Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Clinton Has Edge Coming Out of Super Tuesday

Because she won the big states of New York, New Jersey and California, and because she had the edge in California with Latinos and Asian voters, I believe Sen. Hillary Clinton comes out of Super Tuesday a slight favorite to win the Democratic presidential nomination.

Sen. Barack Obama has certain advantages. He won more contests than Clinton by taking more primaries and caucuses in the Midwest, South and even the Rocky Mountain west. And he has enough financial support to advertise heavily in oncoming primaries. But one of those is Texas, which like California has a large Latino vote, and another is Ohio, which contains many of the white working class communities which have voted for Clinton in the northeast.

Obama has been faring well in many suburban neighborhoods. He won Connecticut, and in California, he apparently won most white votes. But the pattern of Obama support indicates that beyond the black community he is polling from the same liberal groups that supported Sen. Eugene McCarthy against Sen. Hubert Humphrey back in 1968. That insurgent campaign fell short, but Humphrey ended up narrowly losing the election.

The same thing could conveivably happen to Clinton. But with the war issue and the economy working the Democrats' way, unlike 1968, it probably won't. I think right now, she has to be favored to win it all in November, despite a feeling, probably accurate, that she represents a Clinton power grab and might be unable to keep her husband at bay in the White House.

Look at the map, county-by-county in California, and Obama carried the most liberal counties--San Francisco, Alameda, the north coast, Santa Cruz, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, even Sacramento and San Joaquin, and a few scattered counties elsewhere. At this moment, he is leading in 18 of the state's 58 counties, and, as 356,000 votes cast by mail most recently are counted, his percentage is creeping up. But where there were the largest Latino populations, he lost about two to one, and among the state's Asians he lost nearly three to one. This, as the Washington Post said this morning, shows a racial divide that may impede an African-American candidate.

Could Obama cut further into these communities? I tend to doubt it in the primaries, although it might have been wiser to hold the big Winfrey-Kennedy rally in East Los Angeles than at UCLA, even if the crowd had not been so rapturous.

Obama may fare better in the next primaries in the Mid-Atlantic states. He certainly will win Washington, D.C. , Maryland and Virginia, all with large black populations. And the disclosure today that the Clintons have loaned themselves $5 million and that their staff is going unpaid, there is a faint aroma of Rudolph Giuliani about the Clinton campaign. Meanwhile, Obama is raking in money on the Internet, $3.7 million in the first 24 hours after Super Tuesday, and he may be able to far outspend her in the days ahead.

Another whiff of trouble for Clinton: She spoke before Obama did on Tuesday, although that might have been to try to take advantage of her victories in New York and New Jersey.

Now, looking forward, Ohio is going to be a battleground. Obama cannot possibly come to the convention a viable candidate without Ohio. If he has the edge in financing, he now has to invest a great deal of his money there, and campaign in the state intensively.

Does Clinton carry baggage?. Certainly her husband, and a certain indecisiveness which has shown up occasionally in the Senate and on the campaign trail. Onama may have the edge on the war issue, but she has the edge on the economy, and it now appears that between now and the convention, the economy may dominate.

There's always the chance of something unexpected happening. Maybe, Obama can make something out of the Clintons' refusal to release their White House records. But I'd think Obama may be a little reluctant to pull out all the stops against Clinton, for fear of splitting the party in the fall, and out of regard for his own future. If he doesn't burn all his bridges now, he may be able to come back in four or eight years, the way Sen. John McCain has on the Republican side.

McCain has problems. He is anathema to many on the far right in the Republican race. But due to a certain obnoxiousness on the part of former Gov. Mitt Romney, and the presence of a second conservative candidate, former Gov. Mike Huckabee, who seems better disposed to McCain, McCain looks like he will prevail this time on the Republican side, despite his age.

The same thing with Obama. Even if he loses this time, he may be able to work his areas of weakness and do better in them in the future. It is always possible Clinton might lose in November, or be a horribly divisive president, if she is elected. She reminds me of something Richard Nixon once said to me about President Lyndon Johnson: "He won't wear well." The same thing could be true of Clinton.


I think my choice for dumbest statement of the day has to be the ridiculous Howard Dean's call for an "arrangement" between Hillary and Obama to avoid a "brokered" convention. No such thing is possible going in to the convention, nor would it be desirable. After the convention begins, anything in the way of brokering is certainly to be accepted.

Politico suggests today that there would be public revulsion if Obama were to go into the convention with a lead in delegates and then lose the nomination because most of the super-delegates went Clinton's way. But I think many super-del;egates would come his way, if he were to have a lead. Already, there are signs the Democratic Establishment has lost some of the confidence it once had in Clinton.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ken, what about this scenario? With or without a lead in state delegates, Hillary will very likely come into the convention with a greater popular vote total. With the help of California, it could be a much as 400,000 right now. Add those Florida and Michigan primaries and her popular vote lead over Obama approaches one million.

She won New York handily. Ohio, Pennsylvania and Texas should lean her way when they vote soon. Those would give her wins in all the big populous states, except Illinois.

Obama, meanwhile, is racking up victories in states (mostly caucuses, not all though) such as Alabama, Alaska, Colorado, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, North Dakota, South Carolina and Utah. Here's a quiz. How many electoral votes have the eventual Democratic nominees (without the last name Clinton) won from those nine states in the past six elections. 357 is the maximum. Zero is the answer.

If Hillary has a popular vote lead going into the convention and has won virtually all the largest state primaries, why shouldn't her delegates resent the Democratic Establishment working behind the scenes to give the nomination to Obama by way of the super delegates?? (i.e. punishing Florida and Michigan voters, Sebelius giving the response to the SOTU, the Kennedy endorsement right before the SOTU, Kerry, perhaps Al Gore)

This will be Hillary's only shot at winning the presidency. It will likely be the only shot a woman will have of winning it for at least a generation. No way should she give it away because of pressure from the Howard Dean crowd.

After the Florida debacle in 2000, Democrats nationwide screamed 'Count all the votes!' Al Gore's voice was loudest of all. Can they now dare deny Hillary the nomination on national TV by disenfranchising nearly one million votes she received in Florida because the DNC punished Dems after the Republican-controlled legislature and Republican governor moved up the state primary? I think not.

2/07/2008 2:50 AM  
Anonymous jAY said...

The facts: Obama is, plainly speaking, just unpopular and unimpressive to Asians and Latinos. His resume outside of his Senate win is nothing to be excited about. Many Latinos and Asians have accomplished much more with many more difficulties. And giving a decent speech in his preacher like oratory fails to make him special. There are thousands of good speakers in America. On the same token his debate skills as one of my latino friends recently said are “unimpressive and novice.” While Hillary is considered to be like family to our communities. Nominating Obama may swing these voting groups more to Republicans in the general election when McCain is the candidate. Obama talks about no red or blue states, but nominating him will certainly convert some blue states to red. I guarantee he loses every swing state with large latino populations and losing large portions of the Asian vote if not all to a McCain. These are just the facts. If Democrats want any chance of winning in November they need to be more realistic and support Hillary. If not, more blue states will become red. I admire Hillary but support no one yet, but I will say that she is the only one that can pick up the swing states due to her Latino and Asian backing. Democrats will be massacred with Obama as a nominee. I want to see change but only Hillary has a chance of beating McCain. Otherwise Florida, Ohio, New Mexico, Nevada and maybe many more states go to McCain. These are real facts.

2/07/2008 8:21 AM  

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