The Dartmouth Observer
Thursday, November 25, 2010
Two of the co-authors have moved to a new address.
This blog will remain in tact for the archives.
Friday, November 14, 2008
Sometimes I hate the American media and the bloviating pundits. The only thing worse than the week before the election, in terms of stupidity, is the week after the election.
So I pen this note to clear a few things up about what just happened. Let me warn you: I am going to be blunt.
(1) The problems of the Bush era were not problems of execution, but of fundamental philosophy.
It has become commonplace to say that George W. Bush was not a conservative, and that Bush's failures as president was due to his incompetence. This is the wrong view. Ever since Ronald Reagan swept into DC, conservatives had been talking about government, high taxes, and runaway liberalism as the key problems of the country. Until 2002, for a variety of factors, Republicans had never had the opportunity to put all of their talk into practice.
From 2002-2006, during an era of united government, the philosophies that Republicans had talked about for 25 years were finally enacted. Look where it has taken the country. Debt-fueled growth has shattered the economy. Needless wars have emptied our coffers. A senseless tax cut has dried up revenue. Carelessness of governance has bred cynicism. Unilateralism has destroyed our credibility. Regressive fiscal policies has concentrated wealth into small segments of the population. Movement conservatives have polarized our courts and shredded our constitution. Poor judgement in economic affairs have increased the unemployment rate, decreased benefits, and allowed for a stagnation in real wages. Deficit-spending is drowning the United States in debt.
Having rejected the Clintonian course of leading by the power of examples, this Republican Administration has tired us out through the examples of its power-- overtaxing our reserves and weakening the nation and the international economy.
Had Bush's policies been successful, then America would not have rejected Republicans overwhelming in the Congressional elections of 2006, and across the board in 2008. In short, it's Republican policies that caused the landslide, stupid, not the Republican president.
(2) The Nixonian strategy of winning presidential elections through backlash among working class whites and married white women is over.
According to Ruy Texeira :
"[Obama's] WWC (White Working Class) deficit was very similar to Gore's (18 vs. 17 points). It's also interesting to compare Dukakis' performance in 1988 among WWC and white college graduates to this year's performance. In 1988, the Democratic deficit among these two groups was identical: 20 points. This year's WWC deficit is only a slight improvement (down 2 points) but the white college graduate deficit was just 4 points, a 16 point Democratic swing since 1988.
Republican racism, homophobia, and xenophobia has driven minorities (blacks, Latinos, Asians, GLTBQ) to vote at least 2.5 to 1 for Democratic candidates. Ergo, as the non-white share of the electorate goes up, the larger the percentage of the white vote Republicans need to win national elections.
(3) The Electorate is More Progressive Than in It Was in 1992.
There is a lot of talk that the country "remains" a center-right country. (What this really means is that even when Democrats win they should implement Republican policies.) Democrats must reject the defeatism that an unhealthy obsession with overreaching brings. The electorate is clearly and indisputably more progressive now. Why? Pretty simple, there are less white people in the electorate. In 1992, 88% of the electorate was white. In 2008, 74% of the electorate is white. People like to dance around the basic fact that non-whites are generally more progressive than whites on most issues.
This is an important lesson that agents seeking institutional reform have to adopt. Diversity-initiatives, when placed under control of the powers that be, transform into policies of mere tokenism. Middle-class yes-minorities are given seats of the table to ward of criticisms of injustice; the trade off is that they can not seek institutional equity, and certainly never aggressively. Alas, too many make the grave sin of confusing access with power. Where possible, every principled person should reject tokenism as a governing philosophy.
However, part of the reason that many push for diversification is not due to some fabled theory of shared minority essence, but rather because opening the floodgates to true competition shatters existing networks of privileged and hierarchy. The harsh truth of the matter is that the everyday practices of even so-called liberal members of the majority never truly undermine the informal social networks and discourses of intimidation, distance, apathy, fear, and disdain that limit what minorities can achieve and where they can go. A more diverse faculty, judiciary, congress, classroom forces into the public sphere the agency of people who don't fit the mold of middle class majority membership and its bounded politics of capitalist accommodation and complacency.
So, dear President-Elect Obama: do not be timid, do not appoint moderates, and do not be shy. Implement those programs that will work, under the mantle of progressivism, and let us watch conservatism crumple before us. Throw open the doors to the diversity of all, and let us break the halls of privileged, and the gilded elite who guard them.
Saturday, June 21, 2008
About Those Lobbyists
Remember how the Obama campaign is always talking about how it doesn't take money from "federally registered lobbyists" to demonstrate that "small donors" not "people who write big checks" are funding his campaign?
Oh, change, where art thou?
Friday, June 20, 2008
Note From a Clinton Supporter: Or Why Clinton Looks Better Every Day
Wow. It didn't take the Democratic Party long to jettison progressivism after showing Sen. Clinton the door.
Change that Works For You?
Well, apparently it's time for the Fourth Amendment to go under the bus. Surrender Steny Hoyer and Nimcompoop Nancy Pelosi have decided on 'bi-partisanship.' Which really means "Bye, partisan; Hello Republican Rule."
Change You Can Believe In?
Blue Dog Rep. John Barrow of Georgia has been one of the most enthusiastic enablers of the radical and lawless policies of the Bush administration. When running for re-election, he ran ads accusing his own party of wanting to "cut and run in Iraq," and was one of the 21 Blue Dogs to send a letter to Nancy Pelosi demanding that they be allowed to vote for the Rockefeller/Cheney Senate bill to give warrantless eavesdropping powers to the President and amnesty to lawbreaking telecoms.
The Obama wing of the Party started 2007 with Hope and Change. Now it seems that all they have left is Hope.
