Why Obama Won Texas

Although beaten by Hillary Clinton in the Texas primary, Barack Obama can still claim victory. The voting system in that state could offer him more delegates than the senator, although less of the popular vote. In this tight contest for nomination,which is tearing Democrats apart, Florida and Michigan, punished, are trying to regain their role in the convention.

Beaten but victorious. That is the Barack Obama paradox. He should have won more delegates than Hillary Clinton in Texas, but she won more of the popular vote in the primary that was held on Tuesday. The reason for this imbroglio has to do with the way Democrats vote in Texas. One of the most populous states in the country, Texas will send 228 delegates to the Democratic convention, from which the Democratic candidate will emerge. 193 of these are committed delegates. Of these, 126 are designated through the primaries and are awarded proportionally. Since Hillary Clinton obtained 51% of the votes, versus 48% for the senator from Illinois, she received 65 delegates, versus 61 to Obama.

The 67 remaining delegates are decided by caucus, those large meetings of voters where results are decided by raised hands. Now, according to the current count (at this time, it’s not finished, since the tallying takes so long), Barack Obama obtained 55% of the vote, versus 45% for the Senator from New York. Enough to create a meaningful difference, and end the Texas primaries. “The difference in delegates for Clinton in the primary will be insignificant, maybe two delegates. Our difference in the caucuses will be 7 or more delegates,” explained David Plouffee, Barack Obama’s campaign manager, on MSNBC. This count was confirmed by the site greenpapers.com, according to which Obama had 98 delegates against 95 for Clinton.


The advantage thus obtained by Obama is also explained by the way the Democratic party apportions delegates. Two factors are taken into account: the popular vote, and election results from the last presidential election. “Senator Clinton won in rural zones where the Republicans are very strong, so her districts will account for fewer delegates, and Obama won in urban areas, which are the most favorable to Democrats,” explained Paul Burka, of the Texas Monthly. Here we see the traditional voting patterns, in that the middle class tends to prefer Obama, and workers and less successful voters lean towards Clinton. Clinton also spoke out against the methodology of the caucuses, where according to witnesses and observers quoted by the American media, unprecedented crowds gathered, and waiting lines went out into parking lots and the street. According to Clinton’s team, a number of Obama supporters had illegally obtained the right to caucus, and used that right to swing the vote his way.

These accounts of challenges and misdeeds are exacerbated, of course, by the situation in this Democratic primary, where no candidate seems to be able to pull ahead, and may not be able to before the convention. The director of Obama’s campaign figures that Clinton will not be able to overtake her rival. “Last night, a big window closed for her,” he said on Wednesday. Rather severely, he minimized the victories of Clinton in Ohio, Texas, and Rhode Island. He gauges that the advantage acquired by Clinton in those three states, which will bring a total of 421 delegates to the convention, will be less than the advantage Obama received in Idaho, a minor state where the winner received 15 delegates against three. If the results of the Texas caucuses confirm what is expected, Clinton will have won only eight delegates in total on March 4th. This is too small an advantage to take the race.

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