Texas's Unique Primaucus
11 Feb 2008 09:50 am
Texas is the most un-primary of primaries there is.
For one thing, there aren't any delegates awarded to
the winner of the state -- no statewide bonus
delegates, nothing. For another, a third of the
delegates will be chosen through a complicated caucus
And instead of proportional allocation by
congressional district, the rest of the delegates will
be proportionally allocated by state senate districts.
George W. Bush's '04 performance really changes the
math. That's because the number of delegates allocated
in those districts are based on how well (or poorly)
John Kerry did, as well as the performance of the last
Democratic gubernatorial candidate (who himself had
votes taken away by a liberal third party challenger.)
The delegate-rich districts are the most heavily
liberal state senate districts. According to this
calculation, they're in Austin and in two of the most
concentrated African American parts of the state.
Clinton will get plenty of support from Latino voters,
but they tend to be more spread out and thus will see
their votes somewhat diluted in the 31 separate
primaries. In order to "win" -- both enough delegates
and statewide, you need to organize what amounts to
caucus-like campaigns in each of these districts.
The white vote in Texas will probably split, with
Obama taking men and Clinton taking women. Though
Latinos make up a slightly larger share of the
electorate than African Americans, they tend to vote
in lower proportions.
The process has two steps. First, folks vote. 126
delegates will be accorded proportionally via state
senate district. Then, when polls close, they caucus
in more than 1,000 precincts.
At the caucus, attendees chose the identity of the
delegate and the presidential candidate that the
delegate is supposed to represent. These delegates are
sent to a "senatorial convention" a few weeks later,
during which the final math is worked out and the
actual delegate slate for the convention is chosen.
67 delegates will be chosen this way.
Suffice it to say: whatever you call Texas's system --
a hybrid, a primacaucus, whatever -- do not assume
that, because it's a big state and the media calls it
a primary, the math favors Hillary Clinton.