March to the convention

March to the convention
: CNN says Dean is ahead of Kerry in delegates. Go figure.

If Edwards does what we expect in South Carolina and this thing stays wide open — if Clark and don’t forget Sharpton get some toy soldiers to play with — we could end up with a convention race. Glenn Reynolds doesn’t think so; he says it’ll be settled in a month. Probably so. Maybe this convention thinking is wishful thinking. It will be fascinating to watch a party work in smoke-filled rooms in a different era. There are no party kingmakers now, save Clinton (Gore is not even a pretender to the throne). There are also lots more rules about delegates who can’t change their votes. When I was younger, the political junkies’ dream was always the “deadlocked convention,” when the opportunistic savior (Hillary?) could swoop in and grab the nomination away. That didn’t happen back then; certainly won’t happen now. But as the numbers start to gell, we’ll hear all sorts of what-if scenarios.

If this thing does stay wide open, watch the network executives fret about what the hell they should do. In recent years, of course, the conventions had turned into nothing but advertorials for the candidates and the networks were quite right to reduce coverage to nil; let the campaigns pay for commercial time. But if this convention actually matters, then the big nets will not want to see their last frayed hold on the news franchise taken away by cable.

Interesting times.

: And here’s Safire’s convention wet dream.

: Aaron Bailey’s pipe dream.

: Kaus says winning doesn’t matter, delegates do. Heck, George Bush taught us that lesson last time around, eh?

Why does a Democratic candidate have to win a primary somewhere. sometime to be viable? With the proportional allocation of delegates, it’s possible to actually win the nomination without ever winning a primary. All you have to do is finish second in a lot of contests and accumulate delegates while the other candidates perform inconsistently. (That result wouldn’t be undemocratic–sometimes Everybody’s Second Choice is in fact the candidate who should win. Such a plodding-but-widely-acceptable candidate might also be the strongest opponent for Bush.) … Why would someone who has a perfectly legitimate shot at winning be expected to drop out? The test should be delegate count, no?