Tuesday, March 18, 2008

What Happens to Florida's Delegates Now?

The news today is that there will not be a re-vote in Florida. This news is obviously not good for Clinton in any way. First, let's start with what might have happened in a re-vote. According to a Rasmussen Reports survey conducted a couple of weeks ago, Clinton held a 55%-39% advantage over Obama if a re-vote were held. If her lead held up, it would have given Clinton a net gain of about 30 delegates.

However, if we assume a re-vote is not going to happen, then what are the other options available? Here are several possibilities, and what they would mean for the delegate count:

1) Not seat the delegation. The DNC has already said that the delegates elected in Florida will not count. If this decision stands, then neither candidate would receive any delegates from Florida, a scenario that clearly favors Obama.

2) Seat the full delegation that was elected in January. This seems unlikely to happen. However, if it did, Clinton would receive 105 delegates, Obama 67, and Edwards 13. That would give Clinton a net gain of 38 delegates. A net gain like this would help Clinton significantly cut into Obama's lead; of course, this is precisely why this solution is so unlikely. However, you never know what might happen at the convention if these delegates would make the difference.

3) The Nelson plan. Florida Senator Bill Nelson has suggested that the DNC do what the RNC did with Florida: only seat half their delegates. If this were to happen, each candidate's delegate total from the January primary would be cut in half. That would mean that Clinton would receive 52.5 delegates, Obama 33.5, and Edwards 6.5.With this proposal, Clinton would take a net gain of 19 delegates.

4) FL congressional delegation plan. This plan is a bit unclear at the moment. Evidently it would take into account both the Florida vote as well as how the vote has gone in other states since Florida voted. It is obviously difficult to see how this would translate into delegates, but it seems likely that it would result in a net advantage for Clinton that would be roughly similar to that in the Nelson plan.

At this point, the Obama campaign seems to be happy to allow the Florida situation to languish. After all, the longer those votes don't count, the longer Obama maintains a significant edge over Clinton. But wouldn't it make sense for Obama to come out in support of a modified Nelson plan? Specifically, his campaign could argue that the pledged delegates from Florida be cut in half and that all superdelegates from Florida should not be given a vote (something I argued earlier here). Even though Obama's lead is relatively slim, he could probably afford to give up 19 delegates to Clinton. And by banning Florida's superdelegates, he'd know that he wouldn't lose any more ground to her in that state. Essentially, Obama would be buying an insurance policy by endorsing the plan. For the price of 19 delegates, he can make sure that he doesn't take a bigger hit in the state if something unexpected happens at the convention (leading to the full delegation being seated). There is also the point that the good will and good press that such a move would earn him would probably more than make up for the delegates he'd give up to Clinton in Florida by accepting a reduced delegation. Will Obama do this? Perhaps not. Should he? What do you think?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I think Obama should get right the hell out of this race, the ONLY reason he is doing as well as he is is because he is black or professes to be. Black people are no longer such a minority. Of course he professes to be a lot of things we have recently found out he is not. We don't even know anything really about him other than his "weird" upbringing which apparently came from him. I personally think that if he is the democratic nominee he will be blown right out of the water by the republicans. I really cannot believe the American public is so stupid. If he is elected it will let the whole world know that we really are stupid. They certainly won't like us any better.