Turbotodd

Ruminations on tech, the digital media, and some golf thrown in for good measure.

Archive for the ‘elections’ Category

Pressing The Iowa Horse Flesh

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Okay, so I missed the Iowa Caucus call last night, having suggested Rick Santorum would take away Mitt Romney’s Iowa Caucus cake.

The latest Iowa Caucus returns, as reported this morning by The New York Times

However, I was only 8 votes off — pretty good for an amateur political prognosticator.

Our Texas governor, Rick Perry, received 10.3% of the vote, and declared he’d be going home to Texas to regroup.

Translation: He’s exiting from the grand, national political rodeo.

But I give him credit for giving it a go.  As it is sometimes said in Texas, if you haven’t fallen off a horse, then you haven’t been riding long enough.

Just next time, please go back and take a debate class first. Whether you liked it or not, you did represent our entire state.

It’s not so clear whether Newt Gingrich fell off his horse, or the horse had an epistemological epiphany and concluded Mr. Gingrich was no longer a good caretaker of his backside, but in the caucuses, he (Gingrich, not said horse) distinctly came in fourth place with 13.3% of the vote.

Michele Bachmann (who apparently already canceled her ticket to South Carolina) and Jon Huntsman were at 5% and 1%, respectively.

Which leads us back to the top three.

Mitt Romney demonstrated he could ride the horse in Iowa, manage to even stay on the horse, right there at his steady, level and never-breached 25% (24.6% to be precise).

Rick Santorum was at 24.5%, again, separated by Romney only by 8 votes and a few hundred million dollars, clearly proving surges can work to your advantage in both wars and political campaigns.

Timing really is everything.

Ron Paul also made a surprisingly strong showing, demonstrating that even when you’re tilting at windmills, it’s your horse which keeps you grounded…until it doesn’t.

It will be interesting to see whether he and his isolationist horse can go it alone  all the way to Portsmouth.

What were the lessons I learned from all this?

For me, it was all about good TV. What would the Iowa Caucuses be without an endless litany of talking heads overanalyzing it all to death and forcing me to the fridge for another beer!

Okay, well, for one, I learned that CNN had some really cool virtual reality graphics that demonstrated the key difference between their early voter poll and late voter poll — which was that one was early, and the other was late!

And yes, they even had a cute little Anderson Cooper avatar, which I hope to not see online anytime soon.

MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow demonstrated her prowess beyond anchoring a nightly TV show, but also that she could manage the chaos of an uncertain election night whose returns seemed to take anywhere from 3 minutes to 4 hours to count the ballots.

C’mon, give the poor woman a hand, that’s a lot of extra innings time to fill! (If you’ve ever been on camera, you know what that long, dead silence is like?  Well of course you do, that’s why you’re no longer on camera!)

And I learned that no matter how unsurprising American presidential politics might be after a year of Republican debates held every other minute…well, you just never know what’s gonna happen until the ballots are in and counted.

So, now, it’s onward and upward to New Hampshire.

That’s a whole six days away, of course.

In politics, that’s a lifetime.  In horse time, I’m not quite sure how long it is, but it’s probably longer than they have the patience for.

Me, I have all the patience in the world.

But apparently not at Yahoo, which in other news finally named a new CEO this AM, the current president of eBay’s PayPal division, Scott Thompson.

For those who have a short memory, Yahoo’s last CEO, Carol Bartz, was let go in September of last year.  Maybe Ms. Bartz should jump into the race for the Republican presidential nomination!

Written by turbotodd

January 4, 2012 at 2:43 pm

The Iowa Caucuses

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It’s Monday, January 3, 2012.

The 2012 Iowa Caucuses will be held this evening in churches, schools, and other gathering places across thousands of locations in Iowa this evening in order to start determining the Republican and Democratic presidential candidates for the 2012 U.S. presidential election.

Yes, the year is now 2012.  Please turn that page on your calendar/diary.

And because it’s January 3, 2012, a presidential election year here in the United States, that means today, the first Tuesday of the election year, we’re having the Iowa Caucuses.

For those of you who live outside these United States, who don’t know what that means, allow me to try and explain, because Iowa is somewhat different from most standard primary elections used in other states.

In Iowa, the caucuses are a process whereby “gatherings of neighbors” occur across each of Iowa’s 1,774 voting precincts. Rather than simply casting polls and ballots, they gather in these locations (at schools, churches, public libraries, and even individuals’ homes) to discuss and choose presidential candidates, as well as begin writing their parties’ platforms by introducing resolutions.

In Iowa, caucus-goers elect delegates to county (as opposed to national) conventions, who then in turn elect delegates to district and state conventions (who THEN choose national delegates).

Got it?

All participants in caucuses must be registered with a party, but they can change their registration at the the caucus location. Also, 17 year-olds can participate, so long as they turn 18 by the time of the general election.

Because President Obama’s selection on the Democratic ticket is a fait accompli this year, we’ll do a deeper dive on the Republican caucus process.

In the Republican caucus, votes are cast by secret ballot. Voters are given blank sheets of paper with no candidate names, then after listening to some campaigning for each candidate by caucus participants, they write their choices down and the Republic Party of Iowa tabulates the results at each precinct and transmits them to the media.

As for the number of delegates, because there are 13 delegates for the Congressional district, plus 12 statewide, plus 3 Republican National Committee members who are also delegates, makes for a total of 25 elected delegates (don’t worry, the math didn’t add up for me, either) out of a total of 2,286 national delegates. But again remembering, they’re not really chosen this evening, but at the county and state conventions down the road.

So that’s what all the fuss is about.

If you really want to know what’s going on and want to follow the math closely, you have to read Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight blog. 

My projection: Mitt Romney, Ron Paul, and Rick Santorum are neck in neck in the 19-21% range, but the surging Santorum pulls just far enough ahead to take the Iowa caucus cake.  But hey, it’s Iowa, who the heck really knows until the votes start coming in later this evening.

For all the opportunities to criticize it, the Iowa Caucus is still the first polling that matters in the U.S. presidential primaries, first also meaning it’s very influential in shaping the outcome yet to come in the other 49 states by potentially reshaping the field of candidates.

So for those reasons alone it’s worth paying close attention to!

Written by turbotodd

January 3, 2012 at 3:13 pm

Pull The Lever, Silly!

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Did I mention it’s a major election day here in the United States?

No?

Doh!

Well, I’m going to be watching very closely, both because it’s fun to watch and to listen to the talking heads on TV try to spin something six ways to Sunday.

But also because the social media have made following elections and their results (not to mention the campaigns themselves) more fun than ever.

I’ll be keeping an eye on some of The New York Times assets, including their “big boards.” They have one each for gubernatorial, Senate, and House races.  Look for the competitive races in the middle of each page.

I’m also going to be using the The New York Times iPad app, which includes touch friendly election maps that will allow you to zoom into results at the county and district levels.

Via Twitter, I’ll be keeping an eye on @fivethirtyeight and @nyt_elections.

The Huffington Post is already posting away on their home page (although the most recent headline was a little more sensational than is probably warranted, at least this early in the day).

If you like your news fair and balanced, Fox News even has a video telling you “how” to watch the election results. Thanks very much, Mr. Murdoch.

And if you’d like an international outside-in view, the U.K.’s Guardian is providing coverage as well.

Feel free to add your own social or mainstream media favorites in the comments below.  It’s going to be a long, fun night – break out the popcorn, Coca-Cola, and American flags, and watch our great democracy in action once again.

Written by turbotodd

November 2, 2010 at 8:16 pm

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