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Speaker: Two Ticks

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  • Graeme Edgeler,

    First?

    :-)

    Now it really is hours to go. Anyone prepared to buck the trend of punditry everywhere and make solid prediction?

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3202 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    [And if you don't feel like discussing electoral rules in the comments, feel free to expound on whom do you want to win? Or think will win. Or want to lose...]

    Oh, please please please, may Clinton lose by a humiliating margin if only for the pleasure of watching the chattering classes pull the Orwellian trick of pretending that the junior senator from New York hadn't been annointed as the President presumptive since the beginning. OTOH, I wouldn't be foolish enough to count out a formidable and well-connected machine but it can't do anyone any harm if the Democratic race stops being a dynastic coronation and turns into an election.

    As for the Republicans - Huckabee or Romney? Gee, gonnorhea or syphilis? Would be nice if McCain makes a credible showing (despite pretty much joining Guiliani in passing on Iowa and New Hampshire) because he's about the only person in the GOP field who isn't barking mad.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler,

    Would be nice if McCain makes a credible showing (despite pretty much joining Guiliani in passing on Iowa and New Hampshire)

    Giuliani may be passing on the small early contests to focus on some big races (a very risky strategy that must account in part of his long slide in the polls over the course of 2007), but New Hampshire is where McCain is pinning all his hopes.

    There's a suggestion recently too that if Fred Thompson doesn't finish in the top two, that he'll urge his supporters to back McCain - which would be nice.

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3202 posts Report Reply

  • Idiot Savant,

    It's all very nineteenth century, isn't it? And the practice of staggered primaries, while it does build interest, also seems to grant a few dipshit podunk states a vastly disproportionate say on who the eventual nominee is.

    (I was going to say it also allows donors greater influence - donations tend to dry up for those not doing well, and flow to the leading candidates as everyone backs the presumed winner. OTOH, staggered primaries also leads to lower access costs - the cost of contesting a few early races is much lower than having to campaign nationally).

    Basically, I approve of the idea of a primary election among party members to decide the candidate, but this seems to be a rather archaic and unfair way of doing it.

    Palmerston North • Since Nov 2006 • 1711 posts Report Reply

  • Idiot Savant,

    Oh, and while I'm at it: why are the states determining primary dates? Isn't it the private business of the local party, and no business of the state government?

    Palmerston North • Since Nov 2006 • 1711 posts Report Reply

  • Idiot Savant,

    Would be nice if McCain makes a credible showing (despite pretty much joining Guiliani in passing on Iowa and New Hampshire) because he's about the only person in the GOP field who isn't barking mad.

    I wouldn't go that far - he's been crawling into bed with the religious right, just like the rest of them - but he is at least the only Republican candidate who is publicly against torture. The rest seem to regard it as some sort of macho competition to see who can position themselves as the most sadistic, brutal thug (something which sadly seems to play well with Republicans).

    Palmerston North • Since Nov 2006 • 1711 posts Report Reply

  • Don Christie,

    It's all very nineteenth century, isn't it?

    Well, yes indeed. And I am sure the Soviet Politburo was elected along similar lines :-)

    However, it does seem to give the folks of many states an extraordinarily close up view of the various candidates over an extended period of time. When you consider the size and population of the USA this has got to be a good thing.

    I'm am never quite sure whether to laugh, cry or marvel at the US systems of democracy.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1645 posts Report Reply

  • Tim Michie,

    Republican's coices are particularly dire. Romney seems to talk doublespeak like a native. Huckabee's flat-sales-only tax system might make good speechifying but wouldn't work, and likely punish the poor. Guiliani, running the late states may be crazy enough to work in this generally mad campaign but it's hard to see him appealing to the base no matter how many windows he's broken. McCain's success has been to recover from some early campaign weirdness - only recovering after firing most of his staff and marshalling his resources but has been pandering to the base due to issues like immigration and torture, as I/S says, and the mere fact that Democrats liked him last time. He's won early before only to fall later.

    The top Democratic candidates - sorry Graeme - are polling so close that no one is making a call. Clinton led, Obama's overtaken by the margin of error in the last minute and Edwards has been throwing all his hopes into these states earlier than all of them. Obama and Edwards have been playing Good Cop/Bad Cop against Clinton in the debates but I can't see Edwards opting for V.P. candidate again. Just as these states count as voters like winners, a two time loser on your team better be bringing in the votes from somewhere, The South perhaps?

    Also interesting to watch, as the primaries prime, is how many non-white and male voters are drawn out: those that idn't come out in 2004, discouraged by 2000 and it's aftermath and - especially for Latinos - lack of results.

    Auckward • Since Nov 2006 • 614 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler,

    It's all very nineteenth century, isn't it?

    Early 20th century, actually. The first primary wasn't held until 1910 (it was very much closed shop until then).

    while I'm at it: why are the states determining primary dates? Isn't it the private business of the local party, and no business of the state government?

    You could make an argument, but if you're running an election and want to state government to pay for polling clerks and voter education etc. you probably can't complain too much.

    And if you treat the parties as essentially private organisations, then they're permitted to refuse access on the basis of colour, or sex etc. And could even get in trouble with the US Constitution in that regard.

    That said, some state regulation of primaries has been held to breach the guarantee of freedom of association under the first amendment. California proposition 198 - which passed requiring it's primaries to be open was quashed by the Supreme Court. And a Connecticut law requiring a closed primary was also quashed. The date on which a primary is to be held just obviously isn't (yet) considered integral to free speech as freedom of association is.

