Thanks for playing, independents. Now run along please.

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  1. This is actually a rather atrocious argument (with apologies to DH).
    To wit: if one is voting in a primary wherein one does not register with a party (such as in Texas) and one chooses to vote in the Democratic or Republican primary, it matters not what one feels one’s party affiliation is in your heart (or what one tells an exit pollster). If I choose to vote in the Democratic primary, I am, for all practical purposes, a Democratic voter for that election. I have chosen, even if for a fleeting moment, to be a Democrat. I may have voted Republican int he past, and may vote Republican in future, it matter not. At the only moment when it really matters, I chose. For that matter I may be a swing voter, or like to think of myself as a nonpartisan “independent”–again, the bottom line is that, again, when the moment came, a choice was made.
    It short: my self-image isn’t the issue, nor is what I told the pollster. All that matters is the vote cast.

  2. Polimom, Dr. Taylor,
    Well, well . . . My screen is smoking with the unexpected heat of the usually cool, calm, and collected Polimom’s post–and a virtual finger, no less! Well . . .
    Leave aside for the moment the obvious point that if either candidate is able to secure the necessary number of delegates in the primaries and caucuses, the whole problem goes away. For that matter, if either candidate comes in to the convention with a commanding lead in delegates over the other, say 500 more for A than for B, then the Super-Delegates would seem to be justified in siding with the leader in the delegate count, no matter what the other arguments would be. The nub of the problem comes if neither candidate wins it outright, and if they come in separated by a small number of pledged delegates, say less than 200 (~10% of what’s required to win). In that case, what to do?
    Historically, after the first round of balloting at a deadlocked convention, or perhaps the first couple of rounds, the delegates are freed from their pledges and a furious back room game begins to persuade / seduce / trade / buy the loyalties of enough of the “other guy’s” delegates–without losing too many of your own. It’s a process not at all ‘made for television’ and one which will not produce a nominee that all those who voted in the primaries and caucuses will feel good about.
    As an alternative, the Democrats have Super-Delegates–the metaphorical ‘elders’ of the party, ready to step in and sort out the mess. However, due to aggressive courting by both the Clinton and Obama campaigns, many of the Super-Delegates are committing to a candidate well in advance of the convention, thereby surrendering their potentially decisionmaking role prior to the convention. Some Super-Delegates have not be selected yet, which at least spares them months of arm twisting . . .
    So what basis does a Super-Delegate use to make the call? There are no rules for how a Super-Delegate should decide to vote, though both Clinton and Obama camps are proposing them fast and furious.
    Should it be the one who gets the most popular votes? (Disenfranchises everyone in a caucus state–no popular vote count is available) At least this will play well with those who thought Al Gore should have won in 2000 because he won the popular vote.
    Should it be the one who gets the most self-declared Democrats’ votes? (Disenfrancises everyone in a caucus state; Polimom points out that it disenfranchises Independents and Republicans who crossed over in primaries; Dr. Taylor points out that at the ‘moment of truth’, everyone who voted in a Democratic primary (or participated in a Democratic caucus) was a Democrat in the only way that matters–by their choice to vote) So how do you decide?
    Won’t the nominee need those Independents and crossover Republicans in the general election?
    Shouldn’t the nominee of the Democratic party be selected by the Democratic party to represent the values and ‘brand’ of the Democratic party, and not by the votes of the political opposition, or the permanently non-partisan?
    Perhaps the delegates should look at where the candidates won their victories? (Has the effect of disenfranchising everyone from a usually reliably ‘red’ or ‘blue’ state and only focusing on the expected ‘battleground’ states) How’s that for a big tent?
    There does not appear to be any answer that will work without producing a large number of irate primary process participants. It appears that unless one of the two leading Democratic candidates can ‘put it away’ by the end of the primary season, or one of them chooses to drop out, that whichever one emerges from the convention with the nomination will be considered illegitimate by large swaths of the Democratic faithful.
    Hardly the way to start a general election campaign against a center-right Republican with considerable appeal to Independents and conservative Democrats. Quite the mess . . .

  3. TM — since independents are estimated to be roughly 40% of voters, I agree with you that the Democratic party’s management of this catastrophe could be very damaging to them in the general election.
    Dr. Taylor has it exactly right. Every person’s vote should be accepted as the declaration of support it was. To argue otherwise will only cause still more damage.

  4. If the independents had really come out in the democratic primaries, the candidates wouldnt need the votes of the super delegates.
    This argument is like blaming the catcher for losing the game on an error in the bottom of the ninth. If the team had done their job during the first 8 innings, the error would have never been noticed.
    How we pick candidates has been well known for decades. If you were so concerned, you should have blocked walked more than you complain.

