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Friday, May 09, 2008

Hillary Wins Ohio

Obama's electibility reflects his likelihood of winning. The chance of victory hinges on key states.

I've said Obama is unelectable. Yet no one can say definitively that Obama would do worse than Hillary against McCain. Polls over McCain vs. Hillary, McCain vs. Obama are brought out by one candidate's side to denounce the other. The media is blitzed with polls, predictions, and punditry. Those in one camp are receptive to information positive for their candidate and negative for the other. The same holds true for those in the opposing candidate's camp.

I do hope the majority of this nation, who do hold a set of largely progressive values in common, can overcome the squabbling of two politicians and focus on the larger issue, which is beating John McCain in the fall. Compromise is invaluable tool in politics, and the idea that progressives would abandon each other if their candidate isn't nominated is utterly childish.

No wonder the Right with their always-smaller numbers can defeat us time and time again. They are organized--like any political group which prides itself on uniformity and organization discipline, and loyalty, the Bushite ideal. A smaller cohesive group can always defeat large and more plentiful disorganized faces, just watch Gladiator.

We progressives need to value unity and cohesion more than expressions of individual liberty. We need in a word to come together. To beat McCain, we need to agree on which candidate is more likely to win.

Obama is the enigma--a great unknown who's capable of capitalizing on mass appeal, a desire among Americans to come together. Obama capture a certain hidden pressure I've felt building over the Bush years, the latter years in particular, which does now seem to be emerging in our society. Obama's biracial heritage and rhetoric focus on unity and change.

Obama does have quite a loyal following, a personality cult so to speak. I was labelled as an anti-Obama when I explained my position that he cannot win vs. McCain, what this hubbub is all about.

I'd reached this conclusion based on what I believe is a key and central fact: Hillary has done better in the key states the Democrats need to win in November. I keep returning to the central truth of the past two elections, that Florida and Ohio have been the key, and among the closest races.

No Democratic candidate has gone on to win a Presidential election without taking Ohio. Based on that assumption, Hillary will have a greater chance versus McCain since she won more votes there than Obama did.

Obama supporters no doubt could conclude he could win, but they'd be diminishing the chance of a Democratic victory if Hillary is better positioned to beat McCain in Ohio. No doubt the Obama people could claim that Obama's wins in Colorado and Virginia point to Obama's better likelihood of winning the overall election. They could also assert that Obama's appeal will build unstoppable momentum which could redefine the base assumptions of a traditional formula for victory.

No one can fully predict the results of the General Election in the media. In the polarized environment, such predictions are quickly assumed to be completely subjective. Cynicism and primary fatigue have already sunken to new lows, and could even put Obama's surging popular base at getting tired of politics come November.

The general election boils down to probability. Neither camp can predict that their candidate will win. The issue has politicized, meaning two diametrically opposed camps have formed, where criticism of one candidate is equated with being a supporter of the opposing candidate.

In a word the Democratic Party is polarized. This fracture could be healed, if people who share the values best represented by Democrats (of the two main parties) are willing to forgive each other. At this point, though it almost seems as if everyone wants to see the fight play out. In every war there are casualties, though. Some might even be so gravely hurt as to abandon the Democratic nominee, for another candidate, which will end up increasing McCain's chances of victory. What a shame that would be.

Sticks and Stones

In my last Obama article posted on smirkingchimp.com, pro-Obama detractors managed in labelling me pro-Hillary based on my lack of belief in Obama's electability.

Actually very little of that conclusion has anything to do with what I like about Hillary. I'm simply doing the math and contrary to some racist accusations, I really don't consider race to be any limitation or handicap should Obama actually win. I guess the somber message that racism exudes sufficient negative energy to preclude the possibility of an Obama victory in the states the Democrats need does hit on some raw nerves and stir some anger.

I think experience could be an indicator of future job performance, so--loyal Hillary supporter that I apparently am--I could have directed this accusation towards Obama. But I didn't, because Obama seems qualified. So I'm not trying to criticize Obama or I'd gone after that issue, which is clearly a liability unless of course people consider the brevity of a Senator's service as an indicator of incorruptibility, the duration of a politician service in the service of Ye Old Washington's arse a reverse indicator of trustworthiness.

Some say pointing out Obama's race as a factor is in itself a racist act. My purpose was never to criticize Obama, it's just that my critique became accusative simply because Obama people don't like to hear the negatives associated with race. I choose to make an issue of race not because it matters to me but because it may be the factor that makes Obama lose--in key states, far from bastions of liberalism inhabited by our betters who've quite wisely agreed to abandon race as an issue in their minds.

