4.23.2008

Prolonging cruel game, Pennsylvania voters satisfy neither candidate

Once again, neither candidate blinked. In this trench warfare, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama held their ground, producing a result that satisfies no one and only strengthens the status-quo. Given a third opportunity to send Clinton packing after New Hampshire and the March 4th contests, Pennsylvania Democrats chose to prolong the race and they did so decisively, leaving no room for Clinton to drop out even if she wanted to. Yet, just as had happened the two previous times, enough voters rallied around Clinton to make her victory credible but not enough to improve her chances of seizing the nomination.

The Democratic electorate seems to be thinking of these primaries as a cruel game through which it can torture its candidates -- making sure neither gets a result that could meaningfully help them. As a result, the race is showing no sign of slowing down and the candidates are already on to May 6th, the next mini-Super Tuesday featuring North Carolina and Indiana.

In my preview of the race yesterday afternoon, I differentiated between three issues: first, what Clinton needs to remain in the race; second, the threshold of a credible victory; third, what would allow her to change the fundamentals of the race. There were plenty of possible results that could have left room for spin, but last night's results contained very little ambiguity:

1 - By posting a comfortable victory, Clinton undoubtedly gained the right to stay in the race and considerably eased the pressure to drop out. After all, how can a candidate who just won such a large victory in a crucial and hard-fought state even think of dropping out? Note that one major problem for the Clinton campaign is money; they are not paying bills and they have almost no money left in the bank. If the financial situation does not improve quickly, Clinton could be forced out of the race because of lack of funds. She was counting on tonight's results to energize her base and get money flowing back in and for now she seems to be succeeding: She raised a stunning $2.5 million in the four hours after the polls closed last night.

2 - Despite falling just short of the double-digit mark, she passed the threshold of a credible victory, one whose legitimacy even the Obama campaign will not attempt to question; she barely reached this level, to be sure, but the tone of the media coverage and of this morning's headlines leave no doubt that Clinton met the expectations that had been set for her. "With Clear Victory, She Has Rationale to Fight on," writes the New York Times today. Keep in mind that the Obama camp was fully prepared to spin a narrower contest as a moral victory.

3- Just as evident, however, is that Clinton's chances to seize the nomination did not improve; if anything, her prospects are even more somber this morning than they were yesterday. Pennsylvania was one of Clinton's last shot at turning the race on its head, at cutting into Obama's delegate total or at showing that Democratic voters are increasingly turning back to her after a flirtation period with Obama. She did none of these things: While the exact delegate breakdown is still unclear, she needed twice as big a victory only to leave it possible that Obama not emerge out of the primaries with a large pledged delegate lead; after yesterday's vote, Obama is virtually assured that he will get to June with a significant advantage among pledged delegates.

On a more symbolic level, Clinton could have demonstrated that something has truly changed in the Democratic primary had she won by 15-20%. At the beginning of the Pennsylvania campaign, such a margin seemed to be very much possible, with some polls showing Clinton expanding to the 20% range during the Wright controversy. Just imagine how damaged Obama would have looked tonight had Clinton pulled such margin off.

Backed into the corner, Clinton undoubtedly survived to fight another day; but she did not move the numbers. In fact, the extent to which the numbers have held remarkably static since Ohio is truly remarkable: Not only is Clinton's lead the same, but the voting pattern of most groups is similar, with Hillary's winning margin slightly decreasing among white men and slightly increasing among Catholics. In other words, Clinton did not demonstrate that those weaknesses have increased over the past few weeks as she was hoping to do; after all, the Wright controversy and bittergate were supposed to have hurt Obama among these voters.

Naturally, none of this is to deny that the inability to move number is as much if not more Obama's failure than Clinton's. Pennsylvania once again served as evidence that Obama had fundamental problems relating to blue-collar voters: The Illinois Senator got trounced in most of the state's working-class or rural counties, and was stuck in the 20s in a number of them -- a stunningly poor showing. Even worse, Obama did not bring about strong turnout among young voters and his own position among white-collar voters was much weaker than usual yesterday; he for example barely held on to voters with a college degree. And all of this despite the fact that he massively outspend her and has been campaigning as the inevitable nominee for quite some time now. If he wins the nomination, Obama will have to urgently address his significant weakness among blue-collar voters if he does not want the Reagan Democrats to desert the party once again.

But this is no longer New Hampshire, nor is it even Ohio or Texas. Pennsylvania was not a zero-sum game but one of the last primaries in a long series of contests that started in early January. Since then, both candidates have held together very solid electoral coalitions but Clinton blinked a few times too many, leaving her trailing in most important counts. Her most important audience now is superdelegates, and she has been somewhat successfully making her case that Obama would go in the general election with glaring weaknesses but that has not proven enough to move many superdelegates her way. A 10% lead in Pennsylvania coupled with the exit polls we saw yesterday help her make her case, but it is only enough to stall for more time not to generate movement towards her.

Now, the campaign moves on to further contests. As always, the question will be whether either candidate can transcend the demographic logic that has determined almost every one of these Democratic primaries. Until he finds a way to do so and however inevitable his nomination looks, Obama will not be able to put Clinton away and both candidates will be forced to go through the motions of a competitive race. Given how much Obama prides himself for his ability to bridge the country's stubborn divides, it is ironic that it is his failure to make inroads in his opponent's demographic base that is dragging this primary longer than anyone thought possible.

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92 Comments:

  • Obama's real weakness with blue collar Democrats underscores why the nomination has to be decided before the convention. If Obama gets enough SDs to become the nominee by July 1st and Party leaders then convince Clinton to Drop out, Obama's #1 priority before the August convention will be to get blue collar whites used to him as the Democratic nominee. Obama will have a very hard time in the genereal election if he cannot unify the base, just as McCain seems to have done with the GOP.

