Sunday, May 27, 2007

The Impact of the Compressed Primary Schedule

In any other year this would not cause me much anxiety -- yes the double digit leader in the national polls is both the least progressive top tier democratic candidate and the one who to my mind presents the most serious questions of electability. But in any other year I would look at these polls and just add all the numbers together that aren't leaning to Hillary and assume that every single one of them was going to vote for someone other than her. I honestly don't see a single Edwards, Obama, or Gore vote (well maybe a few Gore voters) pulling the lever for Hillary as a second choice in the primaries. This year, however, I just don't see any realistic chance that Edwards or Obama (or Gore if he runs) drop out after the first two weeks merely because they haven't cracked second place yet. Indeed, with Edwards polling ahead in Iowa, and enjoying a significant Union advantage in Nevada, I doubt that he will fail to score an early victory. Early victories will not serve the same function -- they will tend neither to winnow the field, nor to build momentum for low-budget candidates.
Primaries dont have run-offs, and most are winner take all. This means that Hillary could win an overwhelming number of delegates even if she never draws 40% in any state. These features strike me as failures of democracy, and, in this case, major liabilities in the general election.
And shit.

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