The Dartmouth Observer
Monday, March 31, 2008
The Clinton Coalition and the Democratic Party
Big Tent Democrat asks a question I've been thinking lately myself: Why are the Clinton-haters intent on destroying the Democratic Party?
let's assume the worst of Clinton and ignore the damage people like Josh Marshall have done and continue to do. Why don't we play that game with Clinton haters like Marshall? Do they hate Clinton so much that they will destroy the Democratic Party to make sure Clinton has no chance to win the nomination? Would they rather insure Dems lose Florida and Michigan in November instead of honoring the will of the voters in Florida and Michigan in a revote? Do they hate Clinton more than they care about the Democratic Party?It's good that Sen. Clinton is a tough woman; few politicians have to experience this vile behavior from their so called allies. Luckily, the Obama campaign has seemed to change tracks and have laid off the calls for Sen. Clinton to withdraw.
A lot of people suggest that continue competition gives John McSame a free pass. They are wrong. As the folks over at Direct Democracy observe, if both Democrats commit to the issues, and if the Obama campaign would honor the primary results of Florida and Michigan, or schedule a revote, then it is all for the good.
As we saw yesterday with the candidates' respective speeches on the economy, this primary race does not preclude running against McCain and as we also saw yesterday, if Clinton does choose to try to win by tearing Barack Obama down instead of making her own case to voters in a constructive way, the superdelegates, which hold the key to both candidates' paths to the nomination, will turn on her. But ultimately if Democrats who are concerned that Clinton will take this all the way to the convention really want to make sure this ends before July 1, as Howard Dean has now called for, they'll urge Barack Obama to back remedies for Michigan and Florida. The idea that Barack Obama can claim a clear win without two states that early in the process would have gone handily to Senator Clinton is absurd. This IS her rationale for taking this to the convention, so anyone who would like to avoid that eventuality should get behind an alternative for those states. Gov. Richardson? Sen. Dodd? Sen. Leahy? Sen. Obama?Why are so many people who support Obama insistent on mocking the votes of women, the white working class, and Hispanics? As Anglachel observes, Sen. Clinton has assembled one of the most diverse coalitions in Democratic history and yet is accused of racism:
[T]he current campaign reminds me of 1968 all over again, except that the targets of the high-minded ire are so unlike the caricatures being painted that I’m left going “WTF?” From Hillary herself as some kind of crypto-racist to Hispanic women Ohioans being compared to a 70’s era ethnic white male bigot, it just boggles the mind. The Stevenson contingent has no narrative, no political frame adequate to address the coalition that has formed around Hillary. They are left grasping at what this person represents to people who do not fall into the educated (male) wine-track or the uneducated (male) beer-track. On the other hand, I’m not sure anyone else has a clear concept of this new constituency either. What does it mean that an upper Midwest born, New England educated white woman who lived for several decades in Arkansas and now calls New York home is sweeping border state primaries and also cleaning up in Florida, California and Massachusetts? What part of the Democratic imagination is she setting on fire?I think political analyst Chuck Todd hit the right note when he wrote:
I would argue the Wright story turned off enough older white voters so that Obama can no longer argue that when compared with Clinton he will expand the electoral map in a general election with McCain.
Sunday, March 30, 2008
Why Won't Sen. Obama Count People's Votes?
It's ironic that Sen. Obama is hailed as the choice of the people. While I admit that he has generated significant pop appeal, it is undeniable that almost all of his delegate lead has come from low-vote scenarios and suppression of the vote.
As three poignant examples:
(a) Sen. Obama won both the Washington caucus and the Washington primary. The cacaus he won by 20 points, but the primary, only five points, with many regions of the state going pro-Clinton. His delegate advantage here is over-pronounced.
