Let’s talk California politics! The prize of Super Tuesday.
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and Illinois Senator Barack Obama will win the delegate race in California.
On the Republican side the delegates will be apportioned based on the outcome of 53 separate primaries. There are 53 congressional districts in California and the winner of each district will be awarded 3 delegates. The result of this bizarre apportionment is that the delegate race has absolutely nothing to do with the popular vote. In fact, a candidate could theoretically “win” tomorrows popular vote by Millions of votes and “lose” the delegate battle. Here’s why. The California congressional districts are intentionally gerrymandered*. In California, gerrymandering is the norm as incumbents and parties want to ensure certain congressional districts stay either Republican or Democrat. The result of this is that out of the 53 districts, there are actually very few that are seriously contested come election time. Either the Republican or the Democrat wins by a huge amount.
So, let’s get to the math on the Republican side (and I’ll attempt to condense a very large excel spreadsheet), California has 53 congressional districts, each awarding 3 delegates. So, the total delegates pledged from the district vote will be 159 (53X3). There will be an additional 11 delegates awarded to the popular vote winner. Three additional delegates will be non-pledged and not decided tomorrow (the “vacation” delegates). Out of the 53 congressional districts, 19 are Republican districts. This gives Mitt Romney a head start over Senator McCain. Independents will not be allowed to vote in the primary, so only Republicans, which are in large part conservative, will enter the polling booths. Mitt Romney will win the large majority of the 19 districts that are strong conservative Republican. Perhaps as many as 17 of them. This is effectively a 50+/- delegate head start for Mitt Romney.
If tradition holds, Mitt Romney will do poorly among Hispanics because of a strong stance on illegal immigration, but here again the apportionment helps Gov. Romney. Although I could not get any hard data, I’m guessing that the GOP Hispanic vote will come from the traditional Hispanic districts in the south and the inland fields. (ie I’m assuming that GOP Hispanics don’t live in Modoc County (district 4), but where the majority of the other Hispanics live). Thus, the Hispanic vote will be concentrated to certain districts. Due to his position of allowing all illegal immigrants, except criminals, to remain in the United States indefinitely, McCain will whip Romney in these districts, I mean seriously whip. However, even if McCain garners 90% of the vote in those districts, he will only be awarded 3 delegates per district. The heavily Hispanic districts (greater than 40%) are districts 17, 18, 20, 23, 28, 30,31, 32, 34, 35, 37, 38, 39, 43 and 47. If all of those vote McCain he’ll win 15 districts. He may also win some additional districts around San Diego, which has a strong Navy presence. However, if my spreadsheet is right, McCain will win about 20 of the 52 districts, or 60 delegates. Romney, barring a Ron Paul revolution in the Eureka/Arcata and the SFO area (which could get him 3-9 delgates) will garner about 33 districts and come home with 99 delegates. The 11 “Sugar on Top” delegates look like they will also go to Romney, but that’s a complete guess at this time and depends largely on turnout in the conservative districts; ie Orange County.
Thus my California Delegate Spread Sheet (with the 11 sugars going Romney) reads Romney: 107 McCain 60 Paul 3
I’m taking a chance here but that’s how I see it. I’d welcome any response or criticism y’all have.
I may be wrong. We’ll find out in 24 hours!
On the Democratic side, I have not as much insight but believe that the Republicans closing the independents out . . . and the Democrats accepting them, will favor Barack Obama over Hillary Clinton. However, you never know with Bill working his Willy in LA. It should be noted on the Democratic side that (barring a complete blowout) the delegates will be apportioned according to popular voting percentage. So, either candidates win will have minimal effect on the delegate count but will effect momentum.
* Definition of Gerrymandering or Redistricting: For those new to politics, gerrymandering (or “redistricting”) is the art of a political party in power redrawing the voting districts to advance there cause. For example, if there is a district that votes 90-10 Republican-Democrat, and a neighboring district that votes 50-50 Republican-Democrat; The Republicans may try to redraw (or “gerrymander”) the lines of the 50-50 district in order get more Republicans from the 90-10 district voting in the evenly split district. It should also be noted here that modern-day gerrymandering is usually unconstitutional and nearly always gets a supreme court review . . . except in California.