Yeah, I'm going back to my self-imposed exile. For some reason, I just can't work up the energy to blog about a political contest between two self-absorbed men.
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
What should astute observers take from the disjuncture between the national polls, which show Obama only barely ahead of John McCain and recent polls in critical swing states Wisconsin, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida that show Obama consolidating a significant lead in states John McCain has to win to remain competitive in November? A couple of things:
1. The Death of the Big State Argument: I can't tell you how many times I had to endure the claim that Obama "couldn't" win the "big states" in the primary and that said "something" about his chances in November. Problem is, you never could get the Clinton campaign or their surrogates to articulate what that "something" was. Most often I felt, and Hill confirmed it after Kentucky, that working class whites in those states would overwhelmingly back McCain rather than Obama because a: they didn't know him, b: he was "elitist" or c: they were kind of racist. Ironically, when Obama supporters raised these as reasons people didn't vote for Obama we were accused of stereotyping poor white folks as uneducated and bigoted, odd. Yet these polls speaks to the inherent fallacies of the "big state argument." The main problem being that, there are a LOT of Democrats in these big states and they are particularly energized by the failures of the Bush Administration. Currently in the Quinniac and American Research Group polls an average of 25% of Clinton Democrats are not supporting Obama, and he still wins the states by 4-12 points. The sheer number of Democrat-leaning voters in these states and John McCain's non-campaign makes it extremely unlikely that Obama loses in November.
2. Media Manufacture Conflict: We hate the MSM here at Going Down With Style and for good reason. For me, in particular, I'm peeved at the inordinate amount of attention CNN, MSNBC and Faux have paid to Democratic dissident organisations like PUMA or JustSayNoDeal, vocal minorities who claim to represent the 18 million Americans who voted for Hillary Clinton in the primary. The primary battle, particularly for CNN gave the networks a major ratings boost and it is in their interest to attempt to recreate and extend the fight amongst Democrats between Obama and Clinton supporters. Faux continues to have Harriet Christian of "inadequate Black Man!" fame has been featured on Neil Cavuto's show, twice over the last two weeks.
Two things of note about Christian's appearance. First, she could not articulate one reason why she would vote for John McCain, her rationale was all about a negative vote against Obama and the "new" Democratic Party. It's a free country and I say to Harriet, do you boo boo, please. But a negative vote doesnt have the staying power of an enthusiastic one. Second, Harriet lives in New York! The media's failure to recognize that its the internet, not demographic significance that has allowed pissed off Hillary suppporters to put on shows of strength. Though as of yet, no advertising time has been bought.
I want to end this post to say that the news that the Obama campaign excluded a Muslim woman in a headscarf from sitting behind the candidate at a televised appearance is saddening, frustrating and will be commented on in depth in a future post. For shame Obama campaign!
Election 2008: Race Baiting Report, Yeah we know it's only June.
But it's already begun. Terrorist fist pounds, conservative radio hosts, t-shirts, buttons and more. Closet racists are tearing their hair out at the prospect of a black man in the white house and we here at Dartmouth Observer, soon to be known as "Going Down With Style" are going to be compiling a record of race baiting this campaign season. As of June 18th, here are some unfortunate things I've observed.
May 13th-Curioser and Curioser. Perhaps the Obama campaign should rethink their chances of wining Georgia in light of this story. Marietta bar owner Mike Norman thought it'd be an absolute gas to create a t-shirt with Curious George and underneath it write, "Obama '08"
May 25th, On Faux News (surprise) Contributor Liz Trotta first "confuses" Obama with Osama, so 2006, and then hopes that both of them could be killed. Here's the link
June 6th, Terrorist Fist Jab Heard Round the World-Now fired Faux News anchor E.D. Hill referred to the non-issue of Barack and Michelle's cute love-pound as a "terrorist fist jab." What's even more ridiculous is the subsequent segment that agonizes over what the pound "means." More evidence that the media knows nothing about black people, or the last thirty years in pop-cultural history.
June 12th, Harris Texas-Local TV station KHOU reports on the sudden appearance of a racist placard displayed on the front lawn of a local man which read "NIGGER President, Bullshit!".
The man, a white senior citizen, attempted to play the sign off as a harmless prank. We look forward to more rambunctious revelry from this old scamp, a cross burning perhaps?
June 12th, Ruper Idaho-Perhaps in solidarity with listeners in Harris Texas, local radio talk show host Zeb Bell and guest referred to Senator Obama as "the black negroid Barack Hussein Obama." Fully exercising their constitutional right to idiocy, Bell's guests also described Obama's caucasaoid mother as "trailer trash" with a "fixation on black men." Personally I'm offended by the racism and that there are still Americans who have been taught the "seperate origins" theories of evolution, what's next referring to Bill Richardson as the Latinoid? Will this station's coverage of the Beijing Olympics make frequent references to Mongoloid? Stay tuned!
June 13 Fox News-Baby Mama Drama! Clearly feeling that Zeb Bell was stealing their thunder, Faux News segment producers thought it'd be "hip" to refer to Michelle Obama, longtime wife of a senator, mother of Obama's only children as his "Baby Mama." I was stunned, you were stunned. David Duke was all, "whoa, back off their Faux News."
June 13, MSNBC-You say Exotic, I say, why the hell is anyone paying Pat Buchanan to be on television? Perhaps in an attempt to counteract their perceived Obama love-fest MSNBC continues to allow Pat Buchanan to speak on the air. The result? Buchanan calling Obama "too exotic" for white middle Americans and then going on an unintelligble rant that caused his fellow commentators to only shake their heads in confusion. We concur, but our confusion comes from MSNBC deciding to give Pat Buchanan air time in the first place.
