Obama's May 20 Bash: A Cynical Replay of Election Night 2000 (with update)

Think not??

I'll take you back to that fateful night in a moment.

But first, listen to strategist David Axelrod on WCCO, the CBS affiliate in Minneapolis, MN the night of the May 8 Indiana and North Carolina primaries. (The video is the top left "thumbnail" located just above the video player in the event the current news plays rather than the Axelrod video; you will also have to endure a short Coldstone Creamery ad).

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A New Stage in the Campaign?

In the flow of endorsements in recent days and weeks -- and indeed over the past few months as well -- one thing we haven't seen is very many Senate candidates come out and endorse in the presidential race. There have been a few -- both Jeff Merkley and Steve Novick in Oregon have endorsed Barack Obama, for instance. But by and large, top-tier Senate candidates have refrained from wading into the presidential contest, whether out of fear of alienating half of the party or a desire not to make press in that way. Yet today, an endorsement from a Democratic Senate hopeful and Congressman (and thus a superdelegate to boost) for Obama.

Congressman Tom Allen is throwing his support behind Sen. Barack Obama as the Democratic presidential nominee.

Allen, a superdelegate to this summer's Democratic National Convention, said Monday he believes Obama and Sen. Hillary Clinton are both "supremely qualified" to be president. Allen has been friends for decades with Clinton and her husband, former president Bill Clinton.

But Allen says most of the nation's primary voters have spoken, and that the time has come to bring a "graceful end" to the primary campaign.

Thus far, people like Mark Warner and Tom Udall and Mark Udall -- the top-tier of Democratic Senate hopefuls -- have not come out and endorsed either candidate for President. As alluded to before, in the eyes of most Senate campaigns, the risks of such an endorsement outweigh the potential benefits. Or at least they did.

It remains to be seen if the Allen endorsement foreshadows more to come -- if it is a dipping of the toe in water, in a sense -- or if it simply represents one American coming to a public decision about his views on the race for the Democratic nomination. In the coming weeks, we will have to wait to see if any more Udalls or Warners come out and publicly support either Obama or Hillary Clinton. But if others do follow in Allen's footsteps, we could see a new stage of coalescing in the Democratic presidential primary in which the campaign class of the party, as well as candidates who will actually face the voters in competitive general elections in the fall, are ready to see one nominee emerge.

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Clinton's Rural Advantage

Shepherdstown, W. Va.

While Barack Obama is busy ordering champagne for his premature victory party on May 20th, Hillary Clinton is pounding the West Virginia trail to get-out-the-vote in Tuesday's primary.

By all accounts Clinton will enjoy a double-digit win in West Virginia, followed by another in Kentucky one week later. And even though Obama, his surrogates, and pundit parrots are furiously pre-spinning his losses in these two states by suggesting that they don't really matter -- West Virginia and Kentucky could end up being game-changers for Clinton. Here's why:

Rural America can determine who becomes the next President. And West Virginia and Kentucky show off Clinton's commanding rural advantage.

But they aren't the only ones. Check out the county-by-county results from four very close contests (Clinton is red; Obama, green):

Missouri (Obama won by 1.3%):

New Mexico (Clinton won by 1%):

Texas (Clinton won by 3.5%):

Indiana (Clinton won by 2%)

As you can see, Clinton's base covers a broader geographic region, nearly a sweep of counties.  Although population counts may be relatively equal between the red and green areas -- these maps illustrate how well she consistently performs in rural America.

Hillary has hit her stride in small towns and rural communities across the country, connecting with working class voters with a populist appeal reminiscent of Bobby Kennedy. For those who have followed Hillary Clinton's life and career, we know it's genuine. You can see the joy on her face when she's working the rope line in town squares, even at the end of a 16-hour day. Of course Obama's "bitter" moment aided her, but cinching this demographic segment is a crucial achievement that Clinton has earned for the Democrats. And, you might say...one benefit of this extended primary season that some party members are anxious to end.

A Democratic pollster for the Wall Street Journal and NBC News said it well:

Rural and small-town voters are the best indicators of whether a candidate is connecting with the values of Middle America. "They are America.  Too often Democrats end up with candidates who can speak only to metro America. If you can speak to [rural and small-town America], then you relate to the rest of America."