    By Anonymous jaxx raxor, At 23 April, 2008 07:19  

  • Hillary Clinton is trying to disinfranchise the black race with her inflamed rhetoric. I expect you will be hearing soon about how blacks were turned away from the polls. Hillary Clinton should become a Republican like all those bigots in the GOP!!!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 23 April, 2008 07:24  

  • anon 7:24 am,

    This is the reason why the GOP and the Hillary camp do not like Barack Obama. Throwing out the race card without any proven facts causes only hostility. I don't know who I'll vote for, but it sure as heck will not be Obama. You have just sealed the deal for me!!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 23 April, 2008 07:37  

  • Obama the divider is a cruel and greedy man. He's torturing you 'bots (derivative of lobotamy) with false hopes and sucking every last penny out of you. He cannot be a winning nominee, so he is determined to thwart the majority of Democrats' choice.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 23 April, 2008 07:52  

  • The problem is that Hillary Clinton isn't just a normal politician; she is a firmly established Democratic pol who knows how to play a political game to advance her career. She has gone through various political battles, which should have positioned her to defeat Obama in Pa. by a significant mrgin (i.e. 20-30%).
    Instead, a relatively new Washington politician was able to defeat her in the beginning and hold firm in the pledged and popular vote counts. And the Clintons' money woes is almost entirely attributable to their gross mismanagement of their campaign finances (Mark Penn was paid about $4 million early this primary season, for instance).
    I am considering a 10% Clinton victory a moral victory for Obama, given that PA is a closed primary state and more of its voters are conservative, which Hillary should have been able to pull a far greater margin of victory. Instead, she got less what she needs and I wonder if that testifies to her political self-interest.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 23 April, 2008 08:23  

  • Pa. was a dismal failure for Obama and it take a suspension of disbelief to think otherwise. He can't close the deal. He cannot win with a billion dollars. The fact that his numbers have peaked among Democrats since Feb. 5th is proof that the train has left the tracks and is mired in the swamp. The victory in Pa. for Hillary will destroy any hopes of Obama pulling ahead. It's over.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 23 April, 2008 09:10  

  • I don't think that Hillary's 10% (or specfically 9.4%) win in PA is really a moral victory for Obama in the sense that he made little to no inroad's among Clinton's base. Nontheless the primaries in Indiana and NC will be Hillary's last chance to actully change the race. There is no way she can get a PD lead w/o Michigan and Florida and little chance of winning the popular vote without those two states. If Obama wins Indiana, then he will have proven that he can win at least one state with alot of blue collar voters and SDs will probably start moving towards him. On the other hand, if he loses Indiana and only gets a single digit victory in NC then the SDs will wait to decide until June at the earlierst. If Clinton pulls off an upset in SC, Obama will weakened significantly even if he won Indinana on the same day, but there is little chance of that happening.

    By Anonymous jaxx raxor, At 23 April, 2008 09:10  

  • There is no chance of winning the GE on the platform of excluding two states. Obama needs to practice up and prove himself in several new debates to win over decisively the Democratric base in the next few primaries or his campaign is lost. Refusing to debate and excluding your opponent's supporters is a losing strategy. This is still his to earn.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 23 April, 2008 09:29  

  • Perhaps you are right about the GE, but in the primaries Obama bascially has it sown up and there is no chance that he would allow MI and FL results to count as is if the inlusion of both would allow Clinton to win the nomination. MI and FL still broke the rule and therefore they don't deserve to be a deciding factor in terms of the nomination.

    By Anonymous jaxx raxor, At 23 April, 2008 09:38  

  • 1: Anyone who is anti-Obama because of things Obama supporters say is an idiot. Same goes for any candidate.

    2: I can't believe so many people are falling for the BS "Obama can't beat Clinton, so she should win, even though she can't beat Obama" line. Obama is *winning* by every measure, accept it.

    3: I also can't believe so many people are falling for the BS "Obama can't beat McCain, so we should run with Hillary, even though she can't beat Obama" line.

    4: Yes, Hillary won PA, but PA is *one state*. Out of the 46 contests so far, the score is 30 to 16, Obama's favor. He is ahead in delegates. He is ahead in popular vote. There are only a handful of contests left--and Clinton needs to win all of them by 20% to catch up. What makes any of you think the win last night changed anything?

    By Blogger Stephen, At 23 April, 2008 09:49  

  • Stephen you are the idiot. Obama doesn't get to decide whether or not those states count, Democrats do. The majority of Democrats support Hillary. Case closed. Unless Obama can rally popular support among Democrats, he fails. And nothing was said about punishing those states by not counting their votes. Only the delegates were stripped pending an appeal. So Hillary now has the popular vote.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 23 April, 2008 09:55  

  • The delegates will be seated according to Dean. Counting or not counting the popular votes in those states is no longer in dispute. The worst outcome of the delegate appeal is a reduction. There is no way they will be re-apportioned to favor Barack.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 23 April, 2008 10:04  

  • 90 Days ago: Clinton was up by close to 35 points in PA.

    She won yesterday by +9.4

    He cut a hell of a lot out of her lead in a state she should have won 65 to 35.

    By Blogger Mark, At 23 April, 2008 10:10  

  • Anonymous said...
    The delegates will be seated according to Dean.

    If seating FL and MI means Obama loses the nomination, its not gonna happen.

    By Anonymous jaxx raxor, At 23 April, 2008 10:20  

  • She hit exactly where the expectation was since Feb. 5th. I hope you don't expect Barack to win NC by 25. Today's poll has him at 9. No amount of spin can fix Obama's syndrome. Only he can come out and prove himself and so far he's chosen to go hide in the corner. The votes cast trump the pollsters' estimates. Right now the voters say no to Obama. It's his to earn.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 23 April, 2008 10:25  

  • You mean if seating the delegates means Obama loses it IS going to happen. The majority rules or the party fails. A minority will not overthrow the party or the party will lose in Nov. It's a no win situation for Obama supporters. Unless Obama can win over the majority,which so far he has failed to do, then he will not be the nominee.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 23 April, 2008 10:30  

  • You people need to get over this Florida/Michigan BS.

