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    Who are the NERD fund donors Mr Snyder?

    Raise the curtain.

    So That The Heir-Apparent May Receive His Crown

    By Kevin Rex Heine, Section News
    Posted on Sat Mar 10, 2012 at 10:54:20 AM EST
    Tags: "DELE-GATE", Bobby Schostak, Sharon Wise, Saul Anuzis, Holly Hughes, Eric Doster, Mike Cox, Bill Runco, MIGOP Credentials Committee, backroom shenanigans, disingenuous hypocrisy, Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul, Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, presumptively bluffing, math vs math, projected delegates vs bound delegates vs committed delegates (all tags)

    If we're to believe the drive-by mainstream media (Such as The Ticket, Politico, Washington Post, Reuters, Associated Press, and CNN among others), then this here republican presidential primary is all but a done deal.  With all that orange on the map below, everyone else should just quit now.  Michigan's native son is the only one with a clear path to victory, so let's just call it good and move on to the general campaign.

    Apparently Team Romney has never heard of a guy named Yogi Berra, or the concept of there being a reason that we actually play the games.

    According to common understanding, the 2012 Republican Primary Campaign is a series of 56 public contests that continue until the last contest is in the books, or until one candidate collects a clear majority of pledged and bound national convention delegates.  This year, assuming all of the RNC delegation penalties are enforced, a total of 2,286 delegates are available; cutting that number exactly in half and then adding one back in for majority produces this year's "to win" number of 1,144.  Of those contests, 23 are in the books, and four more are coming up today (five if you include the Wyoming County Convention reports).  Depending on whose tracker you're following, Mitt Romney has between 319 and 415 accumulated delegates, better than double the count currently held by Rick Santorum.

    So, according to the milquetoast Massachusetts moderate and his ever-spinning PR crew, since Romney might as well be the presumptive nominee, and since no one else has a mathematically viable shot at the nomination, all this fuss and bother in Michigan over one measly delegate is quixotic foolishness and much ado about nothing.

    Except that, when we actually run the math, and uncover the truths concealed, we'll find that rumors of Mittens' inevitability are more than a tad exaggerated.

    Truth # 1

    The first thing we need to pay attention to is the truth that seven of the early contests (defined as those held before Super Tuesday) were non-binding by design.  Iowa, Maine, Colorado, Minnesota, Missouri, Wyoming, and Washington have yet to actually hold their binding events, so the projected delegate counts out of those states will vary depending on the projection metrics used.  The binding contests actually break down as follows:

    Iowa (currently in the Santorum column):

    - 16 June 2012:  Republican Party of Iowa State Convention

    Maine (currently in the Romney column):

    - 05 - 06 May 2012:  Maine Republican Party District Caucuses and State Convention

    Colorado (currently in the Santorum column):

    • 29 March - 13 April 2012:  Colorado Republican Party District Conventions
    • 14 April 2012:  Colorado Republican Party State Convention

    Minnesota (currently in the Santorum column):
    • 14 - 21 April 2012:  Republican Party of Minnesota District Conventions
    • 04 - 05 May 2012:  Republican Party of Minnesota State Convention

    Missouri (currently in the Santorum column):

    - 15 - 24 March 2012:  Missouri Republican Party County Caucuses

    Wyoming (currently in the Romney column):

    • 06 - 10 March 2012:  Wyoming Republican Party County Conventions
    • 12 - 14 April 2012:  Wyoming Republican Party State Convention

    Washington (currently in the Romney column):

    - 30 May - 02 June 2012:  Washington State Republican Party State Convention

    So, when we strip out all the non-binding contests (and keep in mind that the Ohio Republican Party has 4 delegates that are as yet unawarded), we arrive at this current hard count:

    • Mitt Romney:  335 delegates
    • Newt Gingrich:  110 delegates
    • Rick Santorum:  110 delegates
    • Ron Paul:  32 delegates

    This may explain why Newt is in no hurry to drop out of this primary race, in spite of calls from the Santorum camp that he do so, and do it quickly.  Clearly, the Red White and Blue crew need to go back and do some basic arithmetic, because the current hard count puts Gingrich and Santorum in a tie.