Pay attention, folks. These are General Election swing voters needed to reach 270 electoral votes.

Swing voters.

And no one understands that better than the superdelegates, many of whom rely on these same voters for their own re-elections.

So Barack Obama might think twice about dismissing West Virginia and Kentucky, even if he calculates that their votes and delegates are inconsequential to the nomination. The hard-working people of Appalachia and bluegrass country represent a nationwide constituency capable of delivering the White House in November. And for Clinton, they will put her within striking distance of a popular vote lead.

Note: Maps and election results from uselectionatlas

Cross posted at texasdarlin.

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

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Why Nominate Someone Who Has Less Than Half the Party Supporting Them?

[editor's note, by Clarkin08] I am posing a serious question here, and in the early comments have received few thoughtful answers, and none that are directly pertinent. Please ignore them. If you can think of any good reason for the Democratic party to nominate any candidate with fewer than 2,209 delegates supporting them, I would like to know what that is.

2024.5 delegates needed to nominate.  That's the Obama line.  It's also the current DNC line, I think.  Most everyone in the Republican owned media is spouting the same line.  The trouble is, that's significantly less than half the delegates that States and Territories will send to the Democratic National Convention.  So, I'm wondering why anyone thinks it's such a great idea, and I hope those of you who do can clear this up for me.

I've been a Democrat for a very long time, and thus far I don't believe I've ever seen such a risky idea being pushed so hard by so many of my fellow Democrats.  

As I recall (and I may be wrong about this), way back at the 1960 Democratic National Convention, John Kennedy just barely won the party nomination at the end of the third roll call when Wyoming cast its votes for him. In other words, after a very hard and prolonged fight on the floor of the convention, he was nominated by the slimmest of party majorities, just barely more than half the delegates sent to the convention.  He agreed to put Lyndon Johnson on the ticket to appeal to southern Democrats and unify the party.  That November,  these two awesome Democratic Party candidates together managed to eke out the slimmest general election victory in history against a Republican that few Democrats thought fit to be President. And some Republicans still maintain that they won it only because Richard Daley got a fair number of dead people to vote for the brilliant, charming young Irish Catholic war hero from Massachusetts with the beautiful young wife and family.  Now, just imagine how many more dead people Mayor Daley (and other mayors all around the USA) might have needed to get to vote for JFK if the Democratic Party had stupidly nominated JFK with only about 45% of its delegates voting for him at the Convention.

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Voter Suppression in W. Virginia? [Updated]

While it's understandable that Barack Obama would like to minimize Hillary Clinton's popular vote gain in upcoming primaries, I would assume that he'd do so by advertising and campaigning in the states to turn out his own vote.  And not like this...I truly hope that his campaign has not stooped this low.

I just received this via an e-mail list, and I would like to know from Senator Obama whether it is true:

Could you pass some info on to the rest of the callers that are calling into WV?

I've been talking with some people already on the ground in WV and the Obama camp is calling voters, NOT to get out the vote, but to ask for money - campaign donations. The gist of the call is that its not important that they vote, because the election is over, and then they ask for money to help put this primary campaign to an end and move on to the general election. Basically, they are telling voters its over. Then they ask for $400 donations...

And here is my open message to Barack Obama...

Senator Obama:

What is going on?  Is your campaign instructing staff and volunteers to urge the citizens of West Virginia to stay home, and not to vote?  I hope not, because that would be a serious obstruction of democracy.  As you know, in a democracy citizens should be encouraged to participate in elections.  You yourself have expressed pride in registering new voters and engaging people in the democratic process.

I implore you to immediately issue a cease-and-desist instruction to your campaign staff and volunteers for this kind of activity.  

Concerned Citizen/Voter


UPDATE: Based on comments, I want to explain, for those who are not involved in phone-banking for either candidate, that the calling lists always include supporters or leaners for both candidates and, crucially, undecided voters. Any Obama volunteer who has made more than a few calls would know this.

Cross posted at TexasDarlin

Not affiliated with the Hillary Clinton campaign.

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