Sunday, April 13, 2008

Cause for General Concern

Via Jeralyn at TalkLeft, it looks like Politico has finally caught up with me on Obama's prospects for the general election, namely, crappy. The reporters couch the entire article as a "this is the stuff the Clintons are saying," and offer it as some kind of explanation for why the stupid bitch won't quit, probably to cover their asses, but the fundamentals of the article are no more or less than what any fact-based observor of the electoral map could have told you after Ohio and Texas.

Obama is a poor general election candidate, he has always been a poor general election candidate, and his imploding campaign is demonstrating exactly why he is weak in the general, even if Hillary were to stop her campaign cold right now.

The Democratic constituencies he is weak with have nothing to do with Hillary, such as working class voters (and that is more than just "white" people) who don't like his position on trade and health care. His response to their doubt is to call them racist. These are constituencies who could very well go McCain in the general. He has no idea how to appeal to these voters and has no track record of note to use to back up claims that he will serve their interests. He's sort of generic liberal guy on those counts, not offering even as much as Kerry did last time. Politico talks about the Florida vote being "Jewish" and not liking Obama's association with anti-Israel speakers, but that state is also full of Democrats who overwhelmingly voted for HRC and are having their votes deliberately voided to ensure Obama's nomination. My very Catholic mother-in-law and all of her senior female friends in Florida will not vote for Obama in November in a way that they probably would have voted for Edwards or Biden. His claims to being able to win Western states dissolves when his weakness with Hispanic voters is examined.

Hillary's problematic Democratic constituencies are problematic for different reasons. With AA voters, she had enjoyed enormous support until two things happened: first, Obama won Iowa and showed himself to be a viable candidate and, second, the Obama campaign launched their no-holds barred filth-fest to portray Hillary as racist and an enemy of the AA community, including threatening black party leaders who protested this portrayal. Her problems with this constituency are because of Obama, and are much more due to the former cause than the latter. She has a long public record of her work on behalf of the AA community and, even after the trashing some people within it have heaped on her, she will continue to do so. That's just the kind of person she is. A certain segment of the liberal elite, wonderfully embodied by UC Berkeley Economics professor Brad Delong and his clueless arrogance, hate her with a passion that is simply irrational and might vote Nader if their Precious isn't handed the nomination. After that, she will have to fight hard for the Reagan Democrat constituency, who will prefer her economic acumen to McCain's "more of the same," but who can be swayed by national security arguments. In the exit polling done in 2004, it was John Kerry's perceived weakness on security that was the deciding factor in key coutines in Ohio - exactly those counties Hillary dominated in the primary.

Furthermore, it's not just the constituencies, but the distribution of those voters on the Electoral College map. Let's go to my favorite electoral map site, 270 to Win, and look at recent electoral match up maps:

Hillary vs. McCain: She starts out ahead of him in electoral votes, 202 to 198. Pretty evenly matched, with only 4 electoral votes between them. Of the states that are not in McCain's column, how can Hillary pick up 68 electoral votes from swing states to make the magic 270?
  • CT - 7 (202+7=209)
  • NJ - 15 (209+15=224)
  • DE - 3 (224 +3=227)
  • HI - 4 (227+4=231)
  • FL - 27 (231+27=258)
  • WV - 5 (258+5=263)
  • and either WA or MN or MO or WI or MI or VA

The first four states should go to any Democratic nominee. Hillary can win back WV if she is getting Pennsylvania and Ohio, and she's consistently winning Florida. Michigan is likely for her because of pushing to count their vote in the primary, Washington is a traditionally blue state, Missouri is a long shot, and Minnesota and Wisconsin are fully competitive. Virginia may say swing, but I doubt its competitive. Winning two of the final group and losing WV would still work. Winning Nevada is a possibility, but wouldn't be enough on its own to clinch the Electoral College.

On McCain's side, he has to get 72 electoral votes to win. That means even winning Virginia and Florida are not enough to put him over the top. He would have to win three of the following: WA, MN, MO, WI, MI, NV, WV. With Nevada or West Virginia as the third, that means he must win MI and either WA or MO, to reach 270. Also, if the three are MN, WI and either MO or WA, he is one vote short, and thus must win at least Nevada or West Virginia as well. Basically, if McCain has lost OH and PA, he must win MI, FL and VA to have a chance. If Hillary takes Florida out of play, McCain is highly unlikely to win.

