Obama's delegate victory; Lack of planning doomed Clinton
by Ignored and Disgusted, Wed Jun 04, 2008 at 08:56:01 AM EDT
Having staked his claim to the Democratic nomination, Senator Obama is now transitioning to the general election phase of the campaign while his surrogates continue to pressure the superdelegates to make up their minds by the end of the week. Even though Senator Clinton has not yet conceeded the race for the nomination, Senator Obama is confident enough of his victory that he is already talking of "unity" and "party loyalty". However, his status for the past several weeks as the presumptive nominee apparently was not enough for him to win in West Virginia, Kentucky, Puerto Rico, or South Dakota. Furthermore, he has seemingly overlooked the fact that many of Senator Clinton's supporters harbor hard feelings, to say the least, of his brusque dismissal of Clinton ever since his large February winning streak. ("I would have dropped out if I were her") Comments like "You are likeable enough" and insuations of racism are never sound methodologies to use in reuniting a fractured party base. Many here and at DKOS claim that it is only a matter of time before the "chickens come home to roost," to put it in the language of Reverand Wright. While I think this is highly improbable at the present time, I do find an analysis of Obama's primary victory and large lead in delegates to be quite illuminating. I have separated Senator Obama's victories into five distinct categories, with an interpretation of their importance to his win. While it is clear that Senator Obama was much more prepared for a post Feb. 5th contest, it remains to be seen whether his coalition will be enough to win the general election come November. Please comment.
1. Majority white states (some) with open primaries: This category encompasses the contests held in Wisconsin, Oregon, and Montana. (Vermont is a similar case, differing mainly in the significant percentage of voters who said that the war in Iraq was their main concern.) These contests, while having delivered Senator Obama "only" 22 pledged delegates, they form an integral part of his general election electability argument that he too is capable of winning over significant white support. However, this "strength" among whites was bolstered by Independant voters (Republicans in Wisconsin) and underscores his weakness among registered Dems, many of whom have shown an affinity for John McCain. In short, it is probable that Senator Obama's weakness among registered Dems would negate his advantage among Indies.
2. Significant African American Democratic electorates: This category encompasses Louisiana, Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, and Maryland as well as Washington D.C. As a result of Obama's 9:1 ratio of African American support, Clinton Was crushed in these states, which contributed the most to Obama's delegate lead. A case in point is Georgia awarding Obama a net 40+ delegates!!!! This lopsided win was helped in part, as were others, by the greater number of delegates majority African American districts in congress were apportioned. It is noteworthy that this pattern began manifesting itself after Obama's "condemnation" of Bill Clinton's remarks in South Carolina.
3. Caucus States: I am not tthe forst to write of the caucus states's outsized influence on the nominating process (see Larry sabato's article) but these contests, including the 13 of 14 total that were won by Obama, posted suppressed turnout numbers and in the case of Texas caucus, widespread fraud. (Obama campaign officials deny this.) The results of the non-binding Nebraska and Washington primaries indicate that the suppressed turnout of the caucuses had a detrimental effect on Senator Clinton's delegate apportionment. Caucuse in general, perhaps with the exception of the Iowa Caucus, recorded low participation when compared to states that had legitimate, higher turnout primary elections.
4. Home State: Illinois and arguably Hawaii fall under this category. Senator Obama's home state rewarded him with a large delegate margin while Hawaii, the state where he grew up, netted him eight delegates in its caucus. Clearly, Obama was favored in Illinois and possibly Hawaii as a result of his favorite son status.
5. The unexplained: Four states do not fit the categories I put forth: Missouri, Deleware, Connecticut, and Utah. Missouri was quite close, Obama owing his narrow victory likely to a large turnout from St. Louis County. Deleware was a state largely ignored by Senator Clinton, as was Utah, while Conncecticut voters, who dumped Lieberman in the 06 senatorial primary, may have favored Obama's message of change more than Clinton's message of experience.