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Dear Obama Surrogate,

You are going to be on cable news shows in the next two weeks, and you are going to be confronted with the notion of the popular vote being a legitimate measuring stick.

I must say that thus far I have been generally very unimpressed with you as a group.  You flub around, you let yourself get bullied by giant assholes like Joe Scarborough and you never make super-easy points.

So listen up, I am going to make this easy for you.  Do not screw this up.  Use the three obvious points, and use concrete examples, which I have helpfully provided for you.  If you do not say these three things, you are a total failure as a surrogate.

Point Number 1:  If the popular vote determined the nominee, no candidate would ever go to Iowa or New Hampshire.  They'd spend all their time in big urban areas all over the country from the outset of the campaign, racking up raw numbers.  What would be the point of even visiting New Hampshire if you could camp out in Brooklyn?  Concrete Example:  Barack Obama would not have spent only a day and a half in California before the Feb 5 primary.  He would have never gone to Idaho.  Duh.

Point Number 2:  If the popular vote determined the nominee, no state in its right mind would ever hold a caucus, instantly disenfranchising itself.  Concrete example: Minnesota-Missouri.  Minnesota gets credit for 214K votes, and Missouri gets 822K votes, but they each get 72 delegates.  Is Missouri's voice 4 times more important than Minnesota's?

Point Number 3:  The arbitrary distinction between who gets to vote in these primaries is nothing like the general election, where everyone registered gets to vote.  In the primaries, sometimes it's just Dems, sometimes Dems and Indies, sometimes anyone.  Concrete example:  Texas gets a million more votes than similar overall population New York (2.8M to 1.8M), even though New York is far more Democratic, simply due to this arbitrary restriction on who can vote (NY = closed, Texas = open).

Overall point: regardless of the fact that Obama will win the popular vote, it is completely illegitimate in this race.  THIS IS NOT LIKE POPULAR VOTE IN THE GENERAL ELECTION.

Think you can remember this, Obama surrogates?  I mean, re-read it if you have to.  Rehearse in front of a mirror.  Get a buddy to critique you.

I heard Chuck Todd say that superdelegates think popular vote is the real measuring stick.  That is so unbelievably asinine that if it's true, it only demonstrates how badly you, the Obama Surrogates, have failed.

Get your shit together and start making these points.

You're welcome.

I am waiting for the first Obama surrogate to say, with mockery dripping, that (even in its dishonest spasms of stupidity for including Florida and Michigan where the candidates for office did not even campaign but had a name recognition buzzpoll) the Clinton argument requires that Obama gets zero votes in Michigan.  Then demand that an opposing Clinton surrogate own that intellectual point implicit in their argument.

Update (rewritten for clarity):
In the spirit of stating your opponents' best argument for them up front, then dismantling it, lay it out this way:

When the Clintons and their surrogates deceptively argue for the popular vote, they appear at first glance to be making a simple, moral, populist argument, that all votes are equal.  Right?  That's the implication, and why it rolls off their tongues so easily.

But where is the inherent morality in open versus closed primaries that arbitrarily limit turnout and whether Republicans and independents get to pick the Democratic nominee in some states but not others?  

Are caucuses inherently immoral?  Many states chose them as their form of selecting a nominee.  

Is it moral to alter the game strategy only after the fact?  

Make the opposing Clinton surrogate make a moral case that Minnesota = 1/4 of Missouri, because their argument insists that it should.  Make them argue from a principle standpoint that Minnesota = 1/4 of Missouri.  Make them argue that.  Put them in that position.  It'll expose this whole can of worms.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Tue Apr 22, 2008 at 10:00 PM PDT.

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