Commentary on politics, history, culture, and literature by two Dartmouth graduates and their buddies
WHO WE ARE
Chien Wen Kung graduated from Dartmouth College in 2004 and majored in History and English. He is currently a civil
servant in Singapore. Someday, he hopes to pursue a PhD in History.
John Stevenson graduated from Dartmouth College in 2005 with a BA in Government and War and Peace Studies. He is currently
a PhD candidate in the Department of Political Science at the University of Chicago. He hopes to pursue a career in
teaching and research.
Kwame A. Holmes did not graduate from Dartmouth.
However, after graduating from Florida A+M University in 2003, he began a doctorate in history at the University of Illinois--Urbana Champaign.
Having moved to Chicago to write a dissertation on Black-Gay-Urban life in Washington D.C., he attached himself to the leg of John Stevenson and is thrilled to sporadically blog on the Dartmouth Observer.
Feel free to email him comments, criticisms, spelling/grammar suggestions.
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
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:
Washington (34%) 238,000 Caucus turnout 691,381 Feb 19 2008 State Primary
Nebraska (41%) 38,571 Caucus Turnout 94,905 May 20 2008 State Primary 41%
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.
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.
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.
April was the third straight month that the number of Democrats topped 41%. Prior to February of this year, neither party had ever reached the 39% level of support. [...]
The partisan gap now shows the Democrats with a 10.0 percentage point advantage over the Republicans. That's the largest advantage ever recorded by either party. In fact, before these past three months, the previous high was a 6.9 point percentage point edge for the Democrats in December 2006.
The 10.0 percentage point advantage for Democrats is up from a 2.1 point advantage in December.
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.
Historically, the Democratic Party’s success – and failure – with presidential nominees has hinged on winning in rural areas. Senator Kerry's underperformance in these areas cost him Ohio (-20 among rural voters); West Virginia (-11); Missouri (-33); and Nevada (-43) – all states with whose rural voters Hillary performs strongly. According to a recent poll conducted in NH, PA, OH, MI, WI, IA, MN, MO, FL, VA, CO, NM and NV by Greenberg Quinlan & Rosner and Greener & Hook for the Center for Rural Strategies, Hillary and Senator McCain both enjoy the support of rural America. Hillary ties Senator McCain among rural voters, who cast 23% of general election ballots; Senator Obama trails Senator McCain by 9 points with the same voters. Furthermore, Hillary has won 10 of the 15 districts rated “toss-ups” for 2008 by the Cook Political Report. They are: • AL 05 • PA 10 • TX 22 • AZ 01 • MS 01 • NJ 03 • NY 25 • NY 26 • OH 15 • OH 16. Without her strength, and indeed, if there is a rejection of Obama, we could lose.
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.
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.
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?
To sincerely (no matter how reluctantly) offer the position of VP to the person who is equally supported by just as large a portion of the party as you are is the only way to begin bringing people back to the party rather than driving them away because they scare you. If offered, I think Hillary would take it. Why? Because she has done the long-term math and knows that she can power the ticket to victory, sweeping in an overwhelming Democratic majority in both houses, and that she would have done this for the sake of the party and her constituents. Obama can try to bottle her up in the VP office but I don't see him being very effective on that count. And that, of course, is why the offer is unlikely to be made. It would make his victory dependent on her presence and it would further legitimize her part of the party, which is the diametric opposite of what the anti-Clinton wing wants to do. They would be forever in her debt.
But, we're looking at a lady or tiger situation here, or rather a co-dependent win with the lady and a crushing defeat you will never recover from tiger. Fail to seat Hillary's supporters while their votes still count and you lose in November. Seat them and you risk losing the delegate lead and get relegated to VP. (And, yes, Hillary will make Obama her VP without batting an eye.) If you still somehow managed to squeak out the delegate count, you instantly make her VP, thereby legitimizing your biggest political opponent, or you lose in November. There's no recovery from that. Failing to give respect and power where it is due only strengthens your opponent for the next round.
The actual political battle being fought this electoral year is whether or not the Democratic Party is willing to abandon its elitist politics of resentment against its own working class core and take that part of the population back from the Republicans. That means abandoning fantasies of Whole Foods Nation and living in archipelagos of urbanity where you can be ironically detached from the events of the dirty world beyond your redoubt. It means rejecting "unity" predicated upon a purge of what frustrates you in the party coalition. It means relinquishing your dearly held fantasies of the evil demons out to get you, and accepting that you will have to compromise with others to get things done.
Obamacans need to grow the fuck up and jettison their juvenile paranoid conspiracy theories about Hillary Clinton, who has done nothing except run a tough campaign. As Krugman conlcudes:
the nightmare Mr. Obama and his supporters should fear is that in an election year in which everything favors the Democrats, he will nonetheless manage to lose.
