Hillary Clinton and the Super-Delegates

Hillary Clinton’s big primary win yesterday in Pennsylvania kept her hopes alive for the Democatic Party nomination. She still trails Barack Obama in pledged delegates, but the gap has been closed. The big question is what impact the so-called “super-delegates” will have on who the final nominee with be. Super-delegates are made up of Democratic Senators, Representatives, party officials, former Presidents, etc. These delegates are not decided or assigned by the primary results. They can vote as they wish. Normally they don’t vote until the convention and there are several hundred of them. (Above: Hillary Clinton after Pennsylvania primary, AP Photo)

Most of all she has demonstrated she can carry the big states like Ohio, New York, Texas, California, Florida, Michigan and Pennsylvania, all of which she won the primaries in.

If the goal of the Democratic Party is to win the general election against the strong Republican candidate John McCann, then they need to consider Hillary’s ability to win those states having the most Electoral College Votes. Remember that winning the popular vote has nothing to do with winning the presidency. The candidate winning the majority of Electoral Votes wins. Here is the breakdown of Electoral Votes up for grabs in the large states in the general election:

California – 55
Florida – 27
Michigan – 17
New York – 20
Ohio – 20
Pennsylvania – 21
Texas – 34
Total = 194

You can see that if a candidate can carry all the large states they would be well on the way to reaching the magic number of 270 Electoral Votes needed to win the presidency. This certainly doesn’t dimish the importance of those states having smaller numbers of Electoral Votes because they would have a major impact in a tight election.

The most populous states have the most Electoral Votes because the number of Electors a state has is equal to the number of Senators and Representatives that states sends to Washington as elected officials. The total number of Electoral Votes is 538. A winning candidate in the general election has to win 270 (one more than half).

By winning the primaries in those states with the most Electoral Votes available in the general election Hillary Clinton hopes to be able to convince the unpledged “super-delegates” to support her. If she can do that, she will win the nomination.

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3 Responses to Hillary Clinton and the Super-Delegates

  1. regine leighty says:

    Thoughtful piece ! I Appreciate the information ! Does anyone know where I could possibly obtain a fillable Imm 5476 fillable form example to fill in ?

  2. stamperdad says:

    I agree it is a strange way to do it. I don’t think that anyone even envisioned that the race would be this close. It is incredible.

    Thanks for the comment.
    Steve

  3. Mada says:

    Personally, I feel it is wrong for the Democratic Party to have these super delegates. I understand that all is not “fair” in the voting system, one can lose the delegate count even though they win the popular vote and all that. But to have these people whose voice counts more than anyone else’s, how democratic is that? Why should an unknown-to-me student on the UW campus have more of a say in who the nominee will be than anyone else?

    I’m doing some research tonight so I can post my opinions at length, stay tuned!

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