Election ’08: The Big Picture
Hillary Clinton has either run out of tricks in her political bag, or she’s having a nervous breakdown. For the third time, in about as many weeks, Clinton has teared up this time at a rally in Maine. Out of the three times that she’s bawled though, this one might be the most honest. Why? Because, depending on where you look, Barack Obama has either pulled within 27 delegates or has taken the lead with 48 delegates. Over the weekend Obama routed Clinton, winning all the primaries and caucuses, taking Louisiana, Nebraska, Washington, the Virgin Islands and Maine by large margins. This has to be beyond distressing for Sen. Clinton. A year ago she had a 20 point lead in the polls over everyone. She was crushing the competition and measuring out her presidential pantsuits, when the young upstart snuck behind her and hit her with a metaphoric roll of quarters. Now it appears that she’s panicking: shedding tears, loaning her campaign money, and firing her campaign manager, but does she need to be?
We can’t forget that we still have nearly half of America to go, and both Clinton and Obama would need about one thousand more delegates and super delegates to win. I’m not going to give a break down of the polling for each individual state but right now a big focus is on the three of largest delegate rich states, Texas, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. Together these states add up to 492 delegates; and, with the exception of Penn, all have a distinct possibility of going Clinton’s way seeing that they fit her particular demographic. Also, these states happen to come towards the end of the primary season, which could lend her some momentum. Why is momentum important? It’s important in dealing with the super delegates. A longer video can be found here; but, in short, a super delegate is a delegate who’s given a vote based on their position in the Democratic Party. For instance, former Democratic presidents are super delegates, as are Democratic members of Congress. They are not indebted to cast their vote with the majority of elected delegates, although traditionally they do. But seeing as how close this primary season is playing out, it is possible that neither Obama nor Hillary will have a clear advantage. If that’s the case the super delegates might cast their vote with their region (and if it’s still close it might come down to John Edwards’ delegates), or they might cast it with the candidate who has the most momentum. Momentum is one of those intangibles that are impossible to calculate but one has to feel from what’s going on, on the streets and in the media, and right now it’s undeniable that Obama has the mo; especially when you consider headlines like this. Taking that back from Obama has to be as much a Clinton priority as winning primaries.
On the Republican side, Mike Huckabee is also pushing his momentum through the South, marching from victory to victory like General Sherman. Saturday saw Huck destroy McCain in Kansas and eke out a slim W in Louisiana. Meanwhile McCain maintains his dominance in the North taking Washington. While this sounds interesting, this race is pretty much done as Huckabee has no political power in the North and McCain, with 723 delegates, only needs about 400 more to win. What was really interesting this week on the Republican side was watching McCain pander to the Conservative wingnuts at the Conservative Political Action Conference. He was even booed when he spoke about immigration, which isn’t so bad when you consider that they give this chick standing ovations. I think if Clayton Bigsby spoke there the entire conference’s eyes would melt out of their skulls just like the Nazis in Raiders of the Lost Ark. Yet this is only one of the many indications that the traditional conservative movement is falling apart. McCain’s rise in the GOP primaries has shown them to be a bunch of zealots, fixed in their supply side, preemptive war, and anti-immigration agendas. This is the party that Karl Rove built, but where as they thought it was built to last, it’s about to crumble under the weight of its own incompetence and hate.
Things to look forward to: Primaries in Washington DC, Maryland, Virginia (a big one the Dem side), Hawaii and Wisconsin. Watching the mainstream GOP media weakly try to fall in behind McCain, and Huckabee will give the stiff arm to a minor scandal emerging in his campaign.