Three important stories for Superdelegates this Sunday before Memorial Day. Obama is unelectable; Hillary will win.
The first is Republicans licking their chops:
It sounds crazy at first. Amid dire reports about the toxic political environment for Republican candidates and the challenges facing John McCain, many top GOP strategists believe he can defeat Barack Obama — and by a margin exceeding President Bush’s Electoral College victory in 2004. [snip]
But the contours of the electoral map, combined with McCain’s unique strengths and the nature of Obama’s possible vulnerabilities, have led to a cautious and muted optimism that McCain could actually surpass Bush’s 35-electoral-vote victory in 2004. Though they expect he would finish far closer to Obama in the popular vote, the thinking is that he could win by as many 50 electoral votes. [snip]
“A win by 40 or 50 electoral votes would be an astonishing upset, just a watershed event with all the issues that were stacked against him from the very beginning,” said David Woodard, a Republican pollster and Clemson University political science professor. “But it could happen. I know this seems like wishful thinking by Republicans. I’m thinking that Republicans could win by 40 electoral votes. But I dare not say it,” he added. “Certainly what is possible could come to pass.”
A top strategist with the Republican National Committee, who asked that his name be withheld to speak candidly, explained that by his own examination, “we’re actually sitting pretty well in most states.”
“There are a lot of scenarios that look good for McCain, and I almost would go so far to say that there are a lot more scenarios [than for Obama],” the strategist added. “I don’t think anybody over here wants to let themselves get too excited about it. It is an eternity between now and November. But McCain looks a lot stronger than our prospects as a party.” [snip]
“That would certainly run against the grain of history, if he pulled that off,” Ayers added. “But it’s also clearly plausible and a manageable outcome partly because of John McCain’s strength among independents and partly because of Obama’s weakness in culture, ideology and association.”
Hillary supporters care about the issues. We are not smoking Hopium in internet dens. We know the Republicans must be routed this Fall and only Hillary can do the job. Anyone who cares about the issues must vote for Hillary. Obama is unelectable.
Why McCain Will Beat Obama:
The case they make for a comfortable McCain win is not beyond reason. Begin with the 2004 electoral map. Add Iowa and Colorado to Obama’s side, since both are considered states Obama could pick off. Then count McCain victories in New Hampshire and Michigan, two states where McCain is competitive. In this scenario, McCain wins the Electoral College 291-246, a larger margin than Bush four years ago.
If Obama managed only to win Iowa from Republicans and McCain managed only to win Pennsylvania, McCain would still win by a much greater margin than Bush — 300-237.
“McCain is in a remarkably strong position for how poor the political environment is right now,” said Brian Nienaber, a GOP pollster. “McCain could win Pennsylvania, Ohio, Colorado and Nevada with a high Hispanic population. It really does scramble the map of where Obama does find those electoral votes.” [snip]
“We have to hold Michigan and Pennsylvania. McCain wins one of those states, we are in trouble. They have to hold Florida and Ohio or they are trouble,” Democratic pollster Paul Maslin said. “The truth about this race [is], this is the year that we shouldn’t lose, and we could lose.”
Hillary should go to Michigan and let the voters know she is fighting for them. Obama is fighting against Michigan.
Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Florida – Hillary wins – Obama loses.
Even the potentially dramatic rise in turnout of African-Americans may only gain Obama 1 percentage point in many swing states, according to Maslin. Yet Obama’s weaknesses may end up neutralizing some of those relatively modest gains.
Since 1968, Democrats have had a deficit with whites, particularly men. Some Republicans believe that Obama may exacerbate those Democratic challenges, especially in key rural regions like Appalachia, struggle to win back Hispanics or some women, and dash Democratic prospects during their most favorable landscape in at least three decades.
Readers of Big Pink will not be surprised by any of this. [Read Barack Obama’s Situation Comedy HERE and Barack Obama’s Situation Comedy Part II HERE Sean Wilentz makes our argument with fresh, vivid language and greater historical context:
Under those pressures, the Barack Obama campaign and its sympathizers have begun to articulate much more clearly what they mean by their vague slogan of “change” – nothing less than usurping the historic Democratic Party, dating back to the age of Andrew Jackson, by rejecting its historic electoral core: white workers and rural dwellers in the Middle Atlantic and border states.
