Bell Curve The Law Talking Guy Raised by Republicans U.S. West
Well, he's kind of had it in for me ever since I accidentally ran over his dog. Actually, replace "accidentally" with "repeatedly," and replace "dog" with "son."

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Clinton Should Concede

OK, enough is enough. We've seen the math again and again. Hillary needed to win every primary since Pennsylvania with something like 60% to 65% of the vote to have a realistic shot of winning the nomination without counting on the superdelegates overturning the elected delegate plurality for Obama.

In Pennsylvania, Clinton won by a substantial margin but still off the pace she needed. Last night, she lost in North Carolina by something like the margin she needed to win by. And she "won" Indiana by about 1%. Of those two states, North Carolina is more likely to vote for a Democrat in November.

Indiana more detail: Hillary won, but not by huge margins, in the rural counties. Obama dominated in Indianapolis, Gary, Fort Wayne, Bloomington, and Lafayette. Obama even dominated one of the suburban counties outside of Indianapolis and won another one closely. I used to live in Indiana. I can assure you that if there is any chance that Indiana will vote for a Democrat in November it is if someone can mobilize the urban and suburban voters in unprecedented numbers.

Another thing that bothers me is the mantra that Obama is winning because of black voters. Sure he is. He's also winning because of white voters. He's getting 40% of the white vote in a state with 18% of the Democrats being black and a reputation for really rotten race relations.

Clinton needed to win and win big last night. Instead, she lost one state big and essentially tied in the other. She's finished. She needs to concede. This full speed ahead stuff is all about her trying to divide the party in the hopes of setting up her own run again in 2012. It is self serving and damaging to the party. And what's worse, in the context of what our country faces right now, she's working hard for a McCain presidency at a time when that outcome would have disastrous consequences for this country.


eiscremeluvr said...

Here, here! Obama is the candidate with the greatest chance of changing the game in Washington when all is said and done.

Dr. Strangelove said...

Two words: "Unity Ticket"

The Law Talking Guy said...

Unity ticket? Not bloody likely. I think Clinton gave up that chance when she lost the nomination in February after a dozen whopping defeats, but insisted on pushing this into extra innings and doing whatever she could to spoil Obama's image among the Democratic base in states like Ohio and Pennsylvania. I think the Obama camp wants to be rid of her entirely in the Fall, and I don't he can win the presidency with her in the baggage anyway.

Besides which, what is there to unite? What constituency does Clinton really represent? Hers, not Obama's campaign, was the cult of personality. And we can now start speaking of it in the past tense. Good riddance. The time is long past when she can leave gracefully; but she can at least go. Then, after conceding, she can begin to do her duty to re-build the briddges she's spent weeks trying to knock down.

History Buff said...

Looks like she's going to keep going. I just got an email from the Clinton campaign asking for more donations after their come from behind victory in Indiana. Correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't she ahead in Indiana from the beginning, had a 2 to 1 margin in the early vote count and then dropped to a 2% margin. I don't get how this is come from behind.

The Law Talking Guy said...

It's just spin to say "come from behind." Really. I heard her communications director say that she shouldn't concede because "the voters need to have their say." The interviewer didn't apparently have the heart to ask, "but hasn't your candidate's whole strategy for months now been to have the superdelegates override the will of the voters?"

Raised By Republicans said...

According to Clinton was ahead in Indiana in nearly every poll. At the beginning of April she was polling with 52% to Obama's 44%. In two polls in late April, Obama had a narrow lead but that was probably due to random error. The most recent polls showed Hillary with a 5 point lead in Indiana.

Raised By Republicans said...

I agree with LTG that a "unity ticket" is unlikely and probably a bad idea if Hillary is the VP.

Her main argument for being on the ticket would be "I can deliver working class white male votes." I simply don't believe that her appeal to working class white males would cross over into a general election against McCain.

Also, the VP needs to be willing to be second fiddle. Hillary wouldn't.

She should worry more about what her recently discovered populist policy positions on guns, god and gas will do for her Senate constituents back in New York.

If she doesn't flip flop back to where she was back in December, she could provoke a retaliatory primary challenge for her Senate seat and could turn her into Hillary Lieberman.

Her supporters can easily reconcile with their friends in the party. But Hillary herself may have permantly damaged her relationship to the party leadership with this self serving spring of discontent. Same for Bill.

Dr. Strangelove said...

