Wednesday, April 23, 2008

If It's Over, Then...

If you confine yourself to the math, not much changed last night in the Democratic race. However, there is no denying that Clinton did what see needed to last night, a big victory if one is being fair. Despite being largely outspent, despite persistent commentary that gave her no chance, despite calls to bow out, despite pressure for people to lineup behind Obama, despite all that Clinton beat Obama in fairly convincing fashion.

I don’t buy into the notion that Clinton should have won, because the state played to her demographic. If you look at the exit polls, you will find, that with the exception of African Americans, her demographics consist of the Democratic base, the crucial segments that will make or break an election campaign. Strange to say that carrying the rank and file of the party is inconsequential, that she “should” win those votes. People assumed Clinton would win Pennsylvania, based on previous results, which really means Obama has trouble with core Democrats. People keep fluffing off these victories, but they consistently show strength for Clinton, in states which are central to any potential victory in the fall. Have we reached the point where Obama can’t win, unless he has over-representation of African Americans in a state?

Here’s my deal with the race, numbers aside. Since Super Tuesday, Clinton has won three crucial primaries, despite being outspent and facing long odds. There is tremendous pressure to get behind a nominee and prepare for the fall election. Despite that environment, Clinton continues to thrive, there is no sense that people are rallying behind Obama, at least not the voters anyways. What is happening now, is in some respects more important that what happened two months ago. Voters know more, further information is available, events have occurred, the questions are clearer. If you are standing here today, and the goal is beating McCain, what is more important Iowa or Pennsylvania, South Carolina or Ohio?

Why can’t Obama close the deal? Why is that the voters, with full knowledge of the circumstance (a majority last night thought Obama would be the nominee) still vote for Clinton? Clinton didn’t just squeak by last night, she won by a healthy margin, and she won despite having “no chance”. That fact to me is remarkable, spin aside, quite telling. The Obama camp argument that Pennsylvania is “her” state, is really an admission that the majority of traditional Democratic voters tend to favor Clinton. In primaries, in states that Democrats need to carry, Clinton seems to have an advantage. That is okay with everyone, that isn’t indicative of some underlying problem?

My counter to “it’s over” has always been “just win baby”. If Obama is the presumptive nominee, if Clinton is finished, then it should translate in the voter booth. The simple fact of the matter, Obama hasn’t closed the deal, Clinton continues to do what she needs to, in order to survive. Yes, Clinton still trails in delegates, and she probably can’t catch him, but that reality should make her victories less likely, that math should work against her in the NOW. Why it doesn’t manifest itself with voters, why she continues to march forward, why Obama still struggles with core constituents, those are important questions moving forward.


Scott Tribe said...

It doesnt matter how you win the presidency or what states you win the Presidency as long as you win the electoral college Steve.

Fact is, I've seen polls that say PA would still vote for Obama if he won, regardless of their vote last night, and I also see states like Colorado and Iowa and other midwestern states (Montana even!!) that would vote for Obama that wouldn't for Hillary.

That's just more Hillary surrogate spin nonsense about winning "big states". The "insult 40 states" strategy as Kos calls it.

Blues Clair said...

Here’s my deal with the race, numbers aside. Since Super Tuesday, Clinton has won three crucial primaries, despite being outspent and facing long odds.

What are the long odds that Clinton faced? Was it the 20 plus percent lead in Pennsylvania she held only a month ago? I think her Ohio lead was similar. Also, this is not an original thought but i might as well say it. Obama may have the money but Clinton has the machine. Otherwise I agree with what your saying. Obama hasn't been able to finish Clinton off and his 'bitter/guns/religion' remark was a terrible mistake and cost him dearly.

Steve V said...


You need to stop using kos as a reference, the guy has had it in for Hillary since 2003.

Anonymous said...

"Have we reached the point where Obama can’t win, unless he has over-representation of African Americans in a state?"

I can point out Washington state, Kansas, and Iowa. The question should be why Hillary did not paid too much attention to caucuses?

"what is more important Iowa or Pennsylvania, South Carolina or Ohio?"

