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Author Topic: stopping Mccain in South Carolina primary  (Read 2483 times)
rob in cal
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« on: January 31, 2009, 07:28:13 pm »
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I wonder if Mccain could have been defeated by Huckabee in South Carolina, a result which may have deflated or slowed down Mccain's momentum going into the Florida primary.  The results were close, about 33-30% with Thompson and Romney getting another 30% combined.  I wonder if the 30% who voted for Thompson and Romney potentially could have been galvanized into a stop Mccain movement, as you would think that most of the voters for those two candidates would lean more conservative and might have rallied to Huckabee in South Carolina not because he was a great candidate, but merely for the strategic purpose of tripping Mccain up, thereby stopping the front-runner.
    I remember on the Friday before the vote that Saturday that talk show host Hugh Hewitt, who was extremely pro-Romney, urged everyone to vote for Huckabee in South Carolina, just as a way to stop Mccain from getting another cheap nowhere near a majority victory.
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« Reply #1 on: January 31, 2009, 11:40:28 pm »

Anyone who had paid attention to the election coverage knew that McCain and Huckabee would be fighting it out for first and second place and that Thomson and Romney would be fighting it out for third and fourth.  Given how Thomson had by then effectively rendered himself irrelevant, I suspect that a fair number of the Thomson votes were actually anti-Romney votes intended to place Romney in fourth place.  Up until primary day I was undecided between McCain and Huckabee and considered casting a tactical vote for Thomson for precisely that reason.  I ended up not casting a tactical vote because I came to a decision.
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« Reply #2 on: January 31, 2009, 11:52:13 pm »
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I suspect that a fair number of the Thomson votes were actually anti-Romney votes intended to place Romney in fourth place. 


I highly doubt that. Nobody cared if Romney got third or fourth. It made no difference.
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« Reply #3 on: February 01, 2009, 06:38:20 am »
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The problem is that your true establishment conservative had as little reason to like Huckabee as McCain.
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« Reply #4 on: February 03, 2009, 06:02:08 pm »
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I thought Huckabee had South Carolina in the bag, honestly. I guess the coastal vote (I think he finished third in Charleston County) did him in. The biggest surprise was him nearly losing the Greenville vote, home of Bob Jones University, to McCain
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Mr. Morden
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« Reply #5 on: February 03, 2009, 06:25:41 pm »
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Huckabee came pretty close.  Interesting to think about what would have happened if Huckabee had pulled it out in SC.  Maybe Romney would have managed to win in Florida, and McCain would have been seen as a one state wonder.

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Dan the Roman
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« Reply #6 on: February 05, 2009, 03:23:39 pm »
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I doubt it would have mattered. The switch to winner take all in NY and NJ would have ensured that McCain would have come out of Supertuesday with a massive delegate lead, while the PR system all of the potential Huckabee and Romney states used would have prevented them from catching up. Both primaries this year were determined by the electoral system imho.
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« Reply #7 on: February 06, 2009, 12:10:47 am »
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I doubt it would have mattered. The switch to winner take all in NY and NJ would have ensured that McCain would have come out of Supertuesday with a massive delegate lead, while the PR system all of the potential Huckabee and Romney states used would have prevented them from catching up. Both primaries this year were determined by the electoral system imho.

Romney could have won both California and Missouri if he'd gone into Super Tuesday after having just won Florida (and after McCain lost to Huckabee in SC).  Huckabee also would probably win Oklahoma in this scenario.  Anyway, MO is WTA, and CA is WTA by district.  If Romney won the popular vote in CA, he would have racked up quite a few delegates.  Combine that with the other states that Romney and Huckabee won, plus Romney and Huckabee winning everything pre-Super Tuesday (except NH), and I don't think it's so clear that McCain would have had a "massive delegate" after Super Tuesday.  NY & NJ accounted for, what?  About 15% of all the delegates on Super Tuesday?  Certainly not chump change, but there are other places where Romney would have closed the gap somewhat.

