The nomination fight and the map argument

A major argument of the Clinton camp is that Clinton is the stronger general election candidate. Further, they contend that this should be enough for superdelegates to overturn the pledged delegates and to give them the nomination.  Their slogan, promoted by the Clinton campaign, and often repeated by supporters is "It's the map, not the math."

However, what often gets overlooked in these discussion is that the ongoing nomination fight -- and the way it's been conducted makes the numbers look better for Clinton and worse for Obama. 

Where this shows up is in the vote among Democrats.  Now, there clearly has been some consolidation and a move toward unity, as shown by an increasing gap between Obama and Clinton in national polls of Democrats.  Obama now leads Clinton by over 12 points in this morning's realclearpolitics average.  However, about 40% of Democrats continue to support Senator Clinton and some of them are not now reporting support for Senator Obama in general election polls.

The gap among Democratic support has an impact on the match-ups. In many polls, Obama is doing fine with independents in McCain matchups. If Democrats supported Obama as much as Republicans support McCain, Obama would be beating McCain practically everywhere.

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A test of leadership

The vp pick is Obama's next big test of leadership.

Now, it always is. The pick tells you something about a nominee's confidence and judgment. When Bill Clinton went against conventional wisdom and picked a similar sort of person as his running mate, it helped him set his narrative of youth, hope and optimism.  But in this case, Obama will really be telling us something.

If Obama gaves in to Clinton's blandishments, to the push he is getting from the Clinton camp to name her as vp, it would tell people that he is a pushover. If he gave in to this, they will think he might give in during national security crises.

For the sake of the party so that we have a presidential candidate who demonstrates that he can't be bullied, Obama cannot pick Clinton when he doesn't think she is the best vp candidate.

And she most certainly is not the best vp candidate. More than a majority of people in the country think she is not trustworthy and they see her as a highly negative figure.  Most likely, she and Bill won't survive a full vetting.  And she has said so many things about Obama that can't easily be walked back that this will be a continual thorn in his side.

Obama knows this and he'd be best off if he demonstrates that he cannot be bullied.

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Your moment of Zen

In tonight's your moment of Zen:

If sexism is in fact a major reason for Clinton losing, then wouldn't that mean that the most sexist states are the ones where she did badly -- progressive states like Oregon, Wisconsin, and Vermont -- while the least sexist states are ones where she did very well -- states like West Virginia and Kentucky?

But then why are Kentucky and West Virginia known for being conservative when it comes to social issues and Oregon, Wisconsin and Vermont are known for being far more liberal?

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Obama wins majority of pledged delegates

It's been a hard-fought race, but Obama has won a majority of pledged voters under the DNC sanctioned contests.

However, there's more:

"If Obama picks up approximately 50 delegates tonight, then he'll clinch a majority of the pledged delegates even if you add in Michigan and Florida as they originally voted." 008/05/20/1042914.aspx 008/05/20/1042914.aspx

Let's see how OR results play out!

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Party ready to unite

Tonight Obama will very likely have a majority of pledged delegates under any scenario

"If Obama picks up approximately 50 delegates tonight, then he'll clinch a majority of the pledged delegates even if you add in Michigan and Florida as they originally voted." 008/05/20/1042914.aspx

And the Democratic electorate is coming together.  Obama has an overall lead among Democrats of 16 percentage points.

This includes

  • Majorities among women (49-46)
  • Majorities among men (63-31)
  • Majorities of Hispanics (51-44)

"The only major demographic group still supporting Clinton to the tune of 51% or more is women aged 50 and older." And the support for Clinton among this group is only 52%. Surge-Fairly-BroadBased.aspx

Folks, unity has not yet come.  But we're moving along that path.

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With FL and MI

Words upon words have been spent discussing FL and MI.  Hillary Clinton brought it up in her conference call with bloggers the other day, which was the subject of several diaries here.

Without getting into the ins and outs of the controversy, here's a simple question:

How would including FL and MI in the delegate count affect who leads?

The answer - NOT AT ALL.

As Chris Bowers notes:

Even if Michigan and Florida are seated based entirely on the results of the January "primaries," which is extremely unlikely, then Obama leads by 135 delegates even without the remaining 25 Edwards delegates and 19 Michigan uncommitted delegates added to his total. There is simply no longer any path for Clinton to reach the nomination.