  5. John, I’m guessing you haven’t read anything else I’ve written about this primary, or my involvement. If you had, you’d realize how far you missed with your comment.

    If the independents had really come out in the democratic primaries, the candidates wouldnt need the votes of the super delegates.

    LOL!!!! So it’s the independents‘ fault that the democratic primaries are such a disastrous mess????
    Also — You said:

    If the team had done their job during the first 8 innings, the error would have never been noticed.

    Ummm… the team? Which team would that be? Perhaps you’re thinking of the DNC team, that stupidly locked itself into a windowless/doorless room with FL and MI? Would that be the same team that devised such an undemocratic nominating process that reserves to itself, via “super”delegates, the right to keep its ignorant team members from choosing their own candidates?
    If you and your fellow partisans decide to take the line that Paul Lukasiak recommends, and disdain independent votes and participation (and we are participating, John — right here in your backyard), I’m absolutely positive that many of us will just sit back and laugh as the Democratic party commits political suicide at its convention.

  6. It’s funny how Paul complains about independents taking part in the voting for president (whoever would have thought that America citizens have the right to vote for anyone they want?!), but in his vote totals to prove that Hillary’s in the lead, he discounts the caucuses. I would think that the caucuses are they ULTIMATE party event because representing your candidate takes work and dedication that taking a few seconds to pull a lever in a primary just doesn’t require.
    I pointed out that Paul is lyings about Hillary’s lead in voting by fudging the numbers, and I came up with the actual numbers. Paul dropped by and left a comment about how the caucuses didn’t have as many voters as the primaries, so the delegates coming from caucus states shouldn’t be given the same weight as those from primary states. These the Clintonistas for you.. Moving the goalposts until they win. Rules? Honesty? Integrity? Who needs it!

  7. With all due respect, the point I tried to raise wasn’t “lets ignore the idependents’ but rather ‘shouldn’t we place more importance on what actual Democrats want?”
    The broader point I was making was that Obama was working the refs, setting criteria that favored him for the super-delegates to make their decision on. To me, in race for the nomination where there is no clear winner, results from the primaries should play a very small role in the super-delegates decision-making process. Rather, they should consider who is most likely to win in November, and if that is a close call, who would be the better president. Indeed, IMHO, the superdelegates should be free to say “we think someone other than Clinton or Obama should lead the ticket.”
    As to tas’ accusation that I “fudged the numbers”, I would first note that my Obama popular vote lead is actually greater than that being used eleswhere — I’m saying 128,000, other sources say 85,000. That’s because I assigned all the “uncommitted” in Michigan voters to Obama. And because of a lack of exit polling data from DC, I assigned 100% of the DC vote to “Democrats” — even though the highest percentage anywhere else was 87%.
    The reason that I did not include caucus state results are three-fold. First, there does not appear to be any exit polling data from caucus states other than Nevada and Iowa. (Obama got 32% of Dems in Iowa to Clinton’s 31%, in Nevada it was Clinton 51%, Obama 39%). The purpose of the study was to determine who Democrats supported– without exit polling data, that’s not possible.
    Secondly, the numbers reported in caucus states don’t mean the same things — in some states (like Iowa, Nevada, and Washington state) the number reported are delegates elected to county/district caucuses, in other states (like Idaho and Minnesota) the number of participants was reported. You simply can’t compare the approximate 10,000 delegates that were reported by Nevada with the approximately 20,000 people who participated in Idaho’s caucuses.
    Finally, I don’t think that caucus results reflect the same thing that primary result do in terms of voter sentiment. Rather, they are a reflection of intensity of support for a particular candidate, the amount of effort put into the caucus ‘ground game’ and the effectiveness of that ‘ground game’, and factors that affect the willingness of people to spend three hours in a caucus (e.g. do you go to the caucus on a Saturday, or go to your kid’s basketball game?)
    The idea that I somehow “fudged’ the numbers is really offensive to me, because the numbers I did use were actually more favorable toward Obama than the methodology that tas suggests I should have used. Analysing data requires that you have a consistent set of relevant numbers to use — and that is what I did. My tables reflect totals where the data set is entirely consistent (excluding DC, Florida, and Michigan)…then I add in the DC numbers after assigning all the votes to Democrats and get a new total, then I add in Florida’s vote and get a new total, and then I add in Michigan, again ‘playing with’ the data to assign all uncommitted to Obama, and get another total. That’s called intellectual honesty.
    Feel free to argue that the choice of Democrats in a Democratic nominee selection process should be ignored, and that “Independents” and “Republicans” should be making the decisions for the party.
    (I would note, however, that when I looked at the “Independent” vs the “Moderate” vote after Super Tuesday, while Obama did much, much better among “independents’, Hillary did better among moderates. For every 100 “Indepedent” voters for Hillary, there were 150 ‘Independent’ voters for Obama, but for every 100 “Moderate” votes for Hillary, there were 89 “moderate” votes for Obama. At some point, I’ll probably finish that analysis, adding in the primaries from last week. And while, given the results of those elections, I’m sure that Obama’s ‘moderate’ numbers will go up, I doubt that the disparity between “Independents” and “Moderates” will change — and IMHO, “moderates” are a far more crucial demographic than “independents” when looking at who is the best candidate to win the battleground states.)

