Why, Yes, Actually – Girls Can Do Math.
Okay, before I start this, let me preface it by saying that I’ve deliberated about this post quite a bit before ultimately deciding that I was going to write it simply because it would make me happier to get it out. I’m still uncommitted when it comes to who will get my vote for President next November. Yep – I’m one of those “I keep researching it, but I probably won’t be sure until faced with the actual ballot” people that drive others nuts.
In this election, I’m actually less disturbed than I’ve been for the past 5. It’s only the 2nd presidential election I’ve voted in where I didn’t feel like I had to vote against a candidate. That’s probably why I’m less inclined to post politically-natured blogs than many of my friends.
What I’m about to write will surely enrage some of those friends – at least, some of the more zealous Obama supporters.
After this week’s primaries – I saw a slew of comments about how Hillary Clinton’s decision not to withdraw from the Democratic race was “proof that girls can’t do math.” Some people were saying it tongue-in-cheek, but out of a sense of outrage that the candidate opposing the one they supported wasn’t doing what they wanted her to do – drop out. I suspect that a few of the more misogynistic folks saying it meant it – but I give my friends the benefit of the doubt on that.
Still, the phrase has rankled since it started popping up on Tuesday night.
For 2 reasons, actually – one, it kind of implies that there are no men working on Hillary’s campaign. Seriously, do you think she’s the only one ‘doing the math’? More than one strategist working on that campaign has done the numbers I’m about to show you – and their gender had nothing to do with it.
Two – anyone who thinks that ‘there is no chance at this point that Hillary will win the needed delegates’ is the one not ‘doing the math.’
So let’s do the math, shall we?
By the Numbers
In the Democratic primary race, there are a total of 4,049 delegates up for grabs, including the super-delegates, which means a candidate needs 2,025 or more delegates to get the majority and win. (source)
Currently, Obama has 1,846 of those delegates – 1,588 pledged and 258 super-delegates who have declared for him. Clinton has 1,685 – 1,419 pledged and 266 super-delegates.
That’s a difference of 156 in Obama’s favor.
Only 217 pledged delegates are up for grabs in the remaining six contests: West Virginia, Kentucky, Oregon, Puerto Rico, Montana and South Dakota. (source).
Those saying Hillary can’t do math are saying that it’s obvious that she can’t win, because Obama only needs 179 of those to meet the 2,025 threshhold… whereas Clinton needs 340 to meet the threshhold – which is 123 more than she could get if she somehow won all those delegates.
But that’s where the ability to math actually comes in. You see let’s work through this:
Obama – 1846 current
Clinton – 1685 current
Primaries – 217 left
Okay, so we started with a total of 4,049 delegates possible. If you subtract the 3,748 that will be committed after the primaries – that leaves 301 uncommitted super-delegates.
So between the 217 from the remaining primaries and the 301 uncommitted supers we have:
518 remaining, as yet uncommitted delegates.
Obama -> 2,025 – 1,846 = 179 needed to win nomination
Clinton -> 2,025 – 1,685 = 340 needed to win nomination
out of 518 remaining…
Can Hillary still win the nomination? Sure. Can Obama? Sure.
In fact, it comes down to 1 vote. If Obama gets 179, Hillary’s short by 1 – if Hillary gets 340, Obama’s short by 1.
That’s the math folks.
Now, if Obama manages to win 179 of the remaining 217 delegates from West Virginia, Kentucky, Oregon, Puerto Rico, Montana and South Dakota? (which means getting better than 82% of the vote in those areas – a margin he hasn’t had yet…) Then Hillary is done for. But until then? Don’t expect her to bow out.
As for me – I’ll be undecided until long after those delegates are committed – but I’ll keep doing the math. Because I can.
Edit to Add:
Because someone already misunderstood this…
Obama needs > 80% of the remaining state delegates to put Hillary out w/o super-delegates.
Clinton needs < 20% of the remaining state delegates if she gets ALL of the remaining undeclared super-delegates to win. (301 supers + 39 states = 340)