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Old Thu, 8th Mar '12, 10:54pm   #151
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That's really interesting. I'd like to see, just for fun, a model with Paul AND Newt removed. It'd probably look pretty much the same, but there might be some surprises.
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Old Sun, 11th Mar '12, 8:35pm   #152
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A list of remaining Republican Primaries. The ones marked (c) are Caucuses.

* March 13: Alabama, American Samoa (c), Hawaii (c), Mississippi

* March 17: Missouri

* March 18: Puerto Rico (c)

* March 20: Illinois

* March 24: Louisiana

* April 3: Maryland, Texas, Washington D.C., Wisconsin

* April 24: Connecticut, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island

* May 8: Indiana, West Virginia, North Carolina

* May 15: Nebraska, Oregon

* May 22: Arkansas, Kentucky

* June 5: California, New Mexico, New Jersey, Montana, South Dakota

* June 26: Utah

The Republican convention will be in Tampa, Florida on August 27-30.

(Source: Jyllands-Posten)
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Old Mon, 12th Mar '12, 3:46am   #153
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I know I've been told this before, but how do Caucuses vary from standard primaries? One is a vote and one is a sit down of the inner circles?
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Old Mon, 12th Mar '12, 8:43am   #154
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Translation from the article:

Quote:
Primaries are secret elections. States marked (c) are elections at voter meatings, in American [English] called caucus. They are typically held at scholes and in village halls where you can show up in person to support a candidate.
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Old Mon, 12th Mar '12, 3:08pm   #155
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That's the difference in process. The other big difference between caucuses and primaries, is that caucuses are typically winner take all, or use a method of allocation that heavily leans towards the winner. Primaries typically use a proportional system for delegate allocation.

Santorum's victory in the Kansas caucus over the weekend illustrates this point nicely. Since Santorum not only was the winner, but received a flat out majority (51%), he is guaranteed at least 33 out of the 40 delegates. So just over half the votes, but more than 3/4 of the delegates.
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Old Wed, 14th Mar '12, 5:12pm   #156
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Santorum will not die! He won both Alabama and Mississippi last night. It was a really close race in both states, with Santorum, Gingirch and Romney all earning about 30% of the vote. Unfortunately, that was also the order of finish in both races - Santorum won with 34%, Gingrich was at 32%, and Romney was at 30%.

That said, as far as the delegate math is concerned, it was a solid night for Romney. Hawaii also voted, and he won that contest. So while Santorum will walk away with the most delegates from Alabama and Mississippi, since all 3 candidates passed the 20% threshold needed to get some delegates, and none of them exceeded the 50% threshold to get all of them, he did not score a huge delegate victory. In fact, when you factor in the number of delegates Hawaii awarded last night, Santorum and Romney will walk away with about the same total number of delegates.

And that's why I see Romney as the inevitable candidate. Even if Gingrich drops out, and throws his support and delegates behind Santorum, Romney is STILL ahead. In fact, Romney has won an outright majority of delegates thus far. I don't see a path to the nomination for anyone else, especially when you consider that the big population states left to vote like California and New York will favor Romney. Texas probably would not, but they are among the LAST states to vote, and if Romney continues on his present course, he might already have a majority by the time Texas votes. (They have already rescheduled their primary twice, as they are having some difficulties redrawing their Congressional Districts since they added two seats from the 2010 Census.)

If I'm looking for a "best case scenario" right now for Santorum, it would be that he does well enough from here on out so that no candidate finishes with a majority of delegates. However, even in that scenario, Romney would still likely hold a plurality of delegates. I cannot see, even if the Republicans go to a brokered convention that they would pick the guy who didn't finish with the most delegates. (And that's the Armageddon scenario that the GOP will try to avoid at all costs - including having the super delegates throw all their support behind Romney to push him across the finish line to 50% if necessary.)

If I had to give a reason why Romney seems unable to put away what looks like a relatively weak field, especially considering the advantages he has from the establishment, money, and organization, it would be his message. He's been running for president for the past six years, and the basic message is he'd fix the economy. Only the economy already seems to be improving for the past year or so. There might not be a need for a big fix come November. (Unemployment will still be uncharacteristically high - even the rosiest of scenarios don't show it dropping much below 8% by the fall - but overall it will be in a lot better condition than in 2008-2010.)

But I don't know how Romney plans to rebrand himself at this point. I'm not sure running on his credentials as a successful governor is going to work (because he signed a healthcare law in MA that is strikingly similar to the one passed by Congress a few years later). We know he has a problem connecting with evangelicals because of his Mormon faith. Since the Bain success story was blown up by Gingrich, and tax records show he only pays 15% of his income in taxes - about double what Gingirch and Santorum paid - where does he go from here?

