South Carolina and GOP 2012 Nomination Process

Casual Obliteration
Casual Obliteration

I am a politics nerd, I’ll admit. Watching the presidential nomination process is more interesting to me than watching football, what can I say?  A couple of jumbled thoughts about this year’s season:

Too much of the political coverage focuses upon the “beauty contest” aspect, and not on the aspect of collecting delegates, which is akin to ignoring the electoral college during the general election and instead focusing on popular vote counts. It might mean something, but it isn’t the most important count to keep track of.

I have my spreadsheet with delegate counts, called GOP 2012 Clown car, but Iowa is a little difficult to parse – the delegates are not obligated to vote in any particular manner, though tradition says they have to respect the caucus totals. So, for instance, the NYT has Romney with 12 delegates, and Santorum with 13, while CNN has Romney -7, Ron Paul – 7, Gingrich -2. Meanwhile, the Greenpapers has the Iowa delegates proportioned as: Santorum – 6; Romney – 6; Ron Paul – 6, and Gingrich 4. We won’t know exactly where these delegates end up until Saturday, June, 2012. Weird, but that’s how it is. Oh, there are also between 3-6 unpledged as of yet delegates.

New Hampshire is easier:

  • Mitt Romney – 7
  • Ron Paul – 2
  • Jon Huntsman – 2. Huntsman has suspended his campaign, not withdrawn, so he still controls his big two delegates.

South Carolina, by virtue of Gingrich winning all the Congressional Districts, and the overall vote, has given all the delegates to Gingrich. Romney might have won 28% of the vote, but he didn’t win any delegates.

  • Newt Gingrich – 23

The nomination requires 1,143 delegates (out of 2,286 total). There are also 132 Automatic Delegates, a/k/a Super Delegates.

Each state, and American Samoa, the District of Columbia, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands all have three superdelegates, except as follows:

Superdelegates from the following states: AZ, DE, FL, GA, KS, MI, MO, NH, NJ, NV, SC, VT. are bound by their state’s results, and therefore are not included in the list. Their names can be found in a separate table after the break.This leaves a total of 132 GOP superdelegates

(click here to continue reading Democratic Convention Watch:: 2012 GOP Superdelegate Endorsement List.)

Currently, these GOP Super Delegates are committed as:

  • Romney – 16
  • Gingrich – 1
  • Santorum – 1

Thus, in my totals, including Iowa’s cockamamie system, and including Super Delegates who have announced support, I have the current race as:

  • Mitt Romney – 28
  • Newt Gingrich – 28
  • Ron Paul – 9
  • Rick Santorum – 7
  • unpledged – 8

The race is far, far from over. 28/1143 = 2.5% of the needed delegates.

Sleep Still in Their Empty Eyes
Sleep Still in Their Empty Eyes

Nate Silver wonders if the prior nominating processes in previous years are relevant anymore:

Perhaps, then, there is profound resistance among Republican voters to nominating Mr. Romney after all. He has significant weaknesses as a candidate, having reversed his position on several major issues at a time when conservative voters distrust the Republican establishment and value authenticity. And he is a Mormon from Massachusetts — not a traditional pedigree for a Republican candidate.

If the resistance is strong enough, perhaps Republicans will nominate Mr. Gingrich. Or perhaps there will be an effort to draft a candidate who is not currently running for president, like former Gov. Jeb Bush of Florida or Representative Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin or Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana.

Political parties sometimes do go through challenging phases. In the past, they have not happened to coincide with periods in which the other party had an incumbent president with a 45 percent approval rating amid a poor economy. But parties have tended to nominate more ideologically extreme candidates in their first cycle out of the White House rather than being willing to settle for an electable moderate.

Still, the nomination of Mr. Gingrich would very much violate the “More of the Same” paradigm, given that he has proudly and loudly proclaimed that he will not adopt the auspices of a traditional campaign, and that he would be one of the most unpopular candidates ever to be nominated by a major party.

But perhaps “This Time Is Different.” We will learn a lot more in the coming days based on the results in Florida and movement in national polls.

Although there can be a tendency to overreact to developments, there can also be a tendency to stubbornly default to conventional wisdom and previous assumptions about the way the process is supposed to work.

In the case of presidential primaries, previous beliefs ought not be accorded all that much weight: Americans have not been picking presidential nominees in quite this way for all that long, and yet a presidential nomination process is complex. In more abstract terms, both conceptual and statistical models of the presidential nomination process may be “overfit” and draw too many conclusions from idiosyncratic examples.

(click here to continue reading Did Gingrich’s Win Break the Rules? –

In Between Moments
In Between Moments

Steve Kornacki wonders what happens if Romney doesn’t win Florida:

Newt Gingrich wanted to make Mitt Romney’s life miserable, and now he’s succeeded.

After getting blown out in Iowa on Jan. 3, the former House speaker all but announced he was transforming his presidential campaign into a one-man crusade to exact maximum vengeance on Romney, whose super PAC allies had crushed Gingrich’s December surge with a barrage of negative attacks. Gingrich then suffered through a predictably miserable week in New Hampshire before moving to friendlier turf in South Carolina, where he completed one of the more improbable turnarounds in modern presidential campaign history on Saturday night with a startlingly lopsided victory over Romney.

