Sunday, February 12, 2012

Delegate strategery

Well Romney eked a bare victory yesterday, winning the CPAC straw poll and allegedly winning the Maine caucus. Of course, in Maine, which has a bizarre weeks long caucus process, not all the precincts have voted but the the GOP's big honcho declared Willard the winner and says the rest of the votes won't be counted. This, even though Willard only "won" by 194 votes. Feels like Iowa all over again.

In any case, unsurprisingly the media narrative this morning is about Willard's "comeback." But is Willard really winning? Or is the real story, that Ron Paul is amassing the delegates.
It works like this: Romney, Santorum and Gingrich supporters vote in the straw poll, then leave. Paul supporters vote in the poll and stay around for the county business meeting to be elected delegates. Because those delegates are completely loyal to Paul, not to the straw poll results, Paul, not Romney, Gingrich or Santorum, might actually be winning the caucuses. So, who the hell knows how many delegates any Republican has at this point.
Again, this is the Masschusetts Democratic primary I worked on back in the early aughts, all over again. Robert Reich jumped in late. Everyone said he would never get on the ballot. His grass roots supporters flooded the local caucuses and won seats to the nominating convention. But they were mostly new political activists. They did the same thing, voting in the early rounds and then leaving with the belief it was all over. But the voting continued for many more rounds long into the night with the end result being a five man race. If we had instant run-off voting at the time, I'm convinced Reich would have won.

The point being, this is the most bizarre GOP presidential primary I've seen in my lifetime. Ron Paul could well be winning the delegate count, but that story is unlikely to be reported. [graphic via]

[More posts daily at the Detroit News.]

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