Liveblogging: Super Tuesday on a Rather Average Wednesday Morning

Yes! The bacon, mushrooms, baked beans have been purchased, the eggs are plentiful, the PC has finally fucking loaded (yeah don’t get too excited it will crash soon enough) … It’s Super Tuesday!

For all of you well versed political bunnies out there … look away now, I’m just going to embarrass you and the people who awarded me my major in politics …

As for everyone else – read on!

And for those of you who would like to have the fun of voting in a totally unscientific manner, then head on over to the virtual poll booth at Al Jazeera English

Updates, about every half hour, in Singapore time …

05.30
So Sonal, what are we playing for today?
Today, boys and girls, the race to win the presidential candidacy turns to voters in 24 states, the Guardian has a handy interactive guide here.

The Republicans are in a ‘winner takes all’ race which means, you win the state, you win the delegates. The Democrats do things proportionally so delegates from each state are determined per the proportion of the votes each candidate gets per state.

Will we finally know who will be leading the Democrats after this?
Nah, probably not … but we should know who will be leading the Republicans by the end of this.

In the meantime, Richard Quest on CNN is Orange. No, I know he’s in Orange County … but dude is orange! If you have CNN check it out – it’s freaky!

06.13
Showered and armed with water and a granola bar.

Yes, I have surprised myself with my geekiness … in answer to JP these are the sites I’m watching today (and will link to when necessary): Al Jazeera English; WaPo; NYT; Reuters; Guardian and, yes, Fox News … on the t.v. I’m primarily watching CNN (because it’s good comedy) and occasionally switching to BBC World and CNBC … and then there’s teh Book … for when I’m bored …

Quest is back on screen, they’ve got a red brick wall behind him … I’m telling you, he’s blending in … sometimes all you can see is a headless suit with glasses!

06.45
West Virginia, which is only sorting out their Republican candidate via a state convention, have gone for Huckabee thanks to tactical voting by McCain supporters.

Also interesting, absentee Democrats can vote via the web; Republicans have to do a postal ballot … Dear NZ based Democrats – I can only apologise for our laughingly named ‘broadband’ service and for Telecom and Telstra Clear who have probably crashed on you at least 5 times while you’ve been trying to vote …

06.47
Oh, and happy (yet solemn) Waitangi Day …

07.09
The dawn chorus has just started …
CNN and Al Jazeera’s television coverage of Super Tuesday has started in earnest …

Damn there’s a lot of money at CNN! There’s a wee ticker to the side telling us the polls are closing in 52 minutes (hope you’re doing ok in line Tamasha) and the Wall O’ Doom! Oh ok, a massive video wall … but seriously when the graphics started, I thought CNN were showing reruns of the Superbowl.

No set for the Al Jazeera anchor … the poor bugger is wrapped up in a coat and bunged up somewhere in Washington. The cold is giving him the opportunity to come up with such gems as: “[pictures of]the candidates are voting … presumably for themselves … “.

07.16
CNN: “We’ve got a fax” but of course, no news …
Al J: Ok, now anchor dude is interviewing someone and they’re sitting on a wall. I wish I could do a screen grab for you but I still haven’t figured out how to on my Mac … it really is a wall, and two pull up banners on either side …

07.25
Gonna go cook me some eggs, while it’s quiet …

08.01
Mmm … bacon, eggs, mushrooms, baked beans and toast … mmm …

How much would you like to bet that TVNZ are going to try and emulate CNN’s coverage?

And CNN have called Georgia for Obama …

08.18
I’ve given up on the PC

Al J and CNN are flicking between correspondents repeating the same thing over and over (it’s a close call, people are voting for experience or change [duh!], we don’t actually have anything new since yesterday blah, blah, blah) in a variety of empty ball rooms.

CNBC are talking about the Microsoft Yahoo offer … and also yelling “Recession! Recession! Wohoo!”

I may have paraphrased that a little … but not much …

08.50
Ah BBC World has kicked in … gosh … I know they’ve been suffering a lot of cut backs there, but … Al J is kicking their arse on coverage … sheesh, the Beeb are reading out viewer’s emails! In the background in a set of screens. I suspect it’s meant to look like someone’s work station but aside from one screen shot of the website, I can see a movie playing, a test screen, a lot of blank screens and one person doing work on a suspiciously tidy desk …

CNN are still speculating and counting down on poll closures …

Al J are discussing the candidate’s various immigration policies …

09.07
If you want to really geek yourself out, Fox News has a neat briefing pack for Super Tuesday breaking down each state in play with demographics and voting history.