    A revote would have been the only decent thing to do, but the legislatures in both states refused to hold them.

    Are you honestly trying to tell me that even though Clinton agreed months ago that those votes didn't count, now suddenly because she needs them they should? That even though voters in those states were told by the DNC and *both* campaigns that the votes wouldn't count, it's fair to count them now? Millions of Floridians and Michiganders, including my wife, failed to vote because they were told their votes wouldn't count. These were *not* fair contests, and you're only demanding they be counted now because you care more about seeing your candidate win than you care about the choice of the people.

    Newsflash: Less than 25% of Florida Democrats believe their old vote should be counted. The only people who are pushing for that farce to be considered are desperate Clinton supporters who know that their candidate can't win any other way.

    By Blogger Stephen, At 23 April, 2008 10:49  

  • It could just be that both candidates have large, durable coalitions. Obama will get the nomination because his coalition is SLIGHTLY larger and he has overall run a better campaign. It cuts both ways, Clinton hasn't done well among African-Americans, younger voters or the affluent. Conversely, Obama has strugled in most states with women and blue-collar workers. This is what happens when 2 strong candidates run against each other, you get a close race.

    By Blogger ben, At 23 April, 2008 10:57  

  • Both sides need support from the other to win and since Hillary scores 67% of Obama's and he only scores 50% of hers, it is illogical and unreasonable to state that his coalition is stronger. The facts on the ground prove otherwise.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 23 April, 2008 11:01  

  • Some people seem caught up on Obama spending more money than Clinton. He has raised more, but having money doesn`t always determine success. Just ask Mitt Romney!!

    Clinton was outsepnt on TV ads in PA by $5-6million. If it really mattered she could tap some of her $105 million. She has had sufficient money to run her campaign (ads, GOTV activities etc). Obama has had bad press and she had the support of powerful people like the Governor of PA. Demographically PA was slightly better for her than OH (less African Americans, less college educated voters etc) so 11-12% would have been the same result as OH. Therefore 9% is not wonderful, but not bad since a win is a win.

    I do expect Obama to win NC by 15% which would delegate and popular wise wipe out this loss.

    Obama has won multiple primaires in swing or Democratic staes by >20% - for example Wisconsin, Virginia and Maryland

    By Anonymous Mike, At 23 April, 2008 11:05  

  • How is it that Clinton supporters cling to "a win is a win" for Pennsylvania, but the fact that Obama is winning the delegate count, the popular vote, and the number of states won "doesn't count"?

    By Blogger Stephen, At 23 April, 2008 11:07  

  • Stephen-arguing for the exclusion of any voters is detrimental to the adherence of a bedrock party principle that every vote counts. You're stabbing Barack in the back in your mis-guided refusal to ethically address the issue. It doesn't matter who said what when, the party princples override this issue. You can argue for the republicans all you want but this is a Democratic primary and their interference in it cannot be justified. They knew full well that by denying Fla. Democrats their say, an unelectable candidate would emerge. Not recognizing this and blindly supporting the weakest GE candidate is doing the republican's work for them. Obama is McCain's poodle, get over it.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 23 April, 2008 11:10  

  • Hillary is winning the popular vote count, not Barack. Stripping two states of their vote counts too? That's really looking sleazy. The issue was a sanction of delegates,not voters.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 23 April, 2008 11:13  

  • "Anonymous"--

    Counting the votes of those states strips every democrat who didn't vote because they were told the votes wouldn't count" of *their* votes. So we should count *some* votes but not all?

    A revote was the only fair way. It would be utterly ludicrous to re-legitimize those votes after the fact. You may natter on about "arguing for the Republicans", but what you're doing is arguing for dictatorship--You're giving Hillary, and only Hillary, the power to decide whose votes count and whose don't.

    Before Hillary "won" Florida and Michigan, we all agreed those states had broken the rules and "didn't count". Hillary included. Now, when she's flailing, suddenly she wants them re-instated.

    This is the same woman who repeatedly complains about how "unfair" caucus states are. Total hypocrisy.

    By Blogger Stephen, At 23 April, 2008 11:18  

  • anontumos2--

    First, you talk as if the "popular vote" means anything. It doesn't. The "popular vote" totals you hear don't include numbers from several caucus states that Obama won, and are disadvantageous to caucus states in general.

    Second, even if you want to go by this terrible, terrible marker of the will of the people, no, Florida and Michigan shouldn't "count". Many, many people who WOULD have voted in those states DIDN'T because they were told the vote wouldn't count. Counting the contests now would qualify as voter suppression. A revote would be the onyl fair thing to do, but the legislatures in the states refused.

    By Blogger Stephen, At 23 April, 2008 11:20  

  • Stephen your argument is contradicted by the facts. Those states enjoyed record turnout. You simply have a bad hand to play. If Barack could win over the support of the Democratic base there'd be no problem. Get on the keyboard and urge him to come out of the corner and do some fierce debating so he can move ahead. Otherwise just suck it up and live with the losing hand you've been dealt. And no tank driving videos.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 23 April, 2008 11:25  

  • Oh, and let me point out:

    The *only* way to give Clinton the popular vote lead is if you:

    1: Count Florida and Michigan.
    2: Give Obama 0 votes in Michigan, even though "uncommitted" got 40% of the vote.
    3: Don't count the estimates of vote totals in unreleased caucus states.

    In other words, is you bar 3 states that held valid contests from the count, allow two states that held *invalid* contests in the count, and fail to estimate opposition support from one of those states.

    Yeah, I can see the Clinton-side is really interested in "the will of the people".