And then there's the elephant in the room that no one is talking about. How, if you can't put away a couple of under-funded, under-organized campaigns like those run by Santorum and Gingrich, can you possibly expect to go toe-to-toe with Obama and win?
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Old Thu, 15th Mar '12, 12:35pm   #157
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How much does Romney's Hawaii win matter, though? As far as I know Hawaii is a mostly Democratic state and the chances of Romney (or anyone else on his side) beating Obama there seems slim to none.
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Old Thu, 15th Mar '12, 12:54pm   #158
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aldeth the Foppish Idiot View Post
If I'm looking for a "best case scenario" right now for Santorum, it would be that he does well enough from here on out so that no candidate finishes with a majority of delegates. However, even in that scenario, Romney would still likely hold a plurality of delegates. I cannot see, even if the Republicans go to a brokered convention that they would pick the guy who didn't finish with the most delegates. (And that's the Armageddon scenario that the GOP will try to avoid at all costs - including having the super delegates throw all their support behind Romney to push him across the finish line to 50% if necessary.)
A Danish commentator thought Santorum's best chance was that Gingrich stayed in the race until the convention, so there were three candidates, each with a sizeable number of delegates but none of them with a majority. Santorum could then strike a deal with Gingrich. For the same reason, it makes sense for Gingrich to stay in the race until Miami and then back Santorum in return for being the VP candidate.

But I agree with your point. Anything looking like a coup will all but kill the Republican candidate's chances in November.

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How much does Romney's Hawaii win matter, though? As far as I know Hawaii is a mostly Democratic state and the chances of Romney (or anyone else on his side) beating Obama there seems slim to none.
It probably won't matter in the election but it matters in the Republican nomination race. Romney will have to win that before he can take on Obama.
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Old Mon, 19th Mar '12, 3:26pm   #159
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Originally Posted by The Shaman View Post
How much does Romney's Hawaii win matter, though? As far as I know Hawaii is a mostly Democratic state and the chances of Romney (or anyone else on his side) beating Obama there seems slim to none.
As Montresor stated, for the purposes of the general election it means nothing. Not only is Hawaii a blue state, but they consider Obama as a native son. There's no way he's losing there. That said, these are the Republican primaries and caucuses. So it doesn't matter if he can't win there in the general election. He still gets delegates from winning the primary, and it is the delegate count that determines the nominee. Romney will also likely win the primaries in New York and California, which are worth a ton of delegates, and will go a long way in helping him secure the nomination, although there is very little chance that he'll win those states in the general election.
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Old Tue, 10th Apr '12, 8:56pm   #160
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CNN: Santorum drops out.

Apparently the decision was taken in part because his daughter is seriously ill. I feel very sorry for the Santorum family.
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Old Tue, 10th Apr '12, 9:24pm   #161
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Santorum's daughter is seriously ill - she has trisomy 18. Most of the time, if you have that chromosomal defect, you aren't even born. Most pregnancies result in a miscarriage, and those that go full term are typically stillborn. Even after that, the survival rate in the first year of life is under 50%. In a sense, it's a miracle the Santorum's daughter has made it to three years old. This race was already over for all practical purposes, and Santorum is simply placing his priorities where they belong at this point.
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Old Tue, 10th Apr '12, 9:50pm   #162
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Every candidate who claimed that "God told me to run" has now dropped out.

God's kind of a dick.
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Old Wed, 18th Apr '12, 7:51am   #163
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Has Gingrich dropped out yet? Has Paul? Can either if them do basic fricking arithmetic?
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Old Wed, 18th Apr '12, 11:31am   #164
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Every candidate who claimed that "God told me to run" has now dropped out.

God's kind of a dick.
Maybe people just didn't understand right ? Apparently not everyone understands old Aramaic .
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Old Wed, 18th Apr '12, 4:24pm   #165
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Has Gingrich dropped out yet? Has Paul? Can either if them do basic fricking arithmetic?
No, but it doesn't matter at all. Technically, Romney has not yet secured 50% of all the delegates, but that's only a formality because many states (including nearly all of the big population states that award a lot of delegates) have yet to hold their primaries. Romney won over 50% of the delegates that have been allocated thus far, and now with Santorum ending his campaign, Romney's delegate percentages in states yet to vote will only improve. So it is certain that by the time all the states votes, Romney will have over 50% of all the delegates, and therefore the nomination is his regardless of whether Gingirch and Paul drop out now, next week, next month, or never.

The result that all the other candidates were hoping for was that no candidate received a majority of delegates, and thus the convention would be brokered, and they could win the nomination at a brokered convention. I never thought a brokered convention was particularly likely, as it would essentially kill the eventual candidate's chance of winning in the general election - he wouldn't be able to run against Obama until winning the nomination, so the eventual candidate would stay in the "primary phase" of his campaign, and would have no real shot.