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3202 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    As for the Republicans - Huckabee or Romney? Gee, gonnorhea or syphilis? Would be nice if McCain makes a credible showing (despite pretty much joining Guiliani in passing on Iowa and New Hampshire) because he's about the only person in the GOP field who isn't barking mad.

    It's been interesting to see how many people -- especially liberals -- have talked up Ron Paul because of his anti-war stance without actually knowing anything much about him.

    It's not just the usual endearingly bonkers policies you might expect from a doctrinaire libertarian -- it's the not-so-long-ago out-and-out racism dug up by Kos, including his declaration that "I think we can safely assume that 95% of the black males in [Washington DC] are semi-criminal or entirely criminal."

    Another Kos diarist has more from the Ron Paul Political Report, Paul's former newsletter, including a link to the full text of Paul's staggeringly racist essay on the Los Angeles riots, which opens thus:

    **LOS ANGELES RACIAL TERRORISM**

    The Los Angeles and related riots mark a new era in American cultural, political, and economic life. We now know that we are under assault from thugs and revolutionaries who hate Euro-American civilization and everything it stands for: private property, material success for those who earn it, and Christian morality.

    Dude is bad crazy.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22754 posts Report Reply

  • Tim Michie,

    Waaay to early to draw heaps from them, but it's 8:thirty-something p.m. US ET and results are being posted. In this case WashPosted...

    Auckward • Since Nov 2006 • 614 posts Report Reply

  • Neil Morrison,

    a report from Prospect illustrates it's a very human process -

    A bit of drama here in precinct 23. The two women with the baby came in about 10 minutes late, and sat quietly in the Hillary camp. A few minutes later, the baby began to cry, and they took the baby out into the hallway. When they come back in to be counted, there's an uprising from a man in the Obama camp. "People are coming in late!" he shouts.

    "They had a baby!" responds a woman on the other side of the auditorium. "It started to cry."

    "I didn't hear no crying."

    After that, Elaine [precinct caucus chair] says the women can't caucus.

    on such things a Presidency may ride.

    Since Nov 2006 • 932 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler,

    Waaay to early to draw heaps from them

    Well cnn are already predicting a Huckabee win...

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3202 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    TPM Election Central is good too:

    Right now, Hillary, Obama, and Edwards are basically in a statistical dead heat -- each has roughly 32%, with 513 of 1,751 precincts reporting.

    A caveat: The small, rural precincts report first, which is why Edwards has been ahead for the early part of the evening. Now they're effectively tied, but it seems likely that the dynamic will shift soon..

    Huckabee well ahead of Romney on the other side.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22754 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    Man. I knew a fair bit about the American political system and the primaries, but you've brought up a few quirks there which I hadn't even heard of.

    The other thing to remember is that 90% of the time the delegates at the convention have only one job - waving banners and making lots of noise. The other 10% of the time when there's actually real choosing work to be done at the convention, they're often spectacularly unqualified, since they basically signed up for a four day holiday with a bunch of other political nuts.

    If either party comes down to that - and it's looking possible for either at this stage, it'll be a mess that'll make good TV but not necessarily good politics :)

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Josh Marshall says:

    The Obama folks say they're expecting a turnout of 207k, which would be at the highest end of expectations.

    I think 2004 was around 120k and that was considered a high turnout caucus.

    From a comment on Election Central:

    What's rural and what's not in Iowa? I don't mean that flippantly, but Des Moine District 53 just went overwhelmingly for Obama and Edwards. In a room of something like 375 people, only 74 went for Hillary.

    Hmmm ...

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22754 posts Report Reply

  • Jolisa,

    The New York Times says Huckabee wins; Romney has conceded.

    Also, Obama has pulled ahead by a couple of percentage points.

    Auckland, NZ • Since Nov 2006 • 1472 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler,

    And a bunch of places now calling Iowa for Huckabee... bad news for Mitt Romney, good for John McCain.

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3202 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler,

    And Obama predicted to win for the Dems. With a real fight for second between Edwards and Clinton.

    Really high turnout apparently too (still much lower than a primary, of course).

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3202 posts Report Reply

  • Tim Michie,

    Looks like Obama... by 5% or so. Clinton, Edwards pretty even.

    Auckward • Since Nov 2006 • 614 posts Report Reply

  • Luke Stewart,

    I think it is interesting that people are calling the idea of caucusing undemocratic. To me if implemented well this system has a lot more to offer than secret ballot voting. This is not to say that the system is implemented well. The low turn out would suggest perhaps not.

    Since Jan 2008 • 1 posts Report Reply

  • Idiot Savant,

    You could make an argument, but if you're running an election and want to state government to pay for polling clerks and voter education etc. you probably can't complain too much.

    I'd figured it was something like that. But at the same time, it really does seem like it should be a private party (so to speak). And given the respective National Committees' rules, the intrusion by states does pose some potential for pure mischief making...

    Palmerston North • Since Nov 2006 • 1711 posts Report Reply

  • Idiot Savant,

    To me if implemented well this system has a lot more to offer than secret ballot voting.

    Like what, the potential for intimidation, bullying, and thuglike behaviour?

    There's nothing in there that couldn't be captured by a simple preferential system - which would also have the advantage of encouraging a much higher turnout and participation.

    Palmerston North • Since Nov 2006 • 1711 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Like what, the potential for intimidation, bullying, and thuglike behaviour?

    The traditional candidate selection process in New Zealand, then?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22754 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    From TPM:

    **META-STORY**

    Beyond who won on each side, there's a very big partisan message out of tonight. Just under 220,000 Democrats caucused tonight. About 115,000 Republicans did. That is a very big vote in itself.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22754 posts Report Reply

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