(b) Sen. Clinton won the Texas primary vote, and Sen. Obama won the Texas caucus vote. Her margin of victory, about a 100, 000 or so in the primary, netted her fewer delegates than his margin of victory, 20, 000 or so. To further inflame matters, the Wyoming caucus gave Obama a 2,066-vote margin, but a big enough delegate boost to virtually cancel out Hillary Clinton's 329,000-vote margin in the five March races.
(c) Sen. Obama has been opposed to any solution that allows the populations of Florida and Michigan to allocate their delegates. His campaign has stuck to an even split of all the delegates as the only solution it will accept. But why not allow a popular vote, which could, in fact, go either way, determine the distribution of delegates?
Michigan and Florida, of course, are sore spots in relations between Obama and Clinton supporters. Obamanians see Clinton as an opportunist and a cheater, breaking the rules to win. I am continually puzzled by this rationale as neither candidate was to blame for the change in primary date, and, faithful to the pledge, neither candidate actively campaigned there. (Sen. Obama did run TV ads for about a week in the state of Florida, and actively used his surrogates to get people to vote uncommitted in Michigan.)
More importantly, I am shocked the DNC punished Florida and Michigan for something the party Republicans did to the state Democrats. (These Republican attempts to rig the Democratic primary contests should not be surprising given that we know (a) Rove and his friends have been interfering to bury Clinton in the primary to face a weaker opponent, (b) the RNC developed 'Republicans for Obama' outlets to push him over the top in a number of open primaries, and (c) if the Republicans could exploit Democratic anger in two key swing states (particularly ones that were to favor Clinton) they could accomplish (a) and (b).
If I am correct, my argument raised a number of key implication. (1) Why should Sen. Clinton be punished for a successful Republican stratagem? (2) Why is Obama using low turnout victories to overcome Clinton's popular vote advantage and to deny Clinton the delegates? (3) Why aren't more people pushing for a solution to Michigan and Florida?
Wayne Barrett of the HuffPo elaborates on the Republican maneuvers in Michigan and Florida:
Barrett then goes on the specifics of each case.
For Michigan, he writes:
Florida's story is more tragic.
If you think that this whole DNC process has been unfair, sign the petition.
Thursday, March 27, 2008
The Hillary Bloggers
A few weeks back, due to the increasingly partisan and demeaning nature of the net roots conversation, a group of pro-Clinton or even-handed bloggers staged a writer's strike/boycott.
I wanted to recognize these differing viewpoints on my blog, for regular visitors who are looking for other sources of news. These blogs have been my solace as MSNBC goes off the deep end in its reiteration of the pro-Obama talking points. Often, I would even know that Clinton was doing anything positive until I read it on the Internet. If I had only listened to the news television, I would be under the impression that the only thing the Clinton campaign had done since Texas, Ohio, and Rhode Island was (a) lose Mississippi and Wyoming, (b) smear Obama as a Muslim, (c) lie about her Bosnia experience, (d) get condemned for breaking apart the party by Gov. Richardson, and (e) fan flames of race-hatred on the Wright-controversy and former Vice Presidential candidate Geraldine Ferraro.
[In fact, Sen. Clinton has been (a) campaigning in Indiana, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and North Carolina, (b) giving major speeches on the economy and the Iraq war during the whole Wright episode, (c) releasing key documents from her White House years, (d) giving a lot of press interviews to local and national presses, (e) being endorsed by elected, formerly elected, and party Democrats in West Virginia, California, Pensyvlania as well as by the Liberty City Democrats (a GLTBQ organization in PA), Rep. Murtha, and Sen. Evan Bayh (he was an early supporter), (f) defending Florida and Michigan, (h) superior foreign policy credentials defended by Ambassador Joe Wilson and Valerie Plame, and (i) attending crucial and under appreciated women's events.]
This unbalanced coverage of Sen. Clinton must come to end, and Democrats have to save the Democratic Party from the DNC. Please sign this petition to seat Michigan and Florida's delegates (remember we need to run a 50-state strategy against Sen. John McSame) and please donate 10.44 to the Clinton campaign to get her message out there about the positive benefits of the Democratic Party's platform for American voters in the fall.