CNN – Obama and McCain for Illinois
Fox and CNN – Romney for Massachusetts
Fox and CNN – Oklahoma for Clinton
CNN – McCain for New Jersey
NBC calling Georgia for McCain

09.13
CNN, Al J (MSNBC), Fox and … well … everyone are going crazy over these exit polls … if I were voting, I’d totally lie to the pollsters … just to mess with their heads. If you ever get asked, tell them you voted for Kucinich and when they tell you that he wasn’t on the ballot, act confused and upset …

09.33
How much money can one make as a pollster? You know, as someone who makes shit up for a living anyway, it looks like it could be a viable career option …

Ooh and the CNN projection graphic has come up (does anyone else think the music sounds like that for The Weakest Link?) … and they’re projecting Arkansas for Clinton and Huckabee.

Uh … haven’t they just closed the polling booth?

09.40
Woah! Stop the clock, CNN are now looking at actual votes! Two and a half hours after starting their coverage …

09.58
So going back to the CNN coverage … aside from their Wall O’ Doom which Wolf Blitzer stands in front of, some what forlorn except for the comfort of his clip board … they’ve also got an analysis tool thingie (yeah, that’s it’s technical name) where analysis dude (yes, that’s his real name) circles and enlarges states, on a television screen which doubles as a touch pad … it makes the bollocks stats and numbers go down a bit easier.

We all know that TVNZ are going to do something like this but let’s take it a step further and hand over the technical programming over to Weta Digital … How about we have Labour represented by Orcs, National represented by Cave Trolls and a screen where, as the various electorates report in, one can behead the other as they win … just a thought.

In the meantime over at the Guardian, Brian Beutler makes an excellent suggestion for future primaries – hold a Scrabulous tournament instead.

In actual news, Anderson Cooper just walked away from his panel as they were in mid discussion and tossed to Blitzer … they both look bored.

10.08
Could someone get the Al J anchor dude another coat or a shot of whisky? The poor bugger has pulled his long coat tight around him … actually, how about you just bring him indoors and put him in front of a green screen?

10.16
Blitzer: “for those of you watching us in high definition right now”
Really? You have HDTV to watch political races on? I bow at your geekiness!

10.22
With 1% of the precincts reporting CNN are calling New York state for McCain … 1% … where are these pollsters standing? Or do CNN have a secret teleporter to get them to every polling booth?

10.34
In other news Al J’s anchor dude’s neck is slowly disappearing as his collar and shoulders come up to protect himself from the cold …

10.55
I’m a little disturbed that Valentine’s Day is being pushed to toddlers … ok so I flicked over to Playhouse Disney, cos I’m bored …

While CNN keep throwing up their projections, what’s more interesting is their page, listing the actual votes counted … what I’m on the hunt for is a delegate counter … remember Clinton won Nevada, but Obama came out of that race with more delegates … if you’ve got a link to a good’un (I’m Googling now …), please share!

11.07
Ah ha! Have found two delegate counters – CNN and MSNBC

11.33

Huckabee is giving his victory speech in Arkansas …

The director at CNN is trying to jazz up their coverage by cutting away from Huckabee’s speech to the Wall O’ Doom’s Huckabee graphic every time he mentions something related to voting.

Updates on general projections – who knows how many will actually work out …
Obama: Alabama, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Minnesota, North Dakota
Clinton: Arkansas, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, Massachusetts, Tennessee
McCain: Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma
Romney:Massachusetts, Michigan, Utah,
Huckabee: Alabama, Arkansas, West Virginia

Mitt Romney is giving fighting talk in Boston

11.41
Summing up the two worlds of political rhetoric in two catch phrases:

“yes we can” – Obama
“and they haven’t” – Romney

12.02
Clinton gives her New York victory speech (before y’all tottle off to bed … ni’ night!) … American Samoa gets a shout out … and Clinton throws in a last minute call for votes on the west coast and plugs her website … “I won’t let anyone swift boat this country’s future” ooh, thems is fighting words … as is the dedication to her mother “who was born before women could vote and is watching her daughter on this stage”.

We’re definitely looking ahead to the other races …

12.14
Delegate update, because that’s what counts:
MSNBC:
Democrats: Clinton – 160; Obama – 128
Republicans: McCain – 314; Romney – 127; Huckabee – 91 (ooh … yes)

CNN:
Democrats: Clinton – 299; Obama – 225
Republicans: McCain – 383; Romney – 135; Huckabee – 54

12.30
Pretty much network and web wide the news is going something like this:

Wow that Democrats race is really close.