Furthermore, Obama will also be ahead in the popular vote:

Even if Michigan and Florida are included in measures of popular participation, notions to which I am actually quite open because no other delegate selection events were made available to the residents of those two states, about 260,000 more participants in Democratic delegate selection events preferred Obama to Clinton. While the uncommitted vote in Michigan and lack of popular totals in four caucus states make a final count impossible, exit polls and voter turnout estimates among those groups provide conclusive, incontrovertible evidence that more participants in Democratic delegate selection events supported Obama than Clinton. This metric might not matter to you, but it even with all the imperfections in the process it does matter to me, and I am very glad that our presumptive nominee will finish ahead in this category. ryId=5850

It's done.

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Obama's delegate haul today

Sorry, folks, this is going to be a short one.  Just wanted to report that Obama netted 6 delegates today, including some from Nevada where the state convention completed picking delegates for the national convention.

As summarized by a poster on The Field
Kansas addon selected; Obama supporter.
Washington DC pledged delegate flips from Clinton to Obama.
Nevada state convention: 14 O, 11 C (expected 13 O, 12 C)
(previously DNC Pecoraro for Obama)
Net on the day so far: +6 (+4 O, -2 C) omment-37013

For more on Nevada, see ics/2008/05/obama-flips-clintons-nevada- win.html

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What happened with the Clinton campaign

A new article by Michelle Cottle draws from many interviews from within the Clinton campaign to explain what happened. d=f7a4a380-c4a4-4f84-b653-f252e8569915

One thing that is very striking to me is that no one says anything about sexism. People in the Clinton campaign just don't see that as a factor that undermined the campaign.  Instead, they point to many managerial problems, including the well known issues of not really thinking through delegate allocation and not planning for the post Super Tuesday period.

But really the problems started earlier.  For instance, regarding Iowa:

"It was obvious talking to people on the ground there that they simply did not get the Iowa caucus from a field perspective. That's where the thing was lost."

"Mark Penn and Mandy Grunwald dismissed the possibility of youth turning out heavily in Iowa for Obama, saying on the record after the Jefferson-Jackson dinner, 'They don't look like caucus-goers.'"

And the team didn't listen to others much. It was very insular, while lacking experience.  That was a deadly combination.

"Hillary assembled a team thin on presidential campaign experience that confused discipline with insularity; they didn't know what they didn't know and were too arrogant to ask at a time early enough in the process when it could have made a difference, effectively shutting out even some long-time Hillaryland loyalists. Her innermost circle of [Patti Solis] Doyle, [Mark] Penn, [Mandy] Grunwald, [Neera] Tanden and [Howard] Wolfson formed a Board of Directors with no single Chairman or CEO; nobody was truly in charge, nobody held truly accountable."

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A call for transparency - MyDD electoral vote maps

People today can look for more and more information on the internet.  One sort of information political folks often want is how the candidates are doing in the electoral college.

MyDD's electoral maps purport to provide that information.  And they are cited regularly on this site.

It is an important service, well worth providing.

Yet there is very limited transparency when it comes to the information. No one can tell:
a) Whether the data is based on one poll or a poll average of some kind,
b) If it is a poll average, what particular polls are included and what rule is used to decide which polls remain in the average,
c) How recent the poll or polls are,
d) The trend from the last poll conducted by the same polling organization for that state,
e) The organizations that conducted the poll orpolls,
f) The sample size and margin of error for the poll,
g) Whether there are additional data, such as internals for the poll, that would shed light on the dynamics of the race, and
h) How recently a state's data and the electoral map as a while has been updated.

And, at the same time, the current maps have some very real discrepancies from what other, more transparent sites show. For example, realclearpolitics shows Obama over McCain in PA while MyDD does not, and realclearpolitics shows Clinton losing to McCain in Wisconsin while MyDD does not.

In my opinion, for the readers of MyDD to be able to use these data well in their discussions and analyses, more information is necessary.

Please vote in my poll to indicate whether you think more and more transparent information for those electoral votes maps would be of benefit.  

And, of course, discussion is most welcome. Perhaps we could convey to site administrators that we very much appreciate them posting the electoral vote maps, but also let them know what information would be most useful.

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Why can't progressives talk about race?

Progressives have long been at the forefront of movements on behalf of racial equality.  Yet there are some who say that this is a topic off-limits to discourse among Democrats.

How can that possibly be?

Lyndon Johnson told the truth after the passage of the Civil Rights Act.  Johnson said that the south would be lost to the Democrats and, indeed, Nixon's southern strategy of 1968 played on racial resentments.  So did Reagan's campaigns, with former Democrats becoming Republicans and Republican voters.  

Even before that, Truman paid a price for desegregating the armed forces and for his support of anti-lynching bill with the 1948 defection of Strom Thurmond, who ran as a Dixecrat and won four deep south states.

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