I agree there are valid concerns about a "unity ticket." LTG and RbR raise two broad arguments. First, they raise the strategic argument that Hillary simply carries too much baggage and would not be able to deliver a useful constituency to the Democrats in the Fall. Second, they raise the more operational arguments that it is time for the party to move past the Clintons, that Hillary would not play the role of VP well anyhow, and as a practical matter bitterness between the campaigns may preclude the option. (I hope I have summarized these fairly, if unemotionally.)

As for the strategic argument... I guess I just read the election results differently. In the big picture, I think Hillary's successes in the big swing states prove she has a real constituency, and the demographics of the exit polls demonstrate she appeals to a different crowd. Whether having her as VP would be enough to bring these people along wit her (especially against McCain) is an open question.

As for the operational arguments, I would caution everyone that these hinge on assumptions about how certain individuals will interact--Hillary, Bill, Obama, other Democratic party leaders--and while we are free to muse all we like, none of us truly know them as people. The media images we have are caricatures at best. And even so, I would note that politicians need not like each other to work well together, and it has been long said that politics makes strange bedfellows. (And surely an Obama-Clinton "unity ticket" would hardly be the oddest couple in U.S. political history.)

The final point--which LTG and RbR touched on somewhat--has to do with the supporters of both candidates. The party needs to heal, and I cannot think of a better way to do this than the "unity ticket." Moreover, I think there is every reason to believe there could be great synergy. It is incredible what each candidate has managed running alone. The excitement on both sides is unprecedented. It is important to acknowledge this. Together, I believe they would be unstoppable.

Raised By Republicans said...

RE the strategic argument: Is there a constituency that would vote for Obama only if Hilary were the VP? Or at least vote for him in greater numbers. In the later primaries, HRC depended on two types of voters. White voters over 60 and working class whites.

So the question I have is would the elderly voters go for a Republican just to defeat Obama or are they a more or less safe Democratic constituency? Second, are the working class white votes that she was picking up really attracted to her or were many of them voting in the Demcoratic primary because the Republcian primary was done and finished?

I don't have the numbers handy for those questions but I've seen exit polls that suggest that something like 80% of Democratic primary voters would vote for either Democrat in the general. If that's the case, a "unity ticket" seems to be more about finding a role for Hillary than healing any real division within the party.

Also, I think Dr. S. is tragically underestimating Hillary's baggage. She would not make the ticket "unstoppable." On the contrary, she would be worth several percentage points of voters and a couple of states to McCain in terms of her ability to inadvertantly mobilize Republican opposition.

One final issue: the people who liked Hillary can be given something they want without putting Hillary on the ticket. For those Clinton voters (and there were many) who were going to vote for the best Democrat with a vagina, Obama could appoint Sebelius from Kansas. For the Latino voters, Obama could appoint Richardson. For the working class whites, Obama could appoint someone like Edwards or Gebhart.

Healing the party does not have to revolve around Hillary Clinton.

The Law Talking Guy said...

Clinton's argument in this race, and it has become increasingly pointed, is that (1) Obama can't win because he's black and (2) Obama lacks experience enough to be a good president or a good campaigner. What she technically says is that she has broad suppport among white working class Americans ("hard working Americans, white Americans" as she put it recently). The argument, as the WashPost puts it, is that she can count on blacks to vote for her in ghe general no matter what, but he can't count on poor whites, so you better vote for her. That's as naive as it is insulting. It's also divisive as hell.

The party's not divided - Clinton is just trying to divide it in order to make herself relevant. Watch it, she says, my (white) supporters might bolt to McCain unless I get the nomination to which I'm obviously entitled by being the former president's wife. Nuts to that.

The most pernicious racist argument in this campaign is when voters say to themselves, "Well, I have no problem with a black guy, but I'm not sure I can trust my neighbors not to be racist, so I'd better be safe and vote for a white person." Clinton is basically making this argument now. It validates racism. This is the "damage to the party" that Dianne Feinstein and others are starting to talk about. Nobody needs a candidate whose explicit pitch is "I can bring in racial and ethnic groups that don't like you - see how they don't like you?"

On another point, it also weakens Obama if he is seen as having to bargain with Clinton to get the nomination. To win in the Fall, he has to be perceived as a winner. That's why offering her the VP slot is also a bad idea. Any insinuation that he didn't have a free hand to pick a VP (while McCain does) means he's a weaker candidate.