Whither the Democrats?

by

Cap’n and I were discussing the state of the race in an unrelated thread, and it seemed like it rated its own. Plus, it’ll be more visible, so maybe more people will jump in.

Cap’n started it off with this:

I think both Texas and Ohio will be close, leaving the difference in delegate counts between Hillary and Obama little changed.

One commentator said that, since there are no winner take all Dem primaries left, it’s very likely that neither candidate will come to the convention with enough delegates to win outright, leaving the decision to the Super Delegates. If it looks that way after tonight, Hillary stays in all the way, regardless of wins or losses, as long as Obama can’t quite make the numbers to win outright. She knows that this is her best – and maybe last – shot, and back room deals with Super Delegates are things the Clintons can do well.

The bumper sticker they had in Texas didn’t have it quite right. Don’t count her out until the house falls on her and they pry the ruby slippers off her cold, dead feet.

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17 Responses to “Whither the Democrats?”

  1. urbino Says:

    One commentator said that, since there are no winner take all Dem primaries left, it’s very likely that neither candidate will come to the convention with enough delegates to win outright…

    Yes. That’s been a mathematical certainty (on any realistic assumptions) for a month.

    Hence all the debate over this part:

    leaving the decision to the Super Delegates.

    The Supers are increasingly showing signs of being unwilling to toss the nomination to somebody who didn’t win the most pledged delegates. Since it’s also been a mathematical certainty (on any realistic assumptions) ever since the “Potomac Primary” that Obama will finish with more delegates than Hillary, they’ve been moving in Obama’s direction. Hillary’s campaign reacted by changing horses last week; instead of arguing that the Supers should all commit to her, she’s been arguing that they shouldn’t commit to anybody until the people have had their say. Her thinking was that a good showing in TX and OH would stem Obama’s momentum, and keep the Supers from flooding his way.

    As for predictions, I think she’ll win OH, probably by a handy margin. She might win TX, but I doubt it. Either way, I think she’s staying in. Others disagree.

  2. captmidknight Says:

    “As for predictions, I think she’ll win OH, probably by a handy margin. She might win TX, but I doubt it. Either way, I think she’s staying in.”
    _________

    Looks like we both got that much right, at least.

    The big bruhaha today seems to have shifted back to the FL and MI delegates. The Dems want to have another vote in FL, but don’t want to pay for it. Obama wasn’t even on the ballot in MI, so he won’t stand for those delegates being seated without a “do over.”
    What do you think will happen?

    Does anybody think that, if the race wasn’t as close as it is, that either Barak or Hillary would loose any sleep over whether the voters in FL and MI had been disenfranchised? Does anyone doubt that, if the roles were reversed, each side could argue the opposite case with just as much conviction?

    BTW, this is not necessarily a knock on the Dems. If it was the Repubs in this position, I suspect you’d see different players, but the same hypocritical circus.

  3. urbino Says:

    Does anybody think that, if the race wasn’t as close as it is, that either Barak or Hillary would loose any sleep over whether the voters in FL and MI had been disenfranchised?

    Actually, if the race wasn’t this close, neither side would object to seating the delegates just as they are, as it wouldn’t affect the outcome. Both sides would want them seated because there’s no point in needlessly pissing off the voters in 2 large states.

    As for what will happen with FL and MI as things stand, I think there’s no chance of the delegates being seated as they are, but I’m not ready to make a prediction on whether or not there will be a do-over. It’s a position Hillary has come around to grudgingly. What she really wants is the delegates seated as they are, but she’s realizing that’s just not going to happen. As for Obama, there’s really nothing in a re-vote for him. He has the pledged delegate advantage sewn up. Why would he want FL and MI to re-vote? The demographics of both states tilt toward Hillary — FL, especially.

