Why won't Hillary quit?
Because Hillary Clinton's brain reverberates with one thought:
"I can snag enough uncommitted superdelegates, while winning back some committed Obama delegates, to capture the nomination."
Indiana figures prominently in the Clinton superdelegate strategy. Clinton and her emissaries, including campaign chair Terry McAuliffe, are touting “the tough twenty.” These are House districts that voted for Bush in 2004 but sent D Representatives to the U.S. House in 2006. Three of these twenty are in Indiana (the 2nd, 8th, 9th). Clinton has beat Obama in these districts.
When you’re trying to convince primary voters to give you a victory that gets you “automatic” delegates, you talk about how you are most likely to beat McCain. BUT when you want super-delegates (members of Congress and party leaders), you talk about helping elect a Democratic Congress with long coattails for down ballot races.
What's noteworthy about the tough twenty districts are that they are....um, REALLY white, a point made by Slate.com. Here are those districts' African-American populations:
AZ-5: 2.8 %
AZ-8: 3.1 %
CA-11: 3.5 %
FL-16: 6.0 %
IN-2: 8.2 %
IN-8: 3.7 %
IN-9: 2.3 %
KS-2: 5.1 %
MN-1: 1.0 %
NC-11: 4.6 %
NH-1: 0.8 %
NY-19: 5.4 %
NY-24: 3.4 %
OH-18: 1.9 %
PA-10: 1.9 %
PA-4: 3.4 %
TX-22: 9.4 %
TX-23: 3.0 %
WI-8: 0.6 %
"NO WAY Clinton pulls off this superdelegate swing!" you say. "Obama picked up 15 superdelegates just this week to Clinton's 1.5." True. But here's the thing. How easy will it be for the remaining uncommitted superdelegates to give Obama their support if he doesn't win "the popular vote" among Democrats? As Terry McAuliffe pointed out on Sunday's Meet the Press, IF you count Michigan and Florida, Obama only has 114,000 more votes.
That's a huge if on Florida and Michigan. But the rules committee might buy the laughable argument that not counting Democrat primary votes will somehow anger ALL Michigan and Florida voters and jeopardize the general election. Am I supposed to believe anybody in Michigan or Florida, regardless of party, will vote for McCain SOLELY to teach the Democratic National Committee a lesson on what happens when you punish a state for blatantly violating DNC rules?
Anyway, if the lead stays at 114,000 (instead of 730,000, which is the Obama lead minus Florida and Michigan), it is going to get demolished in West Virginia and Kentucky. That will give Clinton definite momentum and put MORE pressure on the superdelegates to stay uncommitted.
In West Virginia, Hillary Clinton has a staggering 43% lead, 63 to 20.
Even if Obama gets the remaining 17 % of uncommitted votes, Clinton picks up 286,000 votes (693,000 for Clinton, 407,000 for Obama) if the expected 1.1 million turn out.
In Kentucky, Clinton leads there 58-31. If Obama gets the remaining 11% of the "undecideds," and the expected 1.6 million turn out, Clinton picks up another 256,000 votes (928,000 for Clinton, 672,000 for Obama).
That's a half-mill popular vote swing in two states. How do you explain that? How do you capitalize on it?
Welcome to the Clinton campaign and its race paradox. Clinton swallowed her foot up to her thigh when she said that she was doing better than Obama among "hard-working Americans, white Americans." But even if you give her the benefit of the doubt that she didn't mean to imply that black people are lazy and un-American, she can't clean this up. Clinton can't say that a black man can't be elected by white people. That would be insulting to white people and insulting to Obama, which as of late, is played as a de facto insult to black people.
I have no doubt Ms. Clinton believes what the tough twenty data shows. Senator Clinton supports affirmative action and has been a strong proponent of civil rights, and if you asked her point blank whether she thinks discrimination still occurs against black folks, Clinton would tell you "yes" in a heartbeat. Is it a stretch to think she would believe there are still white people who won't vote for a black man for President?
Since Clinton can't say it, she'll hint at it. She'll direct us to polling data and REALLY white districts that Obama allegedly can't carry, and us (the media, bloggers, pundits, etc.), not being exceedingly stupid, will figure it out on her own. And she, being more intelligent than us, knows we'll talk about it before we realize we've become accomplices in her plan of churning the idea that there are white people who won't vote for Obama in a general election, so the whities need to bond together or McCain will be our President. See how diabolical this woman is!!?!
Hillary won't say there are racist people, so I will. I mean, SOMEBODY in West Virginia has to be racist, don't they? Obama is down FORTY-THREE points. This is the presumptive front-runner who crushed in neighboring North Carolina. There are no negative Obama stories breaking on the airwaves in West Virginia, the Clinton campaign is broke, and Obama GAINED superdelegates after Indiana. You say, "Maybe West Virginia is older, and we all know Obama's voters are young." Sorry. Obama trails by 35% in West Virginia among voters who are 35 and younger.
Obama has owned the young demographic. How do you account for West Virginia?
West Virginia has a senior DEMOCRATIC senator, Robert Byrd, a one-time young klansman who called blacks "race mongrels, a throwback to the blackest specimen from the wilds." Byrd voted against Thurgood Marshall's Supreme Court appointment and fillibustered the 1964 Civil Rights Bill. Though Senator Byrd repudiated his "abhorrent" views, in an interview with Tony Snow in 2001, he said he'd seen a lot of “white niggers."
In fairness to Senator Byrd, the NAACP gave him a 100% rating for the 2003-2004 session for supporting all 33 bills they were tracking. But the point remains. You don’t stay in Congress term after term as a racist unless you have at least SOME racist constituents, and isn't it foolish to assume that the “political apology for redemption" that a national politician might offer under a national media spotlight has NOT been undergone by every "formerly" racist person in West Virginia? Might there still be some among the ninety-six percent white population in West Virginia who still don't think a black man should be our president?
How about Kentucky then? I love this excerpt from a story today:
Joe Gershtenson, the director of Eastern Kentucky University’s Center for Kentucky Politics told WKYT the Clinton advantage in Kentucky is significant, especially given the national tide that's running in Obamas' favor. Gershtenson said, "(Hillary) enjoys the Clinton legay. Her husband was a popular man in the Commonwealth. We voted for him twice. He had high approvals here. She's got that going, AND THE DEMOGRAPHICS OF THE STATE WORK IN HER FAVOR."
What demographics would those be, Joe? He doesn't say. He's not an idiot either.
But here's a telling stat. Fifty-six percent of likely Kentucky Democratic voters don't think Obama's race will be a factor in their vote. What?!? That means FORTY-FOUR PERCENT of Kentuckians think Obama's race WILL matter. One might assume they're either speaking for themselves or somebody they know well enough to know (s)he'd never vote for a black president.
If this is true, it matters for Clinton because Kentucky is the nation's second best bell-weather state with a perfect record of picking the winner in presidential elections since 1964, second only to Missouri. If (OH NO!) black Obama can't win Kentucky, we can't win the election, superdelegates! Do you want McCain? Vote Clinton!
Okay, but here's the grand irony of the silent Clinton racial strategy. While Kentucky Democrats give Clinton the nod, McCain STILL beats Clinton in Kentucky, 53-41. Obama loses 58-33. In other words, the new Clinton campaign can be summarized as follows:
Vote for me or we'll lose Kentucky by an even GREATER margin.
Not too compelling of a sales pitch. Sorry.
Monday, May 12, 2008
Why won't Hillary quit?