Obama vs. McCain: Obama starts 28 points bakc, 180 vs. 208, and McCain is ahead of where he started with Hillary. More states are swing states because Obama is not clearly leading in them, thus momentum is leaning towards McCain. Of the states that are not in McCain's column, how can Obama pick up 90 electoral votes from swing states to make the magic 270?
  • PA - 21 (180+21=201)
  • OH - 20 (201+20=221)
  • MI- 17 (221+17=238)
  • NJ - 15(238_15=253)
  • and then at least two of the following - MN, WI, VA, CO, IA, but the two cannot be CO and IA as they do not total 17.

See a problem here? Yeah, he tanked in Ohio and New Jersey, has dissed Michigan by refusing to let them revote even when he might have won it, and is trailing badly in Pennsylvania. Minnesota and Wisconsin are probably easier for him to win than they are for Hillary, though they are swing states for her as well, and it is questionable whether he could pull out Virginia or Colorado. He simply isn't competitive in any border state - KY, TN, MO, AR - or in Florida. If he loses Ohio and Pennsylvania, he basically has to take evey other swing state to make up for their electoral deficit, whereas if McCain picks up just OH and PA, he only needs 21 more votes to clinch the election, and that means just Virginia and South Carolina. Not a good bet.

These are projections, of course, but they have some basis in the demographic makeup of the states and reference the historical voting patterns of those states.

And all of this, the Politico article and the latest polls, were done before Obama's recent blather about bitter lower-class voters.

Obama's ability to win the Democratic nomination itself presupposes that Florida and Michigan are eliminated from the delegate count and that he wins big in all the remaining primaries and that the lion's share of the super delegates break his way. Barring votes from Michigan and Florida will cripple the Democartic party in those states in November. It does not look likely that he will win big in the upcoming primaries. Super delegates, according to the Politico report, are beginning to question the wisdom of their initial pledge.

Dr. Dean, what are you wishing for now?

Anglachel

17 comments:

janiscortese said...

You know the thing that creeps me out -- the filthy-rich assholes who are at the heart of this little power struggle for control of the Democratic party don't really care if we win in November or not.

They aren't shooting to defeat McCain. They're shooting to defeat us. If they lose the general election but shove us hoi polloi back in our place, they will count it as a victory.

Why? They'll be fine no matter who wins. This is just one cadre of rich fucks struggling against another. The election is just the way they keep score. Their lives aren't at stake.

I just wonder whether or not these arguments -- correct and accurate -- of Obama getting his ass handed to him in the GE aren't like shooting bullets at a science fiction monster that doesn't exist in this dimension, and so the bullets just slide right through.

marirebel said...

I wonder how this xenophobia thing plays out. So, is it just poor white people who become xenophobic, or do poor black folk exhibit the same trait? What does Obama have to say about the xenophobia of the black community, and of Rev. Wright’? Do they cling to religion and guns and hate those who do not look like them also? How do these ideas affect the GE? Should we throw up our hands and say all poor people are toads, while developing new ways to help the S.F. Democrats who can afford to attend Pacific Heights fundraisers?

cutepeachpanda said...

janiscortese: You're right. If Obama wins the nomination and loses the general you can be sure that we'll hear the Democratic elite and the MSM cry media until the end of the year. Instead of analyzing deeper issues as to why many Clinton supporters will not support Obama, they will just label us as racists because that is the easy explanation for everything in this election.

Don't be surprised if they (Obama, Dean, Brazille, Pelosi, Kerry, Kennedy and all the rest of these arrogant fools) SHAME Clinton supporters into voting for Obama if he is the nominee. It will backfire but they are going to once again talk about racism and why the Democratic party needs to come together to take back America - even those hillbilly racists who supported Clinton in the primary. Whenever Obama talks about race it's usually about white racists/Clinton supporters against blacks (i.e. him). It's always about him. He actually does not have a good concept of race in America at all and I wouldn't expect anyone who would listen to Rev. Wright for 20 years have a real grasp on the complexities of race in America beyond the concept that small town and rural whites are the devil.

cutepeachpanda said...

sorry for the typo:
You're right. If Obama wins the nomination and loses the general you can be sure that we'll hear the Democratic elite and the MSM cry *racism* until the end of the year.

