Thursday, January 10, 2008

Contra Cox:

Over at Time's excellent Swampland, Ana Marie Cox writes critically about Romney's political strategy:
... their new argument also depends on a myopically numeric approach to reading political trends, i.e.: "After a strong second place finish in Iowa and a tremendous rally to finish in second place in New Hampshire, Gov. Romney has won the most votes of any Republican candidate."

Yes, he did. By this strategy, he could continue to lose every primary, but still get the most votes over all... which is great, except that isn't how the primary system works. Does anyone have a PowerPoint we could show him on that?
It is how the primary system works (at least substantially; there are some winner-take-all states, but in most cases delegates are chosen proportional to votes received). It's Ms. Cox who needs a PowerPoint show to inform her that, while candidates may be strong in select portions of the country, winning states here and there, it is often best to have a party's presidential candidate with the largest vote total nationally.

Because, you see, it's a national election for president. And national totals matter. Anna is the Queen of Innumeracy.

CODA: Yes, the Electoral College system considerably distorts a simple vote-total winner strategy, but in general parties look to candidates with national appeal.


My understanding is that GOP state primaries are winner take all, unlike Democratic ones.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1/11/2008 8:16 PM  

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