Thursday, March 06, 2008

The Texas Two-Step

Well, it's been two days and they're *still* counting the caucus votes in Texas. At the moment, they're approximately 40% through the results, with Obama leading Clinton by 56% to 44%.

As for the primaries, Clinton defeated Obama with 51% of the vote. Now if you've ever actually studied math, you probably regard that as a "close race" or a "narrow margin." However, you may recall from 2004 that the Republicans declared 51% to be a "historical sweeping landslide of Biblical proportions that indicates a mandate set not only by the people but by the Lord God Himself." So I guess Clinton should feel pretty proud right about now.

If you're from a state with a less-retarded voting system, you may be asking yourself, "What's all this primary/caucus stuff?" Well, if so, then you're shit out of luck because I've lived in Texas my whole life and I *still* don't understand how the candidate selection process works here for Democrats.

The Republicans have their primary elections. All of their faithful supporters show up and cast their votes for the Republican who hates gay people and foreigners the most. They tally the votes (at 1 for each white voter, and 3/5 for everyone else) and then they send their delegates to the Republican National Convention to nominate their man.

But the Democrats here have a system known as the "Texas Two-Step" that's more convoluted than the plot of Lost. You see, first you go to the primary and cast your vote for the candidate of your choice. The results of the primary are represented by 126 delegates. Once you've voted in the primary, you are eligible to attend the caucus and vote yet again. Only this time, you're voting for the delegates rather than the candidates. I think. The results of the caucus are represented by 67 delegates; 25 have already been selected by the party, while the remaining 42 are elected at the caucus.

And, just in case your head hasn't exploded yet, there are 35 superdelegates! These roguish, devil-may-care delegates play by their own damn rules! They laugh at your silly little primary results, and they spit on your caucuses! They vote however the hell they feel like voting, and if you don't like it, you can run home and cry to mommy, you colossal pussy!

So that's it in a nutshell. There's also some calculus involved, plus everyone knows that the Hair Competition is worth 35% of the final score. In the end, the results will probably be determined by those wild card superdelegates.

One interesting thing about the primaries was the record turnout of Democrat voters. They actually outnumbered the Republican voters by 2/1, which is pretty remarkable in the reddest of red states. (The last time Texas cast its electoral votes for a Democrat was 1976, for Jimmy Carter. Of course, that was back before Democrat, liberal, and evil all became synonyms in the conservative dictionary.)

Of course, conspiracy theories abound. Some folks claim that the Republicans are attempting to sabotage Obama by sending folks to vote for Clinton, which strikes me as kind of funny. I know Rush Limbaugh has been inciting his listeners to vote for Hillary, because he thinks that'll make things easier for the Republicans in November. (Rush apparently assumes that American voters are more sexist than racist.)

But it could end up being a moot point. While doing the morning talk show circuit the other day, Hillary mentioned the possibility of a Clinton/Obama ticket. Of course, they'd have to settle the matter of who gets to be on top with a quick round of roshombo or a game of quarters.

What's interesting is that, ordinarily, talk of a join ticket is seen as a concession. However, Clinton timed it just right and may end up appealing to folks who see a vote for her as a vote for her and Obama. Plus, it opens up the opportunity of Clinton serving her one or two terms, then stepping aside to let Obama do the same.

Personally, I still have my problems with Hillary Clinton, none of which are actually related to the issues. I hate the way her campaign just seems to go negative by reflex (her team is already blaming the caucus results on Obama's team, claiming they cheated and kept certain voters from attending). And her heartfelt, sincere moments feel so contrived and manipulative.

But she's pro-environment, pro-choice, anti-war, anti-torture, and has plans for economic stimulation that go beyond constant tax cuts to the wealthiest .00001%. I may not like her as a person, but I can at least support her on the issues. I'm still pulling for Obama, but I don't think Clinton in office would necessarily be a *bad* thing.

Of course, it's hard to say for certain. After all, that bar has been set pretty low over the past eight years...


Professor said...

Is this the one where someone gets voted off the island... eh, uh, election? And I think they should decide the Clinton/ Obama ticket by playing beerpong...

mr. schprock said...

Why don't you have a newspaper column? Or a writer for The Onion or Saturday Night Live? Why aren't you being paid to do this? All of this is gold.