As I noted earlier in the month, one of the bizarre aspects of the way we nominate our major party candidates is that perception and media coverage means as much, if not more, than the mechanics of the process. Earlier, we saw Wyoming ignored and New Hampshire lavished with attention and given special significance despite the fact that there were more delegates at stake in Wyoming. Even earlier we saw that Hillary Clinton was deemed a major loser, despite basically tying Edwards in Iowa.
And tonight, South Carolina is much more significant than Nevada, despite the fact that Nevada awarded 18 delegates ((Although as the Palmetto Scope notes, the delegates aren’t actually awarded today, and the results tonight could arguably be seen more as a fancy straw poll. The delegate won’t actually be awarded until April 26th. So in that regard, there is an argument to be made that the disproportionate attention to SC is fair)) to Romney, and SC 13 to McCain. (see: Election Center 2008).
Now, given the way the process tends to proceed, I understand that raw delegate counts shouldn’t be the main focus at this stage. However, it should be recognized (more than it is) that part of the reason that this is true is because of the way the media covers these races. It affects where the candidates go and don’t go and what the public does and does not pay attention to. This fact is yet another reason why the current system needs to be reformed.
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