This Time write about Hillary Clinton’s 5 campaign mistakes is getting plenty of link love today. It’s a good read, but as I went through it, one nugget stuck out as particularly interesting to me. Here’s #3:
3. She underestimated the caucus states
While Clinton based her strategy on the big contests, she seemed to virtually overlook states like Minnesota, Nebraska and Kansas, which choose their delegates through caucuses. She had a reason: the Clintons decided, says an adviser, that “caucus states were not really their thing.” Her core supporters – women, the elderly, those with blue-collar jobs – were less likely to be able to commit an evening of the week, as the process requires. But it was a little like unilateral disarmament in states worth 12% of the pledged delegates. Indeed, it was in the caucus states that Obama piled up his lead among pledged delegates. “For all the talent and the money they had over there,” says Axelrod, “they – bewilderingly – seemed to have little understanding for the caucuses and how important they would become.”
It’s this sentence that bolsters why her “popular vote” strategy is so inherently shady:
Her core supporters – women, the elderly, those with blue-collar jobs – were less likely to be able to commit an evening of the week, as the process requires.
She knows it’s harder to caucus than just show up and vote. Her campaign is well aware of why the delegate allocation is what it is. According to this article, Clinton’s camp not only discounted caucus states from the get go, but then they went into full-on spin mode to try and marginalize the impact of the states whose voters did put in the extra effort.
Once again, the popular vote is not a fair metric in a mixed caucus/primary system. The Clinton camp knows this. Pretending otherwise is the kind of bad business as usual we should start voting out of politics. Just because this is the way the game’s always been played doesn’t mean it has to stay that way going forward.