Here are my esteemed list of the bloggers holding down the fort of fair or Pro-Clinton news coverage.
Taylor Marsh, a journalist and insightful American politics watcher from Missouri, a bellweather state. She re-informed me with her sometimes unconventional, but never uninformed writings. More importantly, she's often ahead of the curve.
Tom Watson, who, in his own words, offers " an iconoclastic view, my own perception of reality. No one pays me to write it, and all editorial judgments are mine. You don't have to agree; indeed, agreement here is kind of rare. But let's try to argue about it with civility."
Sugar-N-Spice, one of my favorite bloggers, is a black female supporter of Sen. Clinton, who wondered why so many people drank the kool aid of Sen. Obama. Her background gives her license to say a lot of things that other people can't say, but are thinking, about the Obama candidacy.
The River Daughters are truly inspiration people who intertwine their analysis and insights with personal anecdotes from their lives. I started volunteering my time because of them. They call people out and I love them for it.
Another very informative blog, No Quarter, tries to ferret out false-hoods and replace lies with truth. Live on, Larry Johnson, live on.
Talk Left, one of the few blogs to call out the United States as the prison society that it is, is also broadly sympathetic to, but critical of, Sen. Clinton. True leftists who rigourously theorize the present for the purposes of furthering a progressive agenda. (I wonder if they ever supporter Edwards?) Always, always informative offering detailed arguments and empirical proof.
Tennessee Guerrilla Women offer an awesome blog that deprograms rightist ideologies. They have taken Sen. Obama to task for his mad and unethical pursuit of the Democratic nomination.
MyDD, another progressive community, is also unabashedly leftist. They too wonder often why the mainstream media is so easily bamboozled by young charismatic men.
Jon Swift is a conservative who calls 'em like he see 'em. That's not always in Sen. Clinton's favor, but unlike most news sources, he hasn't gone out of his way to bash her either.
The Left Coaster is a decidedly anti-elitist blogging community that prides itself on thumbing its nose as the mainstream and Beltway political communities.
Buck Naked Politics lives up to its name of strips off the gloss of spin on the news provided a deeply convinced leftist view of the world.
Anglachel I justed started reading. It's very fascinating.
And, Salon, as a replacement for Slate. Slate, who, since Iowa, have all but crowned Barack Obama, should also be boycotted. (Especially those earnest bloggers on XX Factor.)
The Democratic Primary, a Clinton Nomination, and A Growing Rift in the Party
I should have known in 2007 when Sen. Obama (ironically) uttered: "I'm confident that I can get Sen. Clinton's votes if I win the nomination, but I'm not confident that she can get mine" would be prophetic about the way he would run his campaign. Trying to discredit Clinton at every turn--even going so far as a week before the Texas-Ohio-Rhode Island-Vermont vote to look petulantly at a new camera and say when she loses either Texas or Ohio, we should really consider moving forward with this nomination, Sen. Obama's campaign has degenerated for character attacks to character assassination.
I've really become weary of Sen. Obama's presumptiveness, and his continued "clarifications" of his statements. The Obama candidacy is based on two main arguments (1) a new brand of politics, and (2) opposition to both the Iraq war and the thinking that got us into the war.
Since Super Tuesday I, it has become exceedingly clear that neither are true. Obama is not practicing new politics-- in fact, his campaign has been running an aggressively negative campaign against Sen. Clinton and former President Bill Clinton, stooping so low as to attack her even his campaign emails--and is mired in his continued misstatements on core Democratic issues like universal health care, withdrawing from the Iraq war, or rethinking NAFTA while maintain free trade. As more time has passed, the media has slowly reported that Obama has been a poor national and state senator--often skipping key meetings, votes, and not exercising his basic legislative duties. More importantly, many of his key ideas were lifted from other politicians, reducing "change you can believe in" to "change we can xerox" and "change we can talk about."
