As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Thursday, May 08, 2008

If We Were Still Operating Under the 3/5 Compromise, I'd Be The Nominee

I can't do much better than what dnA did to this Hillary Clinton comment:

"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."

"There's a pattern emerging here," she said.

Not only is that completely insulting, the emerging pattern for decades in the Democratic Party, so obvious that even George Bush picked up on it in 2004, is how many take the black vote totally for granted. That's exactly the bias Clinton is betraying here. She may think that blacks are real people and hard-working Americans, but she doesn't think of them enough to think they matter in electoral politics because they'll all go Democratic anyway. dnA notes how Hillary's husband didn't set the world on fire among whites, either:

This kind of comment is less a description than an agitator, it's meant to give white voters the impression that they would be "disenfranchised" by an Obama win. It's a not so subtle effort to evoke racial resentment over Obama's success.

But the truth is, Clinton won't win the white vote either, as Steve M. points out:

According to CNN's 1996 exit poll, Bill Clinton lost the white vote (Dole 46%, Clinton 43%, Perot 9%). He lost the white male vote by an even larger margin (Dole 49%, Clinton 38%, Perot 11%). And he lost gun owners badly (Dole 51%, Clinton 38%, Perot 10%). However, Clinton won the popular vote overall

In 2000 -- when Al Gore won the popular vote by half a million votes -- he lost white males to Bush by a whopping 60%-36%, according to CNN's exit poll. He lost men overall 53%-42%. He lost whites overall 54%-42%. He lost gun owners 61%-36%. He lost small-town voters 59%-38% and rural voters 59%-37%. He lost the Midwest overall 49%-48%.

I'm not saying these are goals to aspire to. I'm saying it's a myth that Democrats had Joe Sixpack in their back pockets until that snooty arugula-eater Barack Obama came along, and it's a myth that they suffer crushing defeats when bowlers and boilermaker-drinkers aren't on board. 49%-41%-8%, and he won 70% of the electoral votes.

But it's a myth that Clinton needs to perpetuate to make a case for her continued candidacy.

It also shows how she'd run a general election: shootin' guns, drinkin' shots, saying whatever 8 yahoos in Ohio believe is the key and taking the black vote that would put her over the top for granted, even though she's insulted them here. I don't subscribe to the idea that Clinton has run a "race-baiting" campaign, and this isn't entirely a "race-baiting" comment, it's a "taking blacks for granted" comment. Which to me is worse.

Fortunately, we don't actually have to worry a lot about this. House members are turning their backs on Clinton, the money is drying up, her insiders are wavering, and it's basically over without fully being over. I agree that she ought to stay in for another two weeks so that the perception is not that Obama becomes the nominee and promptly gets thrashed in West Virginia and Kentucky, his two worst states in the nation. As long as the kitchen sink strategy ends immediately, she can go ahead and "press on" as long as she wants. But it won't end in the nomination.

And that result is mostly because Obama is a great candidate who ran a superior campaign. But the inferiority of the Clinton campaign, given the institutional advantages she had, cannot be dismissed. This reads like a joke:

Clinton picked people for her team primarily for their loyalty to her, instead of their mastery of the game. That became abundantly clear in a strategy session last year, according to two people who were there. As aides looked over the campaign calendar, chief strategist Mark Penn confidently predicted that an early win in California would put her over the top because she would pick up all the state's 370 delegates. It sounded smart, but as every high school civics student now knows, Penn was wrong: Democrats, unlike the Republicans, apportion their delegates according to vote totals, rather than allowing any state to award them winner-take-all. Sitting nearby, veteran Democratic insider Harold M. Ickes, who had helped write those rules, was horrified — and let Penn know it. "How can it possibly be," Ickes asked, "that the much vaunted chief strategist doesn't understand proportional allocation?" And yet the strategy remained the same, with the campaign making its bet on big-state victories. Even now, it can seem as if they don't get it. Both Bill and Hillary have noted plaintively that if Democrats had the same winner-take-all rules as Republicans, she'd be the nominee.

In fairness to her, if it weren't for black people, Democrats would have changed proportional allocation to winner-take-all. Right?

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