Hillary Clinton’s Stumped for Metrics


Desperately seeking a metric with which to declare a lead over Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton's backers have tried to float the notion that she leads in "electoral votes" from states where primaries and caucuses have been held, 219 to 202.

Never mind that electoral votes have absolutely nothing to do with picking the Democrats' nominee. And never mind that 86 of Clinton's "electoral votes" come from New York and California - where both she and Obama would be winners in the general election.

The Electoral Vote Metric is likely to last about as long as the failed Caucus State vs. Primary State Metric or the Red State vs. Blue State Metric. So the Clinton campaign will soon need new talking points. These are the metrics they should be pushing:

Clinton has a remarkable lead over Obama in all the "New" states. In addition to her home state of New York, she has won in New Jersey, New Hampshire and New Mexico - giving her a clean sweep of all states that start with "New." Obama has failed to win a single New state. (Stump line: "She wins the states where being new really matters!")

Clinton maintains an alphabetical advantage. Although each candidate has won two "A" states - with Obama taking Alabama and Alaska, and Clinton winning Arizona and Arkansas - Clinton has an impressive overall lead. Obama's alphabetical standing is dragged down by his unfortunate victories in Vermont, Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming. A Clinton win May 3 in Guam, although worth only a few delegates, would guarantee her claim as the stronger alphabetical candidate. (Stump line: "Put an Alpha Female in the White House!")

Coffee drinkers seem to be going for Hillary in a big way. She leads in Starbucks stores in states won, 4,341 to 3,888, benefiting from her win in California, which has a whopping 2,010 Starbucks outlets. (Stump line: "Pick a president who'll always be wide-eyed at 3 a.m.!")

Clinton supporters should draw more attention to the nation's baseball fans, who last summer cast 18.5 million votes to elect the all-star team. Clinton has a commanding lead in Major League Baseball teams in states won, 16 to 11. Of course, this metric requires validating results from both Florida and Michigan, but why would party leaders risk disenfranchising fans of the Marlins, Rays and Tigers? (Stump line: "It ain't over till it's over!")

The Clinton campaign should be able to spin the fact that Obama has shown surprising strength in states with female governors. He has won six such states, vs. only one for Clinton. Is there any YouTube footage of Obama's secret statehouse visits? (Stump line: "I reject gender-based politics on all levels!")

Most impressive, perhaps, is that using the letters "c," "i" and "f" from California, plus the "e" from Massachusetts and the "h" from Oklahoma, Clinton backers can spell the word "chief." Although Obama has an impressive roster of states won, they simply don't give him the necessary letters to spell chief. (Stump line: "Ready to spell chief on Day One!")

And that should keep the media busy - and voters confused - until May 6, when Hillary's supporters are certain to point out that by winning the North Carolina primary she can garner all the letters necessary to spell "Clinton." (Stump line: "If these metrics don't work we've got plenty more!")

© Peter Funt. This article first appeared in The Washington Post.

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