Second, if Sen. Obama is the anti-war candidate, why have key members of the Out-of-Iraq caucus--that is, those members of the House of Representatives who have opposed this war consistently with their votes and voices since they were elected--endorsed and defended Sen. Clinton? They are joined by five former general and flag officers at the rank of four stars, including two former chairmen and one vice-chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Apparently, these people are not getting the message that the race is over and the only Obama can truly bring peace.
I want to quote some of Rep. Murtha's endorsement because many are refusing to see this: "Senator Clinton is the candidate that will forge a consensus on health care, education, the economy, and the war in Iraq...Her experience and careful consideration of these issues convinced me that she is best qualified to lead our nation and to bring credibility back to the White House." I want to note that Sen. Murtha, who announced just days for Gov. Richardson, had weeks early pledged to remain neutral.
I mention all this because it has become that Sen. Clinton should be pushed aside. Characterizing her as a Tanya Harding, Americans are subjected to endless declarations about "the math" as the media continues to stump for Obama. As a black (male) independent who supports Clinton, and as a voter who doesn't want another Republican administration, I wanted to echo some thoughts of the others out there who are getting it right.
This is from Anglachel:
My post yesterday called out the degree of violence, particularly misogynistic violence, present in the current Democratic contest. However, the characterization of Democrats who would not support the Democratic nominee in the general as "infantile" has stuck with me. I'm dropping the snark for a post and really looking at what blind spots are demonstrated through this stance. My point is not to criticize a particular blogger (richly though he may deserve it), but to get into the center of some profound self-deceptions going on with people all over the Left over the nature of political legitimacy.I lastly wanted to provide another thought provoking quote from another blog that calls 'em like she sees 'em. We've heard from Sen. Kerry about how we should support Obama because he is black, from Andrew Sullivan about his face, and from others how Obama proves that the American dream is real. What we haven't heard about as much is how deeply transformative of gendered power relations--and entrenched misogyny in the mainstream media--a Clinton presidency will be.
One of the other great tragedies of this primary election season is the setting aside of what a Hillary Clinton nomination would mean for the little girls--black, white, hispanic, asian and everything in between, in this country and the world. I'm constantly bombarded with the, "think of what this would mean for little black boys" pleas from my fellow African-Americans, but I always walk away thinking to myself, "but, what about little girls?"I've had enough of the disrespecting of this woman who has worked hard to ensure that many people have the chance to achieve their God-given potential.
Thursday, March 20, 2008
A More Perfect Election: How Obama’s Speech Won the Nomination and possibly the Presidency in a Single Stroke.
No doubt those who believe that today’s polls are 100% predictive of primary elections weeks and months in the future believe that either Obama has forever lost his bid to win the nomination and certainly eliminated himself from contention in a general election battle with John McCain. Some might even say that if poll numbers do not significantly change in the next few days, Obama’s speech failed in its mission to reassure voters who are upset about his long term association with Rev. Wright. More on why that’s a misguided line of thinking below, first there is some structure and existing fact to contend with.
Unless the “comeback kids” can pull a legendary political maneuver there will be no “
With that said, unless Clinton wants to join the anti-Rev Wright bandwagon and use that as a justification for superdelegate’s overriding the popular vote and pledged delegate count, there’s little more she can do at this point to make a case that she’s a more viable candidate than Obama. And unfortunately for
Thankfully, A More Perfect Union was not only the perfect response by Obama to this growing scandal it also offered the American people a true choice about their political system, about how leaders and leadership is evaluated and what issues “matter” in an election cycle. First and most importantly, is Obama’s decision to not “disavow” or “completely renounce in every way, Rev. Wright.” Political strategists around the world must have watched Obama through trembling fingers as he said the following:
Did I know him to be an occasionally fierce critic of American domestic and foreign policy? Of course. Did I ever hear him make remarks that could be considered controversial while I sat in church? Yes. Did I strongly disagree with many of his political views? Absolutely - just as I'm sure many of you have heard remarks from your pastors, priests, or rabbis with which you strongly disagreed.
