Obama Must Win Pennsylvania
by TexasDarlin, Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 08:34:27 AM EDT
Cross posted at texasdarlin.wordpress.com
Let's get real. It's mid April and Obama hasn't closed the deal. Sure, he's got a slight delegate lead, but he's also failed three times to end the primaries: first in New Hampshire; next on Super Tuesday, particularly California, Massachusetts, and New Jersey; and yet again on Super Tuesday 2, notably Texas and Ohio.
And now Obama's campaign is lowering expectations yet again, this time for Pennsylvania, another key battleground state. Surrogate Claire McCaskill recently predicted that Obama would lose Pennsylvania by "double digits." Which means, I guess, that if he loses by 9%, Obama will try to claim success. Another surrogate, Sen. Bob Casey, didn't help the expectations game much when he said:
"President Clinton and Senator Clinton, either in terms of campaigning or governing, have been in this state for 15 years...Hillary Clinton chaired health-care hearings in 1993. She has a good base here, but I think we can cut into it." (emphasis added.) Source
In fact, it appears that the reverse will be true, according to SUSA, the most reliable pollster this election season. Their new poll says Clinton has actually cut into Obama's lead among white men recently.
What's wrong with this picture?
Has there ever been a Democratic nominee who lost the primaries in California, New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Texas, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Florida? (Obama would definitely still lose Florida if there were a re-vote, which is why he opposes one.)
Howard Wolfson was right when he said during a conference call on Monday:
"[Obama is] doing everything he can to win in Pennsylvania, and if he can't, it'll be a serious defeat...We all know the road to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue runs through Pennsylvania."Source
A while ago I wrote a diary called Hillary's Winning Coalition in which I discussed the reason for Hillary's success in the key battleground states, not only in the primaries, but more importantly for the general election:
Clinton leads among the groups that comprise the greater percentage of voters: women, blue collar workers, older voters, whites, and Hispanics. A Pew poll predicts that substantial numbers of whites, seniors, and lower-income Democrats could cross over to vote for McCain in the General Election if Obama were the nominee.
Hispanics may only make up approximately 7% of the electorate in November, according to a December 2007 Pew report, but their geographic distribution creates an opportunity:Hispanics loom as a potential "swing vote" in (the) presidential race. That's because they are strategically located on the 2008 Electoral College map. Hispanics constitute a sizable share of the electorate in four of the six states that President Bush carried by margins of five percentage points or fewer in 2004 -New Mexico (where Hispanics make up 37% of state's eligible electorate); Florida (14%); Nevada (12%) and Colorado (12%). All four are expected to be closely contested once again in 2008.
(Polls have indicated that McCain has a good chance of capturing Hispanic voters, against Obama.)
The bottom line is crystal clear. Obama has had pitch-perfect success in caucus states; he's done well with liberals and cross-over voters; and he's definitely sealed the deal with African Americans. But he does not bring home the Democratic base.
Time and again, he has failed to cut into Clinton's fundamentals. And without a candidate who has locked up Democratic women, lunch-bucket workers, people over 50, Hispanics, and a majority of white people -- we cannot win in November. The demographics for each candidate are solidified now; the patterns are predictable. Obama does not have a winning coalition.
Howard Wolfson was right on the money. Hillary does not need to win Pennsylvania by 20 points, contrary to Camp Obama's mantra.
It is Obama who needs to win Pennsylvania. It's his last chance to prove to the super delegates that he can carry the critical Democratic base required for victory in November.