Whoo, exhausting. And again...it's only June.
Saturday, June 07, 2008
A great, if venomous piece by Tim Wise on the logical inconsistencies of "feminists" who frame voting for John McCain as an act of gender solidarity with Hillary Clinton. Here is a link to the piece, but I've also copied and pasted a particularly pointed section.
Excerpted from, "Your Whiteness is Showing"
For those threatening to vote for John McECain or to stay home and increase the odds of his winning (despite the fact that he once called his wife the c-word in public and is a staunch opponent of reproductive freedom and gender equity initiatives, such as comparable worth legislation), all the while claiming to be standing up for women...
For those threatening to vote for John McCain or to stay home and help ensure Barack Obama's defeat, as a way to protest what you call Obama's sexism (examples of which you seem to have difficulty coming up with), all the while claiming to be standing up for women...
Your whiteness is showing.
When I say your whiteness is showing this is what I mean: You claim that your opposition to Obama is an act of gender solidarity, in that women (and their male allies) need to stand up for women in the face of the sexist mistreatment of Clinton by the press. On this latter point--the one about the importance of standing up to the media for its often venal misogyny--you couldn't be more correct. As the father of two young girls who will have to contend with the poison of patriarchy all their lives, or at least until such time as that system of oppression is eradicated, I will be the first to join the boycott of, or demonstration on, whatever media outlet you choose to make that point. But on the first part of the above equation--the part where you insist voting against Obama is about gender solidarity--you are, for lack of a better way to put it, completely full of crap. And what's worse is that at some level I suspect you know it. Voting against Senator Obama is not about gender solidarity. It is an act of white racial bonding, and it is grotesque.
If it were gender solidarity you sought, you would by definition join with your black and brown sisters come November, and do what you know good and well they are going to do, in overwhelming numbers, which is vote for Barack Obama. But no. You are threatening to vote not like other women--you know, the ones who aren't white like you and most of your friends--but rather, like white men! Needless to say it is high irony, bordering on the outright farcical, to believe that electorally bonding with white men, so as to elect McCain, is a rational strategy for promoting feminism and challenging patriarchy. You are not thinking and acting as women, but as white people. So here's the first question: What the hell is that about?
And you wonder why women of color have, for so long, thought (by and large) that white so-called feminists were phony as hell? Sister please...
Thursday, June 05, 2008
Let's try again. I love this opening line about McCain and visiting economically hurt towns. It's a great way of emphasizing the guns v. butter line that is necessary to Obama's victory.
Wednesday, June 04, 2008
In addition to reporting that Obama is creeping towards 300 polled electoral votes, electoral vote.com has an interesting take on the historic nature of Obama's nomination compared to Hillary.
Here's a link to their handy dandy website
"Either way it would have been historic, of course, but seen objectively, there is more prejudice against blacks than against women, so having a black nominee is a bigger breakthrough in a sense than a female nominee. While women haven't made it to the very top, they are well represented one level down: there are 16 women senators and 8 women governors. One state (Washington) has a female governor and two female senators and two others (California and Maine) are represented in the Senate by two women. There is one black senator and one elected black governor (David Paterson of NY inherited the job when Gov. Spitzer resigned). However, polls have shown that for some people race is still a hot-button issue and for others gender is, but for far more, being too old is a disqualifier."
On principle, I'm loathe to engage in my oppression is greater than yours contests. They inevitably lead to people belittling the experience of others. However I agree with these folks "objective" standard of comparison.
Clinton Doesn't Concede, Savvy Observers Aren't Surprised.
Listening to Barack Obama speak so eloquently about Hillary Clinton's groundbreaking and ceiling smashing run for President, I was struck by something. I had not even noticed that Hillary Clinton, supposed life long champion for Civil Rights, made no mention of the historic nature of Obama's ability to claim the delegate lead. But should anyone be surprised by her insensitivity and self centeredness? Since their ascendancy to the white house both Clintons have demonstrated their ability to speak to, but not serve, the interests of African Americans. All politicians must pander, but some politicians (ironically those implicated in corrupt machine politics) actually deliver for their most loyal constituents. As I've said earlier, through the darkest days of the Clinton white house and in both elections, African Americans were key, stable, voting blocs throughout the nineties. To paraphrase Dave Chapelle, black people were strucky by Clinton's apparent ease among us, particularly in southern black churches were he clapped on time, swayed with the rhythem, spoke in down home cadences and grabbed and kissed every black skinned baby he could. Yet despite these superficial and cosmetic appeals, Clinton treated the black community as all Democratic candidates do, as a given. When it came down to legislation, particularly the last remaining remnant of Johnson's Great society, AFDC, headstart and a host of federally funded social services uniquely targeted for African American working families, Bill Clinton delivered the black population back to the hands of the states. The very bodies which the federal government fought tooth and nail in the sixties over Jim Crow and the electoral franchise. And then he washed his hands. While the black elite continued to fawn and preen over the "first black president" black single parents suddenly found themselves unprotected by rapacious republican legislatures who took a torch to the nation's social safety net, ratcheted up penalties for petty drug offenses, gave the police carte blanche in violence against black citizens all in the name of "reform" and the "law."