    It seems to come down to whether Hillary and the pols from those states can put enough pressure on the DNC to get them to schedule a re-vote, despite the expense, nuisance, and opposition from the Obama camp. Who ends up getting stuck with the bill for it might be the deciding factor. Right now, the FL and MI pols are insisting that the DNC pay for it. It’s hard for me to imagine that happening, since the FL and MI pols are the ones who moved their states’ primaries in the first place.

    If FL and MI are willing to pay for it, though, there might be enough pressure on the DNC to make it happen.

    I gotta think the super-delegates would love to see it happen. Anything that keeps them from having to be responsible for deciding who wins, they’re gonna jump at.

  4. urbino Says:

    Two other things:

    1. We can be certain the DNC will be changing the rules to keep this from happening again.

    2. I don’t think Hillary is helping her case with the DNC by taking the new tack she has — i.e., that besides her, John McCain is the other candidate qualified to be commander-in-chief, not Barack Obama. Suggesting that your GOP opponent would be a better president than the other Dem candidate is not going to endear you to the Democratic Party.

  5. captmidknight Says:

    “I don’t think Hillary is helping her case with the DNC by taking the new tack she has — i.e., that besides her, John McCain is the other candidate qualified to be commander-in-chief, not Barack Obama. Suggesting that your GOP opponent would be a better president than the other Dem candidate is not going to endear you to the Democratic Party.”
    _______

    Someone suggested that Obama run a counter ad showing the phone ringing at 3:00am, Hillary answering it, and then handing the phone over her shoulder and saying:

    “Here Bill, it’s for you.”

    Two things I can see wrong with that, funny as it may be.

    1 – With his history, I doubt that she’d trust him that much.
    2 – He’s not going to be there next to her that often anyway.

  6. urbino Says:

    I thought you were going to say she handed the phone over to McCain.

    Looks like the DNC is saying no thanks to funding the FL re-vote. No word about MI.

  7. urbino Says:

    Looks like it’s going to be another bad, off-message week for the Obama campaign.

    The lack of campaign experience among his advisers is really showing. First his chief economic adviser, Austan Goolsbee, precipitates the NAFTA flap, and now his chief foreign policy adviser, Samantha Power, will have the mainstream media abuzz over her calling Hillary a “monster.”

    For the record, Samantha Power is bleeding brilliant; one of the very few truly brilliant people in this country (much less in the Democratic Party) on foreign policy matters. That he hired her was my first hint that Obama might be for real. But she’s never been a politician or a political operative, and, in this instance, it shows.

  8. urbino Says:

    Unlike FL, it looks fairly likely that MI will hold a re-vote. However, it will be a caucus. That’s the last thing Hillary wants to hear.

  9. urbino Says:

    Powers resigned from the Obama campaign over her “monster” comment. Sad, but probably necessary.

  10. alsturgeon Says:

    Bill is supposed to be in Biloxi tomorrow morning. May go see him just for old times sake.

  11. captmidknight Says:

    “Unlike FL, it looks fairly likely that MI will hold a re-vote. However, it will be a caucus. That’s the last thing Hillary wants to hear.”
    _______
    Even if FL and MI both start over, unless the polls change a lot, won’t it likely come out pretty close anyway – maybe 60/40 split at most in those two states? They’ll get a delegation seated, but still won’t change the totals enough. Which still means that it’s in the hands of the Supers which means some kind of a deal which leaves a lot of un-happy campers no matter which way it goes.
    In that case, you’d have to give the edge to Obama because his followers seem likely to cause more trouble if they think he’s gotten shafted.

    Is it just me, or do we all seem to be saying the same things over and over again? New happenings every day, but the big picture stays pretty much the same.

  12. urbino Says:

    Somewhat. I think that reflects the pledged delegate math.

    The importance of FL and MI, I think, is the effect they could have on the supers. You’re right that re-votes are extremely unlikely to change the pledged delegate math. In fact, even if they seated the delegates just as they are, it would give Hillary only a very small lead. But they’re important psychologically for the supers. If Hillary wins both, it has two effects: 1) depending on results in the other upcoming primaries, it could make Obama’s pledged delegate lead small enough that the supers see it as essentially within the margin of error; 2) it really elevates the concern that Obama can’t win the big states.