    By Blogger Stephen, At 23 April, 2008 11:27  

  • Anonymous--

    Florida and Michigan may've had "record turnout", but their turnout increase was far less than most other primary states this season. I'm not just theorizing here, I know for fact--My wife is form Michigan, and her fmaily lives there. People didn't bother to vote because they were told, *including by Clinton*, that the vote wouldn't count. Maybe you think that's an okay way to run a democracy, but if so I think you'd be more at home in Iran.


    Obama's been dealt the "losing hand", even though he's winning?

    If Clinton's such a great candidate, why can't she beat a "political neophyte"? Why can't she win by the 20-30% margins he's posted? Why couldn't she win white, working-class Wisconsin?

    Why does Obama beat her in the vast majority of match-ups against McCain?

    Why couldn't she win Iowa?

    With all her "Washington experience", why hasn't she managed to put the clamp down on this guy?

    She's one of the most famous and admired women in the world, why can't she out-raise him?

    With all her working-class support, why has he done so much better than her with small donors?

    Why have superdelegates stopped coming out for her? She's only had five new SDs support her since Super Tuesday--Obama's had nearly 100.

    Why does even the New York Times--her hometown paper, who endorsed her--think she's mostly responsible for the vapid, negative, destructive tone of the campaign?

    Why can't she close the deal?

    Why couldn't she even begin the deal?

    Why have her approval ratings plummeted over the last month?

    Why is that after losing 30 contests and winning only 16, you think Obama's the loser?

    Why can't she win?

    By Blogger Stephen, At 23 April, 2008 11:36  

  • Please Stephen your posts are just desperate attempts to spin a failing bid. I'd list all your mistakes but they're too numerous. If you can't carry the base of the party, you don't get to win their support. End of story.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 23 April, 2008 12:07  

  • Anon 12:07, think its funny that you think that Obama is in a failing bid when he is leading in PDs and isn't like to lose them.

    By Anonymous jaxx raxor, At 23 April, 2008 12:26  

  • I'm spinning?

    Here's the facts:

    Obama needs 41% of all the remaining delegates to win.

    Clinton needs 59% of all the remaining delegates to win.

    The rest is spin, my friend.

    By Blogger Stephen, At 23 April, 2008 12:43  

  • Anon - base of the party. I think African Americans count as that, I think liberals and students count as that also.

    As Stephen said why hasn`t Hillary put Obama in his place. She could have won Iowa and knocked him out, she could have dealt him a major blow on Super Tuesday but instead drew - losing CT, MI and other key states.

    You say you have arguments too numerous to refute us. Please just post a couple of substantiative points. If you don`t then I assume you are all talk and bluster. No actual facts to throw at us. I hope I am wrong.

    By Anonymous Tom, At 23 April, 2008 12:51  

  • That's a good point, Tom--Obama can't connect with the base of the party, but he wins blacks, liberals, youth, and the highly educated. I guess those voters don't count, though.

    Surveys to date still show Obama doing better than Clinton against McCain, and Clinton's negatives are still much higher than Obama's. Clinton is holding onto the "electability" argument because it's all she's got left, not because it's based in the facts.

    By Blogger Stephen, At 23 April, 2008 13:02  

  • I support Hillary, but I believe Obama will win the nomination. I encourage everyone to stop the arguing between each other and put our vision on a common goal--the White House.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 23 April, 2008 13:14  

  • 67% of Obama supporters will vote for Hillary. 50% of Hillary voters will do the same for Obama. That clearly shows that whatever part of the base Obama is attracting is more likely to come home. That alone decimates your arguments. Fighting to lose the WH is not a smart way to bring change.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 23 April, 2008 13:42  

  • The youth/student vote hasn't shown up in Nov. in the last two presidential elections.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 23 April, 2008 13:53  

  • 67% of Obama supporters will vote for Hillary. 50% of Hillary voters will do the same for Obama. That clearly shows that whatever part of the base Obama is attracting is more likely to come home. That alone decimates your arguments.

    Hardly. First, those poll numbers are likely to change between now and November.

    Second, those numbers have to be offset by whatever attraction--or lack thereof--the candidates have among independents and potential crossover Republicans.

    The national polls would take into account any party defections and support among non-Democrats, and they show both candidates doing about equally well against McCain. I think that pretty much decimates the argument that Obama isn't electable but Clinton is.

    By Blogger dsimon, At 23 April, 2008 13:54  

  • Why all the negativity? We need to come together as a party--unless you want McCain to be President.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 23 April, 2008 14:03  

  • anonymous--

    dsimon already eviscerated your ludicrous argument, but let me add a couple of points, though: First of all, Obama is 8-10 points up in polling of Dem primary voters in the first place, which means his base is bigger than Clinton's to start. Second, just because more of Clinton's supporters are drama queens who want to take their ball and go home if their candidate doesn't win doesn't mean they're actually suicidal enough to vote for John W. McCain in the GE. What they say now and what they do in six months isn't the same thing.

    GE polls, which include all voters, consistently show Obama in the stronger position, as do most estimates based on Electoral Votes.

    As for the youth vote, youth voting surged 11 points in 2004. Many primaries this season have seen the youth vote double or triple. Maybe the youth won't turn out, maybe they will--but they'll turn out a lot better for Obama than for Clinton.

    But, I forgot, any voter that isn't a part of Clinton's coalition doesn't count... I'm sure McCain will step aside in November when Clinton points out the only people voting for him were Independents, who don't count, Republicans, who were going to vote for him anyway, and rich people, who don't really need a president. Right?