If African Americans had hoped for something different in Senator Clinton's campaign, they were sorely mistaken. Sure it all started well. My good friend travels annually to the Essence festival and was more than pleased by Hillary's keen knowledge on HIV-AIDS impact on black women and resisted all my attempts to bring her to Obama's side until A More Perfect Union. But the instant African American voters began moving towards Obama, Hillary responded with her usual sense of entitlement and her supporters began to question the "loyalty" of the black vote. Loyalty to what exactly? Her husbands disastrous domestic policies for black people? Or to her brief flirtation with the HIV-AIDS issue? In January Hillary began crediting Johnson, rather than the thousands of African Americans who had struggled since the interwar era to organize a national civil rights movement, with the Federal Legislation from the sixties. By March, the Clinton campaign was eagerly fanning the flames of what Geraldine Ferraro has coined, "racial resentment." Distributing flyers of Obama dressed in traditional Muslim garb, touting Obama's inability to win the "working class" in the primaries. The final blow, Clinton's own admission that superdelegates should support her because white voters supported her, the fair conclusion being that African American voters count less than whites do. What's next Hillary, a return to the 3/5ths clause?
So was I surprised by Hillary's failure to talk, even for a moment, about the historical importance of the first African American Presidential nominee? No. Her failure, as a progressive, to share in this moment with those who believe in social justice, falls in line with her inability to understand why black folks are voting for Obama (not against her) in record numbers. Her inability to get what it means to many people to say and type and declare and exclaim! that Barack Hussein Obama is the Democratic Nominee for President.
I recognize that some don't want to "hear about" or contemplate the significance of an African American as Presidential nominee or as President. Though I confess, I can't quite understand why being black and poor also means one has moved beyond being inspired by a major moment in racial progress. Not the victory. Not a victory that restructures economic relations or closes the racial wage gap. But a major victory nonetheless. And, if you take a listen to black media outlets this morning and I suspect throughout the campaign months, not a victory that exclusively reverberates in the black middle class, intelligentsia or the buppies. But a victory that will make generations of young black people, looking for any sign of validation from the larger society that does not include bling and or guns, Barack Obama will be a shining light. Call it earnest, it is. It is also the truth.
Tuesday, June 03, 2008
Clinton Didn't Concede
And some people are unhappy. Being conciliatory wouldn't have netted her anything, and her final primary speech was hers to make. She won South Dakota and she's won every state in which major party elites were backing Sen. Obama. (California - Pelosi; Massachusetts - Patrick, Kerry, and Kennedy; Nevada - Harry Reid; New Mexico- Bill Richardson; South Dakota - Daschle) h/t Anglachel
I think she said it best: ""You know, I understand that a lot of people are asking, what does Hillary want? What does she want? Well, I want what I have always fought for in this whole campaign. I want to end the war in Iraq. I want to turn this economy around. I want health care for every American. I want every child to live up to his or her God-given potential, and I want the nearly 18 million Americans who voted for me to be respected, to be heard and no longer to be invisible.
You see, I have an old-fashioned notion, one that's been the basis of my candidacy and my life's work, that public service is about helping people solve their problems and live their own dreams. This nation has given me every opportunity, and that's what I want for every single American."
Why didn't she just up and concede? I turn the question around. Why should she have? She doesn't need the goodwill of the media--they've never offerred it anyway--, she doesn't need the good will of the Obama supporters who've been demonizing her, and she will remain in the Senate all else fails. And she's using her position as the popular vote leader to force Obama to become a Democratic (not-post-party) partisan. There will be no triagulation on health care, the economy, or the war. Quitters don't win.
Here's what's clear: Sen. Clinton (and to a lesser extent Bill Clinton) are the door through which Sen. Obama must pass to offer unity to the party. If he is going to be the nominee, then it's his duty. She will endorse on her own terms.
And y'all just need to deal with it.
Sen. Clinton is teaching us to be strong. And she is simply doing what every single mother has always done for their children when they had to deal with the choice of themselves, and their children; the gas or the groceries; food or healthcare. And I know because I watched my mom make (and continue to make) those decisions. And she had staying power that resulted in me pursuing my dream of graduate education, and the rest of her children their dreams: in the Air Force (my sister), as an architect (my brother), and to be in the WNBA (my other sister).
If the super-delegates insist on making Sen. Obama the nominee, then I, as one of the authors of this blog, will have little to say about American partisan politics. (President Bush is fair game and I will comment on other stuff.) I am going to think of a plan to banish from the party all the politicians who defected from the popular vote of their constituents to put Obama over the top--especially after all the bellyaching his people did about 'respecting the will of the voters'--and punish them with the loss of office. I am going to remain registered as an independent, and try and get progressive elected down ticket. As JFK once quipped: "Forgive your enemies, but remember their names."
Like Michelle Obama, I had only one candidate I was excited about, and if that candidate leaves the race, then I'll have to wait and see what I will do. I don't want to here a lick about him making history. I've been black all my life and it's nothing new for me. More importantly, making history doesn't pay the bills and it doesn't get every American health care. I voted for an unenthusiastic candidate in 2004, and there is no reason for me to do that again. If the Democratic and Republican parties keep fielding unacceptable candidates, I'm going to restrict myself to only voting in the races in which there are exciting candidates, and do my best to prevent races in which I have to stomach the lesser of two evils. And if you want to send me an angry note saying: "John, it's over" I'll tell you this: On the CNN website, McCain is the presumptive nominee and Obama is the projected nominee. The word difference is what matters.
More importantly, if Clinton is not in the race, I am not going to spend too much time making a case against John McCain (2004 is hopefully the last time I cast my vote to register discontent against someone). Sen. McCain is clear about where he stands, and clear about how we should respond to him. Where John McCain agrees with President Bush, his policy proposals are incompetent; on the points where McCain disagrees with Bush, his policies are reckless.
