Wild, Crazy, and Good

Wild, Crazy, and Good

Ole Mo is wearing a pantsuit. That is, MOmentum has shifted after the Nevada win and the expected win in South Carolina on February 27. The wild Super Tuesday follows three days later with twelve states – including Tennessee – holding primaries or caucuses. As more state contests ensue, the number of candidates will be winnowed down, creating a clearer picture toward the November election.

More voters in my counties have expressed interest as our primary nears. My early county visits, emails, and phone calls are paying off as requests for phone bank lists, yard signs, and more visits steadily roll in. I have teleconferences, phone banks, or meetings every day as more county members become excited over the upcoming primary or begin jockeying for delegate slots for either their county, congressional district, state, or ultimately the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia.

To be considered a delegate, one has to vote in the Democratic Primary and attend the county convention to caucus with whichever candidate he/she supports. After that, a political process of its own (a beauty contest) decides who advances to the next level. Tennessee is apportioned 78 national delegates, and over 400 applied. Some of the 78 are super delegates (elected Democratic officials or past party office-holders (Al Gore is one)), some are At-Large chosen by state leaders, and the rest are open to election at the state convention. The delegates for each candidate will be apportioned according to the popular primary results and then have to be evenly split by gender (yea!). The process sounds crazy but makes sense to some. I completed the registration to be an At-Large State Delegate. With a price tag of $3,000, expenses to Philadelphia may be prohibitive for a few, but I’ll go if selected.

My checkered past came in handy at one county meeting. While as I was addressing the group, one attendee asked me what will happen when Hillary gets convicted over her emails. I stated that there has been no mention of any possible conviction. He rephrased his question as when she gets charged from the open FBI investigative case. I responded that just because an open case existed on the matter doesn’t mean there will be charges. In fact, I said, as a federal investigator for 17 years – with some of my cases co-investigated with FBI agents –, only ten percent of my cases resulted in charges. He made no other comments and left quickly after the meeting ended, so I didn’t get to speak with him. I asked the County Chair who was that man, and he responded that he was Republican just wanting to stir the pot. Probably a bad night for him, because he picked the wrong Hillary spokesperson to confront.

The state strategy for the last week of the Primary provides insight into the campaign’s fine tuning. In addition to targeting voters, the campaign is also targeting the media. The state press secretary knows the key contacts in the media outlets to obtain coverage for all the state-wide campaigning efforts. This dual focus is not only for popular votes, with the subsequent elected delegates, but also for the super delegates. This campaign is vying for both, and the way to keep the super delegates committed is to convince them through a strong media presence that a particular candidate is viable. Super delegates can commit and uncommit at their whim, even up to the National Convention, so there is constant campaigning for them, also. These delegates total 30 percent of the total delegates and are strongly in Secretary Clinton’s camp. Even in New Hampshire where she lost by twenty percentage points, of the eight super delegates, six are committed to her and two are uncommitted. Sounds good to me.

Interesting week ahead, and I look forward to the experience.