Watch Scott talk about Obama's crossover appeal. This needs to be countered with how Obama did in bellweather states that are leaning towards the Dems. Also note that a progressive like McCain do much better there among Reagan Democrats.

I blogged about how Hillary won by becoming the left wing version of Duncan Hunter. This loss represents a slap in the face to Michael Moore,, Markos, Bill Richardson, Sam Nunn etc. They could have confined her into the dustbin of Democratic party also-rans. Not yet. Like Stephen Douglas, Hillary is still running hard. Supported by Democratic rank and file members who are clinging to their guns, AFL-CIO membership, and crucifixes, they gave Hillary a win in Penn big time.

Steve V said...


I'm not sure about the "machine" part, because that tends to be most evident in a caucus environment, where in fact Obama has excelled.

Just as an aside, if we had Michigan and Florida in the equation, based on the demographics, Hillary may very well be ahead now in the popular vote. Not using the sham results we have now, but if you extrapolated what would happen, based on the trends from other states.

That tends to counter the kos, "the people have spoken" argument. DKos is an extension of the Obama campaign, it's not really a good source for fair analysis.

Blues Clair said...

Your Michigan and Florida points are taken and i'm sure the remaining super delagates will keep that in mind. As i'm sure they are going to keep in mind Hillarys unfavorable approval ratings amongst voters in which she is the clear front runner. Kos? I don't read that blog often and i'm well aware of who's supporting who amongst the media.


Steve V said...


Yes, those unfavorables should be a concern, no question. Another factor, nobody motivates the Republcian base like a Clinton, which is particularly relevant this season, given McCain's less than enthusiastic support amongst some of the Republicans core groups.

Anonymous said...

hussein outspent her, 3 to 1...get 93% of the black votes, and he still looses,....
can he win in november, not a chance in hell... thats the point here, nominate a black man, loose the presidency, get rid of the black man, win the white house...simple as that...

Anonymous said...

Actually in states where there is a high percentage of African Americans ie Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana, Georgia he has less chance than Hillary.

IN these states the black voters are overwhelmingly democrat hence the term "overrepresentation"

ie the population fo a state might be 20% black but in the dem primary it's 30%.

In Nov however the % black vote will be the 20%. There isno over representation in Nov.

Add to that the fact that in states with higher black populations the whites are much more likely to vote agaisnt him. Clinton carried about 70% of the white vote in these states and that's democrats.

Unfortunately, for Obama the black poulation is concentrated in blue states or red states and really they don't make much of a difference in Nov as they tend to vote dem anyways.
He can get 90% of the black vote in Alabama and Mississippi. it won't make a difference.

Most of the swing states are white working class or hispanic.

New Mexico

Maybe Wisconsin, Missouri and Minnesota are better for Obama than Clinton but all the others are better for her adn carry way more electoral college votes, and Dems know that.

There really arent that many states in play.

Virginia, neither Obama nor CLinton stand a chance against McCain. New Hampshire either will carry.

The math looks bad for Obama in Nov and the dems if he's it.

Anonymous said...

Obama has trouble with the white working class and hispanics.

If McCain does better with those two groups than Obama, and I think there is a great deal of evidence to show that, the republicans win.

By the way these are the same two groups that have given the white house to the Republicans for the past 8 years.

Hillary does very well with these two groups.

Anonymous said...

"Another factor, nobody motivates the Republcian base like a Clinton,"

Watch Steve support McCain around November. He addresses real issues in the rust belt states like climate change unlike the Dems who are clinging to the past.

Steve V said...


Anonymous said...

Steve V, I'm referring to you.

You have spent the last few posts arguing that Hillary is still alive and has everything to play for. Then you present an argument in which Hillary is so polarizing that the GOP would rally against her, giving McCain the victory.

Are you suggesting that Obama is the better candidate in beating McCain?

Steve V said...


I have no preference here, which is why I'm presenting both arguments. If I seem to be leaning Clinton, it's only because I've never bought into the "it's over" meme, because if it is, then Obama should be winning.

As to who could beat McCain, to be truthful both of them have their problems. Hillary has high negatives, and Obama, it seems to me, can be painted as a left liberal pretty easily. I call it a draw overall.