The Nightmare

For Democrats, the worst possible scenario has suddenly emerged as a likely scenario. There is almost no way for Hillary Clinton to overtake Barack Obama’s lead in pledged delegates. But, as the primary season winds down, she may have the wind at her back and he might look like damaged goods. Super-delegates will be torn. McCain will be able to consolidate his base, rather than facing incoming attacks from a presumptive nominee, nor will he need to spend money tearing down the Dems if they are doing it to themselves. The inability of either Democratic candidate to overcome this year’s no-mentum has already been noted here. Democratic voters are not ready to fire either candidate and while professional politicians may want to wrap this race up, voters are not thinking strategy. Obama has no one to blame but himself for his losses last night. His campaign has been foolishly saying "she can’t catch us" which is another way of telling voters that their votes don’t matter. Last night, the candidate himself told a rally in San Antonio, "No matter what happens tonight, we have nearly the same delegate lead as we had this morning." That happens to be true, but those words "no matter what happens" seem a particularly dismissive way to discuss the votes of 5.3 million of one’s fellow citizens. Indeed, yesterday was the first time all year that voter turnout was less than stunning. The stupidest thing his campaign could do today would be to announce a rash of super-delegate endorsements so that the good people of Pennsylvania can feel that their votes won’t matter either. Clinton’s now famous ad questioning Obama’s readiness for a crisis received a late and anemic response from Obama’s team. It should surprise no one who has ever read St. Augustine that fear-mongering works, and it certainly worked for Clinton. Obama should have pounced on the fact that no one, not a First Lady, not a Senator, no one except a president has had to face that 3 a.m. phone call with the responsibility of the office. Challenging Clinton’s claims to experience based on her time as First Lady makes her defend that experience in ways that re-enforce the image of her as a status quo candidate. And he should have bashed her campaign for stealing a page from the GOP playbook and playing politics-as-usual. And, he should have fired the economic advisor who took it upon himself to reach out to the Canadian consulate on NAFTA. Will someone, anyone in Obamaland take note of the fact that he continues to get crushed among Catholics? In Ohio, Clinton won among all voters by 54-44% but she beat Obama among Catholics who attend church weekly by 62-35% and among Catholics who attend less frequently by 64-36%. In Texas, where she won more narrowly by 51-48%, her margin among Catholics was even greater. Sixteen percent of Texas voters are Catholics who attend Mass weekly and they voted for Clinton 68-32%. Eighteen percent of Texas voters are Catholics who attend church less frequently and they broke for Clinton by 66-30%. The next big race, Pennsylvania, has large numbers of Catholics also. What did not happen last night is that Hillary did not win either state by the kind of large margins that would offset Barack’s lead in the popular vote. Currently, Obama leads by almost 600,000 votes cast nationwide. If you count the fake-primary in Florida, he still leads by about 300,000 votes. But, if you count Michigan and Florida, Clinton has an edge of 80,000 votes. This has no effect on the delegates, per se. But, Obama will enter the Denver convention with more states won and more pledged delegates. Hillary needs to have some other claim to wave before the super-delegates: "I won more votes than he did" is a powerful basis for claiming the nomination. Michael Sean Winters
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10 years ago
Nightmare? Perhaps for party insiders but for the rest of us, a continuing campaign brings more insight into the canadates, more exposure and challange and more of a reason to watch returns on CNN or Fox instead of the latest reality drivel on the networks.
10 years ago
Thanks, Joseph, that's my thought too. Who gives a dern about party insiders? If the Dems aren't careful about burning bridges (and party insiders are idiots if they don't warn Clinton and Obama to keep it nice--this isn't the Big One) they probably don't deserve to win an election they're virtually being handed on a platter.


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