    By Blogger Stephen, At 23 April, 2008 14:06  

  • Yeah think positive thoughts and we can move mountains right? Sorry but that scam went out decades ago. Any real cohesion of the party is coming from the Hillary side. Obama just breeds contempt and spite for the party. More voters are voting against him than Hillary. He's the divider and will destroy the party for his own personal gain. The majority is solidly behind Hillary and that makes her the uniter. Take your pick; follow the unity with Hillary or follow Jim Jones to Guyana to drink the Kool-Aid. Some of you have such contempt for this process that it's hard to believe you'd maintain loyalty to anything long enough to make a difference.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 23 April, 2008 14:13  

  • You've gone off your rocker.

    Hillary's negatives are higher than Obama's, yet he's the one who breeds spite?

    Obama has a delegate lead that Clinton would need a stirng of landslide victories she won't achieve to win, yet he's the one destroying the party for his own personal gain?

    Obama does better in the polls than Hillary and has received more votes and won more contests, yet the majority is solidly behind Hillary?


    You have moved on from "disagreeing" to "self-deluding". You are flatly lying--whether to us, or just to yourself, I'm not sure.

    Just stop. You prefer Hillary, we get it--but she is *not* who the people have chosen, and you need to accept that.

    By Blogger Stephen, At 23 April, 2008 14:18  

  • Obama is 8-10 points up in polling of Dem primary voters in the first place, which means his base is bigger than Clinton's to start.

    Well, let's be fair here. I believe that most of those polls are Democrats and "lean-Democratic." I looked for polls that were Democratic party members only, and I couldn't find them.

    But the fact remains that national polls would take into account any strengths and weaknesses with the party base and independents (and potential crossover Republicans), so I don't see why we'd need to look at Democrat-only polls to gauge (imperfectly this far out) viability in November.

    By Blogger dsimon, At 23 April, 2008 14:19  

  • dsimon hasn't the brains to do any damage to my points. You're quoting polls that include non-Democrats. If you're going to fall back on the intellectually vapid and ethically devoid instead of identifying the roadblock and working to remove it, then you have no chance of advancing your cause. You can't simply wish it away. I think it's time for a shake-up in the Obama camp. The current strategists have reached the limits of their intelligence. And Jamal is the worst person to put out front. Insulting Moore for endorsing Barack is pretty stupid.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 23 April, 2008 14:21  

  • Oh, right, I forgot that only Democrats will be voting in November.

    By Blogger Stephen, At 23 April, 2008 14:25  

  • dsimon hasn't the brains to do any damage to my points. You're quoting polls that include non-Democrats.

    I was actually trying to help your claim that a majority of registered Democrats may support Clinton over Obama by pointing out that the polls include non-Democrats. Of course, you haven't directed us to any Democratic-only polls that would make your point conclusively.

    But there's still no response to the point that as far as viability in November is concerned, one would have to look at national polls head-to-head against McCain. And they show no significant differences between Obama and Clinton.

    By Blogger dsimon, At 23 April, 2008 14:27  

  • All this bickering is why John McCain will be the next President.

    By Anonymous da man, At 23 April, 2008 14:28  

  • dsimon--
    Well, as I said, these were likely Democratic primary voters, which doesn't just mean "Democrats". In any case, the point is that Obama has a larger base of support than Clinton, and so he needs to pick up less of her support than vice versa to achieve the same General Election support.

    By Blogger Stephen, At 23 April, 2008 14:29  

  • da man said--

    It's unfortunate that so many people would let this kind of thing push them toward McCain, instead of ending the war, fixing our healthcare system, and helping the economy. But apparently some people would rather let the country drown in failed Republican ideology than vote for the person who beat their nominee.

    By Blogger Stephen, At 23 April, 2008 14:35  

  • Sorry dsimon but your limit was reached in this area. McCain is going to siphon off all the blue collar voters the way Bush Sr. did. The big issue here is what they value most; ethics. Obama's gutter tactics to steal this nomination ruin any chances of getting their support. They'd rather stick to this republican mess than put a sleazy underhanded conman in the WH. If Barack continues to oppose the seating of the delegates his fate is sealed.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 23 April, 2008 15:13  

  • Stephen-Obama is for the status quo in healthcare. That's been established quite well by the media.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 23 April, 2008 15:31  

  • I get it now! You're confusing Obama and Clinton.

    "Obama's gutter tactics to steal this nomination..."

    I'm sorry, but Obama's the won who has won the most delegates. He has been ahead in the delegate count every day since the very first contest in Iowa. He can't possibly "steal" a nomination that he's winning.

    Clinton, on the other hand, has been fighting tooth and nail to tear Obama down to try and convince superdelegates to take the decision out of the hands of the American people.

    Don't believe me? How about the New York Times? They're her home-town paper, and they endorsed her, yet they're still blaming her for the majority of the negativity on the campaign trail.

    Obama is winning. He's winning because more people in more states have come out to vote for him, plain and simple.

    The truth won't change just because you tell it to. Get used to the fact that Clinton didn't win, and start thinking about how we're going to beat McCain in the fall.

    By Blogger Stephen, At 23 April, 2008 15:32  

  • Anon--

    Obama's plan and Clinton's plan are virtually identical, and either is vastly superior to McCain's. If you've let the media brainwash you into thinking otherwise, I suggest you do a little more research.

    By Blogger Stephen, At 23 April, 2008 15:33  

  • McCain is going to siphon off all the blue collar voters the way Bush Sr. did. The big issue here is what they value most; ethics....If Barack continues to oppose the seating of the delegates his fate is sealed.

    First, there's no explanation of why any doubts as to Obama's ethics wouldn't already be reflected in head-to-head national polls.

    Second, there's no explanation as to how to prevent rampant line-jumping if sanctions are not imposed on states that vote early. If we thought this year was a mess, we'll have far more chaos next time if FL and MI are seated without penalty.

    Third, I have heard nothing about the questionable ethics of calling for the recognition of an election where eligible voters were told it wasn't going to matter, substantial numbers of those voters either stayed home or voted in the Republican primary because they were told the Democratic primary wasn't going to matter, only one major candidate's name was on the ballot, and even she said the vote wasn't going to matter. Calling for it to matter now seems a bit, well, unethical.