But that is all now moot. Since Romney will have more than 50% of the delegates once all the states vote, there will be no brokered convention, and thus it doesn't matter how long the other candidates continue their campaign.
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Old Wed, 18th Apr '12, 5:19pm   #166
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What happens with the delegates that Santorum has already won? Can they vote freely at the convention, or can Santorum tell them to vote for a particular candidate? (which would probably be Romney)
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Old Wed, 18th Apr '12, 5:27pm   #167
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Any delegates you earn (and this goes for Gingirch and Paul as well - they've both won delegates during the primaries too), are compelled to vote for whichever candidate they were selected to endorse, unless the candidate that they were compelled to pick releases them of that obligation. In such cases, the candidate usually states which candidate he would prefer them to back - although once they are released I do not think they have any obligation to vote for the person they are asked to vote for.

Will that actually happen? Probably, but as far as the outcome is concerned, it doesn't matter. You don't need to secure the nomination unanimously. In all likelihood, all the superdelegates, which make up about 25% of the total delegates and are not bound by state votes will likely line up behind Romney. So even if none of the other candidates release their delegates, Romney will still go to the convention with something like 80% of all the delegates. It won't be a squeaker either way.
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Old Wed, 18th Apr '12, 6:17pm   #168
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Yes, but the longer they stay in, the more they divert Republican attention from the Dems. They just weaken his campaign. It seems petty and spiteful.
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Old Wed, 18th Apr '12, 6:49pm   #169
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It seems petty and spiteful.
And how is that out of character for Newt? (Or a great many other politicians for that matter?)
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Old Wed, 18th Apr '12, 7:02pm   #170
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Any delegates you earn (and this goes for Gingirch and Paul as well - they've both won delegates during the primaries too), are compelled to vote for whichever candidate they were selected to endorse, unless the candidate that they were compelled to pick releases them of that obligation. In such cases, the candidate usually states which candidate he would prefer them to back - although once they are released I do not think they have any obligation to vote for the person they are asked to vote for.
Thanks for clearing that up! So in theory Santorum's delegates are still compelled to vote for Santorum until he releases them. (Which I suppose he will do in short order.)

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Will that actually happen? Probably, but as far as the outcome is concerned, it doesn't matter. You don't need to secure the nomination unanimously. In all likelihood, all the superdelegates, which make up about 25% of the total delegates and are not bound by state votes will likely line up behind Romney. So even if none of the other candidates release their delegates, Romney will still go to the convention with something like 80% of all the delegates. It won't be a squeaker either way.
I suspect this is one reason why the GOP has super delegates, to avoid a brokered convention. The last thing they need is a big dogfight between the candidates before they take on the Democrats.
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Old Wed, 18th Apr '12, 7:27pm   #171
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The democrats have super delegates too. Most of them are elected officials. For example, all members of the House of Representatives and Senate are super delegates. As are most governors, and members of state legislatures. For both parties, super delegates comprise about 1/4 of the total delegates available. And you're right about the underlying purpose of this - and there really can be only two reasons. 1) to break a tie - or something approximating a tie like in 2008 with Clinton and Obama or 2) when the party elites feel like the candidate likely to win the nomination as decided upon by their constituents is unelectable.

Since the modern primary rules used today were put into effect in 1972, there hasn't been a brokered convention, although well into the 1900s brokered conventions were routine.

If you're interested, a convention is considered brokered if, on the first ballot taken at the convention, no candidate receives support of a majority of delegates. At that point, ALL delegates are released, and another vote is taken immediately after that. If still no majority is reached, you then have negotiations and do some political trading (for example, promising a vice-presidential nomination to someone if they swing their delegates over to the front-runner).
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Old Thu, 3rd May '12, 9:40am   #172
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Looks like Newt is out, too. Now it's just Romney and Ron Paul, and I think Paul doesn't have any appreciable chances.
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Old Thu, 3rd May '12, 3:57pm   #173
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Looks like Newt is out, too. Now it's just Romney and Ron Paul, and I think Paul doesn't have any appreciable chances.
Considering that Paul hasn't won a single state, I'd say that's an understatement. So now Romney has 6 months to focus on Obama and the Democrats (sounds like a band!) and convince people that Mitt Romney can do a significantly better job at running the country. Hmmm. Can it be done?
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Old Thu, 3rd May '12, 4:44pm   #174
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Can it be done?
Which one, convincing the people, or actually doing it ?