    Truth # 2

    The second thing that we need to remember is that the results in Florida, Arizona, and Michigan are currently under appeal.  Florida and Arizona are being appealed by Gingrich and Santorum (respectively) because, according to RNC rules, no state holding a binding contest before April 1st is permitted to be statewide winner-take-all.  The Michigan results are under appeal for reasons that we've been discussing at some length on this site.  If the Florida and Arizona appeals are upheld, then the delegates coming out of those states will have to be re-awarded proportionately, like so:

    • Florida:  Romney 23, Gingrich 16, Santorum 7, Paul 4
    • Arizona:  Romney 13, Santorum 8, Gingrich 5, Paul 3

    And assuming that all three appeals are upheld, the revised running delegate hard count as of Super Tuesday would then be . . .

    • Mitt Romney:  291 delegates
    • Newt Gingrich:  131 delegates
    • Rick Santorum:  126 delegates
    • Ron Paul:  39 delegates

    Based on this, the claims as being reported by the New York Times and ABC News that next week's contests in Mississippi and Alabama are somehow a "last stand" for Gingrich seem more like so much smoke and mirrors intended to create a public belief in something the opposite of the truth.  Likewise, the claims by the Romney camp that Mitt will win the nomination outright before the convention do indeed seem to be based on "voodoo math," and a blatant attempt to call the game over before we're even done with the first half.  Actually, if we note that only 587 of the 2,286 available delegates have actually been awarded (~25.68%), then extending the sports analogy, we've really just finished the first quarter.  For those preferring hockey analogies, note that only 16 of the 56 binding contests (~28.57%) are in the books, which means that the clock is still running on the first period, and this bozo wants to hand out the Stanley Cup already.

    Truth # 3

    This brings us to our third truth, which is, as Jeffrey Anderson of The Weekly Standard writes, "Romney's Curious Claim of Mathematical Inevitability."  To do our own examination, we should begin with the reality that 1,699 delegates have yet to be awarded, with 40 or so binding contests yet outstanding.  (The first step of Wyoming's two-stage binding process is still in progress as I write this, so I've excluded the Equality State's numbers for now.)  Using only the hard count numbers above, this is what we have:

    • Newt Gingrich needs 1,074 of those unawarded delegates (63.21%) in order to lock up the nomination before the convention.  That number drops to 1,013 delegates (59.62%) if all three challenges are upheld

    • Ron Paul needs 1,112 of those unawarded delegates (65.45%) to reach 1,144; dropping to 1,105 delegates (65.04%) if all three challenges are upheld

    • Mitt Romney needs 809 of those unawarded delegates (47.62%) to reach 1,144; increasing to 853 delegates (50.21%) if all three challenges are upheld

    • Rick Santorum needs 1,074 of those unawarded delegates (63.21%) to reach 1,144; dropping to 1,018 delegates (59.92%) if all three challenges are upheld

    So while it's true that Gingrich, Paul, and Santorum still have an uphill climb ahead of them, the fact of the matter is that so does Romney.  In fact, when we consider some additional information, gleaned from the binding rules of the various states and territories, that mathematical inevitability meme dissolves in a hurry.

    Thirteen states and territories (American Samoa, Colorado, Guam, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Montana, North Dakota, Northern Mariana Islands, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virgin Islands, and Wyoming) send their delegations to the national convention entirely uncommitted . . . even on the first ballot!  Yes, that means that all of the fuss over who should or shouldn't have won the Buckeye State may ultimately have been pointless.  These "uncommitted" states and territories add up, if I have the math right, to 414 delegates.