    If you want to see how Clinton was for sanctioning FL and MI before she was against them, please check out the following Slate article:
    http://www.slate.com/id/2188985/

    By Blogger dsimon, At 23 April, 2008 16:16  

  • if you read carefully Anon. 14:21 sounds like donald rumsfield.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 23 April, 2008 17:45  

  • Sorry no cigar. You Obama supporters are just too thick to help. You're failing on an open book test. Don't confuse being anti-loser to being anti-Obama. If I didn't like him I wouldn't be out here in cyberspace giving his supporters all the answers. When you're banging your heads in October wondering why the voters are so stupidly voting against their interests, I'll be able to sleep knowing that I warned you. I don't think any of you will be feeling the same way in November when McCain is our next president elect. Btw,the healthcare plans are vastly different in one small measure that seems insignificant now but in the future will doom Obama's to a preservation of the status quo. Listen to Edwards on that one. Rumsfield? Ha ha, he's just an obsolete humanoid. I'll give you a clue; what has twice your average IQ and four times your strength relative to muscle mass?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 23 April, 2008 21:05  

  • dsimon-you have no ethics. Don't pretend to.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 23 April, 2008 21:48  

  • dsimon-you have no ethics. Don't pretend to.

    Too bad that's yet another non-response to all three points in my prior post. And if you think something is ethical or unethical, you need to explain why. Otherwise, both sides can just say "I'm ethical!" with no possibility of resolution.

    You can't have a discussion with someone who refuses to engage the issues. So I won't get drawn into this again.

    By Blogger dsimon, At 23 April, 2008 22:04  

  • Anonymous--

    As usual, you don't respond with facts, ideas, or even arguments relevant to the topic at hand. You just yap insulting drivel with no factual support at all.

    Like I said before, self-delusion. Enjoy it.

    By Blogger Stephen, At 23 April, 2008 23:04  

  • anon 21:05 isn't rumsfield, it's GOD speaking!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 24 April, 2008 05:41  

  • 21:05 You people deify then crucify your superiors. Just look at what Jesus went through for trying to simplify multi-theism. 2000 years later and you're worshipping a Roman torture device! If I was to martyr myself today you mental patients might be worshipping an electric chair next. Stephen and dsimon-you both act like children holding your hands over your ears screaming "I don't hear you". I've supplied more than enough factual information to support my statements and neither of you have effectively refuted them. RCP agrees with me. Let's see if "JJ" can grow a set of balls and pull this off.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 24 April, 2008 07:13  

  • What factual information is that? Your one "fact" of how much of each candidate's base will vote for the other? That and the accompanying argument have been so thoroughly debunked that if you haven't seen it by now, you're too dim to do so.

    I have *no idea* what your bizarre Jesus comparison is about. Why you assume I'm Christian, I don't know. If you feel like martyring yourself to see what the effect is, feel free, though.

    By Blogger Stephen, At 24 April, 2008 08:24  

  • You have a serious reading comprehension deficit. I don't think the passing reader would have any choice but to put you in the "dim" and "idiot" category. Keep up the nasty tone though it's really helpful to the superdelegates.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 24 April, 2008 10:03  

  • Yeah, all the superdelegates reading this conversation are gonna be soooo pissed at me.

    Christ, dude, if you don't have an argument, you don't have an argument, just admit it and move on. There's no point in just sitting there insulting people.

    1: Obama has effectively won the nomination. Clinton needs about 60% of the remaining delegates to win, and she hasn't been able to get more than about 55% in more than a couple of contests. She'll lose Oregon and North Carolina, probably by double digits, which makes the math almost impossible. Superdelegates so far have shown no sign of backing away from Obama--quite the opposite, in fact, as he's picked up nearly 100 over the last couple of months, while she's picked up only 5. She's lost. Get over it.

    2: This is a *good* thing, because Obama is more electable than Clinton. Most Democratic primary voters surveyed agree he has a better chance against McCain, most head-to-head GE match-ups show him doing better against McCain than Clinton, and Clinton's negatives are prohibitively high--she is an extremely divisive figure on the national stage, which will make it difficult to make the inroads into traditionally Republican states (such as Virginia) that Obama can. In addition, Obama has brought in new voters to the party, who are underrepresented in most of these polls, and so is probably actually better-positioned than it appears.

    It's phenomenal that you can accuse me of having a reading comprehension problem when you can't even read the writing on the wall.

    By Blogger Stephen, At 24 April, 2008 10:22  

  • Speak for yourself. You can't even distinguish between comments directed at you and those addressed to others. You must be very lonely and vain to have to interject yourself into jokes that are above your head to even justify your relevancy. When you don't understand it's time to go back and check context to find out where you got lost. Dsimon falls into the same hole. You guys are clueless. Next time you don't "get it" assume it's beyond your understanding instead of confirming your lack of intelligence by making outlandish comments.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 24 April, 2008 10:46  

  • Ah, apparently I misunderstood your used of a plural as meaning you intended to target more than one person. This must be some strange new grammar not yet recognized by Chicago. Thanks for cluing me in, buddy.

    So you actually have no response to the facts and arguments above, right? Okay, then.

    By Blogger Stephen, At 24 April, 2008 11:06  

  • Obama is untested Stephen. (I'll set aside your apparent overlooking a direct reference to a post time.) CNN is reporting today the polling I quoted yesterday,hardly debunked. We'll see next week whether this week's contest affects his electability. Also next week the NC state republican party's attack campaign will have no doubt an effect on that race. At this stage an untested candidate like Barack looks plausible, but to assume that he can withstand the scrutiny that is to come is foolish. He can't even stand for himself at a debate.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 24 April, 2008 11:22  

  • Idealism must be tempered by realism.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 24 April, 2008 11:23  

  • Untested? Where have you been for the last six weeks?

