A few days ago, I wrote a friend saying that the “nightmare” scenario for the Democrats would be if Obama won the popular vote without Florida but Hillary won it in with Florida.
This morning reading a piece by John Fund in Wall Street Journal’s Political Diary (available by subscription), I learned that Ms. Hillary was already claiming she has “received more votes by the people who have voted than anybody else . . . . if you count . . . the 2.3 million people who voted in Michigan and Florida.”
She can make a colorable claim to including Florida’s votes in the total since both candidates’ names were on the ballot and neither campaigned there. (Well, she did get some press attention for coming to the state on the day of the primary; some of his TV ads appeared on Florida cable stations as part of a national buy.)
But, to include Michigan when hers was the only name on the ballot? Alone among the serious Democratic presidential candidates, all of whom, including the former First Lady, signed a “pledge not to ‘campaign or participate’ in the Michigan or Florida Democratic primaries,” she kept “her name on the Michigan ballot” when others, including Senator Obama, removed theirs.
With her latest ludicrous claim, Ms. Hillary, in the interest of promoting herself, has accelerated the realization of this “nightmare” scenario for her party. This RealClearPolitics chart shows the numerous ways to calculate popular vote totals in the Democratic primaries and cauci. Most, even those including Florida, give Obama a slight lead. Only when factoring in Michigan (where Ms. Hillary adds to her total, but Mr. Obama cannot add to his since he wasn’t on the ballot) does she come out on top.
By making such an issue of popular vote, Hillary opens her party to further divisions. Because the Democratic candidates pledged not to campaign in the Sunshine and Wolverine state and because of the difficulty in determining Democratic vote totals in several caucus states, there are numerous ways to tabulate the Democratic popular vote total.
Maybe we Republicans should temper our harsh judgment of Mrs. Clinton. We see her yet again fostering further discord in her party.
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UPDATE: Click on more for excerpts from a Democrat’s take on the problematic popular vote count for his party’s 2008 presidential candidates.In the New Yorker, Hendrik Hertzberg looks at the numerous ways to count the Democratic popular vote and observes:
[The]claim that Clinton is ahead in the popular vote depends entirely on taking seriously the notion that Obama has no support in a state that includes the University of Michigan and the city of Detroitâ€”a claim that suggests that it would be appropriate to award an American Presidential nomination on the basis of an election result that looks like it was imported from North Korea.
Presuming Ms. Hillary does well in the remaining states:
[She] ould have a case [to have won a popular vote majority]. Obama would have one, tooâ€”he’d still be a little bit ahead in the popular vote according to to the rules everybody agreed upon in advance, and he would definitely be ahead in elected delegates. She would have a popular vote lead in all the count-Florida-and-Michigan categories. But neither candidate could any longer plausibly claim that he or she was unambiguously the people’s choice.