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So what is the strategy for Super Tuesday? Who will win BIG on today's Super Tuesday of voting? Will it be Senator McCain? (The crowd begins to cheer!) Will it be Governor Romney? (The crowd continues to cheer!) How about Governor Huckabee? (The crowd cheers again!) Or how about that US Constitutional guy... err... what's his name... Congressman... oh yah, Ron Paul? (The crowd starts to laugh!) -- Yes, sounds familiar, right? And so the media continues to report "who won what" and so on and so forth, with of course, no mentioning of that silly Congressman anywhere.
And as the Ron Paul supporters continue to fight back their tears while questioning, "How can this be? I don't get it! I thought we'd make a dent by now?!!", the Ron Paul Headquarters begins to board the "The Ron Paul Express Train", with nothing but confident smiles, because after all, you need a freight train to carry the message of freedom, and more importantly... ALL THE DELEGATES THAT COME WITH IT!!!
"I don't understand -- what do you mean? He lost the delegates in the states because FOX NEWS reported it that way!" Yes, I know... and they also reported that Al Gore won as President -- or have you forgotten? Isn't it funny how IGNORANT Fox News really is? Well, I say ignorant and maybe that isn't really fair -- so let's just say that they choose to show their viewers what they want the people to see. You see, the results we are seeing on TV is not really what is actually occurring, but the media likes to "dumb it down" for America because it would take too much time to explain how the Delegates really choose their candidate, and so they try and keep it simple. And many people like simple -- because simple is good. Heck, I like simple too. However, sometimes keeping things too simple, as is the case with an election, can be very misleading. Yes I know, it sounds complicated and I was once there myself -- so allow me to further explain.
Have you heard of the expression that all of this is really a "Beauty Contest?" Well, this is true, because nothing is set in stone yet. The reason why the media is keeping it simple is because MANY of the states are a winner-take-all state, meaning if a candidate wins the popular vote of the state, they get to keep all the delegates that come with that state -- however, what the media isn't telling you (because statistically speaking, it's highly unlikely) is that ANY DELEGATE can change their mind and vote for whomever they want when it comes time at the convention -- which is when the voting REALLY MATTERS.
"I see. But I still don't understand the whole primary/caucus thing, choosing delegates and how or why it's important?" Let me break that down for you in a nutshell.
First, let me describe what a Delegate is. Delegates are the people who you trust to do the voting at the GOP convention on your party's behalf, so to speak. So basically, you vote on a delegate who supports the candidate you want to win. Anyone can be a delegate as long they fulfill the requirements set out by the state. If you want to be a delegate (which is important to the Ron paul campaign), you can just announce it at the caucus meeting. But you have to bring enough people to vote for you to be a delegate. The more delegates you have in a district, the better, because then there are caucuses for state delegates -- whereby all the district delegates vote on who will be a state delegates. States are assigned a certain number of "state delegates" to represent the state, which is what the whole "Beauty Contest" is about -- it sort of help determines which candidate will receive those delegates. Since many states are a "winner takes all" -- this means that all the delegates will go to the popular vote winner, whereas some states award delegates by percentages.
A caucus is basically a convention held in districts whereby party members gather to hear speeches made about the candidates. The people that attend the caucus (which can be ANYONE) then vote for delegates to represent the candidates at the party's convention. Each district has a certain number of delegates, which depends on who gets voted by the people. State rules and regulations do vary, as some only allow voters to participate in their party’s primary (such as you must be registered as a republican to vote in the republican primaries), while other states have no party restrictions and allow voters to participate in any single primary they choose. Now this is important to understand -- because the more delegates your candidate has, the better. And in MOST (if not all) situations, the turnout of these caucuses are spread so thin because very few people show up to be a delegate, that someone can utterly "steal" the victory away from the popular vote winner (if awarded by percentage) because they had more delegates in a certain district representing them. An example would be Obama in Nevada, who lost by popular vote, but actually received more delegates because the districts by which he won had more delegates than Clinton did. But we'll come back to this a little later.