Without a majority of those voters, the Democrats have, since the party’s inception in the 1820s, been incapable of winning the presidency. The Obama advocates declare, though, that we have entered an entirely new political era. It is not only possible but also desirable, they say, for Democrats to win by turning away from those whom “progressive” pundits and bloggers disdain variously as “Nascar man,” “uneducated,” “low information” whites, “rubes, fools, and hate-mongers” who live in the nation’s “shitholes.”
Having attempted, with the aid of a complicit news media, to brand Hillary Clinton as a racist — by flinging charges that, as the historian Michael Lind has shown, belong “in black helicopter/grassy knoll territory,” Obama’s supporters now fiercely claim that Clinton’s white working class following is also essentially racist. Favoring the buzzword language of the academic left, tinged by persistent, discredited New Left and black nationalist theories about working-class “white skin privilege,” a vote against Obama has become, according to his fervent followers, “a vote for whiteness.”
We have written how white working class voters can discern condescension with the same acuity as African-Americans can detect bigotry, no matter how well disguised. The eggheads of the Democratic? Party are in full insult mode. Professor Wilentz also quotes Donna Brazile and David Axelrod, with the same contempt we have for them.
In fact, all of the evidence demonstrates that white racism has not been a principal or even secondary motivation in any of this year’s Democratic primaries. Every poll shows that economics, health care, and national security are the leading issues for white working class voters – and for Latino working class voters as well. These constituencies have cast positive ballots for Hillary Clinton not because she is white, but because they regard her as better on these issues. Obama’s campaign and its passionate supporters refuse to acknowledge that these voters consider him weaker — and that Clinton’s positions, different from his, as well as her experience actually attract support. Instead they impute racism to working class Democrats who, the polls also show, happen to be liberal on every leading issue. The effort to taint anyone who does not support Obama as motivated by racism has now become a major factor in alienating core Democrats from Obama’s campaign. Out with the Democratic Party of Jefferson, Jackson, F.D.R., Truman, Kennedy and Johnson, and in with the bright, shiny party of Obama – or what the formally “undeclared” Donna Brazile, a member of the Democratic National Committee and of the party’s rules committee, has hailed as a “new Democratic coalition” swelled by affluent white leftists and liberals, college students, and African-Americans.
Professor Wilentz traces the arc of the Democratic Party. His conclusions lead to what we have been saying: Obama is unelectable.
Over the 180 years since then, only one Democrat has gained the presidency without winning either Ohio or Pennsylvania, with their large white working-class vote. [snip] Beginning in 1964, when the Democratic solid South dissolved, every successful Democratic presidential candidate has had to carry both Ohio and Pennsylvania, even when Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton picked up southern states. [snip]
As the caricature of “Reagan Democrats” as racist militarists hardened among “new politics” advocates, they strove to make up the difference by creating an expanded base among African-Americans, college-age, and college educated voters. The result was yet another humiliating defeat for the Democrats in 1988.
Professor Wilentz understands that white working class voters are an important part of the Democratic Big Tent and we lose them at our peril. Bill Clinton spoke and governed to issues that white working class voters AND African-Americans, Latinos and women knew respected them and their concerns. This is something the eggheads and Obama do not understand.
Bill Clinton’s shift to a centrist liberalism stressing lunch-pail issues–“Putting People First“–won back a large number of Reagan Democrats in 1992, enough so that, by the time Clinton won his second term in 1996, Democrats could claim parity with Republicans by winning a slim plurality among non-college educated working class white voters. But the perceived elitists Al Gore and John Kerry lost what Clinton had gained, as George W. Bush carried the white working-class vote by a margin of 17 percent in 2000 and a whopping 23 percent in 2004.
This year’s primary results show no sign that Obama will reverse this trend should he win the nomination. In West Virginia and Kentucky, as well as Ohio and Pennsylvania, blue collar white voters sent him down to defeat by overwhelming margins. A recent Gallup poll report has argued that claims about Obama’s weaknesses among white voters and blue collar voters have been exaggerated – yet its indisputable figures showed Obama running four percentage points below Kerry’s anemic support among whites four years ago.
