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Monday, March 10, 2008

Who Really Won Ohio?

FIRST - A disclaimer. This post is not about which candidate is better. Or who I (or anyone else should vote for) This is a post about the mechanics of this primary season only.

Most of the "information" in here is my own speculation, guesswork and inferences. It is not fact, it has no sources other than my feeble mind, and it's just some stuff I was thinking about and wondered if anyone else noticed.

NOW......I just saw a report that "over 10,000 Republicans became "dems for a day" in just one district in Ohio. What does that mean? Ohio allows people to switch parties at the polling station. In this particular district, over 10,000 such party switches happend on March 4.

So the next question obviously, is why? Well, the well-known Congressman running for re-election is a likely target of some of this. But these people also came to vote in a hotly contested Presidential primary. Most of the people who switched were from the "wealthier" sections of the district. Given the dynamics around that particular Congressional race - the chances are the switch was made for other reasons than defeating him (he won, by the way).

So...if we now start to look at the presidential primary some interesting other questions begin to pop into view. We've all heard the prominent right-wing mouths urging Republicans in states with open primaries to vote for HRC since they "apparently" can't stomach their own loser. I happen to think those reasons are hogwash but not irrelevant to my argument here. McSame doesn't do as well against one of the dems as the other one. So if you really want him to win - you would obviously try to "rig" the election so the "weaker" candidate was the nominee - giving McSame an easier time of it in the general. Now we're getting down to the nitty gritty.

Multiply 10,000 voters times 18 congressional districts and you get an not-unimpressive 180,000 votes in the dem primary by repubs. Hmmm. Would it have changed the outcome? Obviously there are a lot more factors to consider than just this simple number. Some districts are more heavily repub than others and may have more of these "dems for a day". Some have less - with less switching.

But here's the (VERY THEORETICAL) math. Take HRC's number, subtract BHO's number and you get something - the margin of difference. Then subtract our 180,000 votes from that and you get something else - a much smaller margin of difference. John Edwards was still on the ballot in Ohio, and even though he has officially withdrawn - he still got almost 40,000 votes. Another interesting factor - particularly since he has not endorsed one of the two "frontrunners". Just for arguments sake, JE's people have been moving to the BHO camp in numbers ranging from 65-78% according to a whole bunch of different reports I've seen - and I have no idea how they know that - or even if they do. But suppose they're right and we take 72% of JE's voters and add them to BHO's column and now where are we?

In a primary where 2.23 million votes were cast - using my THEORETICAL and very imperfect math, the difference between the candidates is now less than 15 thousand. Yeah, 15 thousand.

So, who really won?

I'm not saying because I have no way of knowing and neither does anyone else. What I am really throwing out there is that sometime before the next major election cycle, the Democratic party really needs to re-think the idea of how they run their primaries and caucuses. I like proportional representation - don't get me wrong. I think it is a more accurate assessment of how people are really feeling and I think the national parties need this information to assist them in developing strategies for the ensuing elections.

Independents have been working hard to get so-called "open primaries". On the surface, I support that as well. But in this instance, here is what can happen when an election is so hotly contested - and the opposition party has its own agenda and a lot of dedicated foot-soldiers who will work to make it happen, no matter how disreputable and devious the reasons for it.

In closing - I hope in the comments that we don't get into arguments about the candidates - leave that for the General's post earlier this week. I'm much more interested in the process and if anyone else thinks we really need to fix it. (Don't get me started on the Texas Two-Step!)

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