  8. Paul, First of all — thank you very much for engaging the dialogue directly. Regardless of whether we come to any kind of understanding, I respect your approach. Also — I cannot speak for tas or his figures — nor for yours. I can only respond to you from my own personal angle.
    That said — I never argued that “the choice of Democrats in a Democratic nominee selection process should be ignored, and that “Independents” and “Republicans” should be making the decisions for the party”. What I’m arguing is that trying to separate us (indies) out to diminish our value is extremely foolish.
    When an estimated 40% of voters consider themselves unaffiliated with either of the major parties, trying to make a case for partisan purity in a nomination contest is pretty silly… and the “electability” issue weakens your case further.
    Not only that, but in my view, it is hypocritical to simultaneously court the independent voters with one hand, and discount them with the other.
    And the Democrats are absolutely courting us. As they should be. But unlike partisan support, ours is given because we have looked for something other than a narrow party platform. The needs of your party, to us, are vastly secondary to the needs of our country.
    If we shared all your policy goals, we’d probably have declared ourselves as part of you. Thus, when we choose to support your candidate, we take a risk on your party. It is not done without some trepidation. But independents also recognize our own power in an election, and disdaining our support, particularly in this extremely important cycle, is an extremely risky proposition.

  9. Polimom…
    Thanks for your response.
    My real argument isn’t that “only Democrats should be considered”… my post at Taylor Marsh’s was really about how Obama was “working the refs” using criteria most favorable to him at any given moment..
    As I noted in my original response, in a close race the super-delegates should make their decision on what is best for the nation (i.e. who best guarantees a Democratic win, and if that is fairly even, who will make the best president.)
    I also want to emphasize that there is a huge difference between “Independent” voters, and the “moderate” voters who make the difference in swing states. The way the exit polls are set up, if you don’t answer “Republican” or “Democrat”, you are lumped in to the “Independent” category. You can be anything from a member of the Socialist Workers Party to the American Nazi Party.
    Looking at the exit polling data, I get a sense (and its just a sense — there are no cross-tabs available) that much of Obama’s “independent” support are people well to the left of the Democratic mainstream — people who might not vote for Clinton if she was the nominee, but won’t vote for McCain either.
    And my greatest fear is that once the GOP smear machine gets into high gear against Obama, that they will be able to characterize Obama as a far left-winger (and there is more than enough stuff in his past to use on that account.) and that “moderate independents” in swing states will wind up voting for “moderate” Republican John McCain.
    (and yes, I know that the smear machine will go after Hillary as well).
    These are the kinds of things that the super-delegates should be thinking about… not who won the most states, or who got 100 more pledged delegates, or for whom 1.5% more people voted out of 30,000,000 votes cast. That isn’t how the electoral college works — its winner take all in every state, and it doesn’t matter what the national vote total is, or how many states you win. And its the electoral college map that the super-delegates need to concentrate on.

  10. The GOP ‘smear machine’??
    There are so many cliches being thrown around here, I’d like to refresh your memory by adding a couple of others … … “Nice guys finish last” and “Dirty politics”, both trite but true.
    If you say nice things about your opponent, people will vote for him/her. If you say bad things about your opponent, people will vote for you. Both are ridiculous reasons ‘for’ voting!
    Of the two candidates, Obama and Clinton, it seems to me that Obama has tried to focus more on the basic issues of his platform and some of his own ideas. Hillary will ‘play nice’ only if you’re on her team, but her smile is superficial.
    By the way, I now do not anticipate a ‘kiss and make up’ session at the convention for these two candidates!

  11. Taylor Marsh, a huge Hillary Clinton fan, has been making some crazy statements lately. also had all the Clinton bashers and let them have free uncensored reign. That seems to have been moderated the last few days as the handwriting appears on the wall.

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