    Four states only partially commit their delegations (between 64 and 102 total delegates):

    • Idaho leaves 20% of their delegation uncommitted, which seems to work out to the sum of the RNC and CD portion of their delegation (9 delegates total)

    • Indiana does not commit their party or at-large delegates (19 delegates total)

    • Louisiana does not commit their party or district delegates (21 delegates total), and may or may not commit their 25 at-large delegates depending on the result of the March 24 primary

    • Minnesota does not commit their party or district delegates (27 delegates total), and also doesn't commit their 13 at-large delegates unless the state convention so votes to commit through the first ballot at national convention

    A further 26 states and territories (AL, AK, AR, CA, CT, DC, HI, KY, MD, MA, MS, NE, NM, NY, NC, OK, OR, PR, RI, SD, TN, TX, UT, VA, WA, WV) do not commit their "party delegates" - state party chair and national committee-persons - along with the state's delegation.  These 78 delegates, along with the 51 other uncommitted party delegates, are free to endorse and vote as they see fit.  According to the most reliable information (a pro-democrat website, oddly enough), 25 of those delegates have endorsed:

    • Mitt Romney - 19 endorsements
    • Newt Gingrich - 3 endorsements
    • Rick Santorum - 2 endorsements
    • Ron Paul - 1 endorsement

    But remember that these endorsements are non-binding, so a sensible count of the hard totals will not include them (and I haven't).  Further, note that these totals (assuming that Louisiana's at-large delegates will be committed and Minnesota's won't), add up to 581 national convention delegates that, awarded or otherwise, are not legally committed even on the first ballot at national convention.  So it's probably not a stretch to consider that sound strategic planning will account for the reality that the necessary 1,144 delegates should be sought from the 1,705 that can be legally bound on at least the first ballot.  Stripping out the uncommitted delegates from Idaho, North Dakota, and Ohio has us looking at a committed hard count of . . .

    • Mitt Romney:  284 delegates (plus 51 uncommitted from ID, ND, and OH)
    • Newt Gingrich:  108 delegates (plus 2 uncommitted from ND)
    • Rick Santorum:  78 delegates (plus 32 uncommitted from ND and OH)
    • Ron Paul:  21 delegates (plus 11 uncommitted from ID and ND)

    And when we factor in the possibility that the Florida, Arizona, and Michigan appeals are upheld . . .

    • Mitt Romney:  240 delegates (plus 51 uncommitted from ID, ND, and OH)
    • Newt Gingrich:  129 delegates (plus 2 uncommitted from ND)
    • Rick Santorum:  94 delegates (plus 32 uncommitted from ND and OH)
    • Ron Paul:  28 delegates (plus 11 uncommitted from ID and ND)

    To lock down the nomination with statistical certainty, a candidate needs to gather his clear majority of delegates from binding contests in those states and territories that commit their delegations through at least the first ballot at national convention.  Otherwise, should we arrive at a brokered convention, the first ballot could result in a deadlock (and then all bets are off).  491 "bound and committed" delegates have been awarded to date, with 1,214 available.  Each of the candidates still has a path to the nomination, but locking that down is much dicier:

    • Newt Gingrich:  needs 1,036 delegates (~85.34%) . . . 1,015 (~83.61%) if all three challenges are upheld
    • Ron Paul:  needs 1,123 delegates (~92.50%) . . . 1,116 (~91.93%) if all three challenges are upheld
    • Mitt Romney:  needs 860 delegates (~70.84%) . . . 904 (~74.46%) if all three challenges are upheld
    • Rick Santorum:  needs 1,066 delegates (~87.81%) . . . 1,050 (~86.49%) if all three challenges are upheld

    This means, regardless of whether or not the Florida, Arizona, and Michigan challenges are upheld, each of the four candidates has to effectively "run the table" in the 26 remaining contests that "bind and commit" their national convention delegations.  Even assuming that the bound delegates in the non-committing states will honor their binding, Romney still has to pull in about half of the outstanding unawarded delegates.  This might just be me, but I don't see those odds qualifying as "mathematically inevitable."

    In fact, as I see it, the Romney camp calling for his opponents to drop out of the race tells me more about what Mitt believes about his chances at a brokered convention than it tells me about his opponents' chances at securing the nomination before July 14th (the date of the Republican Party of Nebraska State Convention, which is Nebraska's binding contest, and the last one on the calendar).  Because, really, what does it matter if Gingrich, Paul, and Santorum don't arrive at convention with 1,144 bound delegates, if Romney doesn't either?

