Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Overview of the Democratic Primary - UPDATED

UPDATE 3/3/08

Well it appears that Clintons dirty politics has begun to blunt Obama's momentum. She knew that she couldn't win by running a clean, issues-based campaign.

Obama was not expected to win ANY of the March 4th Primary States. The fact that he is leading in one State and competitive in another (Texas) says a lot about his ability to fight, even when faced with the constant smears and racial politics of the Clinton campaign.

If Clinton "wins" the nomination, or takes it by some other means, I will fight against her in the General Election....and I will spend every waking hour fighting against this beast if she wins the White House. I hated Hillary Clinton before this Primary race, and that hate has grown tenfold over the last year, after seeing how she has conducted her campaign. Any win that she gets at this point is a dirty victory... it's tainted. I cannot recognize it as valid.

Taking Clinton's dirty racist politics into account, I will consider the worst case scenario for Obama from here on out. The problem for the beast is that even under the worst case scenario for Obama... Obama still wins the Democratic nomination.

Hillary Clinton and her Superdelegates can go straight to Hell.

Obama may lose some ground on March 4th, but he can rebound on March 8th (Wyoming) and March 11th (Mississippi)....and can quickly blunt the psychological advantage that Clinton hopes to use coming out of March 4th. The beast will have about a week to celebrate.
However, this all depends on how the smear campaign goes. With the dirty, negative politics, Clinton may be able to put enough doubt in the minds of White voters over the next several weeks that it could seriously damage Obama (the signs of that are already showing). If Whites begin to leave Obama.... it won't be in a trickle.... it will be in a torrent. Obama could see his hopes for the White House vanish within a month.... if Clinton keeps up the smear tactics.

I'm hoping that Obama (now in a fight for his political life, under the circumstances) can hang on and stay strong until the May 6th Primary in Indiana and North Carolina. This could be Obama's firewall. I predicted in another post that if it went into the Spring and Summer, that Obama could end it on May 6th.

Another good sign for Obama is that he will have the momentum coming out of Mississippi. This is a double edged sword however... because there is a huge gap between Mississippi and Pennsylvania. Some might think that this would be good for Obama...but not necessarily. All of that dead time = time that Obama is not racking up any victories. It also allows Clinton more time for her smear attacks against Obama. I wish there could be a primary every week.

I'm assuming that there will be another debate before Pennsylvania. Obama must come out swinging, while remaining Presidential. He can no longer allow Clinton to get away with her negative politics. He should call her out for it....and he must label her campaign as the negative and dirty campaign that it is. And he must beat her on the issues. He has to be more aggressive in pointing out that the beast is in bed with lobbyists...and has taken more of their money (particularly the Healthcare industry) than any other candidate. Therefore, how in the Hell is she going to change anything...when she has been bought and paid for?

So far, Obama has been too weak against Clinton (this is what John Edwards was talking about when he lashed out at Obama). Obama was to run this above the fray campaign....and that will only get you so far. When your opponent (with the help of media...and with the help of the Republican nominee) is attempting to swiftboat you on a daily basis.... you can't afford to be weak. John Kerry tried that clean, above the fray nonsense in 2004, and he was destroyed.

See Chuck Todds Analysis from February.

Below is a schedule of the remaining Democratic Primary constests, including which way the States lean.

Pledged Delegate Count So Far (not including Superdelegates):

As of 3/3/08

Obama: 1184

Clinton: 1031

Remaining Schedule For The Democrats

February 19th

Hawaii Caucus (toss up) Delegates have already been awarded Obama Win

Wisconsin (toss up) 74 Pledged delegates at stake Obama Win

March 4th (Tonight)

Ohio Primary (leans heavily Clinton) 141 Pledged delegates at stake

Texas- Hybrid Primary/Caucus (leans Clinton) 193 Pledged delegates at stake

Rhode Island Primary (leans Clinton) 21 Pledged delegates at stake

Vermont Primary (toss up) 15 Pledged delegates at stake

March 8th

Wyoming Caucus (toss up) 12 Pledged delegates at stake

March 11th

Mississippi Primary (toss up, but looks good for Obama) 33 Pledged delegates at stake

April 22nd

Pennsylvania Primary (leans Clinton) 158 Pledged delegates at stake

May 3rd

Guam Caucus (toss up) 6 Pledged delegates at stake (9 total)

