Thursday, January 31, 2008

No endorsement

John Edwards has dropped out (and I don't understand why he picked now rather than waiting a week until after Super Tuesday; I would have preferred to have a day to just exult in Rudy Giuliani's epic collapse), after I already sent in my absentee ballot for him for the New York primary. Looking at the three presidential primaries I have voted in, this brings my streak to 0 for 3 on voting for a candidate who is still in the race at the time of my primary. However, the streak should end in 2012, when I vote for the incumbent Democratic president, who will likely be unopposed.

Now that it's down to Obama and Clinton, I'm not endorsing another candidate in the primary; I look forward to supporting Clinton and/or Obama on the Democratic ticket. They're both strong candidates and I don't want to get involved in intraparty squabbles right now; I'd rather focus on beating the Republicans.

If you were an Edwards supporter and are now totally undecided between Clinton and Obama (and only if you don't have a preference), my endorsement is to vote for Edwards anyway. This way, Edwards may still get some more delegates, and in the unlikely event that neither Obama nor Clinton has a clear majority of delegates, the Edwards delegates will have a voice at the convention. (And in the more likely event that one of them wins it outright, that's fine, because you didn't have a preference anyway.)

Another option is just to split your vote based on which delegates you like and trust, insofar as you recognize their names. On the NYC ballot, many of the Clinton delegates were household names (ok, household names for NYC political junkies: current and former City Councilmembers, state legislators, and such), while I hadn't heard of most of the Obama or Edwards delegates. This is presumably because Clinton is the home-state senator, so the local politicians have loyalties there. I assume the situation is reversed in Illinois and North Carolina, and more mixed up in other states.


  1. So, in NY you still vote for individual delegate candidates, rather than marking the ballot by the name of your preferred presidential candidate? How quaint. A really dumb system, but I will admit that for many years the most fun I ever had voting was in 1984, the one time (in my voting years) that California had such a system. I split amongst Hart, Jackson, and McGovern (the latter just because I had been too young in 1972).

    Recently I read some pundit suggesting that Obama was marrying the Hart and Jackson wings of the party, while Clinton has the Mondale wing. I guess you can tell from the above how I feel about the Mondale wing. I actually think Obama is the most exciting Democratic candidate since McGovern (even though they have not that much in common), with the important distinction that Obama might actually become President.

    I would have shared your strategy of voting for Edwards for the delegates, except that once a candidate is officially out, usually his support collapses. And Edwards's support certainly collapsed quickly.

    So I voted for Obama. And that was much more fun than that 1984 split vote against the Mondale wing--it was downright exciting, in fact.

  2. So, in NY you still vote for individual delegate candidates, rather than marking the ballot by the name of your preferred presidential candidate?

    It's actually both. I don't entirely understand it.