The Republican Party--of Regan to Bush II--is in shambles, and it is being sucked into the quicksands of political oblivion. The massive political landslide toward the Democrats--I predict 5 (if Obama is the nominee) to 7 (for a unity ticket) to 8 (if Clinton is the nominee) Senate seat and a 20 House seat gain for the Democrats--will break the Republican Party. They will have to rethink, repackage, and purge the dead hands of the paleo- and neo-cons that threaten to drag them down. Gov. Jindal and Gov. Crist--suburban women and Latino voters-- are the future of the party.
So I am not going to vote for, and specifically will advocate against, people voting for the Republican Party if Sen. Obama is the nominee of the Democratic Party. Instead, I am suggesting the following course of action:
(1) only vote downticket for the members of the House and members of the Senate they like. I think turnout should plummet to 5% for the Presidential race, and we should all vote for Congressional and local officials,
(2) Only give money to (i) progressive watchdog organizations that do not endorse Sen. Obama, (ii) local candidates running on the Democratic ticket, (iii) and Sen. Clinton.
(3) Do not tune into any mainstream media on TV; with the exception of the Washington Post and the Christian Science monitor, only read local and foreign press, Clinton's website, and the Clinton blogs.
(4) Contact Super Delegates.
A little spine and dignity is what Sen. Clinton would have asked from us.
With the Democratic nomination secured for Barack Obama the Dartmouth Observer will retire the short lived Clinton Campaign Mythbuster project in favor of the McCain Mythbusters. I look forward to this being a bipartisan project, as it were, over the coming months. Remember
I’m also announcing the introduction of a regular GIT (Get. It. Together.) rating for the Obama campaign. If the last few weeks have demonstrated anything it is the propensity for the big O to waste, not just days, but weeks on issues that are not his strength and that don’t speak to the needs of the American people. It’s my duty as an Obama supporter, at those moments, to tell his ass to get it together. GITs will be combined with campaign prescriptions when the Obama train veers too far of course, engages John McCain on the war, engages John McCain at all, stops talking to young people, black people or women etc. etc. and unfortunately…etc.
Campaign Prescription for the New Nominee: Get Thee to the Country!
We understand. You wanted to pivot to the General Election early and create as many Obama v. McCain headlines as early and often as possible. Bravo, I suppose, on that. I would’ve been happier had Hugo Chavez,
Montage of curious to dubious white voters
Skeptical white person 1: “I like Barack Obama, but I don’t know that much about him.”
Skeptical white person 2: “Isn’t he a Muslim?”
Skeptical white women 3: “I voted for
Skeptical white man 4: “Is he another tax and spend liberal?”
Barack Obama (big smile): Do you still have questions about me? You’re not the only one come to *insert this campaign event* town hall and I’ll do my best to answer them.
I don’t think I even have to convey the genius of this strategy. The national media will swoon, I’ll swoon and skeptical
On Facts and Primaries
Has Sen. Clinton won "the big states"? What does "winning the big states" mean?
Kwame mused: "Between the start of the primary season and February 6th the nine largest primaries, based on turnout, were held in CA, NY, IL, MA, NJ, GA, SC, AL and MS, with Obama winning five of the nine."
Really? What an odd way to construct the category of "big states". Big states usually means either:
(1) the bell-weather electoral vote rich states that pass between Democratic and Republican presidents to determine elections, also known as "swing states" or,
(2) the electoral votes/ states that almost any Democratic president will need in her column to reach the White House.
Concerning (1), I'll turn to Gallop:
Clinton's popular-vote victories thus far include the three biggest Electoral College prizes: California (a solid Democratic state), New York (another sure bet for the Democrats), and Texas (a solid Republican state). (Although Obama won more delegates in Texas, Clinton's vote total exceeded Obama's by nearly 100,000 votes.) However, her victories also include several of the largest swing states that both parties will be battling to win in November: Pennsylvania and Ohio, as well as wins in the disputed Florida and Michigan primaries. As a result, Clinton's 20 states represent more than 300 Electoral College votes while Obama's 28 states and the District of Columbia represent only 224 Electoral College votes.Thus, when Clinton says "I've won the big states" she sometimes means that she believes that her popular vote victories over Obama in states that encompass three-fifths of national voters augurs better for a Democratic victory with Clinton as the standard bearer than with Obama.
Concerning (2), the Clinton campaign suggests that Clinton does not put in play (against John McCain) states crucial to a Democratic victory: Pennsylvania, Florida, Ohio, West Virginia, and New Hampshire, with the first three being the 'big states.'
Now the big states don't include the total universe of swing states. Swing states are those that favored neither George W. Bush nor John Kerry in the 2004 presidential election by more than five percentage points. Missouri is also considered a swing state because it has switched sides in the three most recent national elections, voting Democratic in 1996, and Republican in 2000 and 2004. (Bush's lead, if I recall, was about 7% in 2004.) Clinton's 2008 swing-state victories include Nevada, Pennsylvania, Ohio, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Florida and Michigan. Four of those are delegate rich.
Additionally, Clinton suggests that she puts into play 'red' states that Obama does not: North Carolina, Arkansas, Indiana, Oklahoma, and Kentucky.
Now. Obama's swing-state victories include Colorado, Oregon, Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, and Missouri. Note, however, from a strategic perspective that (1) only 3 of them were primaries, and (2) collectively they are worth about 50 electoral votes less than Clinton's.
Of Obama's swing states, Clinton only seem to be competitive in Oregon and Missouri. Of Clinton swing state, Obama only seem to be competitive in Nevada and Pennsylvania.
So to return to Kwame's list, only CA, NY, IL, MA, and NJ count as 'big states' for Democrats in the early primary. Of those Clinton won 3 and Obama won 2. If we exclude home state advantage, Clinton won 2 to Obama's 1.