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« Reply #8 on: February 06, 2009, 01:54:55 am »
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McCain would have also won Illinois and Connecticut (WTA). So even if he lost South Carolina and Florida, he would still have a clear delegate lead.
I suspect that with Romney and Huckabee continuing to split the conservative vote, McCain would have wrapped up the nomination by the March 4 (Ohio, Texas).
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Mr. Morden
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« Reply #9 on: February 06, 2009, 06:47:13 am »
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OK, let's consider some hard numbers.  Using the Atlas's numbers, these are the delegate totals I get for all the primaries up through Super Tuesday:

McCain 700
Huckabee 195
Romney 189

However, those are certainly underestimates, as it undercounts delegates in numerous states where the primary/caucus results aren't formally binding, but where the final delegate allocation usually follows what happened in the caucus.  It allocates zero delegates for states such as Colorado, Minnesota, and Maine.  Whereas news organizations like the AP were keeping a running tally of approximate delegate counts for states like that.  If you used those approximate counts, Romney would be in better shape.  Still, for now, let's be generous to McCain, and use the above numbers.

Now, let's change a few things, under the scenario where Huckabee wins SC and Romney wins FL:

Make the delegate split in SC 18/6 Huckabee/McCain rather than 18/6 McCain Huckabee
Take the 57 WTA delegates from FL away from McCain and give them to Romney
Take the 58 WTA delegates from MO away from McCain and give them to Romney
Assume Huckabee wins OK with a 32/6 delegate split over McCain rather than the other way around
Assume Romney wins CA.  Rather than a delegate split of McCain 155 / Romney 15, make it Romney 105 / McCain 65

After doing all of that, you bring McCain's delegate tally down to 457, while Romney's is up to 394.  So McCain's lead over Romney is already down to just 63 delegates, and I haven't even counted states like CO or MN yet, nor made any adjustments in other states, such as IL, where Romney could have won more delegates.  So it's entirely possible that McCain could have ended Super Tuesday with a negligible/nonexistant delegate lead, and then, on Feb. 9th, Romney could have taken the lead, following a victory in the Washington caucuses, while Huckabee wins Kansas and Lousiana.

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« Reply #10 on: February 06, 2009, 02:11:17 pm »

Given the margins in the SC primary, any scenario that flips the state to Huckabee would be likely to also flip SC-6, making the delegate count 20-4 Huckabee-McCain, not 18-6.  Indeed, with the monstrous margin McCain had in SC-1, a narrower McCain victory might well have seen McCain getting a 16-8 delegate margin with McCain winning the state and SC-1 and SC-2, while Huckabee won the other four CD's.
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« Reply #11 on: February 07, 2009, 05:16:13 pm »
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The Republican convention may very well have been brokered.
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Dan the Roman
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« Reply #12 on: February 12, 2009, 10:32:11 pm »
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OK, let's consider some hard numbers.  Using the Atlas's numbers, these are the delegate totals I get for all the primaries up through Super Tuesday:

McCain 700
Huckabee 195
Romney 189

However, those are certainly underestimates, as it undercounts delegates in numerous states where the primary/caucus results aren't formally binding, but where the final delegate allocation usually follows what happened in the caucus.  It allocates zero delegates for states such as Colorado, Minnesota, and Maine.  Whereas news organizations like the AP were keeping a running tally of approximate delegate counts for states like that.  If you used those approximate counts, Romney would be in better shape.  Still, for now, let's be generous to McCain, and use the above numbers.