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.
What is the implication of this? It is that, among white voters, socioeconomic status permeates the Obama v. Clinton contest. It seems that one's inclination to vote for a candidate does not depend simply upon age and gender, but age and gender in the context of socioeconomic status. These factors interact with one another to produce (ultimately) a vote choice. White youth are more likely to vote for Obama than white women or men of all ages, but the particular likelihood that a white youth will vote for Obama also depends upon his or her socioeconomic status. Ditto white females. They are less likely to vote for Obama than white males or white youths, but the likelihood increases with socioeconomic status.
All in all, Obama's coalition seems to depend in large part upon African Americans, [rich] white youths, and upscale whites generally.
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.
There are a lot of people who truly believe that Sen. Clinton is willfully trying to deceive the American public about the amount of sexism in the media and on the campaign trail. CNN has finally decided to acknowledge the media's (MSNBC's) role in all this.
Why, ask many Democrats and media commentators, won’t Hillary Rodham Clinton see the long odds against her, put her own ambitions aside, and gracefully embrace Barack Obama as the inevitable Democratic nominee?
Here is why: She and Bill Clinton both devoutly believe that Obama’s likely victory is a disaster-in-waiting. Naive Democrats just don’t see it. And a timid, pro-Obama press corps, in their view, won’t tell the story.
But Hillary Clinton won’t tell it, either.
Far from a no-holds-barred affair, the Democratic contest has been an exercise in self-censorship.
Rip off the duct tape and here is what they would say: Obama has serious problems with Jewish voters (goodbye Florida), working-class whites (goodbye Ohio) and Hispanics (goodbye, New Mexico).
Republicans will also ruthlessly exploit openings that Clinton — in the genteel confines of an intraparty contest — never could. Top targets: Obama’s radioactive personal associations, his liberal ideology, his exotic life story, his coolly academic and elitist style.
… one argument seems indisputably true: Obama is on the brink of the Democratic nomination without having had to confront head-on the evidence about his general election challenges.
That is why some friends describe Clinton as seeing herself on a mission to save Democrats from themselves. Her candidacy may be a long shot, but no one should expect she will end it unless or until every last door has been shut.
…there is reason to question whether he would be able to perform at average levels with other main pillars of the traditional Democratic coalition: blue-collar whites, Jews and Hispanics. He has run decently among these groups in some places, but in general he’s run well behind her.
Obama lost the Jewish vote by double-digits in Florida, New York and Maryland — and that was before controversy over anti-Israel remarks of Wright.
Does it seem odd that a woman with a polarizing reputation would be rolling up enormous margins among some of the country’s most traditional voters? Three out of every four blue-collar whites in small towns and rural areas of Ohio voted for Clinton over Obama on March 4. The reality is, this is already an electorate with deep cultural divisions — and that’s in the Democratic Party.
Add to that her massive wins in WV and KY and her convincing win in PA.
The last two Democratic nominees, Al Gore and John F. Kerry, were both military veterans, and both had been familiar, highly successful figures in national politics for more than two decades by the time they ran.
Both men lost control of their public images to the right-wing freak show — that network of operatives and commentators working mostly outside of the mainstream media — and ultimately lost their elections as many voters came to see them as elitist, out-of-touch, phony, and even unpatriotic.
Obama is a much less familiar figure than Kerry or Gore, with a life story that is far more exotic, who is coming out of a political milieu in Chicago politics that is far more liberal.
The freak show has already signaled its early lines of attack on Obama. Polls show a significant percentage of Americans believe — falsely — that he is a Muslim. Voter interviews reveal widespread unease with minor and seemingly irrelevant questions like why he does not favor American flag pins on his lapel. Nor have we heard the last about Wright and his fulminations.
Here will be the real kitchen sink: every damaging comment or association from Obama’s past, mixed together with innuendo and downright fiction, to portray him as an an exotic character of uncertain values and weak patriotism.
Obama is indeed poised and self-confident. But the current uproar over his impromptu sociology lesson in San Francisco about “bitter” voters in Pennsylvania raise questions about his self-discipline, and his understanding of how easy it is for a politicians in modern politics to lose control of his or her public image.
It's Memorial Day. Let us each take a moment of silence to honor those who have died.
According to a CNN count, as of 23 May 2008, 4,391 Coalition troops have died in Iraq. That's 4,079 Americans, two Australians, 176 Britons, 13 Bulgarians, one Czech, seven Danes, two Dutch, two Estonians, one Fijian, four Georgians, one Hungarian, 33 Italians, one Kazakh, one Korean, three Latvian, 22 Poles, three Romanians, five Salvadoran, four Slovaks, 11 Spaniards, two Thai and 18 Ukrainians.