Monday, June 02, 2008
Obama to Democrats: We're For the Popular Will, Except When We're Not
h/t: Tom In Paine; Politically Drunk
Sunday's NY Times:
"Gov. Bill Richardson of New Mexico, who endorsed Mr. Obama nearly two months ago, recently called Gov. Bill Ritter Jr. of Colorado, who has yet to endorse a candidate. “Hey, Ritter!” Mr. Richardson said. “After June 3, it means nothing. Those who take a little bit of a risk, he’ll remember you.”
Automatic Delegates whose constituents voted for Clinton but who endorsed Obama
Robert Cramer – Alabama
Gov. Janet Napalitano – Arizona
George Miller – California
Gerald McNerney – California - Obama Donation $5,000
Fortney Pete Stark – California
Zoe Lofgren – Cal.
Howard Berman – Cal.
Adam Schiff – Cal.
Henry Waxman – Cal
Linda Sanchez – Cal
Joe Donnely – Indiana - Obama $7,500 Donation
Baron Hill – Indiana – Obama $12,500 Donation
Ben Chandler – Kentucky – wow Obama drew less than 10%
Bill Delahunt – Massachussetts
Gov. Deval Patrick Mass.
Sen. Ted Kennedy Mass. - $10,000 from both candidatesS
en. John Kerry – Mass.
Gov. Bill Richardson – New Mexico
Carol Shea-Porter – New Hampshire
Gov. Brad Henry – Oklahoma
Patrick Murphy – PA Donations from Clinton $2500 Obama $18,826
Sen. Bob Casey – PA
Patrick Kennedy – RI
Charlie Gonzalez - Texas
Eddie Johnson - Texas
Rick Boucher – Virginia
Nick Rahal – WV
Sen. Robert Byrd –WV $10,000 from both candidates
Sen. John D. Rockefeller IV – WV - Obama $5000 Donation
Uncommitted delegates whose constituents voted for Clinton and those accepting money from Obama.
Sam Farr – Cal.
Jim Costa – Cal. - Obama Donation $5,000
Bob Filner – Cal
Joe Courtney – Connecticut - Obama $5,000 Donation
Gov. Steve Beshear
KentuckyRep. John Oliver – Massachussetts
Rep. Niki Tsongas – Mass. – Obama $5,000 donation
John Tierney – Mass.
Ed Markey – Mass
Travis Childers – Mississippi
Sen. Frank Lautenberg – New Jersey - Obama $9,000
Gov. John Lynch – New Hampshire
Charlie Wilson – Ohio – Obama $7,000
Marci Kaptur – Ohio
Dennis Kucinich – Ohio
Zack Space – Ohio - Obama $7500
Sen. Sherrod Brown – Ohio $10,000 from both
Dan Boren – Oklahoma
Jason Altmire – PA - Obama $10,000
Tim Holden – PA
Gabriel Gifford – Arizona Obama Donation $9,000
Michael Honda – California
Sen. Jack Reed – RI – Obama $5,000
Lincoln Davis – Tennessee
Bart Gordon – Tennessee
Gov. Phil Bredesen – Tenn.
Nick Lampsen – Texas - Obama $5,000
Alan Mollohan – WV
Gov. Joe Manchin – WV
And as for the Pledged Delegates:
h/t Talk Left
...In the 37 primaries, Hillary Clinton is up 500,000 votes (counting Florida and Michigan and giving Barack Obama 75% of the votes of Michigan's uncommitted delegates.) This give her a 67 delegate lead in the primaries. In the 13 caucus states, Obama is up 300,000 votes which has resulted in a 205 delegate lead.
Elected Officials Voting for Clinton Who’s Constituents Voted for Obama
How To Win Primaries
Rule 1: Get Your Opponent to Leave (Through Rules Manipulation if Necessary)
When did the calls for the Clinton to leave the race begin? Shortly after the Wisconsin primary, about 10 days before Texas, Ohio, Rhode Island, and Vermont. (I think she won 3 out of the 4 primaries that day.)
Oh, and since Feb 19th, I believe that Sen. Clinton is up about 700k votes and 40 pledged delegates. But I guess it was time for her to go.
And note the tone of CNN. The main-stream media is turning. Oh Democrats, and you thought this would be your year.
Sunday, June 01, 2008
Awesome Clinton Speech
Sen. Clinton just gave another awesome speech in the wake of her crushing victory in Puerto Rico. She also talks about the big states argument, and rightly claims, the popular vote victory. (Please see Real Clear Politics for details.)
Saturday, May 31, 2008
Clinton Campaign Mythbusters:
With Florida (sort of) counted and in the wake of Harold Ickes explosive, humurous and often cringe worthy response to this weekend's it seems appropriate to assess some of the larger myths that the Clinton campaign will attempt to propogate in coming weeks should she decide to "take this to the convention (Harold, seriously? pull it together). Like many urban legends, some of the following myths are new and others have been so oft repeated they have somehow become political law. None, however, have much basis in fact. In the tradition of this blog I'll be providing a rating system for Clinton Campaign Myths called the "Really?" Myths will be scored on a scale of 1-5 Reallys. In the spirit of In Living Color's "Men on movies" body language bonuses will be added to particularly silly CCMs.
Myth #1, Florida vote coincids with other "big state" wins for Hill.
One of John (and other Clinton Supporter's) favorite rationales for reinstating Florida's full delegation and for adding the Florida tally to the amorphous indefinable "popular vote"argues that the result in Florida reflected the general will of Democratic voters towards the end of January and on Super Tuesday. The margin of Clinton's victory fell in line with her wins in other "big states" that voted on Super Tuesday. Really? What's the evidence for this claim? And does it provide support for Clinton's arguments re the popular vote or, like most justifications for Clinton's continued candidacy, is it as cheaply constructed as a Chinese schoolhouse?