But out here, in the fields of a Midwestern red state, I get to see things differently. Every day I encounter people who are diametrically opposed to me politically. I feel compelled to burst out, "$4 gas, $4 gas, what a good job electing Bush was", or "nice job in Iraq" whenever I endure my thankfully brief encounters with these reactionary people.

I can't help feel that Bush voters, along with Floridian Naderites, are responsible for all this country has become. All the neglect of hurricane victims, the almost-gleeful failure to stop the worst terrorist strike on our nation, the debasement of our currency, the willful plunder of our Treasury, the systemic rape of environmental laws and enforcement, adoption of torture, and gross moral debasement of our standing in the world, this I lay on them.

I certainly didn't think of myself as a Hillary supporter until I'd been called that by zealous Obama fans! Well, now that I am a closet Hillary freak revealed, I guess I'll need to start revising on this blog all the differences I have had with her, and reasons for not liking her that I've brought up over the months: Kyl/Lieberman, pro-war vote, Pro-Zionist, etc.. Likewise, the reason I've had for liking Obama have been exposed here to see al lthe things I supposedly hate him for: his multiculturalism, amazing speechcraft, good-heartedness, and all those things which I so clearly oppose.

If the price of being labelled a Clintonite is that which I must pay to speak my convictions, so be it. I'd much rather lose what little credibility I have fighting McCain's policy for more of the same than vindicated in an Obama loss, one which I will similarly have predicted more than six months previous to the election, where there's was still time to consider. If Ohio is key, and Hillary better liked there as the primary results indicate, she will be more likely to win the Presidency than Obama.

What matters most

The choice of who goes on to challenge McCain is critical part of a process which focuses on beating McCain. Honestly, it's a question of how loyal people are to the Democratic Party and the progressive ideals which it represents better of the two most electable parties for national office.

The victory of McCain simply has to be considered a bigger threat than the ascension of Clinton, or Obama. Two more Supreme Court justices might be appointed, which could give Republicans an even bigger advantage for decades into the future. A 5-4 vote along political lines could be considered the definitive breakthrough point for Bush's December, 2000, Court-legislated victory. Under a even greater majority appointed by Republican Presidents, long-standing laws like Roe v. Wade will likely be threatened if not purged outright. The environment will be at even greater risk of evermore commercial exploitation just as CO2 and sea levels spike along with Global Climatic Change.

Neither Democratic candidate's popularity with Democrats is as important as their broader appeal with non-Democrats who might vote for the Democratic candidate. Also, I think any polling of Democrats in states certain to go Democratic is really irrelevant. In short it matters not who is more liked in New York or California, or Illinois or Minnesota. What matters in November is how the swing states vote.

Independents will have their say. McCain does have some popularity among independents, as does Obama. If Obama could prove that he can take in independents, it could give the superdelegates something to consider.

Republicans--many of whom allegedly voted for Hillary--may need to be factored out of the primary results, especially in those states where they can cross party lines in the primary.

The general election cannot be summarized in polls with theoretical match-ups: McCain vs. Hillary, McCain vs. Obama. Much will happen to shape perceptions by the time the election rolls around.

Superdelegates hold the key to the nomination. With neither candidate eclipsing the minimum number of delegates required, choice rests with this group. Freed of commitments to either candidate, the superdelegates reserve the prerogative to do what's right, in best interests of the party.

Let's be blunt about the ugliness of an Democratic Party nomination process which may have to deny the candidate with the most votes the nomination. Here is a post on chimpsternation from March by classwarfare:
the Delegates are not bound to any candidate. If they see a real problem with "electability" late in the game, they can switch if it is determine to be in the best interest of the party. And believe me,when the full scope of Obama's relationship with this church comes out,the same church that hold Farrakhan as an honorary member, the GOP will tear Obama a new a**hole with the connection to Wright, Farrakhan and the whole Nation of Islam association-whether real or not. The issue of reparations for slavery will be front and center, what are Obama's views on this?does anyone know,we are going to send him into the ring against Karl Rove without knowing sh*t like this? What else do we not know?

The post may be a little crude, but the point is that huge tub vats of mud are being gathered, waiting to be flung in siege that will be laid against whoever wins the Democratic nomination. Anyone unlucky to have know the candidates might be elevated to celebrity status by the media, like Wright. If the hatchet job isn't done directly by McCain it will be by the many Rove-inspired 529 fringe groups eager to perform character assassinations on the junior Senator from Illinois and his family.