The outcome severely complicates – and potentially imperils – Romney’s march to the Republican nomination. As the week began, he seemed positioned to post his third victory in as many contests in South Carolina, a feat that no previous GOP candidate had achieved and that would have essentially ended the race on the spot. But with his defeat, which came after some of Romney’s most problematic general election baggage was exposed, Romney’s standing in national GOP polls and in the next primary state – Florida, which votes on Jan. 31 – figures to plummet. Questions about his appeal to the Republican base and his vulnerabilities in the fall will invite new and intense scrutiny.

The chaos theory: This is the really fun one, and the least likely. But after Saturday night, it at least warrants a mention. The basics: What if Romney suffers such a bad loss in Florida that his campaign melts down completely and elite Republicans lose confidence in his ability to stop Gingrich? If they really are committed to stopping the former speaker, these elites would then be in need of a Plan B, leading to the “white knight” scenario – a new candidate drafted into the race who could qualify for the late big-state primaries and to prevent Gingrich from racking up the delegates he’d need for a first ballot nomination. There are many reasons to sniff at this possibility, not the least of which is that it’s unclear if the GOP has any candidate on the sidelines who’d be capable of this. But if Mitt can’t get the job done in Florida, expect to hear it mentioned a lot.

(click here to continue reading The GOP’s South Carolina nightmare – War Room –

Tarzan Poster
Tarzan Poster

Confirming my long held opinion that Chuck Todd is a hack, he complained vehemently about Stephen Colbert’s SuperPAC satire:

Has Todd ever seen the Colbert report? If so, he would recognize that Colbert’s entire schtick is to be a faux-Conservative, so it would make no sense whatsoever for him to run as a Democrat. Additionally, as even Todd recognizes the system is a mess, Colbert’s only sin is to point out how screwed up the whole process is for a much larger audience, because ALLAH KNOWS Todd and his beltway buddies aren’t. They’re too busy in the day to day horse race, too terrified to point out the absurdities of both the system and the GOP candidates, and lately, have spent their time pathetically wondering out loud if they should even report facts.

And Todd won’t ever tell you this, but he and the rest of the bobbleheads and their corporations don’t want the system fixed. They like it as a mess. If we were to hold elections like other civilized nations, we’d have public funding of them and they would last for a finite period. That would mean that billions of fewer dollars spent on advertising on places like NBC, CBS, ABC, and all the other media outlets. That would mean that Todd and others like him, who really add no value to the system, would be looking for legitimate work. Let’s face it, if these guys are terrified of stating the truth out of the fear of being called biased, what purpose do they actually serve at all? None. Not one person in the nation would be less informed than they are right now if you fired the whole lot of political operatives and political analysts. In fact, the opposite is true- they’d probably be more informed.

Additionally, the corporations also like the mess our current system is, because it gives them massive influence they would not otherwise have. Dodd told you all that this morning when he lamented the fact that the SOPA bill took too long and that was its downfall. What he meant was “all the wheels were greased, everyone was bought and paid for with corporate cash, but we screwed up and allowed the little guys time to figure out what we were doing.”

(click here to continue reading Balloon Juice » Chuck Todd’s Knickers in a Twist Over… Colbert.)

Party Like It's 1994
Party Like It’s 1994

A lot of Democrats are giddy about the prospect of Newty-Newt winning the nomination, and a lot of Republicans are worried too:

Henry Barbour, a top Rick Perry fundraiser who endorsed Mitt Romney after the Texas governor dropped out, said Gingrich could not beat President Obama and would cost Republicans many House and Senate seats.

Barbour told The Hill that endorsing Romney and coming to his South Carolina rally was a “very easy decision” because of Gingrich, who he said would turn the presidential race from a referendum on Obama into “the adventures of Newt Gingrich.”

“Newt would be a disaster as the nominee,” he said. “He will put the House at risk. He will put our chances of taking the Senate down the tubes.”

Barbour, who ran his uncle Haley Barbour’s successful reelection campaign as Mississippi governor, warned that Gingrich would cost the GOP chances at some governorships as well, and could not beat Obama.

“He’s too polarizing a figure to win the White House. He can’t win independent voters and we can’t win the White House without independent voters. He would be a disaster for our down-ticket candidates and our gubernatorial candidates.”

(click here to continue reading Romney surrogate says Gingrich could cost GOP control of Congress – The Hill’s Ballot Box.)

Rick Perry is a Loser ben sargent 120120
Rick Perry is a Loser Ben Sargent_120120

4 thoughts on “South Carolina and GOP 2012 Nomination Process

  1. Julie says:

    Obama would much, MUCH rather run against Mitt Romney. This is because Gingrich is a tough debater and an unpredictable, no holds-barred campaigner. Obama even has killer ads to run against Romney in the GOP’s must-win blue collar state of Ohio. If Romney is not man enough to release his tax returns NOW, there is no way he will be able to defeat Obama.

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