Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Told You So

[L to R: Santorum, Romney, Gingrich, Paul]

Told you so. Sort of.

Before South Carolina's primary, it seemed that most major media pundits were expecting Mitt Romney to cruise to the Republican presidential nomination. Meanwhile, I said it was far from over. Gingrich won South Carolina convincingly, and now many are saying that whoever wins Florida (the next primary contest) will almost have a lock on the nomination.

Do I have to go through the math again? Maybe not for you, but perhaps somebody has Googled "politics, primary, Romney" and decided to visit the 557th listing that came up.

(I have no idea if I'm the 557th listing. That's probably an optimistic estimate.)

According to CNN, here are the numbers of delegates won, through the three primaries contested thus far:

Gingrich - 25

Romney - 14

Paul - 10

Santorum - 7

Those figures do not include unpledged RNC delegates, of which there are 123 who become delegates automatically. When those attached to a candidate are included, the numbers become:

Romney - 31

Gincrich - 26

Paul - 10

Santorum - 8

So, what do these figures tell us? If you don't hear them screaming "It's far from over!", then you aren't listening.

As of now, no candidate has accrued 50% of the total delegates available to have been won. The fact remains that it takes a majority, or 1,144 delegates to clinch the nomination (there are 2,287 delegates to be had, total.) Whichever delegate count you use, the frontrunner now has around 2.5% of the total needed to win. Florida has 50 delegates at stake. Assign those 50 to any one of the four candidates. It still leaves the frontrunner with only about 7% of the number he'll need.

Whichever way you look at it, if you truly believe this thing is near to over, you're an idiot (and I mean that in the kindest way.) Since lots of other dopes are making predictions, I may as well. I predict that there will be no clear winner and there will be a brokered convention. That is, deals will be made, between those candidates having accrued delegates, until such time as one emerges with a majority. And that means that anyone with meaningful hope of securing more delegates along the way, even if not enough to garner the nomination, may wield some bit of significant power come August.

Meanwhile, many in the media are still trying to sell us a bill of goods. The last two debates (one prior to voting in South Carolina, the other the first debate in Florida) have featured Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich front and center on the stage, with Rick Santorum and Ron Paul pushed toward the wings. The questions from the moderators and panelists have been overwhelmingly directed towards the center of the stage. In many instances, Paul and Santorum have been excluded from even being allowed to answer those questions or offer rebuttal to the answers given by the other two candidates. In South Carolina, there was an instance where moderator John King (of CNN) did not give Ron Paul the opportunity to speak until the crowd voiced its collective displeasure at such a tactic.

The arrogance of the media is stunning.

Are Gingrich and Romney the leading candidates at this point? Yes, obviously. Will the eventual leader in delegate count be one of those two men? Probably so. Is it the debate moderator's job to decide that those two candidates will receive, say, 50% more speaking time than the other two candidates? By no means. What that is, is a dereliction of duty. It is not the moderator's job to influence the vote, but that is what is being accomplished when any candidate is marginalized. And the people willing to pay attention to these debates, and thus the best informed voters, deserve moderators and panelists without agendas, with no preconceived notions concerning viability of any candidates, and with more sense of fair play.

Do I have any real hope of seeing such? About as much as I have for the Boston Celtics winning the NBA Championship this year, which is to say it's a possibility but not one I'd be willing to bet on at less than 25 to 1.

And now, having discussed both sports and politics, with much of it done via math, I trust I've bored the hell out of the great majority of you and I'll go away.

Soon, with more better stuff.


Craig said...

'Dereliction of duty' is a kind way of putting it. Many members of the media view it as precisely their duty to influence the vote, and the distribution of questions in televised debates is only one of the more subtle ways they go about it.

I remember one of my professors had the opportunity to testify before a legislative committee in the state legislature (which, as it happens, met just up the street from the university), and he came back astonished at the inability of highly-educated people to grasp simple mathematics. As soon as he started talking math/science, their eyes would glaze over. . .

These days, I am much mindful of the old proverb, "There is none so blind as the one who will not see. . ."

lime said...

my favorite bit of media math was when they recounted things in iowa. first it was romney wins by 8 votes, then it was santorum is 34 votes ahead so ok, we'll call it a draw. wtf??? i mean i know they eventually called it as santorum's and they argued about the missing precincts, etc. but still. and though i want neither of those candidates i thinks it's a steaming pile.

Jackie said...

I watch each debate. I still have no idea as to who the nominee might be.
Personally, I would like to see Condoleeza Rice step forward and run, but that won't happen. She has already said that she won't.

Chris@Knucklehead! said...

The phrase "President Gingrich" gives me a huge case of the willies.

To quote Edith Bunker, "Mister we could use a man like Herbert Hoover again."

Hoover was a president, right?

Tabor said...

I also am amazed that 8 districts in Iowa do not get their votes even counted due to some anomaly?? I am a liberal so completely tired of all this and do blame the media for not asking the questions that I want asked.

Mich said...

I am quite ignorant with the goings on of politics, but as far as I can tell, the fact that none of these dudes is really doing any better than the others makes me think no one in the country actually likes any of them enough to want them running for president... That is a sad state of affairs.

Stephen Hayes said...

I find it fun and interesting that mainstream Republicans are now starting to take Gingrich seriously and they're scared shitless about a Gingrich presidency. I expect an avalanche of mainstream endorsements to start flowing Romney's way from now on.

Daryl Edelstein said...

I really truly hate them all and I want someone to please remind the short term memory loss sheeple who hang on their every promise that it was those same promises that got us here ... if I've learned one thing in my life about politics its that no one no one running for office can ever keep the promises they've made because they dont have carte blanche they have cronyism and Congress to deal with. I am ignoring the math & sports parts ... xo

messymimi said...

Not boring, insightful. And it's all making me angry, too.

Buck said...

The arrogance of the media is stunning.

There's MY understatement for the day.

Uncle Skip, said...

Sure is hard not to be an optimist when you put it that way*.
Maybe there are smarter, better individuals out there who'd inspire us?
Oh, right, that's the problem, the smarter, better ones have more sense than to make themselves targets, either as politicians or as mavens

*and when there's so freacking much negativity

Uncle Skip, said...

Aaaaaagh! s/b freaking

SueAnn said...

Arrogance is an understatement indeed!! They act so entitled!! Blah!

Angie Ledbetter said...

Fair play and common sense? Lost arts/virtues.

Michelle H. said...

So, why aren't you running yet? Yes, I realize you are a Libertarian. But at this point in time, I'm thinking we all could use someone with a lick sense more than what we have to deal with right now with the Republicans. I think you'd be the bit of fresh air we need.

Shammickite said...


Jeni said...

Common sense involved in politics? Frankly, I think something that simple is a thing of the past! I'm no fan of any of the Republicans in the running -Gingrich and Santorum both make me on the brink of being physically ill -but that's beside the point for me anyway since I lean towards the Democrats normally. But really, I'd love to see a huge house cleaning effort in both the House and the Senate -a clean sweep, as it were and take that down to the state level too for that matter.