The risk and reward here is in Obama’s willingness to use Wright to throw a mirror at the American people, linking his religious and emotional experience to a politic that so often imagines itself as in a different social and cultural world than their political candidates. This isn’t the fault of American citizens. The allures of power and prestige often pull people from the population who do imagine themselves as above or greater than everyday American citizens. Politicians replicate this skewed view by actively participating in political campaigning that test’s a campaigns ability to manage image rather than manage policy options and make a case to the American people. The ever escalating costs of the election cycle substantially limit who can afford to run, not just in terms of funds, but in time off from work and home life. Yet, Obama has attempted to cut through that, asking people to be self reflexive and ask themselves how they react when they hear a controversial or fiery message from a religious leader in their community with which they do not agree. I believe, in the long term such a strategy can be effective for a few reasons. First, there’s a segment of the electorate who is hungry for people who are “real” who will speak honestly and plainly about their own faults and the faults of those around them, this message is hugely appealing to them. Second, there’s a segment of the electorate who is religious and heard these kinds of messages and had that cringe moment and who stayed in their church. Here Obama is specifically appealing to younger voters.
Obama shines the social mirror on the public even brighter in the following section.
The man I met more than twenty years ago is a man who helped introduce me to my Christian faith, a man who spoke to me about our obligations to love one another; to care for the sick and lift up the poor. He is a man who served his country as a U.S. Marine; who has studied and lectured at some of the finest universities and seminaries in the country, and who for over thirty years led a church that serves the community by doing God's work here on Earth - by housing the homeless, ministering to the needy, providing day care services and scholarships and prison ministries, and reaching out to those suffering from HIV/AIDS.”
There’s much more here than asking people to “forgive” or “understand” Wright. He’s inviting people to think about their own journeys of self discovery and their own development of political ideology. Like many people in their twenties when Obama met Wright he had to be impressed by his ability to create a huge religious, community service organization despite meager beginnings and a life history where he experienced intense levels of overt and institutional racism. No doubt over the course of his time at Trinity Obama began to evolve beyond certain aspects of the Reverend’s ideology, particularly the parts rooted in a logic that understands America as, in Obama’s words, “static.” Young voters going through similar periods of self discovery will strongly relate. Generation X will perhaps relate even more as they realize how far they have come from their ways of thinking and believing since their twenties.
There are of course, huge risks, with this strategy. Many Americans, particularly when it comes to race but it extends to foreign policy and the defense of class difference, are defensive as all get out when it comes to these issues. The audacity of being associated with Rev. Wright could dig Obama a deeper hole with people who wanted to see contrition, remorse and “disowning.” And while I agree with Roland Martin’s brilliant observation that nothing about these calls for “disownment” are in synch with a Christian philosophy of love and forgiveness, it’s not even about that. If individuals are unable to emotionally relate to the numerous semi-biographical/historical narratives about himself, Wright and the politics of race in
Brilliantly, Obama called this segment of the population out towards the end of his speech, declaring that Americans are free to treat this campaign as a one issue referendum on race, if they so choose. I fully expect him to treat the issue with increasing insignificance over the coming months. Ideally, if questioned on the matter he will take a truly Presidential tone and declare that he has spoken on the issue, the video exists, the transcript is out there and if voters have continued questions once viewing the speech that there’s not much he can do. Between now and November, Wright will remain part of the public discourse, he must. As Obama pointed out, race can not be ignored, it’s too endemic to our culture. But what will happen is some Americans will look at the economy, the war and healthcare and say “I care about these issues more than I care about Rev. Wright.” It is, in every way, the ultimate test of voter’s ability to truly stomach a Black President. Not the most Anglophiled person with Black or brown skin who parrots negative stereotypes about African Americans back to white audiences(J.W. Watts, Clarence T. etc) to demonstrate their subservience to conservative white perspective on the world. But an African American person whose love for their country is unwavering and intermixed with a knowledge of the nation’s racial faults and faultlines. I don’t know what will happen, but I think it can not be argued that Obama failed to lay down the gauntlet, or to stand up for himself or to declare to the American people “this is who I am, either vote or not.”