    Truth # 4

    This fourth truth involves a look back into recent history, specifically the 2008 Republican Party presidential primaries.  At the time Mitt dropped out, February 7th, John McCain had only 680 of the necessary 1,191 delegates (Romney had 270).  His logic then was:

    "Now if I fight on in my campaign, all the way to the convention -- I want you to know I've given this a lot of thought.  I'd forestall the launch of a national campaign and, frankly, I'd be making it easier for Senator Clinton or Obama to win.  Frankly, in this time of war, I simply cannot let my campaign be a part of aiding a surrender to terror.

    This isn't an easy decision. I hate to lose.  My family, my friends, you, my supporters across the country, you've given a great deal to get me where I have a shot to becoming president.  If this were only about me, I'd go on, but it's never been only about me.  I entered this race -- I entered this race because I love America.  And because I love America, in this time of war, I feel I have to now stand aside, for our party and for our country."

    Yet Mike Huckabee, who only had 176 pledged delegates at the point, stayed in.  Even though the media was already referring to McCain as the "presumptive nominee," he stayed put.  Why?

    "I know that there was some speculation that I might come here today to announce that I would be getting out of the race.  But I want to make sure you understand.  Am I quitting?  Well, let's get that settled right now.  No, I'm not.

    There are only a few states that have voted.  Twenty-seven have not.  People in those 27 states deserve more than a coronation.  They deserve an election. They deserve the opportunity to have their voices and their votes heard and counted."

    Huckabee understood that, until McCain secured the necessary number of delegates, the campaign wasn't over.  He didn't buy off on the media hype, or the presumed inevitability of the McCain coronation.  He stayed in one more month, until the night John McCain locked down the 1,191 delegates needed for majority.  Only then, on the night of March 4, 2008, did Mike Huckabee suspend his campaign and begin the orderly wind-down of operations.

    This time, four years ago, it wasn't that John McCain was the only candidate with a clear path to majority; it was that he already had the majority.  And, quite frankly, the case is easily made that the 2008 Democrat primary campaign, which slogged on until four days before convention, made Obama a more battle-tested, better-prepared, and stronger candidate (though it clearly didn't do much for his ability to actually function as POTUS).


    So, to get back to my focus on the Michigan "Dele-Gate" fiasco, what's all the fuss about, and why does one delegate actually matter?

    Simple really, this isn't about just one delegate.  It's about a pattern of dishonesty being perpetrated and executed by those who insist on foisting their hand-picked heir-apparent upon the rest of the republican electorate.  It's about the line of smoke that is being laid down that the choice of the establishment bluebloods is the only possible option to unseat the incumbent.  It's about the steadily accumulating history that those same advocates seem to have no problem resorting to a "by any means necessary" approach to securing that coronation, even if that means backroom shenanigans, disingenuous hypocrisy, presumptive bluffing, and otherwise resorting to tactics more in line with Stalin's Russia or Chicago Democracy than in actually adhering to the rule of law.

    Because it's ultimately about the integrity of the party, and the irreversible damage that's done to that integrity when the hand-picked heir-apparent has to lie, cheat, and steal in order to obtain the nomination to take on the incumbent commander-in-thief.

    And in that context, one delegate speaks volumes.

    < The Michigan GOP Corruption Casualties - Day 9 | Oh Yeah - THOSE Rules - Day 10 Dele-GATE >

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    Excellent analysis Kevin. (none / 0) (#1)
    by JGillman on Sat Mar 10, 2012 at 01:51:03 PM EST
    I now understand the reason for Newt hanging on, and don't blame him.

    The part that gets me, is that a brokered convention is a better than 50% against Romney fact.

    You observe correctly that he doesn't want to go there without a sure win..

    The full mathematical breakdown . . . (none / 0) (#2)
    by Kevin Rex Heine on Mon Mar 12, 2012 at 02:23:23 PM EST
    . . . including the states and territories that voted over the weekend, is linked here:  2012 Presidential Primaries Bound Delegate Tracker.

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