    People threw everything they had at Obama. Remarks that weren't his, remarks that were his extrapolated into something they weren't, a lop-sided debate, an admittedly poor debate performance by him, attack ads, ads featuring Osama bin Laden, the decades-old terrorist ties of someone he knows casually, etc. etc.

    And what was the result? Clinton got a 9-point lead, when six weeks ago she was up by 20. Clinton closed the delegate gap by 10-14, barley denting his lead of 150. According to the most recent polling by Rasmussen, Obama's chances against McCain have gone up, his lead over Clinton is holding strong, and his favorables are on their way up again--still miles over Clinton's.

    Untested? He's run a good, efficient, effective campaign, while Clinton's camp has been torn apart by in-fighting, fund-raising failures, debt, and flawed strategy. If she can't run a campaign that can beat this untested, inexperienced empty-suit, what makes you think she can run the country?

    By Blogger Stephen, At 24 April, 2008 11:37  

  • If you think that was testing, just wait. He's a newbie and she's an old hand at this. He was in diapers when she was running successful campaigns. And one thing that hangs over his head is a possibility of Fitzgerald hitting him with an indictment in October. He is a republican you know. Democrats are going with a winner no matter how well he campaigns or how many delegates he picks up. Remember the supers were created precisely for the purpose of overriding the pledged in the event that the frontrunner couldn't hack it. Hillary is a failsafe against Barack's failure. That's why she should be the VP if he wins and vice-versa. Insurance.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 24 April, 2008 12:26  

  • That Rasmussen has a five day lag. Not relevent anymore.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 24 April, 2008 12:33  

  • Running successful campaigns? The only campaigns she's ever won were for New York Senate, and both were easy victories. Obama's been in elected office longer than her. Again, if she's such a skilled master, why can't she beat him? Why has her campaign been such a mess?

    If the supers are planning on going against the delegate leader, why is he the one with the 20-1 superdelegate lead since March 5th?

    And Fitzgerald isn't going to indict him, that's ludicrous. Obama's connections to Rezko are no more damaging the Hillary's to Peter Paul or Norman Hsu.

    Also, there's no 5-day lag on Rasmussen, that's continuous, every-day polling, up to last night. It's a 4-day rolling average, to be sure, but as Obama's been going up for the last several days, that indicates the most current data is probably actually better for him than the numbers they have there.

    By Blogger Stephen, At 24 April, 2008 12:42  

  • Wow you are clueless. Hillary ran President Carter's campaign in Ind. in '76. And Obama helped Rezko by writing letters on his behalf on state letterhead. These letters are part of the influence peddling investigation ongoing into Rezko. How about a public showing of all the influence Barack used on behalf of Rezmar? Obama's dirty and even he admitted it at one of the debates. (She's leading in superdelegates. That's just poor logic there.)

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 24 April, 2008 14:46  

  • 1: "Organizing" Indiana for a presidential bid makes you an effective leader now? Boy, that makes sense, I guess that's why she's running such a good campaign now, right?

    2: Oh, and Ford beat Carter in Indiana. This is your example of her "running" a "successful" campaign?

    3: Not once in Rezko's trial has Obama been brought up in the context of any wrongdoing. Investigators have found nothing wrong that he did for Rezko. Supporting an urban housing deal isn't exactly unusual for a state senator. If Obama were dirty, someone would've brought it up by now--they haven't, because they know it's a loser issue, so they need to focus on his pastor instead. And *that* issue has flopped, badly, so far.
    4: And the poor logic is yours--Clinton is leading by a handful of superdelegates because she started with a massive superdelegate lead. Since Super Tuesday, she has picked up FIVE and he has picked up nearly 100. Do you really expect the remaining 300 or so superdelegates to suddenly flock to her? Why? They've shown no willingness to do so so far--the opposite in fact.

    Clinton took an early lead in supderdelegates because no one thought Obama was the real deal. Then he won THIRTY PRIMARIES, more delegates, and more votes. Now the superdelegates are trickling to him day by day and Clinton is fighting to hold on to hers. Good luck with that coup-by-superdelegate you're looking for.

    By Blogger Stephen, At 24 April, 2008 15:13  

  • you both act like children holding your hands over your ears screaming "I don't hear you". I've supplied more than enough factual information to support my statements and neither of you have effectively refuted them.

    Then, one last time, respond to my last three points so clearly that even I can understand them. They were:

    1. You've said Obama can't win because he doesn't have the support of enough registered Democrats. Wouldn't any candidate's strength and weaknesses with various groups already be reflected national polls against McCain? And overall, don't they show both candidates running equally well (or poorly) against McCain?

    2. If states that vote early are not subjected to sanctions, won't that just make for more chaos the next time around?

    3. Who is it fair to "count" Michigan when the party said it wasn't going to count, the voters though it wasn't going to count, only one major candidate's name was on the ballot, and even she said it wasn't going to count?

    I await (though do not expect) your answers.

    By Blogger dsimon, At 24 April, 2008 15:40  

  • Dsimon 1. No, 2. No, 3. Obama had his name on the ballot and removed it by choice, not by agreement with anyone except Edwards. All the candidaters knew the decision would be appealed and the state went ahead with the intent of seeking a reversal. Michigan voters count and their delegates will be seated. Any argument you have for denying the voting rights of those residents is unethical on it's face and morally unacceptable. Now you can take your hands off your ears. If you persist it is at your own expense to your side.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 24 April, 2008 16:47  

  • Stephen-you fail to recognize that this "pastor" issue and the Rezko fiasco is only at the very beginning stages. You have much more agony to suffer through. What happened to those supers flocking to Obama? Seems they don't like his feeble chances of winning. It is failed logic to think that this primary race or the soon to start election season is somehow already over. Ostrich comes to mind.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 24 April, 2008 16:52  

  • Dsimon 1. No, 2. No

    "No" is obviously not an argument. Why "no"? You have to back it up. I could just as easily say "yes," and it wouldn't get us anywhere.