I am 29 year old female serving in the United States Army. I am black. I am proud. And I am a supporter of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton.
To attempt to destroy the reputation, the name of the former First Lady and Senator by falsely portraying her supporters as racist is one of the worst mistakes of the 2008 election process. To use the the history and the struggles in the black community to destroy another person's political career is the worst form of politics imaginable.
The media is slowly destroying the black community with their words. MSNBC should fire Keith Olbermann and let him return to being a radio sportscaster. They are ripping the Democratic Party apart and they are dividing this nation. Any sane, reasonable and coherent person can see that the cries of "racism" are their attempts to get Senator Clinton to leave this race. By any means necessary. Therefore any sane, reasonable and coherent person watching this debacle is going to resent what is happening, because anyone can see that Senator Clinton is being railroaded.
African Americans are not in any way stupid. If we believed that there was this level of racial discourse as these pundits make it out to be we would be marching on Washington D.C. But now we can only watch in horror as the media destroys our history. The only ones who are "outraged" are those who have no idea of true racial hatred.
How many black civil rights leaders have you seen in the media, on NBC, MSNBC, and CNN, that have stated that the former President and First Lady are racists? None. But we should believe analysts such as David Gergen, commentators such as Keith Olbermann and reporter Andrea Mitchell who get on television and tell you so? On 27 April, "Meet the Press" NBC reporter Andrea Mitchell boldly stated that racism was a "real factor" in the Obama vote on the ground in Pennsylvania and Ohio. Apparently because many voters are racist they have a "willingness to believe totally erroneous things about Senator Obama," like he didn't put his hand over his heart during the Pledge of Allegiance. So my next question is, where is the evidence for the "I vote for Senator Clinton and I am racist who clings to my gun and bible" scientific poll to determine who is racist or who is not? So the next time the Obama campaign gives you talking points make sure you understand what you're reading and saying before you open your mouth and say it.
For those of you who don't know, there is a movement happening behind the scenes and it's one that is moving fast and one that is strong. It was born from watching this historic election with our nation having its first viable female contender for the position of Commander in Chief take hit after hit, day after day, while she attempts to fight for the heart and soul of the Democratic Party, when the party in question will not stand up and fight for her.
It was born from watching the little girls with big dreams, and those that are already living the American dream. It came from the mothers who can barely make ends meet and do without just so their families can barely get by. It's from the blue collar workers who just lost their jobs. It was born from the heroes and sheroes deploying to the same place year after year with no end in sight. It came from the ones who want to give up, but find a way to keep on going. It started from the ones who have been constantly knocked down, but keep getting back on their feet. It came from those moving forward that never look back...
The 2008 primary and general election is historic for many reasons. It's the chance of having either the first female or black president. But the most important aspect and notable accomplishment for me will be the official date, the official time, the exact moment the Democratic Party died for me.
The party I thought I knew ceased to exist the moment, the minute and the second they allowed the first most qualified female presidential candidate in our nation's history to be attacked, destroyed, and ripped apart, which reached a tipping point this weekend. As of 24 May 2008 0930hrs, I no longer belong to the Democratic Party. I will no longer be affiliated with any group or group(s), person or person(s), that would allow a party member to be falsely accused of allegations that bears no relevance or has no relationship to the situation at hand. I will not be part of a party that utilizes character assassination to achieve a goal. I will not quietly sit by and watch the destruction of my chosen candidate. I will not support, vote, or show any loyalty to those who sit quietly aside and allow this to be played out in the court of public opinion. The Party I once knew I know no longer. Today I turn my back on the Democratic Party, because by allowing the falsehoods against Hillary Clinton to be embellished as they have the Democratic Party has turned its back on me.
I don't always agree with [Big Tent Democrat] on everything, but he understands very well the alienation a lot of us have felt and that there is a need to do something about it.
I started out long ago torn between supporting Clinton and supporting Obama, and as must be obvious from my comments at [TalkLeft] I've come to feel more and more difficulty facing the prospect of Obama being the nominee, based entirely on his comments and actions and the comments and actions of those acting on his behalf (that is, putting aside the blog commenters). This is a problem that I've said repeatedly he's got to own. He and his campaign have made a few little feints toward reconciling with me and voters who feel as I do recently, but it's way too little and way too late and comments like the one about MI/FL being something Clinton stirred up just go to undermining it.
Being a woman and a long-time voter (voted as an 18-year-old in the first Presidential election in which it was legal to do so) and activist (against wars from Viet Nam on, and on poverty issues) the feeling I've gotten from Obama and his campaign (and again, ignoring the bloggers and commenters for a moment) is that I'm part of a failed past along with Hillary and Bill Clinton and should just silently go off to retirement and let him and his Unity Pony (including Republicans!!!) take things over. I'm exaggerating a little, but not much. And that, frankly, makes me angry. I've been working hard to make this country a better place all my life for me and my community, and now I'm being treated as irrelevant by the candidate who claims to represent change and hope.
