Ok, if you thought that the U.S. primary system couldn’t be any more complicated that the version the Democrats have running (primary voting, caucuses, superdelegates, combinations, etc.) then you’re about to get a whole lot more confused. Today, well, in the past 24 hours say, Iowa (the first state in the whole primary system for the Democrats) held their national caucus convention to officially award the candidates with their delegates.
I can hear you asking “Didn’t the candidates already win some?” Well, without going into too much depth, they were only ‘loose’ wins – more like delegates that were likely to go to the candidates come today. The official decisions were always going to be made at the convention.
Because the Iowa caucus was held so long ago, John Edwards was still a candidate. And, in his showing in Iowa, he ran 2nd to Barack Obama (forcing Hillary Clinton into 3rd) with 30% of the caucus goers voting for him. Obama won with 38%. Now, at the time, Obama was ‘awarded’ 16 delegate, Edwards 14, and Clinton 15. Once Edwards pulled out, all eyes were on the handful of delegates he had pulled to his campaign because, especially those he won in Iowa because they weren’t officially obligated to support him. Being part of the Iowa caucus system meant that the delegates, come the convention, could change to either Obama or Clinton without any hassle what-so-ever.
That’s what happened overnight – there were delegate changes. Clinton managed to win 1 over (which shows how pathetic they view the Clinton campaign), 6 stayed with Edwards, and Obama received 7 more. Obama’s official total, from Iowa, stands now at 23, Clinton’s at 16, and Edwards on 6.
What I would look out for are Obama spokespersons and supporters speaking on the news in the next few days, reminding everyone that Clinton only won Ohio by 7 delegates, and that now Obama has written that off with just this shifting of support. Further, I would expect these people to say that Obama has ‘won’ the Edwards supporters over. From that, the media will be abuzz about two things: The first is that they will be focusing on the movement of Edwards supporters on the floor of the Democratic National Convention. If Obama has won over Iowa’s supporters now, what about those additional 6 that are still in Edwards’ camp even after the Iowa convention?
And the second thing: What about those caucuses that was only Obama versus Clinton? Are her delegates she won at caucuses safe at the D.N.C. when the fight gets really heated and close, what could happen to the 177 delegates she has won in caucuses? If things manage to stretch into a 3rd day of delegate poaching, will these be the Obama targets? I expect Nevada and Texas delegates to get the most attention – Nevada because Obama netted more delegates than Clinton in the process, and Texas because Obama won the caucus there, and left Clinton with only 29. He can make the argument that their respective states went to him anyway, so they aren’t turn-coating on the entire state.
There was another tidbit of news to come out today. Remember how big California was for the Democrats? The most delegates, the most populated stated, etc.? Well, the vote tallying only just finished overnight. Apparently over 9 million people voted in the primaries there. The official results are in 1 month, 1 week, and 4 days after the event. Obama managed to win 5 of the delegates that were still ‘too close to call’, while Clinton picked up 2. The final spread was Obama winning 166 delegates, Clinton 204.
So some good news – Obama, on a non-primary day, increases his delegate lead by 12 more. Up to a 140 lead now, roughly, and real estate is running out.