Convincing the people may be easier, I think there is a fair amount of disappointment in Obama from all sides (although Romney is hardly beloved himself); actually doing better may be a fair bit harder, even though he may find the Congress a lot less antagonistic than Obama. However, being able to do something is one thing; actually doing it is quite another. I imagine the biggest issue is how the economy will fare the next half year.
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Old Thu, 3rd May '12, 5:05pm   #175
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Yeah, the nomination race was, for all practical purposes, over the moment that Rick Santorum dropped out. Santorum was the only other candidate to win a decent number of states (Paul had zero wins, and Gingrich had just two). Also in the two weeks since Santorum dropped out, there have been 6 more primaries/caucuses and Romney won them all (including in Santorum's home state of Pennsylvania). While Romney has not "clinched" the nomination yet because he has not yet received enough delegates for an outright majority, it's a matter of semantics. The only reason he's not there yet is because there are 13 states yet to hold their primaries, including the two largest states in terms of population, California and Texas, that also award the most delegates. With the only candidate who could have possibly challenged Romney now out of the race, there's no reason to expect that Romney wouldn't win a majority in all the remaining states (the other candidates will still be on the ballot). So Romney earning a majority of delegates is an inevitable eventuality.

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So now Romney has 6 months to focus on Obama and the Democrats (sounds like a band!) and convince people that Mitt Romney can do a significantly better job at running the country. Hmmm. Can it be done?
I doubt that Romney can do much of anything in the next six months that will appreciably alter the outcome of the election. He's quickly back-peddling some of his comments about it being an easy decision to go after Osama bin Laden (after saying during the 2008 campaign that he would never go into Pakistan to get him as Pakistan is an ally).

And his comparison of Obama to Carter was poorly thought out as well. It's true that Carter made a similar decision during the Iranian hostage crisis, but that was a miserable failure, resulting in the deaths of eight US servicemen, and no freed hostages. It was also likely the biggest reason that Carter lost the 1980 election to Reagan later that year. I don't know what Romney was thinking there.

Also this past week, Romney called Obama a "celebrity president", and went on to say that Republicans prefer people like Reagan to be the conservative standard bearers of the GOP. (Yeah, Reagan - the guy who was a movie star before becoming president - no celebrity status there.) Again, I don't know what Romney was thinking, and I question if he has speech writers, or at least editors.

I also find Obama's first set of campaign commercials surprising. He is going to great pains to point out how wealthy Romney is (referencing several Swiss bank accounts) and his record as a CEO for Bain Capital, in which the company bought out many smaller competing businesses, usually resulting in the laying off of the majority of the workforces. The message is clear - Obama is running a campaign that Romney is not like you. Whoever would have thought that the first black president could run a campaign portraying the white guy as "the other".

And all of this might not matter one iota. Obama's approval and disapproval numbers are both at 47% - and they have been within a percentage point or two of that number for months. And given that most people have made up their mind on Obama, those numbers are not likely to move a great deal between now and the election. While having an approval rating over 50% guarantees victory (no incumbent has ever lost since doing this poll with a number at 50% or more), being below 50% does not necessarily ensure defeat. Both Clinton and Bush (W) had approval ratings below 50% when they won re-election, and it's because while people may not like you, they might like the other guy less.

And I think that this election correlates very well with the elections of 1996 and 2004, when Clinton and Bush, respectively, won re-election. While neither incumbent was very popular at the time of the election, they both ran against uninspiring alternatives, Bob Dole and John Kerry. I think Romney fits that description perfectly. He's just not the kind of guy people are going to get excited about, not even in a primary where he was running against a field of incredibly flawed opponents. (Santorum's views on social issues lie to the right of the Pope - Gingirch hasn't been relevant in the last 15 years - Paul is nuts.)

So the only way Romney is winning the middle, and thus the election, is if Obama's favorability numbers decline in the next six months, and Romney does not have very much control over that at all. If the economy nose-dives again (most economists predict continued slow growth in the economy for the remainder of the year), or if there is some scandal linked directly to Obama surfaces (he has apparently emerged from the Secret Service scandal unscathed), that might happen. I suppose it's also possible if Romney runs a near perfect campaign (he hasn't shown any signs of being capable of that), or if Obama runs a poor one (which is practically unimaginable).

So where do we stand? Enough people dislike Obama for a variety of reasons that they will vote for the other guy, irrespective of who that other guy is, even a fairly uninspiring candidate like Romney. So there's no reason to think this isn't going to be a close election. That said, Obama has a number of built in advantages, including being the incumbent, having a huge war chest built up for the election (more the double what Romney has), and people liking Obama, the Person a lot more than Romney, the Person (even if they aren't as thrilled about the performance of Obama, the President). So Obama is at this point the favorite heading into the general election, but by no means a prohibitive favorite.
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