    I think Obama’s future will be decided in the next week. If he can get back on message and hit back at Hillary’s attacks enough to prove he can take a punch and stay on his feet, I think he’s home free. If he can’t, I think he’s in big trouble, regardless of MI and FL, because the supers will see him as too weak for the general.

  13. captmidknight Says:

    “I think Obama’s future will be decided in the next week. If he can get back on message and hit back at Hillary’s attacks enough to prove he can take a punch and stay on his feet, I think he’s home free. If he can’t, I think he’s in big trouble, regardless of MI and FL, because the supers will see him as too weak for the general.”
    _______
    Even if that’s true, a lot of his “true believers” won’t buy that reasoning. If he comes to the convention with one more elected delegate or one more popular vote than Hillary, any move to deny him the nomination will be viewed by his supporters as old time back room politics. It could get ugly. Maybe I’m wrong, but I still see Obama as a stronger candidate against McCain.

    Bill and Hillary are almost my age, but I’ll bet that, in her heart, Hillary still sees herself as part of the avant garde “Young Turks” a la the late ‘60s, out to change and save the world. It’s probably hard for her to admit that she and Bill are now seen by most folks under 40 as part of the Old Guard Dem machine. May be why the cry of “Change” sounds more believable when Barak says it.

  14. urbino Says:

    Maybe I’m wrong, but I still see Obama as a stronger candidate against McCain.

    I think pretty much everyone who isn’t a Hillary supporter thinks that. I have to say, though, that I’m having second thoughts about that, given his poor performance when she attacked him. Whoever the Dem nominee is, they’re going to have to respond to attacks much, MUCH better than Obama has.

    Plus, one of McCain’s biggest weaknesses is his temper. Obama’s “politics of hope” isn’t likely to bring that into play. Hillary, on the other hand, will needle and harry him until he explodes. She’s a low ceiling, high floor candidate; so she doesn’t have a prayer of getting a fairly easy, big win, but she’s not likely to crater, either.

    Unless Bill does something stupid. Or already has.

  15. msmiranda Says:

    This is what I hate about politics — the idea that you have to be aggressive and negative in order to win. Perhaps it’s true, but it seems like a lot of people are turned off by the negativity … so why does it (the “kitchen sink”) seem to work? It’s a riddle wrapped in an enigma submerged in crap.

    Latest low tactic from HRC: implying that McCain would be a better president than Obama. Christ, how sleazy can she get in this campaign?

    I’ve been saying for the past week or so that I’m fairly certain that John McCain will win in November, and by a wide margin (greater than 10%), whether the nominee is Hillary or Obama. It’s incredibly sad, but I have no hope (even though I support Obama). I think what I like about him is his idealism, although I’m far too jaded to share it. The best way I have heard it put is that Obama’s vision is “something almost no one believes in but almost everyone desperately wants to believe in.” I forget the source, or I would credit her or him.

    I still maintain that Hillary cannot, would not, will not win the general election. I would put money on it, and lord knows I don’t have much of it to spare.

    It’s how long till the convention again?

  16. ari Says:

    Just to reiterate something I said elsewhere, Urbino, give Obama a bit of time. He’s a quick study. But this is his first big race. Running at the top of a national campaign is hard work and experience helps. I think we’ll see a re-tooled Team Obama next week. Whether they’ll hit back hard or not, I don’t know. But I doubt it. That’s just not their narrative. Plus, negative campaigning is best left to the eleventh hour, only a few days before a vote. And yet, I suspect we’ll see him back on message, pushing something new (I don’t know what), and hitting back (with hand in glove) on Hillary’s unseemly crash on Old Man McCain.

  17. urbino Says:

    I haven’t cast him aside. I’m just saying he’s got to do better, and I think he’s got to do it soon, or the media narrative will move on without him.

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