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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Puerto Rico and the Popular Vote

Just as everyone is still struggling to absorb the import of the yesterday’s loud but murky DNC Rules and Bylaws Committee ruling on MI and FL, the votes are largely in for the Puerto Rico primary, which Hillary Clinton won by a bit more than a two-to-one percentage margin, and by roughly 140,00 popular votes.
This outcome will once again create a dialogue-of-the-deaf over the officially meaningless but symbolically significant (at least according to HRC supporters) total popular vote issue. Most pro-HRC counts exclude four Caucus states where raw votes were not officially tabulated, and also give Obama zero votes in MI, where his supporters were forced to vote for “Uncommitted.” Most pro-Obama counts include estimates of the four caucus vote totals and either exclude MI as tainted or give Obama all the “Uncommitted” votes. (Another, by RenaRF at DailyKos, excludes primaries or caucuses in jurisdictions that don’t participate in the general election, denying HRC her PR margin and Obama some small victories elsewhere).
There is no such thing as an “official” popular vote count, since again, it really doesn’t matter in the official nomination process. But with only SD and MT–two small states where Obama is expected to win but not overwhelmingly–still left to vote, it’s reasonably sure that both campaigns will claim a total popular vote victory after Tuesday. The two things no one can deny is that it was, in retrospect, an awfully close race, but one in which Barack Obama will finish with a lead in pledged delegates, and barring some implosion in his general-election standing, the nomination. The general feeling is that he’ll cross the threshold to a total majority of pledged and announced-superdelegate votes by the end of this week.

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