Given that Obama’s vote in the primaries, apart from African-Americans, has generally come from affluent white suburbs and university towns, the Gallup figures presage a Democratic disaster among working-class white voters in November should Obama be the nominee.
The true and complete ugliness and bigotry of the Obama campaign:
Yet Obama’s handlers profess indifference – and, at times, even pride — about these trends. Asked about the white working-class vote following Obama’s ten-point loss in Pennsylvania, chief campaign strategist David Axelrod confidently told an National Public Radio interviewer that, after all, “the white working class has gone to the Republican nominee for many elections going back even to the Clinton years” and that Obama’s winning strength lay in his ability to offset that trend and “attract independent voters… younger voters” and “expand the Democratic base.”
Apart from its basic inaccuracy about Clinton’s blue-collar support in 1992 and 1996, Axelrod’s statement was a virtual reprise of the Democratic doomed strategy from the 1972 McGovern campaign that the party revamped in 1988. The main difference between now and then is the openness of the condescension with which many of Obama’s supporters – and, apparently, the candidate himself – hold the crude “low information” types whom they believe dominate the white working class. The sympathetic media coverage of Obama’s efforts to explain away his remarks in San Francisco about “bitter,” economically-strapped voters who, clinging to their guns, religion, and racism, misdirect their rage and do not see the light, only reinforced his campaign’s dismissive attitude. Obama’s efforts at rectification were reluctant and half-hearted at best – and he undercut them completely a few days later when he referred derisively, on the stump in Indiana, to a sudden “political flare-up because I said something that everybody knows is true.”
The clouds of Hopium smoke waft from the destroyed Democratic Party:
Culturally as well as politically, Obama’s dismissal of white working people represents a sea-change in the Democrats’ basic identity as the workingman’s party – one that has been coming since the late 1960s, when large portions of the Left began regarding white workers as hopeless and hateful reactionaries. Faced with the revolt of the “Reagan Democrats” – whose politics they interpreted in the narrowest of racial terms – “new politics” Democrats dreamed of a coalition built around an alliance of right-thinking affluent liberals and downtrodden minorities, especially African-Americans. It all came to nothing. But after Bill Clinton failed to consolidate a new version of the old Democratic coalition in the 1990s, the dreaming began again – first, with disastrous results, in the schismatic Ralph Nader campaign of 2000 and now (with the support of vehement ex-Naderites including Barbara Ehrenreich and Cornel West) in the Obama campaign.
Obama must assume that the demographics of American politics have changed dramatically in recent years so that the electorate as a whole is little more than a larger version of the combined Democratic primary constituencies of Oregon and South Carolina. While recent studies purport to show that the white working class has, indeed, shrunk over the past fifty years, as a political matter its significance remains salient, especially in the battleground and swing states–states like Ohio and West Virginia where Obama currently trails Senator John McCain in the polls. One of the studies that affirms the diminishing proportion of blue collar whites in the electorate, written for the Brookings Institution by Ruy Teixeira and Alan Abamowitz, concludes [pdf], nevertheless, that “the voting proclivities of the white working class will make a huge difference and could well determine who the next president will be.”
Teixeira and Abramowitz estimate that the Democratic candidate will need to cut Kerry’s deficit of 23 percent in 2004 to around 10 percent if he or she is “to achieve a solid popular vote victory.” By those lights, Obama, if nominated, is almost certainly destined to lose unless he can suddenly reverse the trend that his own dismissive language and his supporters’ contemptuous tone has accelerated during the primaries.
In every presidential election they have won, the Democrats have solidified their historic link to white workers, not dismissed them. Obama and the champions of a new party coalition appear to think that everything has suddenly changed, simply because of the force of their own desires. In any event, Obama had shown no ability thus far to attract the one constituency that has always spelled the difference between victory and defeat for the Democratic Party. The party must now decide whether to go along with Obama and renounce its own heritage — and tempt the political fates.
