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    February 09, 2008

    Obama owes Jesse Jackson

    Posted by: Andoni

    Jackson_obama Dan Balz of the Washington Post made a very interesting comment today on Tim Russert's Saturday show. Balz explained how the Democrats came to use proportional delegate assignments during the primaries and caucuses instead of winner take all.

    According to Balz, it was Jesse Jackson in 1988 who forced this change going into the 1988 Democratic Convention. Jackson, the loser to nominee Michael Dukakis, insisted on this new rule in exchange for his endorsement of Michael Dukakis. Of course, Dukakis eventually went on to lose to then Vice President George H.W. Bush.

    If Jackson had not successfully forced this change on the party, Barack Obama would be in serious trouble at this point in the campaign. A quick check of the CNN delegate count shows that Barack and Hillary are about tied in "pledged delegates" at a little over 800 each. This is the count following Super Tuesday, but not before Saturday's caucuses.

    Computing delegates again, starting from Iowa and assuming the old, pre-Jesse Jackson formula of winner take all, Clinton would be far ahead of Obama now 1049 to 679. Simply winning the four big states of California, New York, Massachusetts and New Jersey would have produced 879 of these 1049 delegates.

    Call it prescience or simply trying to do something for the non-establishment, "little guy" candidate, Jesse Jackson did Barack Obama a huge favor back in 1988. If it turns out Obama wins the nomination because of thus rule change, Obama will owe Jackson big time.



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