This is "only" a question of tone, but it's a big one. Why should reaching across the aisle to Republicans be more important than reaching out to people like me?
Obama could still do something about this, but only if he realizes what a problem it is and that it's not just going to go away, and certainly not with a few little tepid attempts at outreach. And "guilting" me into supporting him will definitely not work and will only increase my sense of alienation.
I don't know that I want Clinton to be VP - I'd much rather see her at the top of the ticket, or as Senate Majority leader - but it may be the only meaningful move he could make at this point. It would also need to be clear that this is a unity ticket in every sense of the word, that Clinton would have a strong voice in the administration as well. (The idea that she becomes somehow irrelevant to national politics if she doesn't get the nomination, after having run a campaign that kept it so squeaky-close, is one I find bizarre.)
Sorry this is so long. I guess a lot had been building up and it just kind of boiled over this morning.
There is now a great divide in the Democratic Party - there is an Obama Wing and Clinton Wing - divided equally in votes in the contests. Despite claims to the contrary by the Obama News Network (NBC) and Obama blogs, the split is almost precisely even. This has been the closest nomination race ever. And in key swing states, it can be strongly argued that the Clinton Wing is significantly larger. The question the Democratic Party and its likely nominee must ask is this - do you want to win without Clinton Democrats and do you think you CAN win without Clinton Democrats?
Me, I do not want to take any unneccessary risks regarding winning the Presidency in November. It seems there is a whole class of pundits, Democrats and Obama supporters who really really despise the Clinton sooo much that they are willing to risk the Presidency to drive the Clintons out of the Party.
Oh they will couch their arguments in terms of baggage and Bill Clinton (as if the only two term Democratic President of the last 50 years would somehow be a problem for a Democratic campaign, it is mind boggling). But what they want is the Clinton Wing of the Democratic Party gone - dead and buried.
They despise the Clintons so much, they seem willing to risk the Presidency to destroy them. I find this attitude simply irresponsible. Just as I despise those Clinton supporters who say they won't vote for Obama, I equally despise those Obama supporters who would rather destroy the Clintons than win the Presidency.
[It's like Alice in Wonderland.] Up is down, backward is forward, crazy is sane and so on...
One of the things that this country has got to be careful of is the mob mentality which has been in swing since Obama won in Iowa and which is now at a fever pitch this mob mentality. And, the mob has been yelling and sreaming for HRC to GET OUT! And, the mob mentality voices are drowning out the rational voices and will march us all over the cliff of insanity if this doesn't stop.
HRC stays in this race because she's earned it just as he has although I know some will refute that about him. Mostly because of his winning so many caucuses and how he was awarded more delegates in those caucuses (the most undemocratic system) which represented a paucity of popular votes compared to HRC who was awarded fewer delegates but won a huge amount in the popular vote. And, then, HRC won less delegates than Obama in a State like Texas although she won there. That is Alice in Wonderland to the ne plus ultra if ever there was a ne plus ultra. Is it any wonder why so many of us are angry and disillusioned and add to that the horrific behavior from many quarters towards HRC and her supporters. I'll never forget that. Never.
In the 2000 POTUS GE in Florida, democracy took a sucker punch to the guts and was weakened considerably and has yet to recover since it continued to get sucker punched over the last seven years including during these primaries. The Forth Estate was supposed to act like the forth branch of the gov, the real watchdog over abuse of power, etc. The Forth Estate is now mostly an outhouse because most have now become threats to our democracy as they have become open advocates of one candidate over another. Who is their watchdog but us?
How do we boot them out? By not buying their newspapaers, tuning into their broadcasts (Keith Olbermann is sick and for him to actually believe he's Murrow is evidence of just how mentally unhinged this man is), not clicking on their blogs, etc.
These cheap, malicious, seriously mental and woefully overpaid morons have been largely responsible for the rancid, toxic political atmosphere because of their morbid hatred of everything Clinton especially HRC.
What she has endured from these parasites and what she has endured from her own party and the crowned Elmer Gantry, Obama and many of his supporters on blogs and on the stump has been unseemly and herculian in it's scope. And, she's come out on the stronger end of it all. She's more than survived she's thrived and become a great candidate whose voice speaks for so many of us and whose voice is so eloquent and scary smart. She's got what it takes to be the leader of the free world and she is the only one now who can lead us out of the serious mess we're in, domestically and internationally. She's the only one.