    1. If Obama "can't win" because he lacks Democratic party member support, how can national polls, which would include cross-party defections, have him doing just as well as Clinton in head-to-head match-ups against McCain?

    2. If states aren't penalized for voting early, how is chaos to be prevented next primary season? What's your enforcement mechanism?

    Any argument you have for denying the voting rights of those residents is unethical on it's face and morally unacceptable.

    Well, then you're disenfranchising the tens if not hundreds of thousands of voters who were eligible to vote in the Democratic primary but voted in the Republican primary instead because Clinton said the Democratic primary wasn't going to matter. That sounds unethical.

    From an Oct. 11 AP report: "It's clear, this election they're having is not going to count for anything," Clinton said Thursday during an interview on New Hampshire Public Radio's call-in program, "The Exchange."

    And if you can look at the totality of the circumstances and call it a fairly contested election, I'd say that's unethical too.

    I'm done with you.

    By Blogger dsimon, At 24 April, 2008 18:55  

  • 1: The beginnings? If this is the beginning, the end is nothing to worry about, because they're already grasping at straws. Rezko, Wright, and Ayers have had minimal impact on Obama thus far.

    2: And what do you mean "what happened to those supers flocking to Obama"? They haven't stopped, he's added several in the last couple of days.

    3: Exactly how do you imagine Clinton's going to win the nomination? Get 60% in North Carolina when she couldn't in Pennsylvania, Ohio, or New York? Have 300 superdelegates swoop in and hand her the nomination when only five have endorsed her in the last two months and many interviewed SDs have said they plan on going with the pledged delegate leader? How do you see this playing out for her?

    By Blogger Stephen, At 24 April, 2008 22:52  

  • I see Obama's support crumbling like his debating skills. Maybe he can pull it off, maybe not. Time will tell. I think if he falls apart before the convention you'll see an overwhelming number of supers jumping ship. His ethics ar as low as you can get. Dsimon shows us that. It's his ceiling. Dsimon argues that "tens of thousands" that voted republican are a reason for disenfranchising 2.3 million. That just about sums up the issue.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 25 April, 2008 11:20  

  • Obama's ethics are low? What about Clinton, who agreed MI and FL wouldn't be counted beforehand, but now that she needs them to count she's changed her position?

    Those contests were clearly slanted toward Hillary. In a democracy, you don't let unfair elections stand. Period.

    By Blogger Stephen, At 25 April, 2008 11:34  

  • Excluding 9% of the Democratic base is unfair as well. Hillary had no choice but to flip on those states and it's that issue that is the mainstay of her support now. Barack may still win with those states. He definitely has a better GE chance with them than without. His position of excluding them is unteneble.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 25 April, 2008 11:59  

  • 1: "No choice" but to flip on them? Wouldn't the choice have been to either, A: maintain that they should be counted beforehand, which she didn't, or B: maintain that they should not count afterward, which she also didn't?
    2: How is this issue the "mainstay" of her support when most Florida Democrats don't believe the existing vote should count?
    3: Barack never took a position of excluding them--he took the position of abiding by the DNC's rules. He has never, ever stated that a revote shouldn't happen--only that it would need to be done in a fair way (i.e., he didn't like mail-in voting). It's the legislators in the states who rejected revoting, not him.

    By Blogger Stephen, At 25 April, 2008 12:38  

  • None of your points changes the fact that excluding those states constitutes voter suppression and makes Barack unelectable. And he campaigned in Fla. violating the rules, so "abiding" isn't a good term for his actions. He didn't have to send people to lobby against a revote. That speaks much louder than words. Maybe a public apology for interfering in their voting rights might help. Probably too late now. It's all moot now with his campaign manager making racist remarks.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 26 April, 2008 12:03  

  • 1: Excluding those states is voter suppression. Including them? Also voter suppression! Shit, I guess that means they're both unelectable.

    The only way to go was a revote. The legislatures nixed that, not Obama. He won't suffer for it any more tha Clinton would.

    2: He didn't campaign in Florida, one regional ad buy happened to include some Florida markets ncidentally. The DNC didn't find him to have violated the rules.

    3: He didn't send people to lobby against a revote, he had people lobby against a mail-in revote, which his campaign considered unfair. The same way Clinton lobbied against caucuses, because she considered them unfair.

    4: *His* campaign manager making racist remarks? You're off your rocker now....

    By Blogger Stephen, At 26 April, 2008 13:16  

  • Stephen, this person isn't worth your time. This person, after repeated requests, still hasn't explained his answers to questions I posed directly, and supports results of votes only where excluding large portions of the electorate skews the results to his or her preferred candidate.

    People who refuse to engage in real discussion are best left alone.

    By Blogger dsimon, At 26 April, 2008 23:27  

  • All right, I suppose this is fairly ridiculous. I just hate leaving people who are utterly wrong under the impression that they're right. But, I suppose sometimes there's just no hope. Allow me to follow your advice, then, thanks.

    By Blogger Stephen, At 27 April, 2008 02:29  

  • I just hate leaving people who are utterly wrong under the impression that they're right. But, I suppose sometimes there's just no hope.

    I empathize with you. But there are some people who still believe that Saddam's WMDs are waiting to be discovered in Syria. They pay attention to the data they like and won't consider anything else because they've already made up their minds.

    I believe in the power of facts and reason at least to investigate where the real disagreement lies. But with some folks, you can't even get started. And at that point, one is better just moving on.

    By Blogger dsimon, At 27 April, 2008 10:36  

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    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 06 October, 2010 10:03  

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