May 6th

Indiana Primary (toss up) 72 Pledged delegates at stake

North Carolina Primary (leans Obama) 115 Pledged delegates at stake

May 13

West Virginia Primary (toss up, but I would say W.V. looks good for Clinton) 28 Pledged delegates at stake

May 20th

Kentucky Primary (no recent polling data, but looks good for Clinton) 51 Pledged delegates at stake

Oregon Primary (deep Blue Country.... strong deep progressive, & anti-war voters. Similar demographics as Washington State and Minnesota, both of which Obama has already won. So it has to look good for Obama). 52 Pledged delegates at stake

June 3rd

Montana Primary (toss up) 16 Pledged delegates at stake

South Dakota Primary (toss up) 15 Pledged delegates at stake

June 7th

Puerto Rico (toss up...but Obama needs to get down there to help sell his platform and to seal the deal) The 63 delegates from PR are typically awarded as a block, due to the complicated PR politics.

Note: The above outlook will change as I find more information. But things are setting up for a possible late comeback for Clinton. If a comeback materializes, will it be enough?


General George Custer & Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton Draws Line In the Sand In Texas & Ohio - A Great Comeback Strategy or Custers Last Stand?

When & Where Will This Battle Royale Take Place?

Date: March 4th, 2008

Place: Ohio, Texas (and to a smaller degree, Vermont and Rhode Island).

What does Clinton have to do?

Not only does she have to win on March 4th, but she has to win big, especially in Texas and Ohio. She has to get well over 60% of the vote and crush Obama in all contests.

However, Texas is turning out to be a bit of a problem for Clinton in her comeback quest. Obama (by some miracle) has tightened the race in Texas. Texas was supposed to be her great firewall... But will March 4th turn out to resemble Custers Massacre at Little Big Horn for the Clinton camp? Just 5 days ago, Clinton was heard issuing the following challenge to Obama:

"To my opponent Mr. Obama..... meet me in Texas"

And Obama is answering the call.... with a louder voice than the Clinton camp expected. Did the Clinton camp miscalculate by including Texas in their "last stand", line in the sand strategy? I think they may have....and I will explain why later on. The Clinton camp went as far as saying (earlier this month) that a win in Texas and Ohio would mean that Obama should step out of the race. Is there are problem of over confidence on the part of the Clintons? Or abject arrogance?

The media is already helping Clinton lower expectations for March 4th, especially regarding Texas. The media is also setting up Wisconsin as a great opportunity for Clinton to come back. Even a marginal win for Clinton in Wisconsin, and later in Texas, will be be framed by the media as huge victories for Clinton. The corporate media seems desperate to keep Clinton (the media favorite) in the race.

Clinton is also hoping to get delegates from Florida and Michigan included in the final delegate count. Dirty politics? Of course. But nothing seems to be out of bounds for the Clintons. This seems to be standard operating procedure for them.

She will also run negative advertisements in all of the remaining States. She will attempt (again) to label Obama as "the Black candidate". She will attempt to label him as "all hat no Cattle"...a man with no substance and no experience.... someone who is not competent and not up for the job. She will scare voters by saying that they are "rolling the dice" with this Black guy. He will turn the White House into the Black House.... a den of sin. He will embarrass the Country.

Yes folks... you will see it all from the Clinton camp in the weeks to come.


What does Obama have to do?

First of all, Obama has to do well tonight in Wisconsin and Hawaii. He has to at least match Clinton 1-1 in both States, although that would be seen as a big loss for Obama. But the race is all about delegates at this point. As I mentioned, even a marginal win by Clinton would be seen as a huge victory for her and a huge loss for him....that's just the way the biased media works. It wouldn't matter if the delegate advantage remains essentially the same. It's all about the media wanting to claim a victory for Clinton.

After tonight Obama has to somehow get out of March 4th, and April 22nd alive. He needs to pull more miracles in the coming months. To do this, he doesn't have to win... but he has to narrow the gap. Texas has built in advantages for Obama, with its hybrid Primary/Caucus system. It appears that he has narrowed the gap in Texas. He must also narrow the gap in Ohio and Pennsylvania. His performance tonight in Wisconsin could help him narrow the gap in Ohio. It is pretty clear that Clinton will gain delegates in the coming weeks. Obama has to keep Clinton's net delegate gain to an absolute minimum.

