The Incredible Shrinking Talking Point

I wasn't around a television Tuesday night so I didn't get a sense at all of how the speeches played or what the media was obsessing over in its coverage of election night. So it was interesting to read this from Poblano on Wednesday:

Last night, Barack Obama clinched a majority of pledged delegates excluding Florida and Michigan, as well as under certain Florida/Michigan scenarios. But, in spite of a big win in Oregon and a well-executed speech in Iowa, the milestone did not quite produce the sense of euphoria and closure that his campaign might have been after. The circumstances of the day -- Hillary Clinton's overwhelming margin of victory in Kentucky, the late hour at which Oregon ballot boxes closed, the subdued tone of the evening necessitated by Senator Kennedy's diagnosis, and some relatively effective pushback from the Clinton campaign on the pledged delegate metric -- conspired to prevent that.

Notice the loaded language..."clinched"..."conspired"...he sounds like he actually thinks a majority of pledged delegates means something concrete as opposed to merely psychological. I mean, the Obama talking point was successful to a point; it got covered by traditional media as though it meant something real and even confused NPR's Michelle Norris who conveniently left off the word "pledged" when describing the delegate milestone Obama would reach Tuesday night. Mara Liasson had to correct her.

Now, I'm not saying the milestone is entirely meaningless, all I'm saying is let's call it what it is: a meme pushed out by the Obama camp to influence superdelegates and the media and to manipulate public perception. I can see how psychologically it would have some power, but let's not pretend the Obama campaign wasn't being manipulative; clearly they were hoping hearing "majority" and "delegates" in the same sentence would confuse people into thinking the race had been won and thus make it so. Alas, it was not meant to be, but good try. It's about time they started playing on that playing field.

Look, the second it became clear that pledged delegates alone were not going to win the nomination for either Obama or Clinton, the use of psychological warfare was fair game; it's superdelegates' jobs to be influenced by things like popular vote, majority of pledged delegates and electability and as far as I'm concerned it's the campaigns' jobs to try to use any argument at their disposal to make the case to them.

What I find remarkable is that the same people who are brazenly spinning this Obama talking point are ridiculing the Clinton campaign for spinning theirs.

Again Poblano.

Yes, [Byron York] really did make this argument about Hillary Clinton and the primaries:

There have been four quarters in the Democratic presidential nomination battle. We're late in the fourth quarter now, and when it's over, Hillary Clinton will likely have won three of the quarters -- and won the most votes overall -- but lost the game.

Mr. York? Mr. York? There's a Mr. Wolfson for you on line four.

I'm not saying York was entirely artful about expressing it, but that argument is no more absurd or off limits than the majority of pledged delegates thing. The problem for Hillary Clinton, though, is that it's just the latest argument that they've advanced that will fail to sway the superdelegates into shifting her way.

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Who Has The Momentum?

I am a Clinton supporter and clearly biased as such, but I think she's got a compelling argument which she can make to the Superdelegates that she is the stronger, more electable candidate against McCain.

This race is insanely close. It isn't over just because Obama crossed a threshold of pledged delegates. That simply is not the measure of winning the nomination. It is a fact that the Superdelegates will be the deciding this race. Here's what I'd be looking at if I were a Superdelegate: Momentum, momentum, momentum.

Obama indisputably had an amazing 2 months in January and February. He was racking up victories and pledged delegates. His momentum seemed unstoppable, inevitable. But then something happened on March 4th... it slowed way down.

Starting on March 4th, the momentum has actually been with Clinton. Obama has not been the dominant force. Out of the 5 months that the Democrats have been voting in primaries and caucuses, she's slightly dominated the last 3.

Here are some facts (from realclearpolitics):

Since March 4th:

- Clinton has won: RI, OH, TX primary, PA, IN, WV and KY

- Obama has won: TX caucus, VT, WY, MS, NC, OR and Guam (by 7 votes)

- Clinton has won 454 pledged delegates to Obama's 437

- Clinton has won 490,500 more popular votes than Obama

For Obama supporters who will inevitably trash this diary and say it is an irrelevant argument, I have 2 questions which I'd like honest, objective answers to (if you're so inclined):

1) If this were simply an exercise in who has the most pledged delegates, why is the nominating process stretched out over many months in the first place? Why not simply have all the contests on a single day and then call a winner? My understanding was that the entire point of holding the nomination over a long period of time is to test a candidate's momentum, fortitude, longevity, endurance, lasting appeal? Why isn't anyone examining and debating that? Why shouldn't the Superdelegates look at that?

