|Posted by Pete Healey on January 12, 2010 at 7:10 PM|
Barack Obama only won the Presidential Primaries in the Democratic Party in 2008 because of the proportional (PR) method used for counting the delegates won in each state. If the primary contests in each state were winner-take-all contests, Hillary Clinton would have been the nominee of the Democratic Party last year. Ms. Clinton won almost all of the big states, with all their big delegate counts, but usually only by very small margins.
Obama and his staff understood the proportional process better than the Clinton people and tailored their strategy to fit it. The Democrats have a rule that anyone who gets 15% or better in a primary gets that proportional number of delegates allocated to him or her. New York may provide a good example. Since Hilary Clinton was US Senator from New York and it was assumed she would win easily, Obama didn't spend much time campaigning here. But whatever percentage of votes he won actually counted in his favor because that was the percentage of delegates he won. Clinton didn't win all the delegates from New York even though she easily won the primary. She only received the percentage of delegates that corresponded to her vote totals.
The point is that the Democratic Party accepts PR for their most important internal election process. Why wouldn't they support this or a similar process for all of us? Of course, as long as they are a 'small d' party as well as a 'big D' party, this is exactly how they should act.