This is the website of Abulsme Noibatno Itramne (also known as Sam Minter). Comments here or emails to me at abulsme@abulsme.com are encouraged... or follow me on Twitter as @abulsme.

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February 2008
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Delegates are Real People

What have I been saying about how delegates (not just superdelegates) are real people and while it is traditional and expected for them to vote at the convention for the person they are “pledged” to, it is not actually required? Yeah, well…

Clinton targets pledged delegates
(Roger Simon, The Politico)

Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign intends to go after delegates whom Barack Obama has already won in the caucuses and primaries if she needs them to win the nomination.

This strategy was confirmed to me by a high-ranking Clinton official on Monday. And I am not talking about superdelegates, those 795 party big shots who are not pledged to anybody. I am talking about getting pledged delegates to switch sides.

What? Isn’t that impossible? A pledged delegate is pledged to a particular candidate and cannot switch, right?

Wrong.

Pledged delegates are not really pledged at all, not even on the first ballot. This has been an open secret in the party for years, but it has never really mattered because there has almost always been a clear victor by the time the convention convened.

But not this time. This time, one candidate may enter the convention leading by just a few pledged delegates, and those delegates may find themselves being promised the sun, moon and stars to switch sides.

(via TPM Election Central)

This actually sounds like a trial balloon to me. And it is going to fall to the ground with a resounding thud. People are already ancy about the race being decided by superdelegates. Can you imagine the massive outcry that would result if these kinds of games started to be played in earnest?

Yeah, I’m not sure Hillary is actually this stupid.

Goodbye Fidel, Hello Raul

Not that this wasn’t defacto the situation for a little over a year and a half now, but Fidel just made it official it seems:

Castro resigns as president, state-run paper reports
(Morgan Neill, CNN)

Fidel Castro announced his resignation as president of Cuba and commander-in-chief of Cuba’s military on Tuesday, according to a letter published in the state-run newspaper, Granma.

Castro, 81, temporarily handed power to his younger brother Raul Castro in July 2006 after undergoing intestinal surgery. He hasn’t been seen in public since his surgery, but he has appeared in numerous videos and photos in state media.

The announcement of Castro’s resignation appeared just before 3 a.m. on the Web site of the state-run newspaper.

(via Fark)

Close Races in Wisconsin (and elsewhere)

On this week’s Curmudgeon’s Corner Ivan and I flippantly predicted clean sweeps for both parties in today’s (Tuesday’s) primaries and caucuses. Obama winning Wisconsin and Hawaii and McCain winning Wisconsin and Washington State. (Hawaii’s Republican caucus isn’t until May, and there are no delegates at stake in Washington’s Democratic Primary).

But…

In Wisconsin a few hours before the polls open, Pollster.com has Obama only up by 7.0% which is decent, but some polls show it closer, and the difference between final polls and actual results has sometimes been bigger than that this year. The trend is in Obama’s direction though, so a Hillary win would be a big upset. But the gap really isn’t that huge. It COULD happen.

But look at this!! On the Republican side McCain leads Huckabee by 9.8%… which is a decent margin… but look at the slope of Huckabee’s trend line in the data from February. That Huckabee sure is making a nuicance of himself, ain’t he? I’m not saying he will win Wisconsin, but he sure is making a race out of it.

Meanwhile, there are no recent polls in Washington state, but Huckabee came within a hair of winning the caucuses here (and he is, I think, still asking for recounts and the like). Will that translate from caucus to primary? I dunno. But with the overall message being “McCain has it wrapped up”, plus the confusion from there being both a primary and a caucus here… I wouldn’t be surprised if McCain people stayed home, and Huckabee pulled out a win.

That is just too funny.

The math is still almost impossible for Huckabee here. But there is that little sliver of “almost”. But most (if not all) of the remaining Republican contests are proportional rather than winner-takes-all. Which I think means that Huckabee could actually win every race from here on out and McCain would STILL reach the magic number for the nomination first. But wouldn’t that be fun?

Go Huckabee Go!

As for Hawaii… I haven’t seen a single poll on Hawaii, and it is a caucus state anyway, so fairly unpredictable. The one thing I heard at one point was that Hillary was trying to make a contest out of it, and don’t be so sure that because Obama lived there as a young man that he would win it. So I really have no idea there. I’m guessing Obama here… but I’m really shooting in the dark with no data and basing it on the fact that EVERYBODY seems to assume it will go Obama… but I’m not sure if the talking heads have real data here either.

Anyway, 18 hours from now I will once again be glued to CNN, watching returns come in minute by minute. Fun stuff.

Of course on that ballot thing…

I just realized you are supposed to put the ballot in a security envelope, and then the security envelope in the return envelope… and I forgot the security envelope that is supposed to be in the middle. So my ballot will probably be invalidated or some such.

Not to mention, I can’t find a stamp.

Washington State Democratic Primary

So, I’m about to fill in my ballot for the Washington State Primaries. They need to be postmarked by today (Tuesday). Now, since I participated in the Democratic Caucus, I am bound to do the Democratic Primary, not the Republican. It would be nice to do one of each, but that is not allowed.

Now, the Republican primary matters. Half of the states delegates on the Republican side will be determined by the Primary (the other half were determined by the caucuses a couple of weeks ago).

But on the Democratic side, this doesn’t matter at all. All of the delegates were determined by the Caucus. So this is actually completely irrelevant. None the less, I am going to think about it somewhat. The choices are:

  • Joe Biden
  • Hillary Clinton
  • Chris Dodd
  • John Edwards
  • Mike Gravel
  • Dennis Kucinich
  • Barack Obama
  • Bill Richardson
  • Write In: ______________

Hmmm… remember some of those names? Only three of them are still running of course. And nobody pays any attention to Senator Gravel. But the rest are all still on the ballot. Which makes me think about it again, and makes me sad about how we have this process where since not all of the primaries and caucuses are at the same time, peoples first choice may be “not running” by the time of the actual vote.

Now, I’ve been noticing on the election returns on the last few states on the little pie charts they show on TV, there is actually usually a fairly decent sized grey wedge that is “other”. Now, some of that may be random write ins, but I’m guessing most of it is people voting for candidates who have already dropped out. Which is of course still completely valid. They may not be campaigning, but they are indeed still on the ballot.

Which brings me to me. My first choice overall before Iowa was Ron Paul. But my first choice on the Democratic side was actually Joe Biden. Should I take this opportunity to give Senator Biden the nod?

On the other hand, I’m now actually an Obama delegate to the county convention. Should that hold any weight?

And has my mind actually changed? If Joe was still running, would I still pick him over Obama now?

And, of course, why am I even thinking of this, since there are no delegates at stake and this actually doesn’t matter at all?

Then I think… the only way the results of this contest could be at all relevant are if everybody thinks it doesn’t matter and doesn’t bother… and in the low turnout environment Hillary manages to pull out a win… a win that doesn’t matter at all really, but might give voice to some sort of “Obama won here two weeks ago, but now Hillary won, Hillary has the momentum again!” sort of bull.

So… sorry Joe… I’m filling in Obama.