The Warrior and the Eloquent Fool
by Fleaflicker, Fri Apr 04, 2008 at 06:20:28 AM EDT
Cross posted atNo Quarter
Warning: This is a long diary. It contains substance. If you are fact challenged or allergic to truth go elsewhere. This diary may be harmful to your health.
US News has a very important and extremely enlightening article about the strength of the respective candidacies of Hillary and Obama. While no one can deny that Obama has carried more states, his actual strength in many of the states has been very concentrated, not widespread as the campaign would have you believe. Michael Barone states that Obama Appeals to Academics and Clinton Appeals to Jacksonians. And yes, the title speaks for itself. Obama's support is largely concentrated in areas where among other things he has vast African American support. While Hillary's support is more widespread across the country.
In reviewing the maps of the Democratic primary results, in Dave Leip's electoral atlas, I was struck by the narrow geographic base of Barack Obama's candidacy. In state after state, he has carried only a few counties--though, to be sure, in many cases counties with large populations. There are exceptions, particularly in the southern states with large numbers of black voters in both urban and rural counties. But overall, the geographic analysis has pointed up to me a divide between Democratic constituencies--a divide as stark as that between blacks and Latinos or the old and the young--which has not shown up in the exit polls. It's a division that helps to explain the quite different performances of Obama and Hillary Clinton in general election pairings against John McCain.
As an example of Mr. Barone's very detailed analysis, let's take a look at Michigan where Obama withdrew from the race but encouraged his supporters to vote "Uncommitted."
Michigan. The Democratic National Committee has ruled that these results do not count, and Obama was not on the ballot, though prominent Democrats urged Obama supporters to vote for "Uncommitted." Hillary Clinton beat "Uncommitted" by the unambiguous but not overwhelming margin of 55 percent to 40 percent. Yet Obama carried only two of 83 counties: Emmet County, a small county at the northern tip of the Lower Peninsula, and Washtenaw County, the site of the University of Michigan and Eastern Michigan University. "Uncommitted" beat Clinton in two of 15 congressional districts, the black-majority 13th and 14th districts.
As is quite clear, Obama did well in only two counties in the whole state. Two counties out of 83. Not exactly widespread popularity. Conversely, in South Carolina Obama did very well. He only lost two counties. One to Hillary and one to Edwards.
In Florida, again Obama did not do very well considering the margin by which he lost the state. He won in only 5 Congressional districts statewide. Considering his lack of popular support in Michigan and Florida it is no wonder he is standing in the way of having their votes counted. In fact he only won in 7 of 67 counties in Florida.
Florida. The Democratic National Committee has ruled that these results do not count; all the candidates were on the ballot but didn't campaign here (unless you count a national cable TV ad for Obama and Clinton's arrival in the state on Election Day). Obama carried five of the state's 25 congressional districts--the two panhandle districts (1, 2) with narrow pluralities over Clinton and Edwards and the three black-majority (or near-majority) districts (3, 17, 23). In terms of counties, he carried only seven of 67 counties, including Duval (Jacksonville), Alachua (the University of Florida), and Leon (the state capital and Florida State and Florida A&M universities). He trailed Clinton by fairly large margins in the big I-4 corridor and Gold Coast counties where Edwards was a minimal factor.
According to Barone, it was in Georgia that a pronounced split began to occur between the supporters of Obama and the supporters of Hillary. While Obama won Georgia big, the strength of his support began to dwindle in the northern counties where they they went dramatically for Hillary. This marks the beginning of the distinction between what Barrone defines as the Jacksonians and the Academics.
But note that the counties at the northern edge of the state voted for Clinton, in many cases by wide margins. This was the first sign in the primary season of Obama's great weakness among Appalachian voters--call them Jacksonians, after their first president. We see this also in Alabama, where Obama lost all but one county north of Birmingham and several counties in the southern wiregrass region: These are almost entirely white counties (indeed they were conquered from the Indians by Andrew Jackson and settled by Tennesseans). Note Clinton's 85 percent in Winston County, a hill county ornery enough to have opposed the Confederacy in the Civil War.
This pattern of voting continued in Tennessee, Arkansas and Oklahoma, where Obama only carried one county. The trend continued even into New Mexico where Obama won in the more affluent communities but Hillary won more overall and more wide spread throughout the state. In Missouri where Obama claimed victory, he carried only 5 counties in the entire state. And most in counties that were heavily African American. The pattern of Jacksonian defection was also demonstrated in Obama's home state of Illinois.
