February 4, 2008

Margin of Spin

How do we know who wins tomorrow? The big day is almost here and the scorekeeping is much harder than at the Superbowl. My guess is the Super Tuesday results will not have a margin of victory, but rather a margin of spin.

Let me explain.

Sometimes the result is so clear that there is no arguing who has won and who has lost. In 1996 Bill Clinton beat Bob Dole by almost ten points. In South Carolina this year, Obama beat Clinton by 2 to 1. These are margins of victory.

Then you have the margin of spin. Where the results are so close or so ambiguous the results an argument breaks out and spin comes into play. The classic example is the 2000 general election. In the Nevada Caucus this year, Hillary won the popular vote, but due to the oddness of Caucus rules Obama actually ended up with more delegates. The campaigns spent a week arguing who won.

So prepare yourself for a big argument on who wins on Tuesday. My personal scorecard:

1. California – This is our chance to shine. The biggest State, the most delegates, the home of Craigorian Chant. Whoever win here, wins big.

2. American Samoa – This is their one chance to affect the process. Poor little American Samoa is an tiny little American territory in the South Pacific. Residents are American nationals, not citizens and don’t get a vote in the general election. I think we should hype their result, to make up for the fact they are our disfranchised colony.

3. Delegates – This is the real winner. This whole process comes down to delegates. Whoever wins the most delegates, wins.

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