Saturday, February 23, 2008

NYT - gaming the system for its endorsee?

Here is how the Gray Lady counts delegates in the Democratic Presidential nomination race -
only the pledged (elected) delegates that are bound by their preferences, which rules out caucuses like Iowa. In addition, they count unpledged delegates - "superdelegates."
Technically, caucus delegates pledge their support to a Presidential candidate at their state convention. This means that even though Senator Obama won Iowa, the state delegates could still change their preference and vote for Senator Clinton at the state convention. So in a sense, the NYT is correct; however, since the caucus delegates are chosen by voters expressing their preference for a particular candidate, would it not be undemocratic for the state delegates to switch their Presidential preference?
Someone from the Clinton campaign has already spoken about poaching pledged delegates, though later both the Clinton and Obama campaigns said they had no such plans. Mind you, this is not just unbound-but-elected pledged caucus delegates, but all pledged delegates - elected in a primary or through a caucus/state convention system. If the NYT really wanted to leave out folks who could change their Presidential preference, they should really not count any delegates - bound by their primary/caucus or not.

Further, the NYT counts unpledged or "super" delegates - though it is clear that superdelegates are not bound by their own current opinion. As the Gray Lady herself notes, historically superdelegates have supported the front-runner at the national Democratic convention. So it the NYT really wants to be strict, they should not include the superdelegates in their count.

Not counting caucus delegates cuts down Senator Obama's lead; Senator Clinton has the edge among superdelegates. By following such a differentiation of pledged/elected delegates - unlike most other news organizations like CNN and the AP, which do count caucus delegates - and counting unbound superdelegates, the NYT is putting up a delegate count that favors their Democratic endorsee - Senator Clinton. If the NYT method was unlike their delegate count in previous years, one might even think the Gray Lady is gaming the system!

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