Obama's delegate victory; Lack of planning doomed Clinton

      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.

Tags: 2008, clinton, Delegate, obama, Primary, racism, state (all tags)



Re: Obama's delegate victory; Lack of planning doo

I'm not sure if I understand your question/point.

by GreenHills 2008-06-04 09:10AM | 0 recs
Do you have a link to where

he said this:

("I would have dropped out if I were her")

Because I don't remember him ever saying anything like that. Are you entirely certain you didn't make it up?

by sricki 2008-06-04 09:13AM | 0 recs
Re: Do you have a link to where

Yes, he said that around the time of the Texas and Ohio primaries.  I would never dare make something up for fear that people like you would bite my head off.

by Ignored and Disgusted 2008-06-04 12:41PM | 0 recs
Where is the LINK? n/t

by sricki 2008-06-04 12:54PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama's delegate victory; Lack of planning doo

1. Planning
She planned only till Super Tuesday

2. Money
She was out-raised

3. Message
She started her campaign with a message of experience in a cycle where change was more forceful

4. Personnel
Honestly, she surrounded herself with quite a few scumbags

5. Certain element of Clinton fatigue
The Clintons (collectively) are known, and have done some good work, but also carry some serious bags (rightly or wrongly), and for many it has been too much Clinton (combined), too often. Personally I think Bill should have been much more low key, much less involved, but that's just MO.

6. Organizing
Came late to the game in getting the ground troops fully mobilized (see #1)

She could have won it by correcting a few of the above things early in the game, she did have a huge natural advantage, but that is all water under the bridge...

There has been some speculation that if she had run the campaign that she ran the last 6 weeks, from the start she would have won. That's possible, but I think these last six weeks where pretty much set in stone, the only surprise being SD, and where more of a matter of primary timing and geographic/demographic advantage then campaign style.

by notedgeways 2008-06-04 09:15AM | 0 recs
Lack of planning doomed Clinton

One could play this game the other way.  Hillary Clinton won in these states:

1) those where she could rack up huge majorities in Appalachian countries (eg. OH, PA, WV, KY, TN, though this wasn't enough for her to pull ahead in VA, MD, and NC, where she won these counties by similar margins);

2) the home field advantage (NY, AK, and, really, NJ, because it shares a media market with NY).

3) the deeply flawed primaries of FL and MI;

4) states where she could mobilize a Latino vote which mostly went for her (CA, AZ, NM, TX, PR), though their numbers were never large enough to give her big victories (save PR).

5) Clinton and Obama split the New England states (she got MA, NH, and RI, he got VT, CT, and ME).

The above counts for every victory she won save two states (OK, SD), but so what?  It doesn't capture most of what happened during this election (the three big dividing lines, really, were age (45 y.o.), income ($50k), and gender, and of these three the most important was probably age.

Could also suggest it's silly to simply dismiss the caucus states (suggesting, as it does, that Obama's popularity in the upper Midwest, "Rockylachia", and Pacific northwest, is fictious, something no one really believes).  

There's also the question of open vs. closed primaries (Obama clearly benefitted from the second, Clinton the first), and the Limbaugh voters (Clinton's supporters will deny this to their deaths, but this was a real phenomenon which might have added 5-10% to her totals in some states and started in the OH/TX primaries).

But most of this is just an exercise in trivializing the victories won by the candidate you didn't support.  The election is over.

by IncognitoErgoSum 2008-06-04 09:23AM | 0 recs

Obama benefitted from open primaries, Clinton did better in closed ones.  This is probably the whole explanation for why she won SD and he won MT.  

by IncognitoErgoSum 2008-06-04 09:29AM | 0 recs
Re: Lack of planning doomed Clinton

mocking me is not the best way to "heal the primary wounds."

by Ignored and Disgusted 2008-06-04 12:40PM | 0 recs
Clinton Mistakes

I don't believe that going for an early kill was a mistake by Clinton. It could have worked and is a strategic error only known by hindsite, and thus not really a mistake.

Nor do I think that her experience message was a mistake. Again only by hindsite can we say that she should have used a "Fight for the middleclass" message. Many people suggest that she should have used a "change" message. But because she is Bill Clinton's husband, she would have lost credibility using the message.

These are the true Clinton mistakes:

(1) Not objecting to the Michigan and Florida punishment at the onset. Those states were tailored made for Clinton. Clinton's early own polling showed that she ran strong with Latinos and older people. It also showed that she ran strong in the Northeastern industrial belt. If she had objected, the DNC would have decided to strip Florida and Michigan only one-half of their delegates, forcing the candidates to spend resources in those states. Turnout in Florida was only about half of the other states, making it likely she would have won the state by 600,000 votes if voters knew the primary results would count. Thus, she would have won the popular vote metric outright. Early wins in Michigan and Florida would have also stemmed Obama's momentum. Although momentum was not important after the Wisconsin primary, it was important through the early primaries, making it likely that she would have won Connecticut and Missouri on Super Tuesday.

(2) Not hiring Harold Ickes to plan strategy for caucus states, and Jerome Armstrong to plan for an internet strategy. Harold Ickes helped write the DNC rules and would have told Clinton to spend more on the ground game in caucus states than on TV ads in Iowa. Although she still would have lost caucus states by considerable margins, she would have closed the gap enough to make 10-5 delegate splits into 9-6 delegate splits. That would have closed the delegate gap by two delegates for every 15 delegates allocated in caucus states. Armstrong would have told Clinton to network on myspace and facebook. Although Clinton's coalition isn't as computer savy as Obama supporters, she still could have used the internet better.  She would have gotten more bang for the buck and not have gotten into debt.

(3) Not learning George Allen's lesson about Youtube. Candidate's can no longer get away with white lies such as being under fire in Bosnia. In this campaign, the Clintons needed to be extra sensative about race. Bill Clinton's statement "Jesse Jackson won South Carolina," may have doomed the Clinton campaign.

Without these mistakes, Clinton probably wins a hard fought nomination fight. Although being a Clinton put her in position to run for president, Democrats in general frown on "nepotism." (For example, George W. Bush would have never gotten the Democratic Party nomination had he been a liberal or moderate Democrat). Thus, winning the Democratic Party nomination was never going to be easy for her despite the early polling.

by Zzyzzy 2008-06-04 10:03AM | 0 recs


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