Monday, February 25, 2008

Where Everything's Bigger

The Texas primary is coming up on March 4th and things are looking better and better for Obama. A few months ago Clinton had this state locked by 20 points; now CNN's latest numbers have Obama up by 4. Even Bill Clinton has said that if she doesn't win Texas and Ohio (that primary is on the same day along with Rhode Island and Vermont) she won't win the nomination. I have confidence that Obama can take Texas and here's why:

  1. Of Texas' 193 delegates, only 126 are in play during the primary. The other 67 are caucus delegates and will be allocated at the Texas Democratic Party Convention in June (the state has a lot of weird rules like this and I really get the impression that the Clinton people thought it was such a lock that they didn't do their homework). In the past, Obama has done very well in caucus contests and a good majority of these delegates will likely go to him.
  2. There are 6 districts in South Texas where a large amount of the state's Latino population reside (Clinton does very well with Latinos) but 4 of these have only 4 delegates apiece. Again, because of Texas' unique primary rules, Clinton needs to win over 62.5% of the vote in these districts to get more than 2 delegates while Obama just has to get over 37.5% to get the other 2 delegates. This means that even if Clinton beats him by 20 points in these areas he can still take half of the delegates.

  3. Austin is the biggest district in the state with 8 delegates. The University of Texas will deliver Obama a huge amount of college votes. He'll easily take 5 delegates there, 6 is a real possibility. In Houston, which has 7 delegates up for grabs, all of the local elected officials (most of whom are black) have endorsed Obama. He'll take at least 4 delegates there, probably 5. Dallas is similar to Houston and Obama should get 4 of the 6 delegates there.

  4. Latinos in Texas historically don't come out to vote in the kind of numbers that helped Clinton win California. On top of that, Obama's appeal to younger voters should help him here as well: 75% of Latino Texans are under the age of 30.

I have to admit that I knew very little about Texas' voting procedures when I lived there and from what I've learned thus far they could really use some reforming. I can just imagine the incredibly cliched smoke-filled room full of fat, old white guys twisting the election rules around to fit their agenda.

Now I know that Clinton is still leading in Ohio and the 161 delegates there are nothing to sneeze at but consider this: Clinton was up over 20 points a few weeks ago; that lead has now shrunk to 7. She'll probably win Rhode Island while Obama already has Vermont in the bag but the two significantly larger states are not only must wins for her, she must win big; I'm talking 10-15 points big. Anything less will effectively be the death knell for her campaign.

If you want an idea of how desperate the Clinton camp is getting, check out this photo. It's Obama wearing a Somali robe and turban during a 5 nation tour he took of Africa in 2006. It was sent to the Drudge Report today by some of Clinton's aides as an obvious attempt to capitalize on the right wing talking point/lie that Obama is some kind of radical, closet Muslim. Shameless.


sterling said...

Obama is a nerd. The position of his watch on his wrist is always much too high. Seriously. Watch for this. It is quite bothersome. Regardless, I will be voting for him in the Texas primary. If he wants my presidential vote, though, he may have to do something about this.

JBW said...

As a self-professed nerd myself I can identify. Obama and I are both cursed with thin wrists, which is why I don't wear a wristwatch. Fortunately cell phones have made watches redundant anyway.