Now a primary is what most of us are used to. Voters go to the polls, select their candidate and help determine the percentage of the state's delegates. The person who wins the state (if by the winner-take-all policy) supposedly wins all the delegates too -- but here's the rub... do they really win all the delegates? In a typical situation, this is likely the case. The percentages of a state's delegates are broken down to show how many delegates are from each of the candidates running. For example, in Maine, Romney won the popular vote by a landslide right? Therefore, he is rewarded all the delegates of that state. McCain came in second with Ron Paul coming in a very close third place. However, Ron Paul had A LOT MORE DELEGATES that supported him than McCain did, so realistically speaking, Ron Paul came in second in the delegate count. How is this important? It isn't YET, but patience Grasshopper, and you will begin to see the light.
Ok, so I said I would come back to how someone can "steal" a victory. From what I know, this is how it works -- in a brokered convention, ANY STATE DELEGATE IS NOT BOUND TO VOTE FOR ANY PARTICULAR CANDIDATE. Did you get that? While they were selected to best represent their own candidate, what would happen if their candidate dropped out? Their candidate would likely endorse another candidate, right? And it makes sense that the state delegates would support whomever their candidate endorsed, right? But here's where it gets sticky... would they really support whomever their candidate endorsed? A perfect example of that would have been Giuliani who endorsed McCain after he dropped out -- which should have added to the popular vote count for McCain to easily win the state of Maine since he had Giuliani supporters too, right? But McCain lost to Romney. As I said in a previous article, this is not a typical election and there is clearly no real front runner -- at least not what the media is making it out like.
It is my opinion that people are awake now and are not voting in the typical mannerisms of the past elections. People are very angry right now, confused right now and are still unsure of who they would support -- but more important than that, they now understand that it's ok to change their minds and actually vote who's right for office rather than vote for who's right for the party. If there was a clear front runner, then someone would have an enormous lead by now, yes? But this is not the case. And according to the GOP rules, a candidate must enter the convention in September with 51% of the delegates from all the states or else the election will go to a brokered convention... and that is where the pay off will be, because delegates will now have to make things right by voting. BUT, the question is, "Who will they vote for?"
Is your eyebrow raising? Are you getting it yet?!! You're starting to smirk, aren't you? Yessssss, suddenly, all those supposed state delegates that the candidate "thought" he had in the bag from the states (according the media and beauty contests) now suddenly don't look too promising, because they (the delegates) now have the power, and more importantly, the right to change their mind. Now here's the beauty of it all -- there is NOTHING anyone can do about it.
"Yes, I get it now, but c'mon, what are the odds these delegates will vote for Ron Paul?" Well, there is no guarantee -- but let's look at it this logically... this will likely create negative publicity for the so called "front runner", as this candidate will now be seen BY MANY PEOPLE as being weak, not to mention careless, because HE DIDN'T SEE IT COMING. And nobody wants a weak, let alone careless President. A brokered convention hasn't occurred since God knows how long ago - which is why many people still disagree and say it won't happen. However, I believe the odds are in favor this year for one to happen, as do many others, and here's the funny part... if it does, can you imagine the media coverage on that one? The media, all which completely blacked out Ron Paul, is actually responsible for making it all happen because he slipped in "under the radar."
This is why the likelihood of a 3rd party run by Ron Paul is not realistic nor in the playing cards. Statistically speaking, he has a better chance of getting those unsure delegates to vote for him than he would at getting a majority to win during a third party run for Presidency. Third party runs are very expensive and get zero media coverage and aren't likely to be invited for debates -- but winning the Republican nomination gets him the best seat in the house, to relay his thoughts on the issues at hand and to eventually prove to America that he is the best choice for President.
So who's the big winner of Super Tuesday? I think it's more like who's the big WEINER of Tuesday. All Aboooooard!!!