Yeah it is.

Close huh.

Yup.

What do you think it’s due to?

You know what, let’s break it down into gender, ethnicities and whether they brush their teeth at the sink or in the shower?

(A few minutes of banter later)

So your answer to this is, we don’t know.

Yep … that’s what the numbers say and as we know, numbers don’t lie.

Wow, it’s close.

I know.

Ok, over to the Republicans.

Wow, Huckabee? Who’da thunk?

I know.

But we were all …

I know.

And now he’s …

I know.

Well if you could stand by, we’re about to go to a projection. No, no wait … it’s too close to call.

13.03
McCain has remembered to put his speech on teleprompter today and opens to half hearted cries of ‘Mac is Back’ … uh guys? Wasn’t he mostly leading anyway? McCain also does a shout out to his mum “who in two days in 96 years old … we’ve taken her everywhere!” and then quietly steals from Clinton with “we can tell mothers and their daughters that some day they could become President of the United States”.

In the meantime, Obama quietly steals McCain’s thunder by entering his head quarters while McCain is still speaking … forcing him into split screen …where will the networks go?

BBC goes to Obama, CNN cuts off to McCain, Al Jazeera make use of their delayed feed, let McCain finish speaking and then switch to Obama.

Someone yells from the crowd “I love you” mid speech, Obama calls out “I love you back”. “We are more than a collection of red states and blue states, we are and always will be the United States of America”. Whoever is writing these speeches, is brilliant, if Obama doesn’t get the nomination then Clinton had better grab his speech writer. Repetition of the words “maybe”, “we”, “chorus”, “this time”. The rhetoric is crafted to Obama’s sing song voice – it’s like someone has gone and lifted Aaron Sorkin’s West Wing pieces.

And now, the pretty comes off along with the gloves as he makes a dig at Clinton for her voting record, and for receiving lobbyist funding and takes the shine off his uniting talk earlier – it’s ugly … he’s also plugs for votes. It’s a long speech – he’s making full use of being the last one to talk but the end must be near because we’re into the “yes he/she/they/we can” bits …

13.16
Best quote of the night (courtesy of Al Jazeera English, talking about the Democrats race):

If at the end of the night everyone ends up with the same number of delegates does it matter?
No.

13.20
Meanwhile in California (a huge number of delegates up for grab here) – a judge has ordered some polling stations remain open as there are people still waiting in queue to vote.

13.40
So this business of political affiliations … humour me, I’m going to go on a tangent, because there is only so much I can tell you about something you can easily get for yourself on a variety of websites elsewhere …

Now I know that you can have open primaries, where independents can vote for whomever, and closed primaries where you need to be registered with a particular party in order to vote … while I clearly have liberal tendencies, I would still hesitate to affiliate myself with any party, I would certainly never take up membership with anyone like my father did. I’m too cautious or perhaps too cynical with the nature of politics to do that. In the US, where the very semantics involved with politics differ greatly to those of the European tradition, affiliation may mean something different … ok I’m sleep deprived and rambling … what I’m trying to say is, I was on Facebook, and I noticed that a friend had become a fan of John Key … well drop my jaw to the floor … I knew he had conservative tendencies but I didn’t know he was a flag waving conservative.

There’s a difference. There is. I have friends who vote National, we don’t talk politics. I may have friends who vote ACT – we definitely don’t talk politics as I don’t know who they are if they exist. A card carrying Nationalite? I’m sure we talked politics … clearly we were talking at cross purposes … I’m confused …

Ok … back to the coverage – CNN is calling California for McCain … and … Clinton.

13.52
The night is being cyclical as we cross over to correspondents in a variety of empty ballrooms, all saying “the race is still wide open and McCain is … er … well he said front runner … can we say presumptive nomin … not yet? Ok, well, we still don’t know”.

13.56
How is the Al J anchor dude? He’s trooping on, still wrapped up roughly in his beige coat … he’s gone a little pale though … he’s signing off – get that man into a hot bath! And the Al Jazeera coverage ends.

14.32
Delegates according to MSNBC:
Democrats: Clinton – 247; Obama – 142
Republicans: McCain – 383; Romney – 153; Huckabee – 96 and hey look it’s Ron Paul with 9!

Delegates according to CNN:
Democrats: Clinton – 559; Obama – 456
Republicans: McCain – 457; Romney – 105; Huckabee – 105 and hey look Ron Paul has got 6! Bless him.

