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."

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Mountain Momma

Forty-one point margin. Every county in her column. Huge voter turnout. West Virginia will only close the gap by a dozen delegates--not nearly enough to make a difference--but if Hillary was looking to end on a high note, she found it.

She might be running just for vanity. She might be angling to be Obama's running mate. She may be working to scuttle Obama's candidacy so she can run again in 2012. She might be holding out for that tiny chance she might win. She might just keep running because she does not know what else to do. I cannot say--I do not know her.

But I can say this: against all my expectations, I find myself proud to see her soldier on. And if, as I suspect, I am not alone in this, then I believe that sense of pride creates unanticipated affirmative opportunities that would not have been possible had she given up and left her supporters nothing but the taste of ashes. Anyhow, I thought that observation was worth mentioning.


Raised By Republicans said...

"I have a much broader base to build a winning coalition on," she said in an interview with USA TODAY. As evidence, Clinton cited an Associated Press article "that found how Sen. Obama's support among working, hard-working Americans, white Americans, is weakening again, and how whites in both states who had not completed college were supporting me."

This statement cancels out any right to claim pride in the good fight.

That's all I have to say about how Hillary is "soldiering on" and how proud her supporters can be of her. They should be ashamed of the way she is running right now.

As for West Virginia, it is a swing state. But I suspect it is an outlier. If Hillary puts West Virginia in play, Obama puts Colorado, North Carolina, South Carolina, and maybe even Georgia in play.

The Democrats CANNOT win by relying on rural whites. They should absolutely compete for those votes. And Obama has - when he contests a state (like Indiana) he gets about 40% of the white vote. But he did not contest West Virginia. BUT, Hillary seems to emphasize these voters to the point that she now (late in the game) counts them as her base. This is not a winning strategy.

West Virginia ONLY matters in November IF you don't win Virginia, North Carolina OR South Carolina. All of which Obama can get and Hillary can't.

Also, there is no guarantee that Hillary can win West Virginia in November. We saw a rural white voter bloc pick Hillary over Obama. We cannot infer from that that they would pick her over McCain as well. Indeed, according to CNN's exit polls, 29% of the voters in the West Virginia Democratic primary said they planned to vote for McCain in November. That's a rotten party member retention rate! These folks are local Democrats and national Republicans.

Finally, Obama saw the writing on the wall early in West Virginia (the whitest, poorest, least educated state in the country), and essentially pulled his campaign out of the state. I think that was a mistake from the point of view of the primary and it goes against what so far has been a 50 state strategy. But the fact that he instead spent his time Republican districts in Missouri and Michigan makes sense.

Dr. Strangelove said...

Bob parsed that misstatement sensibly in a comment to a previous post: Hillary just stumbled while trying to summarize the demographics in the article.

Raised By Republicans said...

I'm sorry, I call "BS" on that "I misspoke" excuse this time.

You don't get to use that time and time again. They said that after Bill Clinton said Obama was just like Jesse Jackson. They said that after Ferraro said that Obama was only a viable candidate because he was black. Now they say it after Hillary says she's the champion of White America?

I'm sorry, that excuse is all used up.

The Law Talking Guy said...

Dr.S, I don't think Hillary misspoke. She's being very blunt that she thinks white people won't vote for Obama. Or rather, she wants white people to vote for her out of fear that other white people won't vote for Obama on racist grounds.

Keep in mind that Obama won a dozen contests, Minnesota, Illinois, Nebraska, Maryland, DC, Virginia, Nebraska, Washington, Idaho, Colorado, Kansas, and Hawaii by similar (60/30) lopsided margins. Clinton has always discounted these as insignificant small states.

This is remarkable only in that it's the only time she's managed a blowout since winning Arkansas.

The Law Talking Guy said...

I listened to HRC's victory speech. She pitched to superdelegates to hand her the victory, and pooh-poohed the fact that she's behind in the polls, delegate count, and pop vote count by saying its "neck and neck." Then she went on to trumpet her victories in states like New Mexico (where she won by 0.8%) as proof that she's the stronger candidate. It's just one cheap spin after another with her.

Gore was neck and neck with Bush. Got it? And most of us Democrats didn't like the Supreme Delegates overturning that result.

I wish Hillary supporters would try to understand how it will look if they "win" the way they want to (and would have to). Imagine if Hillary won the popular vote, the pledged delegate count, and was ahead in the polls, but the supers gave it to Obama because they didn't like her. Would she say "oh well, it was neck and neck." Er, no.

Bob said...

Hey. "They" didn't use that `"I misspoke" excuse'. _I_ brought it up (and I'm no Hillary fan), because it seemed like a cogent description by Matt Yglesias (also not a Hillary fan). So if you're calling BS, you're calling it to my face. And I take offense.

To me, the perceived racism in the quote is the (accidental) equation of "hard-working Americans" with "white Americans". I believe Hillary _did_ intend to say "look, the working-class and non-college whites are voting for me, not for him," and she's signifying that those people would vote for her and not for Obama in the general.

Whether that's correct or not, I don't see it as particularly racist. Unless you further read into it (as LTG seems to do) that she's trying to appeal to latent white racism by giving them the excuse to vote for her over Obama because "it's not racist, it's just an acceptance that _other_ people are racist and won't vote for him."

Unfortunately, it seems that the "electability" argument the Clinton campaign has emphasized is being interpreted as racism by some, and that seems to be a root of the deep division in the party.

Fortunately, I have a solution!