The GOP has a toolkit full of attack ads just waiting to capitalize on bitter and dejected Obama fans if Hillary wins the nomination, or vice versa if Hillary is out.

I've heard Republicans have been voting for Hillary where they can. This has come to be known as the Limbaugh effect after the Right wing demagogue announced that Hillary will make a better candidate for McCain than Obama.

I'm not so sure the Republicans and "Pills" have any better understanding of who will win than anyone else. Trying to predict a candidate's chances of victory--or inversely, their level of commitment to progressive values--by virtue of who Republican icons say they want to face is rather idiotic.

The end game

Controlled by the superdelegates, the leadership of the Democratic party may have to be very undemocratic in denying the winner of the popular vote--who will almost certainly be Obama. The Democratic Party needs to consider the public relations consequences of a brokered convention.

I don't care for the endless ads and constant sparring. Hillary might manage it better, simply because she's been under the nefarious microscope of Republican scrutiny for so long. Simply based on her toughness, I'd give her the nod over Obama in that respect. She may have just as many dirty secrets--or darker ones--but at least we know what most of them are so fewer ugly surprises wait for us.

Obama may be a saint, but I wouldn't count on it. He'll be a crafty dodger if his handling of the largely-fabricated Wright controversy is any indicator. Ditching Wright may have been a bit of a redirection from the tone of his famous Philadelphia speech in late March but it worked. Still, his performance in Indiana and North Carolina was very strong, which show the so-called "controversy" has been dealt with, for now.

Yet these two states are very likely Republican bastions come the fall. Therefore they don't matter much in the fall. Still, Obama can claim his close Indiana finish proves his popularity with non-black voters. African-American voters constituted about 1/3 of the North Carolina Democratic primary but only one out of seven Indiana voters. Hillary barely won the non-black vote in North Carolina.

I've made, and will persist in my position that the black vote has disproportionally buoyed Obama throughout many of his victories, especially in southern states very likely to go Republican in the fall. Theoretically, Obama could win in Red states if he gets massive black turnout, but even then the African-American population make up far less of the total electorate than they do Democratic primary voters. Whites must be wooed.

Race can be positive factor, not only blacks for Obama, but whites who vote for him because the color of Obama's skin doesn't matter to them. Yet demographic limits loom large when the dimensions of state-wide audiences are considered. But, hey, Obama has exceeded all previous expectations, so he can't be counted out if he makes it to the ballot. It could be interesting. The sight of a tall, dignified Obama in his perfect Ivy League suit confronting sniveling, shriveled McCain in the debates might even be worth the price of losing, if the election comes down to Ohio and he can't do better against McCain than he did versus Hillary in that state.

I'm not going to rule him out if he wins the nomination. I will support the Democratic nominee.


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  • At 4:37 PM, Blogger jbpeebles said…

    I just replied to David Michael Green's article in smirkingchimp. My post follows:
    Can't Support Obama at this time

    I disagree with your conclusions. I don't think you can predict who will win in the fall. I do think swing states are relevant, far more important than those that traditionally go Blue or Red. Sure, there can be crossover voters, but isn't it presumptuous to assume that Obama has altered political history? No Democratic candidate can win without Ohio if history repeats itself. Hillary did better there by far.

    Like many Obama supporters, maybe Obama's message of change is providing rose-colored glasses that allow the wearer to deny historical precedents. What about those who don't want to drink the kool-aid? Must we buy into the idea Obama can overcome any odds or any historical facts simply because he and his followers think he can?

    North Carolina is as relevant as Indiana, South Carolina, Montana, or Kentucky. Each will be won by McCain. They are part of a massive block of conservative voters who determine the Presidency, whatever you say about Obama's chances in your ivory towers on the coasts. Please get out more.

    "This election has been a harrowing ride in so many respects, and it's not even half over yet."

    It hasn't begun. The election is between Democratic candidate and the Republican.

    "Americans are showing a degree of perceptual astuteness which has been on holiday at Disney World for a good decade or so. Those who have been doing nasty things to this country and the world now seem to be getting back a dose of their own polluted karma."

    Really? I don't see any impeachment. I don't see any changes in policies. I don't see energy conservation or an end to Iraq. And I don't see the media consolidation and distortions stopping anytime soon. And if we can't win the election, things will get much worse. So whatever happens, we will have to make up.
    ~end post~

  • At 12:00 AM, Anonymous Ohioan said…

    Let's just have the election in Ohio then. Save everybody else a lot of time and money.


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