We end with the courageous Bartcop which features a Gene Lyons article – Party may suffer from an Obama candidacy Lyons loathes Big Media:
If Hillary Clinton had no other reason to keep running for the nomination, it would be to demonstrate that Tim Russert, Keith Olbermann, Maureen Dowd, David Broder and the Beltway media gas bags don’t decide American elections. Last week, Obama, the supposedly inevitable Democratic nominee, lost the West Virginia primary by 41 points. Democrats haven’t taken the presidency without winning the Mountain State since 1916.
To use a geographically appropriate metaphor, if there has ever been a canary in-a-coal-mine primary, that was it. [snip]
If nominated, Obama can’t possibly defeat Sen. John McCain without bringing Clinton voters to him. Recently, however, I’ve been hearing from many passionate Democrats who say they can’t and won’t vote for him in November, so I asked a few to explain why.
Here is Lyons’ anecdotal survey. The answers sound much like what the comments at Big Pink say:
Most think Obama a sure loser in the McGovern, Dukakis tradition. They believe he’s totally unqualified.
“I’ve voted for every Democrat from president to dog-catcher since 1952. That will end with Obama,” insists H. in Maine. “He won’t get 150 electoral votes, more than he deserves. The Democratic Party’s been teetering on the edge of extinction. Obama’s arrogance will kill it….
“ Just four years out of the state Senate. If he were white or female, his candidacy would be a joke. Imagine if he’d opted to run for vice president with Hillary. Mc-Cain would lose, Democrats would come close to 60 Senate seats and pick up 35 in the House. The Democratic left’s need to swoon after eight years of a moron, coupled with unbridled Clinton hatred, will produce a disaster for the party and country.” It’s the Obama campaign’s cynical use of race beginning in South Carolina that’s the deal-breaker for others.
“He is making his way to Denver by dividing our party over race, which is maybe the most idiotic campaign tactic ever,” writes C. in Kansas. “This time the witch hunt is coming from our side. It’s heartbreaking. Obama supporters want you to think Bill and Hillary Clinton are lifelong members of the KKK. The audacity of hope campaign has had the audacity to go there…. This fall, they’ll try to make nice and talk unity, but the people they alienated in the most hateful way won’t be there. They deserve to lose for being so callous and childish.”
J. in Florida agrees: “Obama and his supporters’ use of the ‘race card’ against the Clintons (with the help of the in-the-tank media ) is sickening. Now we have vile, racist, crazed-for-power Hillary. Obama means to avoid the ‘divisiveness’ of the Clinton years by blaming it on them. That’s a despicable lie, and he knows it. The only way of avoiding divisiveness is to cave to the Republican agenda, which I believe he’s more than eager to do.” “He and his supporters, “ J. adds, “ have systematically sacrificed the central constituency of the Democratic Party —the poor and working class—on the altar of constituencies who look to politics for reaffirmation of their identity: college students and childish Sixties neo-libs. (The African American constituency makes sense, so no gripes there. )” By abandoning the principle of universality in health insurance, most think Obama has guaranteed that meaningful reform cannot be achieved. Z. in Georgia adds that Obama’s vagueness on economic issues foretells disaster. “He has no perceptible position on the economy other than ‘We can do better. Yes, we can. Say it with me.’
I foresee broken campaign promises followed by belt-tightening austerity measures in a one-term presidency. In short, Jimmy Carter in a better-tailored sweater.” “ I view the Obama candidacy as a narcissistic endeavor by a mediocre politician dividing Democrats along social vs. economic progressive lines, ” J. insists. “He’s forcing a choice between winning in 2008 and possibly saving Roe vs. Wade and promoting gay marriage vs. fighting for the poor and working class. “ I’ve decided I won’t help Obama and his personality cult transform the Democratic Party into an organization that represents only the interests of rich, social liberals.” What do I think? I suspect most will grudgingly return by November, but that non-African American working-class voters won’t.
Representative Corrine Brown (D-Florida) introducing Hillary in Boca Raton: “You are going to count us now, or don’t count on us later.”
“You are going to count us now, or don’t count on us later.”