-Big States? Really?
No doubt those who have taken a gander at the Super Tuesday results are just as befuddled by the Clinton camp's big state claims prior to March 4th as I am. Between the start of the primary season and February 6th the nine largest primaries, based on turnout, were held in CA, NY, IL, MA, NJ, GA, SC, AL and MS, with Obama winning five of the nine. I don't think I even need to mention February primaries in places like VA and Wisconsin, oops I did. More importantly, in terms of region, Obama won all of the states surrounding Florida and while the southern tip of the state is uniquely Carribean, the vast majority of the state looks much more like Georgia, Mississippi, Alabama and South Carolina than it does New York or California. Indeed, the much touted Jewish and Latino vote in Florida represent swing constituencies during close Presidential elections, not demographically significant vote changers.
Four Reallys? and a Confused Furrowed Brow.
Florida Demographics Matter....Really?
If it's tough to claim that Clinton won Florida as she did most "big states," election wonks turn to the exit polling to argue that she won similar demographic groups in Florida that she won elsewhere. Thus, sanctioned or not, the popular vote totals would have essentially been the same. There's some argument here, but for the margin of Clinton's victory in Florida considering the state's large African American population. Unlike other southern states on Super Tuesday, Obama only received around 70% of the African American vote in Florida, an acceptable showing had the Florida primary not occured after South Carolina. However, as we all know, S.C. signalled a sea change in black turnout and voting patterns and Obama rarely went below 80% support among black voters from that point forward. Clearly, to paraphrase Bill Nelson, the relentless media campaign which told voters that the Florida election would not count dissuaded African Americans from turning out substantially on January 29th, contributing to Clinton's rather outlandish near 20 point victory in the state.
One Really with a Single Raised Eyebrow
Friday, May 30, 2008
Ferraro Getting It Right
People have been dumping on Ferraro lately, but I think even Kwame could agree with some of what she says.
Thursday, May 29, 2008
Why Obama Has a Pledged Delegate Lead
Sadly, it seems that Barack Obama wins elections through two tactics: (1) knock his opponent out the race (Alice Palmer, and attempted on Sen. Clinton) and (2) low turnout manipulations.
MyDD did an analysis of the caucus-primary in states that had both (NE, WA, ID, TX) and come up with this. In every state that had both a caucus and a primary, the primary had far greater participation and a stronger vote for Hillary Clinton – this was true in Texas, Washington State and Nebraska. When participation expands, Hillary’s vote expands. The figure plots Hillary's (blue) and Obama's (red) perfomance in the primary in each of those four states (y-axis) vs. their performance in the caucus in each of those four states (x-axis). A linear fit for each of Hillary's and Obama's data is generated (whose equation is given), each of which have a very high R-squared value, indicating a clear correlation.
For example, in the February 9 Nebraska caucus when less than 40,000 people participated, Senator Obama won with 68%, but in the May 13 Democratic primary when more than twice as many people voted – nearly 94,000 – Hillary’s and Senator Obama’s respective votes were 2 points apart (HRC 47 / BHO 49).
The irony of this is Obama is seen as the candidate who has inspired millions to come to the polls seeking change; the reality is that inspirational candidate, Sen. Clinton, is suffering from a caucus state hijacking. If you follow the link on millions, you will note that most caucuses range between 0.3% to 5.2% of registered Democratic voters. (The two exceptions are Nevada, at almost 10%, which Sen. Clinton won, and Iowa at 16%, which Sen. Obama won, but included far more candidates.) Primaries on the other hand, range between 25% to 40% of the eligible voters. (For comparibility purposes, the Michigan primary had a 20% participation rate, the Florida a 33.8%, and Ohio a 40.5%.)
In the states that held both primaries and caucuses, attendance at caucuses averaged 40% of the primary turnout. This is an invitation to distort the results. Consider two examples:
The increase in participation in the primaries has been driven by core groups favoring Hillary, led by women, Latinos and older voters. Overall, more than 22 million Democratic primary voters were over the age of 45 this year, compared to less than 10 million who voted in the 2004 Democratic primaries. Women primary voters rose from 7.56 million in the 2004 Democratic primaries to more than 21 million to date in 2008 – from 54% to 58% of the Democratic primary electorate. At the same time, Latinos increased from 9% to 12% of the Democratic primary electorate, from 1.26 million in 2004 to 4.42 million in 2008. In Ohio, for example, women rose from 52% of the Democratic presidential primary voters in 2004 to 59% in 2008. And, in California, Latinos made up 30% of Democratic presidential primary voters in 2008, compared with 16% in 2004. In both the 2000 and 2004 general elections, 17% of voters were under age 30, while the percentage over the age of 45 rose from 50% in 2000 to 54% in 2004. Those results, and the 2008 primaries, suggest that any strategy built on an increase in the Democratic voting base should take into account women, Latinos and seniors.
How do we know that the Democratic Party nominating apparatus has been hijacked? Because Sen. Clinton has won the popular vote and substanitally more counties that Sen. Obama. (She has won 1,654 counties; Senator Obama has won 1,299 counties.) For example, in following states, Hillary won the following number of counties:
State Counties Hillary Won Total Counties in State
Arizona 13 15
Arkansas 72 75
California 39 58
Indiana 83 92
Kentucky 118 120
Missouri 109 115
New Jersey 16 21
New Mexico 27 33
New York (home state) 61 62
Ohio 83 88
Oklahoma 76 77
Pennsylvania 60 67
Tennessee 86 95
Texas 227 254
West Virginia 55 55
Her base extends into more parts of the country – especially rural areas – and offers a key benefit to achieving progressive change: she can assist House and Senate candidates win close elections in these parts of the country. For example, consider this 'primary boost' in the Kentucky Senate race.