All the hootin' and hollerin' about Hillary needing to drop out is based on one fear: that she really is in contention. _If_ it came down to near-even pledged delegates, and backroom wrangling of superdelegates, it would be unseemly, unDemocratic, and characteristic of the chaotic big-tent can't-get-it-together narrative associated with the Dems. Even if you think she can't win, you must think that she can make it close, or you wouldn't care whether she was running or not.

But if, as Dr. S indicates, you think Hillary has no chance, then it's no big deal. Jerry Brown ran all the way through on principle, as many others have done, and it didn't sunder the party because it didn't really matter.

Hillary's saying she appeals to the working-class whites that might otherwise vote for McCain? Okay, we should listen to what her appeal to them is, maybe even put something in the party platform from her policy proposals -- heck, offer her some appropriate cabinet position or blue-ribbon panel to chair. Because that's what you do with also-ran candidates to re-unify them and their constituency to the party.

The only people claiming that the Clinton campaign has a chance is the Clinton campaign. If the rest of the world (starting with the Obama campaign, since the media is physically unable to admit the horse race is over) just takes that with the salt it deserves, very quickly the statements of the Clinton campaign are filtered through that lens, and I think appear very different and much less threatening.

Raised By Republicans said...

I'm sorry to have offended you Bob.

But honestly, the idea that she was merely making reference to polling data doesn't wash.

It's when we look at the statement in the broader context of the campaign that it seems less and less likely to be inadvertent.

By "they" I was refering to the Clinton campaign. They have made exactly the argument that Yglesias makes in response to all of their slips of the racial tongue (see Bill Clinton's Jesse Jackson gaffe and Ferraro's priveledged Black male gaffe).

Besides, Obama does very well among whites in the Middle West. Which is also largely rural and working class but better off financially. Obama has trounced Hillary among white voters in Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, etc. Look at the county by county results in New Hampshire and Nevada. In those states it was Hillary who couldn't make inroads outside of the urban areas.

As for the question of why should Obama supportors care...It matters if a fellow Democrat is trying to use race as a wedge issue within the party. The hang over from the Clinton mantra that Obama can't win White voters will be days if not weeks of media morons parroting that mantra. It is damaging to the party, and it is demonstrably false when one looks beyond the Appalachian region.

Dr. Strangelove said...

Jesse Jackson himself defended Bill Clinton's "Jesse Jackson gaffe" as fair and accurate. Jackson explicitly named the whole affair "gotcha" politics. (See the Ebony magazine quotes in previous comments.) This new so-called "controversy" is just another steaming piece of "gotcha" politics.

Bob said...

I just don't buy that Clinton is trying to use race as a wedge -- she seems to be saying that blacks will (generally) vote Democratic anyway, and that there's whites who can go either way.

Her argument is that she demonstrably can get those white votes, because she claims she has gotten those votes in the primaries. Your counter-argument, which is strong, is that Obama can get, and has gotten, those votes too.

But (a) if you've got a good fact-based counterargument, why worry that Clinton's argument will carry so much weight?

(b) Going back to my main point, if Obama's a lock, do you really think Clinton's "wedge" will result in some of _her_ supporters abandoning the Dems? Assuming Obama gets the nomination, I'm confident _his_ supporters won't feel alienated by the party, although they might think a certain Ms. Clinton should be.

And (c) what the media parrots isn't Hillary's or anybody's problem but their own. We should criticize them for parroting specious claims uncritically, or for making this out to be an undecided competition when it isn't anymore.

I will in fact have a conniption if RbR suggests Hillary and her campaign shouldn't say certain things because of how it'll be interpreted or repeated by someone else.

Raised By Republicans said...

At what point does a pattern become a patter though. How may "gaffes" and "misunderstandings" point in the same direction before it is legitimate to say, "Gee, I think there's something to this besides poor public speaking skills."

Besides, a big part of the argument in favor of Hillary's candidacy was that she was such a polished and vetted politician that she and her campaign wouldn't make these kinds of mistakes.

The Law Talking Guy said...

Jerry Brown was tolerated because he had no chance of splitting the party - it was a small faction that was mostly interested in promoting a few lefty issues. And he was prevented from speaking at the convention anyway. Clinton, by contrast, commands a larger bloc that she is busy identifying by race, class, and gender. She does threaten to split the party, even if she doesn't threaten to get the nomination. That's the worry. Nobody thought Jerry Brownites would swing the election - Clintonites might.

Imagine if Clinton were ahead, but Obama were to say "She can't appeal to black people." He would be rightly pilloried for trying to, in a sour grapes move, split the party after losing the nomination.

Dr. Strangelove said...

There is only one real pattern here. All these alleged "controversies"--the bitter remark, the Ferraro quote, the sermons of Rev. Wright, the "monster" affair, the Jesse Jackson linkage, and now this West Virginia thing--these are all meaningless distractions. And we are all smart enough to know that. I thought the purpose of this blog was to discuss substantive issues, not regurgitate the empty diet fed to us by the talking heads.

Let's move on.

Raised By Republicans said...

An intentional and self serving campaign to divide the Democratic party is a substantive issue.

The bitter comment and the Wright grandstanding are distractions and their randomness bespeaks of it. They aren't that similar to each other and Wright wasn't anything like as prominent a member of the campaign as either Bill Clinton or Ferraro.

I would be more sympathetic to the claim that Hillary is the victim of "gotcha politics" if one day it was that she being accused of being too pro-Black and the next she was accused of being anti-Black. But all these statements by her and her proxies point in the same direction on the same dimension.

Dr. Strangelove said...

Hillary may well be doing exactly what McCain did... bide his time another eight years.