Now, let's change a few things, under the scenario where Huckabee wins SC and Romney wins FL:

Make the delegate split in SC 18/6 Huckabee/McCain rather than 18/6 McCain Huckabee
Take the 57 WTA delegates from FL away from McCain and give them to Romney
Take the 58 WTA delegates from MO away from McCain and give them to Romney
Assume Huckabee wins OK with a 32/6 delegate split over McCain rather than the other way around
Assume Romney wins CA.  Rather than a delegate split of McCain 155 / Romney 15, make it Romney 105 / McCain 65

After doing all of that, you bring McCain's delegate tally down to 457, while Romney's is up to 394.  So McCain's lead over Romney is already down to just 63 delegates, and I haven't even counted states like CO or MN yet, nor made any adjustments in other states, such as IL, where Romney could have won more delegates.  So it's entirely possible that McCain could have ended Super Tuesday with a negligible/nonexistant delegate lead, and then, on Feb. 9th, Romney could have taken the lead, following a victory in the Washington caucuses, while Huckabee wins Kansas and Lousiana.



Missouri was never going Romney. He was in third. It would be better to flip it to Huckabee. Unfortunately thats the general story. A weaker McCain helps Huckabee more than Romney. Mainly though I just don't buy that Romney would have gained that much from a weaker McCain.

You can mix and match the numbers to get Romney to a plurality, but the real problem he had is that quite frankly he appealed to no one. He should have benefited from a system that made the NE and California more important than the South, but the fact was he was never going to win Connecticut, New York, and New jersey, and even a tie in California almost certainly would have seen McCain with a substantial delegate lead because of his strength in the Democratic areas of the state.

Even assuming by some miracle where McCain did everything wrong, Romney got to a plurality of the delegates he would still lose. Why? because no one liked him. As was shown in the debates everyone else ganged up on him and would have done so at the convention as well. And without his opponents dropping out(which they wouldn't since they hate him) he would only have around 36-37% of the delegates.

It would have been a disaster for all involved. What 2000 showed was that you could win the GOP nomination from Right by losing the NE and winning the south and west. What 2008 showed was that you could win from the left after the primary rules were changed to make it easier to do so. The third thing it showed was the same as Lamar Alexander's run in 1996; you can't win by being the least bad choice. Which was Romney's entire message.
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Mr. Morden
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« Reply #13 on: February 12, 2009, 11:44:09 pm »
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Missouri was never going Romney. He was in third.

Yes, but he was less than 4% out of 1st place.  It was basically a 3-way tie.  If Romney had won Florida instead of McCain, it might well have given him enough of a boost to win Missouri.

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Even assuming by some miracle where McCain did everything wrong, Romney got to a plurality of the delegates he would still lose. Why? because no one liked him. As was shown in the debates everyone else ganged up on him and would have done so at the convention as well. And without his opponents dropping out(which they wouldn't since they hate him) he would only have around 36-37% of the delegates.

To clarify, I never said that this scenario would necessarily to Romney winning the nomination....just that it would derail McCain's chances of virtually locking up the nomination on Super Tuesday.  It's quite possible that the scenario I described would have instead led to some kind of "brokered convention" scenario, where McCain might have ended up the winner anyway.

Basically, I was spinning the scenario:

Huckabee wins SC --> McCain weakened enough that Romney wins Florida --> Super Tuesday turns out rather different

In the real timeline, McCain's wins in SC and FL were virtually enough for the media to crown him presumptive nominee.  Super Tuesday was almost seen as a victory lap for him....the media pretty much treated him as if he'd already won.....and Romney didn't even really make that big an ad buy in the major media markets for Super Tuesday, because he saw the writing on the wall.  But despite all that, both Huckabee and Romney actually had a respectable showing on Super Tuesday, at least in terms of votes.  In delegates, they ended up well behind.

I was just wondering how the media narrative might have been different have McCain had lost both SC and FL.  If Huckabee and Romney had split all the victories throughout January except for NH.  The storyline going into Super Tuesday would have been quite different.

And of course, you could take it a step farther and ask "What if McCain hadn't even won New Hampshire?"  It's not like he beat Romney there by an overwhelming margin.  Huck and Romney would have won *everything* in January.  How would that counterfactual have gone?

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