2) What is the purpose of having Superdelegates if they exist to simply ratify the pledged delegate count? That is not their role by any definition that I've ever seen. They are supposed to be free to vote their conscience based upon who will best represent the Democratic Party (using whatever criteria they choose). They are specifically and clearly NOT to be bound by any other measure.

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Power to the People

The people are speaking.  Is our party listening?

Early in the primaries, Barack Obama promised that he would win more people over the longer he campaigned.  He said that every state becomes an "Obama state" once he goes there.  But an interesting thing happened as winter turned to spring, and the people kept voting in record numbers.  Hillary Clinton stole the momentum.   Her popularity soared; her appeal broadened; and she steadfastly became the darling of the masses, even as Barack was crowned darling of the mass media.

It started back in New Hampshire, when Hillary "found her voice," but what really happened is that the American people have found Hillary. And there's nothing like raw data to illustrate the point:  

*The Electoral Vote "Poll Watcher" shows Hillary gaining steam against McCain, now leading 310 to 228, with Hillary winning key states like Florida, North Carolina, and West Virginia.  (Obama trails McCain by over 30 EV's.)

*Over the last three months, Hillary has won more contests, gained more votes, and earned more delegates. Since March 4th, she has gained nearly 500,000 more popular votes than Barack Obama as voters in crucial battleground states have made their voices known.

*More Americans have voted for Hillary than any other presidential candidate this cycle. In fact, more people have voted for Hillary than any other primary candidate in history - nearly 18 million so far.

*Just yesterday, Hillary won 150,000 more votes than Obama in Kentucky and Oregon, even though delegate counts will be split fairly evenly.

*Hillary has now won nearly 64,000 more votes than Obama in total, when all caucuses and primaries are included.

Hillary Clinton just keeps winning.  She is the candidate who closes the deal with voters. Despite being out-spent by margins of up to 4-to-1; despite anxious efforts by Obama, his surrogates, and an obedient press corps to convince people that the race is over.  They keep voting for her anyway.  Thankfully there's a stubborn gene in the American people, a natural resistance to authority, and maybe that's why the people love Hillary.  They see her get up with the roosters every day, work herself to exhaustion in pursuit of a dream, and never give up or give in to the nay-sayers.  Hillary, in spite of all the odds, has become a genuine Made in the USA hero, a leader for the people and no longer just "Bill's wife," the other Clinton.

My candidate for President, Hillary Clinton, said in her Kentucky victory speech last night:

It is not just Kentucky bluegrass that is music to my ears. It is the sound of your overwhelming vote of confidence even in the face of some pretty tough odds. Some have said your votes didn't matter, that this campaign was over, that allowing everyone to vote and every vote to count would somehow be a mistake. But that didn't stop you. You've never given up on me because you know I'll never give up on you.

Funny thing...that pesky notion of one-person-one-vote-rules in a democracy, such an irritant to the power-brokers who want Hillary Clinton to pad dutifully back to her seat in the Senate, and forget about the 18 million people who want her to be President, including 2.3 million in Florida and Michigan who knew exactly what they were doing.

Power to the people, that's the lesson from November, 2000.  It's not too late to take it to heart.  Hillary Clinton can close this deal for the Democrats in November.


Note: popular vote statistics from Real Clear Politics




Cross posted at texasdarlin

TexasDarlin, all rights reserved
Not affiliated with the Hillary Clinton campaign

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Q & A: When did HRC start caring about "the process"?

The owner of this site writes, in the current lead MyDD article:

[...] Clinton, I'm betting, has more interest in using her capital to reform the nomination process.

I support the idea that the Democrats ought to simplify the party's nominating process. But I have some questions (and answers) prompted by Jerome's observation:

1. QUESTION: Why did we never hear a peep from Bill or Hillary Clinton in the 1992 and 1996 elections about how the nomination process was flawed?

ANSWER: Because the process worked in their favor in those election cycles.

[ More Q & A after the jump... ]

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Hillary ahead of O in May 15 National Gallup Poll! WAKE UP before it's too late!

If voters in Oregon and Kentucky show their good sense and pay no attention to the pundits, Hillary can still win the nomination; and she can lead the Democratic Party to victory in November! Despite every effort by the Obama campaign and the media to push Hillary out of this race, the people are not flocking to Obama.  In fact, more and more of them are turning towards Hillary!

In spite of all his money, all of his endorsements, and all of his "hope", Obama cannot "close the deal" with long-time Democrats.

In spite of all the pressure for her to quit, all the media claims that she cannot win, and all the vicious attacks on her character and her family, according to ABC News, Hillary now holds the lead in the popular vote, and she has also moved ahead of Obama in the most recent daily Gallup Poll.

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