Then there's Missouri. Obama's 49 percent-to-48 percent win didn't net him any delegates, but it gave him rights to brag that he could carry the southern-accented Midwest. Except that he carried only small geographic parts of it: St. Louis City and St. Louis County (the county is much larger than the city, and more blacks live in the county than in the city), Jackson County (central Kansas City), Cole County (Jefferson City, the state capital), Boone County (Columbia, the University of Missouri), and rural Nodaway County in the far northwest (did some Iowa caucus organizers go over the line?). He lost Pike County, Mark Twain's home county, 63 percent to 33 percent, and Dunklin County in the southeast boot heel 78 percent to 18 percent. There's a similar pattern to Obama's landslide victory in his home state of Illinois, which he carried 65 percent to 33 percent but where he lost 14 of 102 counties, all of them in far downstate Illinois, all of them originally settled by southerners--more Jacksonian country.
In Texas where Hillary won 51% to 47% Obama won in only 24 counties while Hillary won in 226. Quite a significant difference. And in Ohio where Hillary turned this race around, Obama carried only 5 counties and 4 Congressional Districts.
Clinton won 54 percent to 44 percent. Obama carried only five of 88 counties: Cuyahoga (Cleveland), Franklin (Columbus: state capital, Ohio State University), Delaware (upscale Columbus suburbs), Montgomery (Dayton), and Hamilton (Cincinnati). He carried only four congressional districts, 1 (Cincinnati), 3 (Dayton), 10 (east side of Cleveland), and 12 (Columbus), and came very close in 15 (the other side of Columbus). Clinton won between 61 percent and 70 percent in four districts: 6 (Ohio River from Portsmouth up toward Youngstown), 10 (west side of Cleveland), 17 (Youngstown-Akron), and 18 (east central Ohio). Here we see our Jacksonians again, very negative toward Obama. On Fox News on election night, I emphasized the strong Clinton (or weak Obama) showings in southern Ohio, and I think rightly so. I was stunned by the size of the Clinton margins, and I have thought ever since that this bodes ill for Obama's chances of winning votes in western and central Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Kentucky, and perhaps (though it's a small part of the state) western North Carolina.
Barone sees this as an epic battle between two tribes within American culture, the Academics and the Warriors (Jacksonians).
Obama is of course the Academic.
Like Stevenson, he speaks fluently and often eloquently but does not exude a sense of command. He is an interlocutor, not a fighter. His habit of stating his opponents' arguments fairly and sometimes more persuasively than they do themselves has been a political asset among his peers and in the press but not among Jacksonians, who are more interested in defeating than in understanding their enemies.
And Hillary is obviously the Warrior.
In contrast to Obama, Clinton has given herself the image of a fighter. And it's not entirely inauthentic. Against very unfavorable odds, she is continuing to campaign and to insist--and for Jacksonians, this is among the most admirable of qualities--that she is not a quitter. She is fighting fair and foul--think about her lies about being under fire in Bosnia--but she is still fighting, and Jacksonians may not hold her lies heavily against her. We have seen her rebound from humiliations professional (healthcare) and personal (Monica Lewinsky) and keep fighting. This is off-putting to academics but admirable, or something close to that, to Jacksonians.
That's our gal. She never gives up, never gives in. She projects strength and seasoned experience. Exactly the qualities we need in our President. And Barone agrees, he believes that because Hillary is a warrior she stands a very good chance of getting the popular vote, with or without Michigan and Florida.
Clinton's support from Jacksonians gives her, as I have argued, a chance to overtake Obama in the popular vote and an opportunity to argue to the superdelegates that she should be the Democratic nominee. They're a significant bloc of voters in Pennsylvania, North Carolina, West Virginia, and Kentucky (although I should note that this week's polls in Pennsylvania show her running behind my projections). The Democratic Party has seldom won a presidential election without their support: Jimmy Carter carried Jacksonian voters in 1976, and so did Bill Clinton in 1992 and, by a lesser margin, in 1996. If Al Gore had carried just West Virginia or Kentucky or Tennessee or Georgia or Arkansas--all states carried by Carter in 1976 and Clinton in 1992, all heavy with Jacksonians--he would have been elected president in 2000, and we wouldn't have spent 37 days arguing how to count the vote in Florida. This Democratic primary contest has become a bitter fight between blacks and Latinos, young and old, upscale and downscale--and academics and Jacksonians.
All in all this very detailed analysis completely disputes the lie propagated by the Obama campaign that they are the one's that have the more widespread support throughout the country. When the numbers are actually examined it becomes very clear that Hillary is the candidate that represents the vast majority of America. And the only Democratic candidate that will win the White House.