I'm a woman and her being a woman is the ribbon on top. I'm not voting for her because she is a woman but because she is the most qualified person running in decades to be POTUS and I believe she will be one of the great President's. And, this is a statistical tie between her and Obama and she shouldn't stop. To stop now and throw that away and in this most precarious time in our history is not only foolhardy but a tragedy for our country and the world. And, she loves her country and is running for POTUS because she has the better ideas and wants to make it better for us. It's not for the power alone. And, with due respect, that is how I feel about Obama based upon his quick rise to the "top". That he has no basic principles, will go with the wind, or changing wind and wants power for power sake and not to use his power for the good of us.
HRC stays in and fights as she has been doing and I'm there to support her all the way into the convention if need be. And, historically she will not be setting a precedent. The only reason she is being treated differently with all the catcalls and whining babies yelling and nipping at her to leave the contest is because she's not got a Y chromosome and most of us know it.
The rampant sexism thrown at her and us as women and the men who have been offended by it, will come back to haunt this country as the world is watching us very closely and how she has been treated. Some in the British press have already commented on this. And, the DNC sat back and still sits back and says not a word. They will pay for this silence.
Some have said that the high percentage of HRC's supporters who said they won't vote for Obama in Nov should HRC not win the Dem nom will come back into the fold as they have before. These pundits and the DNC and Obama supporters who are the reasonable ones (and have not behaved like the mob did) who are calling for unity and think there will be a coming together are wrong. This Democratic Party schism is very different and more bone deep from what happened in the last two elections. And I'm afraid the vast majority who said (possibly in the heat of the moment) that they wouldn't vote for Obama (not because they are racists which has been the red herring and shamelessly has been played up more than it deserved while the sexist hits kept on hitting)will not vote for him in Nov should he be the nominee.
What happened here goes way beyond hurt feelings and licking wounds. Way beyond.
One thing that would go a long way in healing that political schism is for Obama to agree to have the votes in Florida and Michigan, the popular votes and delegate counts stand as is before he and his chorus in the media (old and new) and in the DNC once again declare him the winner. Count the votes before June 3rd or on June 3rd.
Be that as it may, I remember like someone just hit me with an anvil, I remember the night of the Nov 2000 election thinking Gore had won and then it was taken away from him like bad magic. And, then the horrific weeks that followed and the GOP clean-cut thugs banging on the doors where people were counting votes. That image is apoxied to my brain.
And, then we got Bush 2. Never again. And, the DNC should be now be ashamed for what they did to Florida and Michigan but especially Florida because they too should have had in the back of their collective heads "never again" will our Dem voters be disenfranchised because we are not the GOP. We stand for all votes being counted. Kind of hits them in their arses now doesn't it? But, I'll give them a chance to regroup and think right and on May 31st to at long last decide to count all the votes as is, votes that were State certified as legitimate and true.
It's ironic that the May 31st vote comes a little less than one week after the HBO film "Recount" airs tonight. I hope the DNC and all parties involved in this and all of us who care deeply about our country and the fate of democracy in our country watch this film and remember what happened and what the GOP did to the Dems. And, now it could happen once again this time Dem on Dem. I can't imagine they will let it go that far. And, if they do, they will have lost much more than many, many core Dems. Much, much more.
As we inch closer to the November 2008 election, more citizens are becoming aware of the deleterious effect of the corporate media echo chamber.
Let's let the media know that their sexist and racist coverage doesn't sell--because we are not buying it.
Join Media Matters and Women's Media Center today, and sign the petition against sexism. If you've ever given a dime to a campaign in the last twenty years, it would be worth your money to contribute $25 a year to Media Matters.
From Women's Media Center:
In the video released today, “Sexism Sells, But We’re Not Buying It,” The Women’s Media Center and its partners including Media Matters and the National Women’s Political Caucus document 30 examples of gendered, sexist coverage from the mainstream media (far from an exhaustive list). From jokes about a woman’s appearance to specific gendered insults, some media professionals this election season have fallen far short of their responsibility to report and educate.
Women are a driving force in the U.S. economy with a purchasing power of more than $7 trillion a year, and purchase fully 82 percent of all products and services in the U.S. Earlier this year, The Women’s Media Center joined NOW, the Feminist Majority, and the National Women’s Political Caucus to speak out against the particularly egregious remarks Chris Matthews made about Hillary Clinton’s campaign, when he said that “the reason she may be a front-runner is her husband messed around” (MSNBC's Morning Joe, January 9, 2008). Speaking for more than 15 million women across the United States, the coalition secured an on-air apology from Matthews, and assurances from NBC executives that steps were being taken to address the situation. Yet the situation persists, which is why The Women’s Media Center is taking this next step, releasing a video and launching an online petition campaign to allow women to speak out against this continuing sexism.
The Women’s Media Center is working to make sure that issues of gender and media do not slide to the backburner. For more information on The Women’s Media Center and to join our campaign to make women more visible and powerful in the media, please visit www.womensmediacenter.com/sexism_sells.html.