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
The Strategic Politics of Negative Campaigning
Clearly, I am going to have to say something about Sen. Obama's "major speech" on race today. As a black independent who is supporting Sen. Clinton, but also recognizes the important of a black presidential nominee, I'm sure I'll have something to say a little later. I think it's important to think about the way in which racial politics and discourses frame how people understand disparity, agency, and identity in modern America.
My initial reaction is that Obama has correctly used his speech-making gifts to try and tone down the race-related rhetoric, and, if reports are to be believed, will join the move Sen. Clinton made yesterday in talking about the other issues in the campaign (Iraq, the economy, etc) in an effort to change the subject. What the speech does not accomplish, laudable though it is, is the fact that Sen. Obama, who based his campaign on "superior judgment" as a substitute if not superior trade for 'experience', has made numerous egregious and rookie political mistakes. (1) Two principles advisers playing wink-wink with the foreign press on two critical issues (NAFTA and Iraq War), (2) Susan Rice admits that Obama is unprepared to be commander-in-chief (although accused Sen. Clinton of the same thing), (3) Obama's ties to, and changing non-disclosures about, the Chicago-based Rev. Wright and Tony Rezko, and (4) receiving a sub-committee chairmanship that has oversight over NATO and (exercising his judgment by) choosing to do nothing, and learning little, about the other war going on: the war in Afghanistan.
Fortunately, on the daily conference calls that each political team has with reporters, the Clinton campaign has not touched or raised the the Wright-Obama issue. A lot of people believe--due the negative attacks started by Sen. Obama (with Republican and conservative help) early last year and perfected by Sen. Edwards in November and December--that Sen. Clinton and her team will "do or say anything" to get elected, a charge that is obviously unfair. (Her candidacy has to end for anyone else's, either McCain or Obama's, to begin. If she wins, she's almost unstoppable.) Her team's action--unlike those of the right-wing pundits--to not push this issue I think are a clear testament of her integrity as a candidate and history as a progressive reformer.
And although, as I am finding out through some back reading, Obama specializes in strategic character assassination--making the other guy unelectable while organizing the elements that are opposed to the more established candidates under the rhetoric of change, younger generations, and new politics--as a way of encouraging implosions within establishment candidacies, Sen. Clinton's team taking the high road these past few weeks are points in her favor. In this particular case, trying to paint the Clintons in general, and Sen. Clinton in particular, as a racist is one of the ultimate knock-out moves in a Democratic primary.
The negative campaigning, by former Sen. Edwards and Sen. Obama, relative to the recent negative campaigning of Sen. Clinton has become the subject of controversy. Igniting new appeals after her March 5 primary victories in Ohio, Rhode Island, and Texas to leave the race because she is damaging the prospects of the Democrats to win in November, many pundits are suggesting that Clinton campaign is handing McCain talking points.
David Epstein has offered some very interesting observations about negative campaigning in primaries and caucuses:
Take a primary campaign in which one candidate is more extremist relative to the national distribution of voters (e.g., Obama), and the other more moderate (e.g., Clinton). Then negative attacks by the more extremist candidate are less damaging to the party in the national election than negative attacks by the moderate.Anyway, these are my early thoughts.