Vote wise: And we’re talking with states with at least 80% of the vote counted and a clear winner …

Obama – Alabama, Alaska, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Minnesota, North Dakota, Utah
Clinton – Arkansas, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, Tennessee
McCain – Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma
Romney – Colorado, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Montana, Utah, West Virginia
Huckabee – Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Tennessee

14.40

Ok, I’m officially bowing out of Super Tuesday coverage (it’s we-don’t-know Wednesday now any how). BBC World and CNN can keep spinning around and around – not me … will post or link to final results later …

17.56
So when I said ‘later’, I meant a lot later … votes are still being counted in California (although presumed to go to Clinton and McCain) and New Mexico (where it is way too close to call) … In the meantime the delegates list now read as:

MSNBC:
Democrats: Clinton – 582; Obama – 485
Republicans: McCain – 516; Romney – 207; Huckabee – 142

CNN:
Democrats: Clinton – 740; Obama – 659
Republicans: McCain – 575; Romney – 250; Huckabee – 160

Take a look again at the CNN numbers … until you go to the page itself, what you don’t realise is that CNN are including the Democrats ‘super delegates’ into their counts.

What are super delegates? Good question. It turns out they are about 796 people who include: elected members of the Democratic National Committee (DNC); Democratic Governors; Democratic US Senators and US Representatives (including non-voting delegates); Distinguished party leaders (current and former Presidents and Vice Presidents; former Democratic leaders of the Senate and House; former DNC chairmen) and then a whole bunch of other people whom the DNC add on to make up numbers.

So stripping the Democrat results of super delegates, and only using the projected numbers based on actual votes and exit polls, the results are:

Democrats: Clinton – 547; Obama – 553

Well that changes things remarkably … and here’s the kicker which makes me think the whole process is rubbish (as if I didn’t think that anyway) – Super delegates are under no obligation to vote for the person who has won the popular vote.

796 people who can vote how they like compared to 3253 ‘pledged’ delegates. If this race goes to the wire (and it’s looking very likely to), 796 people will decide on who may lead the Democrats to the White House … most haven’t endorsed either candidate which so there will be an awful lot of back room dealing … all this before someone is even President.

So much for transparent democracies … and you wonder why I’m a cynic.

23.04
I wasn’t kidding when I said, this goes on forever … final delegate count from CNN of the night and the end of this blog post (I hope):

Clinton: Pledged – 590; Super delegates (who frankly should be all forced to wear capes and masks) – 193.

Obama: Pledged – 603; Super delegates (… also, they would have to make a choice between wearing their underwear on the outside of their tights or wearing spandex/lycra, ok get that image of John Kerry out of your head this instant!) – 106.

McCain: Pledged – 452; Unpledged (which I guess means they aren’t shiny) 17.
Romney: Pledged – 256; Unpledged (… or covered with dust) 9
Huckabee: Pledged – 166; Unpledged (… or … uh … smell like butane?) 3

Good night everybody!

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12 Responses to “Liveblogging: Super Tuesday on a Rather Average Wednesday Morning”

  1. It’ll be President Huckabee!

    (Not really.)

  2. you’re right – this is the geekiest thing I’ve known you to do. Which sites will you be monitoring for results? NYTimes has been pretty good with results from the earlier primaries.

    Happy Waitangi Day, btw. John Key is a putz.

  3. I love you Sonal Didi!

    I am so so so excited to vote (in about a half hour)!!!

  4. I voted in the online primary this morning. I’m registered in New York, which wasn’t expected to be in competition (Clinton should have had it wrapped up, being Senator and all), but polls have showed Obama gaining in the past few days. So that’s the contest I’m interested in.

  5. I’m a little confused about the NYT site. I don’t get it. Also, the Book’s coverage is so annoying.

  6. Illinois to Obama and Oklahoma to Clinton, according to MSNBC.

  7. Tornado warning for Clinton, Ark. Symbolic?

  8. P.S. There was NO line at all. My parents and I were the only people in the polling place, which was a local middle school. There were a couple of people coming and going, but still. I was really surprised. It was just after 5, so maybe too early for the folks coming from work.

  9. Ooh! Nice map!

  10. “We Don’t Know” Wednesday. AWESOME!

    I love the Al J quote! It’s sort of how I feel when confronted with the nitty gritty details.

    As for what you’re saying about your friends and who they vote for… The thing is, here there are really only two parties, so it’s so easy to be entirely on one side or the other.

    Sigh, I’m going to be late for work. But more later.

  11. [Ralph voice] My head hurts [/Ralph voice]

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