Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Primary Elections Decoded

2016 has proven to be the most entertaining presidential election in American history.  I am glued to the news, but there are parts to this primary election process that are very confusing.  I thought I'd share some newly acquired knowledge.

Delegate: A person who is elected or chosen at the state or local level that will support a certain candidate.  (Usually go with the popular vote.)

Superdelegate: Members of Congress, former presidents, governors, and other party leaders.  These people are not bound to popular vote of a candidate within a region.

Caucus: Speeches are made in a town meeting format and votes are cast for candidates by registered voters if a political party.

Primary election: Voters cast votes for favorite candidates before the general election.

In the Democratic Party, there 5083 deleegates with 715 of them being superdelegates.  The Democrats use a proportional system to give candidates their earned number of delegates.  For example, if a candidate earns 25% of the popular vote within a state, then the candidate earns 25% of the state's delegates.  A candidate must earn at least 15% of the popular vote to qualify for any of the delegate votes.  The winning candidate for the Democratic Party must win a simple majority.
Republican Party: Does not require the 15% and each state determines the rules.  For example, one state may use a winner-takes-all delegates where another state will use the proportional system like the Democratic Party.  Reupublicans have no superdelegates, but have unpledged delegates which serve the same purpose as the superdelegates.  Their count is 2472 delegates with 437 unpledged delegates.  Of the 437, 168 of these unpledged delegates are members of the Republican National Committee (RNC).  

Are you with me so far?  Does any of this seem to mumble the word 'fixed'?

For example, Hilary Clinton has a 'loose' total of 439 superdelegate votes of party leaders, governors, senators, representatives, and DNC members.  They can change their minds, but that is the count according to latest Wikipedia entry.  Bernie Sanders has 16.  Bernie beat Hilary by 22 points in New Hampshire, but they won about the same number of delegates.  He is very popular, but does not have the delegates in his pocket.  She won Iowa and parts of Nevada by coin tosses and cards.  Fair?

The Republican candidate needs 1237 votes to win the primary.  If no one can obtain that number, then candidate is decided by the RNC.  The unpledged delegates could easily go for Rubio or Cruz since they supposedly do not like Trump.  Experts easily analyze how the party could keep him out, but Trump could also run on an independent ticket in retaliation.  Again, fair?

Super Tuesday: March 1st, 2016
Republicans-595 delegates to gain
Democrats-1004 delegates to gain
American Samoa
North Dakota

Who will you be voting for?  Leave a comment.

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