Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Anyone but Hillary?

There are by now dozens of anti-Hillary Clinton web sites out there, with most of them run by Republicans with the presumption of her being the Democratic nominee. These sites tend to go beyond calm discussion of her policy positions into personal bashing, name calling, and threats. But there are a small, and I believe growing, number of anti-Hillary blogs and sites that come from the grassroots Democratic side.

These sites are a bit more shy about their approach, as they don't want to throw the election to whomever the Republican nominee ends up being, but they're equally terrified of a Hillary Clinton presidency. I can relate. These sites are generally talking about her support for the war, her support of the surveillance-security state, and her massive amounts of corporate lobbyist dollars.

As the media is sure to point out every five minutes, Clinton is leading in all the Democratic primary voter polls, with Barack Obama second, and John Edwards bringing up the rear (followed by all those other guys). Clinton is leading, but she hasn't won yet. And here's something to note: she could win the majority of the primaries, but not get the nomination.

How could that happen? The primaries don't choose the nominee; the Convention does. And, while some states give all their delegates to the winner of that state's primary, others send proportional numbers of delegates based on the actual primary results. And, once at the convention, delegates can switch candidates if there's no winner on the first ballot.

What got me thinking about this, and the possibility of a convention-time mutiny against the front-runner, is listening to John Edwards most recent comments about the two candidates leading him. Edwards is increasingly vocal about Senator Clinton's shortfalls, and increasingly praising of Senator Obama.

Check out this bit of Edwardsian prose, courtesy of NPR:
"The cause of ending poverty in America is a cause that's very central to what I want to do as president, and central to my life. ... And there is at least one other candidate on this stage who has also spoken, strongly and eloquently, about doing something about poverty in America, and it's Sen. [Barack] Obama [of Illinois], and I applaud him for having done that: I think our voices together are more powerful than our voices alone."
Here's my theory (hopeful thinking?): The new Edwards strategy is not to win very many primaries. He knows that ain't gonna happen. His strategy is simply to gather enough convention delegates to deny Clinton the nomination on the first ballot. He can then negotiate with Obama to decide what the Democratic ticket will be.

It's not a bad strategy, if I'm right. And it would make Edwards the ultimate "Anyone but Hillary" player. It might even make the convention worth watching again, rather than the canned speeches and predictable events they've been the last couple of decades.

Does anybody else think this is a possibility, or am I just crazy? How about the math? Does anybody have the figures on which states are winner-take-all, delegate-wise, and which are proportional?

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