Monday, March 10, 2008
More Schizophrenia from the
I find it hard to believe that no one in the Hillary campaign management has seen The Contender, a 2000 political thriller starring Joan Allen that asked audiences, what would happen if a woman became president? Yet this movie wasn’t about a Presidential campaign. Rather the premise was built upon the unexpected death of the Vice President and the political fallout of President’s (played by the ever charming and handsome Jeff Bridges) decision to select Joan’s character as the Veep, leading to Senate Confirmation fights, intrigue and Richard Dreyfuss rendering scenery asunder with his teeth. Throughout the film Allen’s qualification for Vice President are brushed under the rug as irrelevant. Rather, the drama circles around her qualification/worthiness to ascend to President of the
Yet as they have done throughout 2008, the Clinton camp is sending out a series of contradictory messages about Barack Obama and this later bout of bi-polar campaigning has begun to target Democrat’s chances to win the white house. Both Bill and Hillary have begun to make entreaties to the Obama camp, suggesting they would love to see him on the ticket as Vice President. Ignoring the audacity of proposing such a “compromise” when behind in the popular vote, pledged delegates and state count, the campaign’s “hints” at a joint ticket are often paired with a series of arguments as to why Obama is unqualified to be President. Yes, seriously. Are the
The problem for Hillary is that she does not realize the painful truth that she would be a much more effective vice president than Barack Obama would. As my mom said so eloquently over dinner last night, “Presidents are *supposed* to inspire. Why would the Party of F.D.R and J.F.K try and downplay the importance of inspirational rhetoric from the White House? Hillary is just mad because she’s a technocrat, not a leader.” I could not have put it better myself. As President of the Senate and, no doubt, the most powerful VP since Dick Cheney, Clinton would burn the midnight, oil and fight in all the ways necessary to get Senators to bend to her will. But she can not hope to employ the kinds of popular capital from Americans that will be critical to shout down the Pentagon’s inevitable resistance to withdrawal. More importantly, as the
Saturday, March 08, 2008
Clinton vs. McCain: An Electoral College Analysis
What does a Clinton-McCain national match-up look like? We already know that the Clinton campaign is good at winning the big states in elections, so I decided to run the most likely scenario of a Clinton led Democratic ticket. I then throw a Clinton-Obama ticket for kicks.
Here are the states that the Democrats can expect to win against McCain with Clinton in the lead( electoral college votes follow the state). Remember that 271 are needed.
New York 31
New Jersey 15
Rhode Island 4
This represents a total of 261 of the 271 needed for victory. (Obama does not poll well in the industrial states other than Illinois.)
These are the additional states that she puts into play:
New Mexico 5
West Virginia 5
Any two of these will put her over the top, and any three will secure her victory. Florida, Tennessee, Arkansas, and Missouri seem like the best bets.
In addition, here are the toss ups since John McCain is the opponent (only including those states that could swing either way with McCain in the race):
New Hampshire 4
If it were a Clinton-Obama ticket, here are the additional states he puts into play:
North Carolina 15
South Carolina 8
The Clinton-Obama ticket probably makes Florida and Missouri guarentees, giving the Democrats the election handily at 299 of 271.
Regarding the House of Representatives and the Senate, Clinton's coattails should put the following states in play: New Mexico, Arizona, Arkansas, Iowa, Florida, Missouri, Pennsylvania, California, Michigan, and Nevada. (I can get a list of vacant seats in the House and Senate from somewhere as well.) We don't yet know about Ohio or Pennsylvania yet, but Gov. Ed Rendell (PA) has endorsed her.
This is the scenario that the super-delegates should be thinking about. It would be odd to allow the candidate who has lost California, New York, Florida, New Jersey, Tennessee, Arkansas, and Okalahoma by substantial margins to clinch the Democratic nomination based on caucus wins in Kansas, Nebraska, and Idaho, coupled with a combination of white independent/Republican and an understandably skewed black vote in South Carolina, Louisiana, Georgia, and Virginia primaries. In other words, "if Obama does somehow manage to become the nominee, the Democrats may well turn out to have pulled a Dukakis (Mondale, McGovern) once again. They'll be sending the candidate who lost in their primaries all the states they must win in the general election, and the one utterly without a resume, to do battle against the party that has dominated presidential election contests since World War II and a candidate who is a legitimate national hero."