If you are tired of the distractions, then we, together, need to band together to fund a progressive network capable of holding the media, our elected representatives, and our executive accountable for their behavior.
Median (95% CI) EC votes for Obama: 263 (241, 294)
Median (95% CI) EC votes for McCain: 275 (244, 297)
100.0% probability of winning
0.0% probability of winning
Mean of 320 electoral votes
Mean of 218 electoral votes
On Friday, Sen. Hillary Clinton had a 99.9% chance of defeating Sen. John McCain in an election held then. Today after the release of five new polls, Clinton’s chances have increased ever so slightly.
After 10,000 simulated elections, Clinton wins 10,000 times (and there were no ties). What does this mean? It means that the state head-to-head polls used to generate a simulated election indicate that Clinton would win a general election held now. That is, her expected win of 320 electoral votes is well above the “margin of error” (or sampling variability).
This doesn’t mean she wins with certainty in November…it means she would win in an election held right now.
Here is the distribution of electoral votes [FAQ] from the simulations. Notice that the distribution sits way above the 269 electoral votes Clinton needs to win:
10000 simulations: Clinton wins 100.0%, McCain wins 0.0%.
Average ( SE) EC votes for Clinton: 320.2 ( 12.9)
Average (SE) EC votes for McCain: 217.8 ( 12.9)
Median (95% CI) EC votes for Clinton: 321 (295, 344)
Median (95% CI) EC votes for McCain: 217 (194, 243)
Your support has made the difference between victory and defeat. Though we have been outspent massively, your support has helped us make our case on the air and on the ground, and your help will keep us going. We've made it this far together, so please go to HillaryClinton.com and together we will make history.
Why do millions keep turning out to vote in the face of naysayers and skeptics? Because you know that our political process is more than candidates running or the pundits chattering or the ads blaring. It's about the path we choose as a nation and whether or not we will solve our toughest problems, whether or not we will have a president who will rebuild the economy, end the war in Iraq, restore our leadership in the world, and stand up for you every single day.
And, you know, the people I meet along the campaign trail don't always make the headlines: the nurses and teachers, the truckers and soldiers, the waitresses and firefighters, the police officers and coal miners, the college students and line workers, the men and women who get up every single day, work hard to make a difference for their families, the people struggling to make ends meet, to find a good job, to pay the bills, to have a shot at the American dream.
For too long, too many Americans have felt invisible in their own country. Well, you've never been invisible to me. I've been fighting for you my entire life.
We are in this race because we believe everyone deserves a shot at the American dream, the opportunity to work hard at a good job to get ahead, to save for college, for a home, for retirement, to fill the gas tank, and buy the groceries with a little left at the end of each month to build a better life for you and your children.
We are in this race because we believe this new century poses new challenges to meet and new opportunities to seize, if we only had a president ready, willing, and able to lead and turn the climate crisis into an energy revolution and create millions of new jobs, to turn the risks of the new global economy into the rewards of new prosperity shared by all of our people.
We are in this race because we believe it will take a commander- in-chief with the strength and knowledge to end the war in Iraq, safely and quickly, and a president with experience, representing the people of the United States in more than 80 countries, to restore our leadership and moral authority in the world.
And, yes, we are in this race because we believe America is worth fighting for. This continues to be a tough fight, and I have fought it the only way I know how: with determination, by never giving up and never giving in.
I have done it -- I have done it not because I've wanted to demonstrate my toughness, but because I believe passionately that, for the sake of our country, the Democrats must take back the White House and end Republican rule.
This country needs our combination of strength and compassion to help people struggling with their bills, living the hard reality of everyday life, in need of our leadership on issues from health care to energy to Social Security.
That's why I'm still running, and that's why you're still voting.
Neither Senator Obama nor I has won the 2,210 delegates required to secure the nomination. And because this race is so close, still separated by less than 200 delegates out of more than 4,400, neither Senator Obama nor I will have reached that magic number when the voting ends on June the 3rd.
And tonight I'm thinking about all of the women I've met who were born before women could vote. Just this week, I met 89-year-old Emma Hollis (ph), an African-American woman. She has seen so many barriers crumble and fall in her lifetime, but she's not finished yet.
She's been volunteering out of our campaign office in Covington to help our campaign break the highest and hardest glass ceiling in the land.
I'm thinking about Andrea Spiegel (ph), a strong and composed young woman, 20 years old, who drove across Kentucky to meet me. Her husband, Justin, is deployed in Afghanistan. And she told me how important it is that we have a president who will always stand up for our veterans. And I'm honored by her support and by her family's service and sacrifice.
That's why I'm in this race: to fight for your future. And that's why, whatever happens, I'll work as hard as I can to elect a Democratic president this fall.
