have 50 percent of the delegates (plus 1). There will be horsetrading.
In other words - stressful hell. What completes this easy formula is the League of Liberals known as Superdelegates.
Superdelegates can vote however they like. And so far, Dean has more in his camp. If he tanks on Feb. 3, expect a massive migration though and the end of the Dean campaign.
There is also the possibility in a brokered convention that someone who did not even run in the primaries could jump in and try to grab the delegate votes. Unless this was Al Gore, that would be unpopular with me. It won't be (he's on the surface unpopular with Democrats, though I could see them feeling comfortable with him) and it would be unpopular with anyone - not exactly a battle-tested candidate for the Democratic Party.
Also this Primary what's-what glossary here.