Clinton, on the other hand, will bring in the Democratic stongholds as well as reach deeply into the Republican safe and border states, giving Democrats control of the executive.
UPDATE: Ezra Klein has this, which is similar to my exercise but predicts different numbers.
Why Sen. Clinton's Nomination Won't Kill the Democratic Chances of Victory
Can the Democrats afford a Clinton victory? Yes, we can. Even from a brokered convention.
First of all, the traditional, and most reliable, part of the Democratic base (with the exception of African-Americans) has consistently supported Clinton.
Second, "new voters" are a myriad bunch. There are at least two kinds of new voters. The first is partisans: young people who have become energized by the politics of the last eight years. These people generally graduated college in the wake of the dot com bust and the war on terror: 2000-2006. Some of have become partisans of the left and others of the right. Partisans of the left will support any Democrat. (You don't become energized and then just leave.)
The second kind are the post-partisans. These people love the Obama, beyond politics rhetoric. Not sure what to do about them.
Without Clinton, a lot of women and older voters may turn to McCain.
The different candidates bring different southern states into play. Tennessee, West Virginia, and Arkansas (they both share Missouri and Virginia) are Clinton's whereas Mississippi, Louisiana, and Alabama's are Obama's.
Clearly a Clinton-Obama ticket solves a lot of these problems. Black turnout will be just as high to elect the first black vice president, particularly because Obama will still be on the stump as the vice-president. Women, Latinos, Asians, and gays will turn out for Clinton's election as well as the "one-issue" independents: peaceniks and those worried about the economy.
I imagine that the anti-war bloc will continue to solidify as McCain makes the case for war. (Already Clinton is consistently beating McCain in head to head match-ups in the polls on the growing anti-war bloc alone. The economy is also only going to get worse. With gas prices rising, due to the summer increase, the cost of 'recession-proof' foods such as pizza and fries rising, and increase inflation on the dollar, the economy is very structurally-weak. (It's basically the Carter economy of the 70s.) This will create a powerful pro-Democratic electorate.
If we do a state by state analysis, Clinton puts the following state in play that Democrats have had a hard time holding onto in the past two presidential elections: New Mexico (5), Arkansas (6), Iowa (7), Florida (27), Missouri (11), Ohio (20) and Nevada (5). I think I write another post on this.
Wednesday, March 05, 2008
Pragmatism is the philosophical calling card of most
Yet can anyone who saw
And to what end? With a sudden increase in super delegates and a likely victory in the
New Voters: The failures of the Bush Administration and the ease with which those failures can be linked to the economic tidings of most Americans has energized a set of voters to take notice of the electoral process who otherwise would not. New voters are a complex coalition all their own, and while most vote for Obama, not all do. However, what does unify them is a sense that politics is naturally "unfair" and "corrupted." Whether these charges are true they provide intellectual justification for voter apathy and give these voters an "easy out" when politics proves just how corrupt it is. The problem for the Democrats is a superdelegate decided nomination is just the out these voters need and the electoal map is such that it does not matter how energized people in Ohio, New York and PA are about the Democratic party, the Republicans are electoral college incumbents in too many states to take for granted.
Southern Swing States: If the democrats are going to pull places like
Women: Clinton's only hope. If Clinton is awarded the win by superdelegates (in a decidedly unfeminist way as it would not be democratic) her only prayer is to ratchet up the pressure on women to support her. However she has a bit of a problem. Her majorities among women in the Democratc primary are slim compared to Obama's majorities among African Americans. Conservative women take it as a point of pride to not like her as her version of empowerment has little to do with their lives. Ironically, Clinton will most likely capture the youth white women vote in November and if she can turn that vote out, she has a chance. It's a much smaller coalition and, as always, relies upon Republicans not showing up for John McCain for her to be victorious. Either way one thing is clear. The last few days before the 2nd super Tuesday reveal that when asked whether she wants the Democrats to win more than she wants to be President, Clinton responded in a way unsurprising to her detractors.