1 man, 0.89967 vote

CJR’s Clint Hendler does an admirable job showing just what a mess Democratic primary math is and demonstrating that we have no idea what the popular vote count is. To put that another way: we have no idea how many citizens’ votes are not being counted.

There’s the mess in Florida and Michigan, with the DNC disenfranchising their own Democrats there (fools!). And this:

The Democratic party’s nominating process is a kaleidoscope of caucuses, conventions, and primaries, sometimes all in the same state. And there’s no obvious best way to estimate a popular vote from it all.

And this: The news organizations and the campaigns, of course, all count the alleged popular vote differently.

This is shameful: undemocratic and unDemocratic. We must reform the primary system in a unified way. This idea that each state can and should do its own idiosyncratic thing is a leftover of a disorganized and unconnected past and it is hurting now.

The principle for reorganization is simple: Every citizen has a right and an opportunity to vote in a meaningful way in the primary process. One person, one vote, damnit.

  • http://www.rideacross.com matt

    Jeff – I agree that the dems (and repubs) need to reform the primary system in a unified way, but that’s exactly why forcing Michigan and Florida to follow the rules as they are currently defined (or “disenfranchising” them) this time is so important.

    Having a strong DNC that can enforce its rules is the only way a unified system can be established (I do not believe 50 independent state chairs each with an incentive to go first can come to a mutual agreement). Michigan & Florida clearly and overtly broke the rules established by the DNC (on the house floors of those states during the debates, the members openly said as much). You may agree or disagree with the rules as they exist, but if the DNC is ever going to be believed that it will enforce its rules (even the new “unified rules” that you discuss), it has to enforce them now.

  • http://robertdfeinman.com/society robertdfeinman

    Now try suggesting that voting (not in primaries) be mandatory as it is in Australia and watch the specious arguments appear.

    I’ll only knock down one in advance – for every race have a choice of “none of the above”. The citizen is forced to participate but can still opt out of a choice. It could also be implemented so that if “none of the above” had the most votes then the election would need to be rerun (hopefully with different candidates).

    Complaints about access to polls are also bogus. Any combination of extended voting days, online and mail ballots can solve this.

    Citizens should be required to participate in their government in a democracy. Obligations need to extend beyond paying taxes.

    Notice the NY Times editorial about this today which documents the long history of attempts to disenfranchise voters. This would all vanish if voting was mandatory.

  • Eric Jaffa

    People should be able to vote from 8AM to 7PM for a candidate seeking the party’s presidential nomination.

    We shouldn’t have the traffic nightmare of telling everyone in an area who wants to vote to show up at the same time.

    In Minnesota we were all told to show up at the same time, and at my location there was tons of vehicle traffic, and crowding inside the building.

  • http://www.shootingbynumbers.com peter

    if everyones vote were equal there would be no electoral college, no senate and no state primaries.

    and pretty soon no (recognizable) republican party

    sign me up

  • Eric Jaffa

    Regarding how the delegate to the national party convention are chosen, each campaign should choose its own delegates instead of the old-fashioned and overly-complex system we have now.

  • http://seanbyrnes.com Sean

    Don’t worry Jeff. If you don’t like the outcome of the Democratic primary you can always vote for the Republican candidate in the general election. =)

    Also, I think Ralph Nader is running again.

  • pdh

    How about, while we’re reforming the electoral system we eliminate all private money and tell candidates they can only use public funds. Each candidate gets an equal amount of dough and an equal amount of time on publicly-owned airwaves (they won’t have to pay for that). They get their money and broadcast time starting 3 months before the election (primary and then general). That still leaves all the PACs to sort out, but that should be solvable, right?

    Now, let me get back to what I was smoking.

  • Adam

    We are all being disenfranchised, Jeff.

    Delegates and super, electoral college, etc.

  • Jeremy C.

    Keep repeating the patently FALSE ‘disenfranchising’ meme long enough and maybe enough uninformed people will believe it to make a difference. Matt’s right; this is not the DNC’s doing and for you to contest so makes you less credible with any other ‘facts’.

    It is fun watching the HRC Borg try to make this about anything BUT all of the metrics that Obama overwhelmingly has the lead in.

    Oh wait, he STILL is leading in popular vote if you think ALL (rule-following) states ‘matter’? What’s the use?

  • http://www.wausaudailyherald.com/includes/newspaper/blogs/mentzer/ RM

    How about this question: Who gives a shit about the popular vote? Some states have caucuses. Caucuses draw fewer people, but guess what? They are the method those states have chosen to allot their delegates. BECAUSE DELEGATES ARE HOW THE PARTY ELECTS A NOMINEE.

    You might as well ask complain that the party doesn’t measure how many tall people have voted, or how many left-handed people.

  • http://www.ComicsPundit.com Shawn Levasseur

    And here I thought you were being one of the calmer partisans in this primary.

    Take a deep breath Jeff. It’s not a crisis, it’s just a close election.

    And to some extent, the DNC IS trying some control over the process. But their ability to do it is limited, see Florida & Michigan. Yes, their “disenfranchising” is sad, but the rules were there, and they violated them.

    Personally the punishment fits the crime, ESPECIALLY in this year. MI and FL thought that the only way their states would be relevant would be to cut to the front of the line. If they simply stayed where they were on the calendar, they would have had that greater influence. In hindsight, they should have pushed their primary dates LATER.

    Also, making a unified national system would likely require conversion to caucuses throughout the nation, as voting through state run primaries requires adhering to state election laws, which are not uniform.

  • http://polymath.wikidot.com/ f.graver

    Not being American, I have no favourite among the Democratic candidates (I just hope you guys elect someone with a responsible attitude towards the rest of the world) nor can I pretend to understand your convoluted electoral system.

    But one thing seems clear: everyone knew the rules before a single person cast their vote. Michigan and Florida knew the penalty before they held their primaries. It seems a little hypocritical for one side to cry foul now just because they are behind in a close race they expected to win. If you want to reform the system, work on that between elections, not in the middle of one.

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