The problem for Obama from here on out is that he is dealing with an opponent who has turned completely negative, and is now in swiftboat (nuclear) mode. They are willing to do anything to win (or steal the election). Obama must watch his actions and the actions of his campaign very carefully. Clinton and her media allies are now attempting to take Obama out... TAKE HIM OUT. The Clinton tactics are reminiscent of the Republican stategy that was used against Senator John Kerry in 2004. Sort of a scorched earth policy.... nothing is safe. She will go after the Obama children if she can find an opening. They are already going after Michelle Obama with a vengeance.

Why Obama does not have to win Texas (below is the best explanation that I have seen).

Obama could lose Texas, but still do well in the delegate count...perhaps even winning more delegates, despite losing.

With Texas and Ohio coming up rapidly, we had been curiously deprived of polls from the Lone Star State. But two surveys out this morning confirm that Clinton is in good shape to win the state -- but will she manage to be ahead in the delegate count?

  • An IRV poll has Hillary Clinton ahead 49% to 41%, relying on a strong showing among Hispanics (63%).

  • A Rasmussen poll looks even better for Clinton, as she is ahead 54% to 38%. Without providing numbers, Rasmussen does say Clinton is ahead among Latinos, so Obama has not yet been able to contest her advantage there.

  • Update: As always, ARG comes out with a poll that looks like an outlier. The only institute that has Wisconsin going Clinton (+9), ARG is now the only one that has Texas leaning Obama in its new poll: 48% to 42%. Clinton is ahead among registered Dems and Obama gets all his lead among indies.

  • More than two weeks before Ohio and Texas, baseline polls in both show that Clinton could win them and survive to fight in Pennsylvania, and possibly even win them big. But the question also is whether she can close her pledged delegate deficit significantly, even on March 4th. And this is where Texas's absurdly complex delegate allocation system kicks in.

    In a detailed study of the IRV poll, relying on their indications of regional breakdown, Burnt Orange Report explains that Clinton's 8% lead would still give Obama more delegates out of Texas! This is due in great part to the even/odd district particularities we were discussing in the run-up to Super Tuesday, but this time the odd/even district allocation is not due to chance, but to GOP gerrymandering. Let's embark on a quick overview of the Texas process:

    (1) Of Texas's 193 pledged delegates, 126 are allocated through the primary. 64 are allocated through a caucus for which voters have to attend their "precinct conventions" after the polls close. The 64 delegates will not be allocated before the June state convention but they will reflect the wishes of the precinct convention (just like in most caucuses, like Iowa).

    (2) Texas's delegates are allocated by state senate district, not by congressional district. And each district has a number of delegates according to the turnout in the last election. Now, the last election saw a very high turnout in African-American districts but very low in Hispanic ones which means that places where Obama is strong will award relatively more delegates than those that are Clinton strongholds. This is the first problem Clinton faces.

    (3) The Texas GOP has gerrymandered the state Senate districts to put as many African-Americans in as few districts as possible (as this article from the Huffington Post explains. This will have major consequences on March 4th. Indeed, many districts only have 4 delegates, which will make it extremely difficult for Clinton to get any sort of delegate lead, since you need to get 62.5% to split those districts 3-1. So after votes are counted in most of the districts, the two candidates could still be close to a tie in delegates, even if Clinton is leading by double-digits in them! But the districts that award the most delegates, especially in Houston, have 7 or 8, and those are the places Obama is hoping to do well in, certainly getting more delegates and perhaps even a lead overall depending on the exact percentages.

    Ultimately, will Texas cross the line in absurd delegate plots? In Nevada, Clinton had won by 6% but lost the delegate count 13-12. Obama had then argued that Clinton's support was too concentrated in the Vegas area whereas he had appealed statewide. If Clinton wins by 8% in Texas but loses the delegate count, while winning in most of the state, is that the point at which people start wondering whether the delegate system should be reformed? Can Clinton get some mileage out of it to try and undermine what Obama's pledged delegate count consists in? This would give her an ideal occasion to introduce the popular vote argument, a vote she right now trails in but could come ahead in if she wins Ohio and Texas.

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