The Corner

Count Delegates, Not Victories?

I know this sounds a bit too Civics 101, but wouldn’t we better off if we measured this race by how many delegates these candidates pick up? A lot of these primaries are no longer winner-take-all, so a “victory” in the popular votes means a lot less. The media, including us, likes to make these things about all of these weird intangibles. So-and-so won there, but it was uncontested. My guy spent more but barely won. He was expected to win, so it’s not that big a deal he did.

We don’t score boxing this way. We don’t score football this way. We don’t score the general election this way. Why not look at delegates the way we’ve gotten used to looking at electoral votes? That would at least dampen the impact of the “media primary” which we call the New Hampshire and Iowa contests. We’d move off the press’ game of measuring expectations and we might even extend the fun for political junkies in the process.

Capn’ Ed writes:


Of course we score football that way.  Do you see teams going into the playoffs because they scored 122 touchdowns as opposed to someone else who scored 117?  Football teams have to win games, not just collect points and add them up at the end of the season.  Boxers also have to win matches in order to become champions, not just win the most rounds on the cards over a period of time.

Wins matter because it takes wins in November to beat the opposition.  Nominating someone on a series of second-place finishes gets you a candidate who does extremely well at finishing second.  Voters understand that, and when that candidate outspends everyone else in the race and still can’t do better than second place, even the second-place finishes will start to become rare.

Me: I was talking about the specific games, not the season. So I guess, as usual, football metaphors in politics aren’t always helpful.


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