Rasmussen. 5/22. Likely voters. MoE 4.5%
McConnell (R) 44
Mitch McConnell, of course, is the Republican minority leader in the Senate. This Rasmussen poll was taken 2 days after Kentucky voted in its primary, giving Lunsford a resounding win in the primary to take on McConnell in the fall. But the general excitement and engagement created by the Democratic presidential primary doesn't hurt either. Check out Rasmussen's simple read of why Democrats may have a shot to pick up so many senate seats this cycle.
The underlying reason that so many Republican seats are at risk is that fewer and fewer Americans consider themselves to be Republicans.
Rasmussen elaborates in its May 3 partisan trends analysis:
During the month of April, 41.4% of Americans considered themselves to be Democrats. Just 31.4% said they were Republicans and 27.2% were not affiliated with either major party.
Remember when the Obama partisans wanted the primary to end and suggested than an extended primary was 'bad' for the party? Clinton, again, proves that it takes a fighter to make a party.
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
Reality Check: Obama DOES Has A Problem With White Working Class Voters And It's Not an Appalachia Problem
Sometimes I feel like a one-man army trying to rid people of their illusions about politics.
Today, I want to address this new meme that has developed: Obama's problem with poor (white) working class voters is limited to Appalachia. (That's a very polite way of saying "Those people are racists.")
As Markos notes, Montana is an overwhelmingly White state. Likewise, it's one of the poorer states in the nation. So Obama's 17-point lead in the state seems to undercut the notion that he performs particularly poorly among working class Whites outside of Appalachia (a fact underscored by Obama's similarly large victory in Oregon last week). (emphasis added)The CNN Exit (Telephone) Poll of Oregon shows something very different. Obama won the state by 18 points, and won all income groups earning over $30,000 a year. However, Clinton won those making between $15,000-$30,000 a year by a 54-45 margin with those making less than $15,000 a year not. Slicing the demographic another way, Clinton won by a 53-46 margin those who had graduated high school but not attended college with hose who didn't graduate high school not polled.
How is this not the white working class of Oregon? In an overwhelmingly white state, lower income voters, and those who have not benefitted from higher education would seem to qualify as the very category we have been talking about. And unless we are going 'Obama geography'--in which Arkansas is closer to Kentucky than Illinois is--then we have to acknowledge that this is him losing the working class vote in a place no where near Appalachia.
Why the Obama Wing Hates the Clinton Wing
The race for the Democratic nomination is as much about winning in November, for some, as it is about purging the Clintons and their supporters from the Democratic Party. If you have been wondering why so many otherwise intelligent people have displayed symptoms of Clinton Derangement Syndrome (CDS), then this fact--that this primary election is a battle for the control of the Democratic Party--is one you must acknowledge.
I think the timeless Anglachel said it best:
To acknowledge the legitimacy of the Democratic constituency that supports Hillary would mean relinquishing the prejudices of the Stevensonian wing against the Jacksonian, something I have been discussing for the last two months. First and foremost, it means rejecting the argument that this part of our party is nothing more than bigots and racists slavering for the chance to betray us to the Republicans. It means dropping the code of "hicks" and "Applachian problems", and taking seriously the need to defend the economic interests of this constituency. (Something Hillary does with her discussion of growing a green technology sector, for example) It would mean accepting that "The South" is part of Democratic politics and is a challenge to be embraced, not an impediment to be cast aside.
What's worse, though, is that many fauxgressives (they call themselves 'progressives') would rather lose with Obama than win with Clinton.
[O]ffering Hillary the VP slot, is a bigger step because it would mean extending power to a rival who represents what you most detest, complicated by the fact that your detestation is not even rational. Looking at the collective psychotic fantasy of Hillary as would-be assassin that is welling up from the Obamacan faction, it is equally fascinating and repellant as an image of the structure of their collective demonology. The crime that is latent within their own hearts is ascribed to another. It speaks about the way in which they see themselves and their political opponents, innocent and vulnerable victims on the one side and rapacious, murderous monsters on the other. The problem with "unity" in this campaign has always been the structure of the psychosis of the anti-Clinton faction. Their unity is grounded in a fantasy of defeating something thast simply does not exist. This is why, at base, the obsessions of this faction makes those of us more firmly based in reality (whether or not we support Hillary) look askance at the Obamacans; if their current political opponent is an "enemy", a deeply distorted projection of their own inner fears, then what boundaries can there be on their relations with other who may disagree with their opinions, goals and objectives?
And what's driving this? Besides the African-American vote, income among whites. That's right, the Democratic Party is divided between whether it wants to the party of the working poor or whether it wants to be an island of Whole Foods Nations trying to churn out supermajorities. From Jay Cost:
our expectation is that socioeconomic status should have no effect on the African American vote. Indeed, statistical testing confirms that it probably does not. To date, the only significant factor affecting the African American vote that I have been able to identify is time. Obama has done better with these voters as time has passed.Like I've said too many times before, there's too much at stake for me, my financially strapped African-American single-mom family who have already fallen the trapdoor that is the Bush Economy, and my own tenuous place in the lower middle class (as a grad student from a poor family) for me to support the transformation of the Democratic Party into an upper middle class cathedral of white guilt and black middle class pretensions.
If the Democratic Party can not see that, then we ought to punish them with four years of John McCain and clean our own house. No more caucuses, no more dominance by an alliance of latte- and limousine liberals (the so-called 'creative class'), and no more bamboozling.