POLITICS

Slate's Delegate Counting Widget Lets Readers Experience The Pointlessness Of The Democratic Primaries

03/28/2008 02:46 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

For those of you who just can't get enough of the soul-crushing pointlessness of the 2008 Democratic Primary process, Slate offers this new widget: a pledged delegate calculator which, through the power of sliders, allows you to take the driver's seat in determining which Democratic candidate will get closest to the magic number of delegates needed to win the candidacy before the whole thing is decided in camera at some backroom at the DNC headquarters.

The calculator allows the user to line up the remaining states according to poll numbers to project how many delegates each candidate stands to win in each race. And if you're feeling like you want to play the part of deus ex machina, you can use a master slider to throw the entire field to one side or the other. Of course, you'll note that by these calculations, even if Hillary Clinton were to win all the remaining contests, 100 to 0, she could not gain the magic number of 2,025 delegates. But wipe that smirk off your face, Obama fans! Your candidate would need to win out at a rate of 85-15% in every state to hit 2,025, and that's not going to happen, either.

It should also be noted that the calculator uses too many broad strokes to account for the finer, yet critical, points of delegate apportionment, district-by-district results, and this weird Texas Caucumary in which the winners lose, the losers win, the State gets retroceded to Mexico, and al Qaeda ends up owning the Dallas Cowboys.

Slate's debate calculator basically offers the same societal benefit that the plays written by Sophocles offered the ancient Greeks - namely, a demonstration that God hates you and that you've probably accidentally had sex with your own mom, so why not tear out your eyes and wander the countryside like a pauper. This is easily seen when you project tomorrow's Super Tuesday Part Deux results. If we assume that Clinton wins Ohio and Rhode Island by ten points, splits Texas, and loses Vermont by ten, the Slate calculator shows us that Clinton stands to pick up seventeen whole delegates - which means this race will go on, we will have ninety more debates, and everyone's too depressed to vote against John McCain in November.

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