Monday | June 09, 2003
How they could win: Edwards
Welcome to this six-part series "how they can win", featuring the six "serious" candidates: Dean, Edwards, Gephardt, Graham, Kerry and Lieberman.
For purposes of this scenario building, I'm assuming all six candidates are running strong, without the presence of a major scandal or foot-in-mouth incident.
Today we do Edwards, who is doing surprisingly poorly in all current polls. However, no deficit at this stage of the game is insurmountable. The guy has the ability to turn it on when he seems most out of it, and I'm not ready to count him out.
So for Edwards to win, it's going to have to look something like this:
But to be realistic, Edwards won't place, and he doesn't have to. That 4th place slot will be important (remember, it's about expectations). Edwards must defeat Lieberman and Graham (his nearest foes on the party's "centerist" flank) and the fringe candidates to maintain some semblance of viability.
New Hampshire: 1.27
So the real battle will be for the third and fourth slots. And, like in Iowa, he will have to defeat both Lieberman and Graham.
South Carolina, Delaware, Missouri, Arizona, New Mexico, Oklahoma: 2.2
Michigan, Washington: 2.7
Virginia, District of Columbia, Tennessee (maybe): 2.10
However, the "centrist" DLC-type winner of the Feb. 2 primaries will be carrying irresistable momentum at this point, making it harder for the loser to make any new headway here. Add in the media's irresistable need to cull the field to simplify the race's dynamics (and lower costs), and it seems unlikely Edwards could turn things around at this point.
If Edwards wins the Feb. 2 primaries, this should be a happy day for his campaign.
Idaho: 2.24 and Utah: 2.27
If he's the Feb. 2 winner he's happily ignoring these states, focusing the entire bulk of his resources and energy on:
California, Connecticut, Georgia, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Rhode Island, Vermont, Hawaii, North Dakota, Washington: 3.2
At this point, the press is no longer playing the expectation games. Rather, we have a good ol' fashioned horse race. 1,261 committed delegates are at stake March 2 out of a total of 3,520 -- fully 35 percent of the total number. You only need to get to 50 percent plus one to win. (Of course, that doesn't include Super Delegates, but they will not tilt the nomination away from the popularly elected candidate. Another post about those guys will be forthcoming.)
Also note that on March 3rd, over half the delegates will be selected. Given that several candidates will split the delegate totals from each state, we may not have a nominee by now, but it will be so close and so obvious that everyone will be able to identify the winner. This election won't make it to the southern primaries on March 9.
Bottom line: To win, Edwards has to avoid embarrassing finishes in Iowa and New Hampshire (like coming below Kucinich or Sharpton). He has to "win" the Feb 2 primaries. He can split the mid-February primaries with little effect on the race, one way or another.
But, perhaps most difficult of all, he has to win March 2. There's no way he'll be able to make it to the Southern Super Tuesday (a week later) if he's blown away this day. If he wins Feb. 2, and matches or outperforms his opponent on March 2, he is the Democratic Party nominee.Posted June 09, 2003 05:21 AM | Comments (88)