You know, the state motto of Kentucky is, "United we stand, divided we fall," words that have a special place in our history. They inspire American revolutionaries to unite the colonies, to defy an empire, and create a new nation, to invent a new form of government, of the people, by the people, and for the people, and they bound our nation together in service and sacrifice, even in our darkest hours.
We will come together as a party, united by common values and common cause, united in service of the hopes and dreams that know no boundaries of race or creed, gender or geography. And when we do, there will be no stopping us.
We won't just unite our party. We will unite our country and make sure America's best years are still ahead of us.
Needless to say, I am tired of the main-stream media and blogosphere extraordinare competing to describe just how dead Clinton is. Team Clinton has rightly begun to explicitly state is newest argument: it's the map not the math. Whether in terms of counties won, or all of the votes cast for a candidate in this primary season, or the number of 'important'/'swing' states won, Sen. Clinton has exceeded expectations. While things would certainly be easier if she were ahead in other three metrics--pledged delegates, superdelegates, and states won--she does has a solid grip on three of the six measures.
Nevertheless, it is easy to get lost in all this math and these inane arguments about 'rules.' The Democratic Party has two questions it must resolve: (1) what is the party going to do about the certified elections that occurred in Michigan and Florida? (2) Given the closeness of this primary race--neither candidate has been able to deliver the knockout blow--which candidate, or combination of the candidates, is the most competitive in the 2008 November election?
This is a measurement that can only occur, as I have argued earlier, by each state's contribution to an Electoral College victory. Quite frankly, I am of the opinion that Sen. Clinton is the clear choice and here's why. Her electoral victory map represents a more sure shot of a Democratic presidency.
Polls consistently show Obama winning and Hillary losing in the following states:
Polls show Hillary winning and Obama losing in the following states:
It's that simple. It's the difference between winning (Hillary) and losing (Obama).
Let me be clear: Obama can win; Clinton will win. The deep irony of the situation is that the Republicans nominated their only candidate who could win this year while the Democrats seem intent on nominating the only remaining candidate who could lose.
Clearly Sen. Obama has proven his worth as a candidate: his nomination to the vice presidency would make the Democratic ticket an unstoppable force for up to four presidential elections, and for many congressional elections as well.
I’m sorry Obama, but is it that you just can’t be bothered? What else can explain your M.I.A. status in West Virginia and Kentucky. Yes you needed to show a sign of strength. The rock star moment in the house was a nice touch, I think we can all appreciate the theater in that.And kudos on your excellent small crowd townhall on the economy, education and the war in Iraq in Beaverton Portland. You are introducing yourself to people and making use of local television, awesome.This is how you win in liberal Pac Northwest states where Independents are going to be most likely to switch to you.
But get your ass into West Virginia and Kentucky right the hell now! This is a huge blunder. There’s the potential that these white voters will not vote for you because you are black but make an effort for everyone.It’s not going to change their minds about you.It will change the minds of millions of Clinton supporters in other states who need reassurances that you care about them, and with a quickness.
Also there needs to be a serious Obama and the press situation where Obama publicly calls on his supporters to reach out to Clinton supporters in order to unite the party. You are going to run on changing politics, then this is an excellent opportunity to do that. You have a voter registration drive and energized volunteers. Operation Care for Hillary supporters will launch you among the women vote and get some sensitive husbands too. If you can get all the women in the country voteing for you then you have a major chance.Just as black women would’ve been more easily brought into the fold, the same is true for white women. Sisterhood moves both ways even if there are serious social gaps between them.Single moms alone could change this election.So Obama needs to think women, women, women. Appealing to women Clinton supporters, talking about issue women care about. You’re gonna get the liberal men and the black men and the white men under 33.Maybe you can’t get men back. But you can get women back. Make that a priority and you’ll solve this “irreparable damange.” Be impractical about gender and you could throw it away.
In recent weeks my own naiveté, hallmark of the Obama faithful, encouraged me to reject punditry and accept the notion that despite the contentious battle for the Democratic nomination, there was a good chance that Democrats would be united in their support for the eventual nominee come November. And for at least one side of the intra-party divide, that seems to be the case. The number of Obama supporters who will vote for Hillary Clinton has remained relatively stable over the last major contests with nearly 70% pledging their support for either candidate come fall. Indiana and North Carolina, however, reveal a troubling trend for the party that the media and blogosphere has increasingly seized upon since the PA primary.In both states, though more-so in North Carolina, a minority of Clinton supporters said they would vote for Obama in a November match up against John McCain. I find credence in the position that these polls represent little more than temporary hurt feelings (if Obama fans are naïve, Clinton fans need to work through their sense of entitlement).Unfortunately, I’m also persuaded by the notion that, white Democrats, once again, are demonstrating an unwillingness to embrace any presidential candidate who might appear to serve the interests of African Americans, no matter how effectively his/her policy prescriptions will address the issues most important to middle to low income white voters.We tend to describe this voting bloc as “Reagan Democrats” who, it can be argued, rejected Jimmy Carter and Walter Mondale because of the Democratic Party’s implicit ties to Civil Rights liberalism and Reagan’s effective exploitation of white resentment of welfare policies and growing fears of black inner city criminality.This strategy merged with and was eventually overtaken by Gingrich’s Contract with America which emphasized religio-cultural issues once the Clinton Administration bowed to pressure and eliminated federal welfare.Now with Obama on the ballot and the Rev. Wright media circus labeling him, at last, indisputably black, the part of the Reagan Democrat coalition animated by now four decades of held over anti-black resentment has reasserted itself.
