[media id=4172] [media id=4173] (h/t Logan) Dan Abrams with Pat Buchanan and Craig Crawford discuss the super delegates and how they may decide the
February 6, 2008

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Dan Abrams with Pat Buchanan and Craig Crawford discuss the super delegates and how they may decide the nomination.

There are a total number of 4,049 Democratic delegates available in the presidential nominating process, making 2,025 the magic number for each candidate. If no candidate reaches the threshold in time, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama will have themselves a good ol’ fashioned brokered convention in Denver this August.

This seemed unlikely a few weeks ago, but after Super Tuesday, it may very well happen after all.

The reason is pretty straightforward: Obama has a slight edge in pledged delegates (Dems who vote in primaries and caucuses), while Clinton has a slight edge in superdelegates (lawmakers, governors, DNC members, establishment types). Taken together, they each have about 1,000 delegates. As Jonathan Cohn explained, it’s going to be tricky for either of them to get to 2,025.

In the remaining primaries and caucuses, only 1,787 delegates are at stake. So to win the nomination on pledged delegates alone, a candidate has to win 57 percent of those at stake. And that won’t be so easy to do.

Remember, the Democrats don’t have winner-take-all contests anymore. The primaries and caucuses award delegates with formulas that are based on proportional representation. In a situation where two candidates, each with solid funding, are running strong, it will be difficult to run up large margins. It’s entirely possible we’ll see a lot of results like last night, in which — after all the back-and-forth over who won which state — the two finished nearly even in delegates won.

Exactly. Neither one can put the other one away.

This not only means a brokered convention, it also means a dynamic in which superdelegates pick the Democratic nominee. Kevin and Ezra debate whether that's good or bad.


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