Faith & Social Justice: In the spirit of Richard Overton and the 17th C. Levellers

Hillary Clinton Has NOT Won the Popular Vote

Sen. Clinton’s final, desperate, attempt to swing remaining superdelegates her way and secure the Democratic nomination involves the claim that she is the winner of the “popular vote” in the primary season.  Well, due to the huge turnout on the Democratic side of the primary season, she has won more votes than any presidential candidate in a general election–yes, she has won more than Bush did in his narrow victory over Kerry and his “victory” over Gore.  But her claim that she has won more votes than Obama in this season’s Democratic races involves fraudulent math: As reported here, Clinton’s “win” involves not only counting the vote in Florida (where all candidates pledged not to campaign) and Michigan (where she was the only candidate who disobeyed the DNC instructions to remove her name from the ballot), but also discounting all the states which held caucuses rather than primaries.  That’s 14 states holding legal elections she has to discount and 2 holding elections which broke the rules (in Florida’s case, but not Michigan’s, this was because the GOP dominated legislature forced the moving up of the primary, so I have more sympathy with FL Dems) which she must count in order to have “won the popular vote.” That’s a Soviet-style election math!

I doubt seriously that the superdelegates will fall for this specious argument (although some of the idiot mouthpieces on the media are), especially since Democratic leaders in both Michigan and Florida seem satisfied with the compromise worked out Saturday by the Rules Committee.  By the way, the Clinton campaign alienated that committee by making no attempt whatsoever to meet the Obama campaign halfway. Obama could have insisted on a 50-50 split in Michigan (which would make him even more uncatcheable now), but allowed the committee to give her the majority of delegates based on an exit polling formula.  He has played by the rules constantly and won anyway. 

His grassroots, outsider organizing is one part of the story. He also won over the majority of party insiders from the Clintons.  Let’s be clear: She started as practically crowned the nominee by the Party bosses and by the media for a full year.  She had most of the African-American vote until Iowa showed that Obama could win white votes. She still had nearly 50% of the black vote until racist remarks by Clinton surrogates near the time of the S.C. vote, after which the black vote became 90-10.  She has won more Latino votes, but not everywhere and in national polls, the majority of Latino votes are swinging behind Obama.  This race was Clinton’s to lose and she has lost it–and in such a way that her influence throughout the Party and nation is less than before February.

And Obama is STILL being magnamimous and reaching out to both her and her supporters as we move into the general election.

The campaign against McCain will be tough, but Obama has shown himself to be a very tough candidate. I think he has a very good chance at victory–both in the popular and electoral college votes (and, until we can abolish the un-democratic electoral college, we need both).  Obama said yesterday in South Dakota that he expects Sen. Clinton to be a very strong ally and assett in the general election.  I hope he is right.


June 2, 2008 - Posted by | Uncategorized


  1. I keep seeing that the claim is Hillary has more votes than any _primary_ candidate. Where did you find it was more than any general election?

    The electoral college is outdated, but the Democratic party should probably lead in this regard and use a more democratic method themselves. What I’m looking for is instant runoff elections.

    Comment by Steven Kippel | June 2, 2008

  2. I’m also looking for Instant Run-Offs and for proportional voting if we have to keep some form of the EC.

    Comment by Michael Westmoreland-White | June 2, 2008

  3. This argument about popular vote is really irrelevant. Because of the way the process is set up, the object is to get delegates not popular vote. If popular vote were the issue, then you would set up your campaign differently. This debate is occurring only because Hillary couldn’t close things out on Feb. 5th. If she had then the remaining states would have been irrelevant — including those that she claims to champion. Because she didn’t have a plan for Feb. 6, Obama was able to capitalize on his organizational skills and build up a strong lead.

    Now, one could fault him for trying to run out the clock since then. In many ways, some of the recent contests, including yesterdays, have been a bit like garbage time in basketball. Hillary has made inroads, but in large part due to Obama’s decision to focus on November rather than campaign in states the polls said favored her. I do think that may have been a mistake, but candidates make their decisions.

    From the very beginning, Hillary has said that this is in the hands of SD’s. By the end of the week I expect they will have made their choice. She’d have to make big inroads in Obama delegates to win this.

    Comment by Bob Cornwall | June 2, 2008

  4. I find instant runoff would be best even with direct elections.

    Comment by Steven Kippel | June 4, 2008

  5. Clinton supporters will be voting for McCain just because they don’t like people like you. It’s pretty simple, do the math.

    Comment by NotVotingForObama | September 28, 2008

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