Annoyingly, ironically, but totally unsurprisingly, it is African American voters who the media has accused of dividing the party along racial lines. Fair enough African Americans are voting for Obama by over 90% and represent a huge chunk of his support in nearly every primary election he has won. Yet white commentators, barely constrained by the shackles of political correctness and the black intelligentsia, a class always eager to tell less than successful African Americans exactly what’s wrong with them, have begun to critic African American’s unanimous support for the first African American with a serious chance to win the presidency.Noted black political scientist, Michael Dawson, for example, recently likened African American excitement over Obama to a kind of mass psychosis. However, as we know from exit polls, it is also evident that African Americans have little problem voting for Hillary Clinton. This should surprise no one. During the Lewinsky scandal, African American voters closed ranks around the Clintons. When Monica and her blue dress appeared on CNN, African Americans activated a long standing historical tradition wherein the private sexual foibles of our loved ones (Uncle Adam and his “friend” Steve) or community leaders (insert philandering black pastor joke here) are merely integrated into our overall sense of their personhood (“he/she just like that”).Bill Clinton did more than pander to African Americans, he became, for many black voters, a presidential version of the one white kid you see hanging out in otherwise majority black social spaces (something much different than the suburban white kids who wear hoodies, purchase hip hop and are frightened to go to “that” side of town).When Hillary Clinton spoke of the vast right wing conspiracy she both joined an ongoing conversation within black barbershops about the ever present and shifting “man” determined to exclude African Americans from political power in the United States and positioned herself and her husband as victims of that “man”.African Americans, in response, circled the wagons and have remained loyal to Democrats regardless of race, except in 2004 when John Kerry managed to inspire no one.
White democrats over the last thirty five years however, have rarely exhibited similar political or social flexibility when it comes to race relations.When white Democrats in industrial towns were told they needed to release their stranglehold on racially segregated neighborhoods and open access to good paying jobs they responded by voting en masse for George Wallace in the 1972 Democratic Primary and defecting to Richard Nixon’s presidential bid in November. Over the last 12 years working class white voters have been the spoiled darlings of both political parties, and they seem to know it. So used to being pandered to from the Right and the Center Right, the notion that they will not be able to reverse the will of the African American, young and liberal wings of the party has caused an emotional maelstrom that can best be described as race-pouting.While African Americans turn out in record numbers to support southern Democrats in house elections, like Travis Childers (who distanced himself from Obama) fickle, barely loyal, working class white voters threaten with increasing urgency that they will vote for McCain over Obama come November.
There’s a chance my racially colored social lens has biased my interpretation of events, but when Obama and Hillary agree on 95% of policy, how can we explain these astonishing exit poll numbers?Let’s just take crossover Republicans out of the equation at this point. We can say that age and experience drives these voters towards John McCain, except that many of them voted for Bill Clinton in 1992 and Obama is running a new version of that campaign in 2008. I also think if polled, without Obama in the equation, many “experience” voters would choose less experienced candidates than Dick Cheney or Donald Rumsfield for public office at overwhelming rates. We can’t say it’s “character” issues. Even in states where she emerges victorious, more voters find Barack Obama honest, more feel he shares their values and a majority claim that Rev. Wright doesn’t mean very much to them. As controls continue to eliminate other possibilities, racism gains a greater share of the explanatory force behind these exit poll numbers. A large percentage of white Democrats seem unwilling to imagine a black man in the white house.
Yet watch the media over the next few months. If Obama fails to win in November he will be blamed for not “reaching out” to white, “working” (read respectable) people.Already Clinton has linked her support among white voters with the support of the “hardworking Americans,” do non-white folks not have multiple jobs and work for non-living wages all of a sudden?The right belabors the impact of politically correct, multiculturalist rhetoric on their ability to “call it like it is” in relation to black America. Few, however, have recognized that the flip side of political correctness is our inability to call a spade a spade in the national media without upsetting the gentle sensibilities of white voters.