My Photo
Location: Manchester, New Hampshire, United States

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Andy Martin explains why Barack Obama won an even bigger victory than reported by the media

Executive Editor

“Factually Correct, Not
Politically Correct”





(CHICAGO)(January 4, 2008) Senator Barack Obama won an even bigger victory Tuesday night than the national media reported. As usual, in announcing the "big" story, the national media missed the even bigger story. But we have the real deal at

Before the caucuses began, media tried to explain how the caucuses work. Unfortunately they failed to offer a correct explanation of how the "voters" are actually translated into the "delegates" that then appear on TV as "percentages" of victory. Tonight Barack Obama was cheated out of an even bigger and even more astounding victory than the press reported. Here's why.

Unlike an election, where voters show up and cast a ballot that is counted—which is/was the Republican party's system in Iowa—the Iowa Democratic Party's (IDP) caucuses operate on a very different and much more confusing wavelength. The caucus system worked to Obama's significant disadvantage and understated the extent of his victory.

Prior to the caucuses, the IDP assigns a fixed number of "delegate votes" to each precinct. These "delegates" eventually go on to state convention where national convention delegates are actually selected. Here's the quirk. The number of "delegates" assigned to a precinct has no bearing on the number of people who actually show up to vote. Thus, if you win by an overwhelming percentage in any precinct, you still only get the assigned number of delegates. Moreover, if 20 people or 200 or 2,000 people show up in a precinct, the delegate number is the same. Ultimately, "voters" are not tallied, precincts are.

The national media were not reporting the raw vote for Obama; they were only reporting the "projected delegates" and assigning percentages based on those delegate numbers, not actual voter numbers. The upshot: Obama brought many more voters to the caucuses than were reflected in his delegate totals. In other words, he may have won "38%" of the delegates on TV screens, but he may have produced over sixty percent of the actual voters. The disparity between voters who show up, and delegates that are assigned by precinct, is a major reason why the caucus system should be abolished. And that is why, in reality, Obama won an even bigger victory than the delegate numbers that were used to calculate his percentage.

I am not an Obama fan, and I have always been skeptic of Obama's staying power and credibility. He was fibbing again in his victory speech, when he claimed to have provided "affordable health care in Illinois." He did nothing of the sort. It is precisely those types of fibs that will do him in if he maintains misrepresentations as a front-runner. But there is no denying Obama won a massive victory. And he drove a stake through the heart of Team Clinton.

Despite all of the polling that predicted Obama would win, my internal poll told me Edwards would/could win and I predicted he would. Not bad. He didn’t come out on top, but he made a very strong, unexpectedly strong, showing and collected more delegates than Hillary Clinton. Some pundits stated after the vote that the race was now between Obama and Clinton, and that Edwards would soon be eliminated. I don't believe that.

Yes, Obama and Clinton have the national organizations, the huge piles of money, and the better media visibility. But in the face of these overwhelming odds, Edwards mounted a successful challenge, and survived. That was a massive moral victory for Edwards. He has every right to be proud.

Now here's the interesting part, and an explanation of why I think Edwards may still have a future. All three Democrats have now adopted the same message: "change" and "the middle class." But I feel Edwards articulates that message better than either Clinton or Obama. I liked Edwards' speech better than either Obama's or Clinton's. It was superior. Clinton's remarks were, as always, wooden. Obama's were rote. Edwards not only reads the American jury better than either of his opponents, he knows how to deliver a better closing argument. And he does. Can Clinton and Obama force Edwards out of the race by appropriating his message? I don’t know. I know Edwards is a fighter and he will be a factor.

Now the bad news for Republicans. But first, a small explanation. I am also a candidate myself. A Republican. I have not endorsed any candidate for president. In order to avoid any conflicts of interest, or suspicion that I favor one Republican over another, I have generally avoided writing about the Republican presidential race. There are exceptions, but not many. I also make generic comments on the status of the Republican Party. I have chosen, instead, to be the Republican "expert" on the "opposition" Democrats; that's my role for now.

Tuesday night, the Republicans did not show well. The Democratic turnout surged and almost doubled the Republican participation. That's not a good sign for Republicans in November. The caucuses fulfill the equivalent of a primary election. They test voter enthusiasm. Both parties were well organized and had candidates who had the resources to produce voters. And still the Democrats turned out almost double the number of participants as the Republicans. Primary turnouts are usually a rough approximation of underlying party strength. In Iowa, usually a swing state, Democrats are energized by a factor of almost 2 to 1. That's not a good omen for November. Iowa may not swing to the Republicans if present trends continue.

Bottom line: Senator Barack Obama won an even bigger victory than the media suggested. His "voters" appear to have accounted for over 50% of the actual participants in the caucuses. John Edwards won a victory by running ahead of Hillary Clinton. And the three of them will fight on to the national convention in Denver. As for Republicans, they now have a
catfight as well.

Chicago-based Internet journalist, broadcaster and media critic Andy Martin is the Executive Editor and publisher of © Copyright by Andy Martin 2007. Martin covers regional, national and world events with over forty years of experience. He is currently a candidate for U. S. Senator from Illinois. He holds a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Illinois College of Law. Columns also posted at; Comments? E-mail: Media contact: (866) 706-2639. Web sites:


Post a Comment

<< Home