When I cast my ballot for Barak Obama in California's primary election on Tuesday, my vote will count. But not how you might expect and we may not have a winner until the Convention. From Time Magazine:
Translated into English, Rule 13-B means that any candidate who gets more than 15% of the vote in any primary will win convention delegates in direct proportion to his or her percentage of the popular vote.
Translated once more — and, this time, into harder-headed politics — it means that if they can stay in the race, both Obama and Clinton will continue to rack up convention delegates through the spring, regardless of who comes in first in each state. A second-place finish still gets you delegates. Which means that for either candidate to secure the 2,025 delegates needed to capture the nomination could take much longer than either campaign has bargained for.
Under Rule 13-B, it is possible that Clinton and Obama (and Edwards if he can stay competitive) simply carve Super Tuesday's nearly 1,700 delegates up three ways. With delegate-rich states such as California, New York, New Jersey and Illinois up for grabs, that is easy to imagine. Or Clinton and Obama could split the delegate haul in roughly equal fashion. If either of those things happen, the unprecedented national primary unfolding on February 5 won't determine much of anything at all. Except that the race will go on. And every delegate up for grabs after that becomes even more valuable to all sides.
Sounds like Florida all over again. But perhaps more interesting.
Of the 4,000 delegates to the Democratic National Convention, 20% are "unpledged" with the ability vote for anyone regardless of the popular vote. These Super Delegates constitute a swing vote that hasn't been tested before.