Chinaberry Turtle said...

This is just one cadre of rich fucks struggling against another. The election is just the way they keep score. Their lives aren't at stake.

Wow Janis. That's a whole new way of looking at this. You know, I'm starting to believe that maybe you've hit the nail on the head here.

With Obama at the helm, the Dem vs. Repub fight really becomes just a culture war between George Soros and Rupert Murdoch. Lost in the shuffle of this abstract culture-competition between rich Lord Byron-esque Romantics on the Left and rich Puritanical Ebenezer Scrooges on the Right are all the ordinary folk just trying to find answers to the mundane problems that beset their lives but don't warrant the attention of either of these "rich fucks."

Meanwhile there's Hillary: "Too many have been invisible for too long. Well, you are not invisible to me." Neither side likes this kind of talk b/c she's not interested in this "old money" vs. "new money" culture war and instead wants to address stupid boring stuff like health care.

CognitiveDissonance said...

Meanwhile there's Hillary: "Too many have been invisible for too long. Well, you are not invisible to me." Neither side likes this kind of talk b/c she's not interested in this "old money" vs. "new money" culture war and instead wants to address stupid boring stuff like health care.

I think that's exactly right, and is one of the reasons the dem leadership and the media seem to hate the Clintons. It's also why Edwards got marginalized this cycle. They don't want to talk about class or what their gargantuan stupidity has done to the working class. They'd much rather talk about race, as if only the unwashed masses were the bigots of this world. They, obviously, are the enlightened ones.

Janis, I agree with you that they have no skin in the game. They'll be fine whatever happens. But the rest of us won't. And the rest of the planet won't either. That's the big reason this election is so endlessly frustrating to me. Everyone with power is out to sink the only candidate who will address the issues that matter.

gendergappers said...

Little by little it comes out how the Power Dems have been grooming BO for this Primary. Then he opens his mouth and his real character falls out.

Eleanor said...

(((wild applause)))

This is great stuff, folks. Keep it up.

I live in Tennessee, one of three states (Missouri and Ohio are the others) that virtually always vote for the winner in each Presidential election.

There's no way Obama can win here. Sure, he'll score 95% in Memphis and probably nearly as well in Nashville, but I can just hear the folks out in Giles County now talking about his voting record and how he made fun of them as "bitter".

News flash to BO: America doesn't consist of a handful of large cities filled with fat cat donors, while the rest is designated "flyover country". You better learn how to talk to people in CAT hats, stat.

janiscortese said...

And America's cities aren't ALL filed with fat-cats squillionaires, either. And a lot of us "creative class" white collar types come from blue- and pink-collar roots.

For all their mouthing of platitudes about the American Dream, they seem strangely willing to forget that and act like white-collar and blue-collar Americans are some separate species. I thought this country was the land of class mobility. Silly me.

avidreader said...

The NAACP in Detroit invited Rev. Wright to speak at their fundraiser dinner Apr. 27. It is advertised as the largest sit-down dinner in the country. They expect/hope for 10,000 people. Why Rev. Wright? That would be interesting to know.

I'm inclined to agree with janiscortese-the party Democrats would rather throw away the election than elect Hillary to defeat McCain. I didn't understand this until Anglachel laid out the numbers. Clinton hatred is so intense-is it a class thing only? WTF is going on?
Daschle and Nutter were interviewed together yesterday re: O's "bitter" -Daschle looked absolutely ill, but maintained the party line. Nutter was composed and spoke quietly. He's easy to like.
O. doesn't appear to be a bright man-he loses his place to often, can't remember what he said, has no real academic background he appears to draw on, never mentions reading anything. He's empty. Perfect for a Democratic/wealthy group conspiracy.

Chinaberry Turtle said...

Clinton hatred is so intense-is it a class thing only? WTF is going on?

Hi avireader. Anglachel has posted a bunch on the sexism involved as well. Here is one interesting post she made on the subject recently. (If you were just asking the question rhetorically, my apologies.)

No Blood for Hubris said...

Hey, people, please -- don't get over-obsessed with the PA "bitter" thing.

Obama wants us to join him in worrying about the high price of arugula.

Wait -- isn't that bitter, too?

No Blood for Hubris said...

I meant to add:

http://nobloodforhubris.blogspot.com/2008/04/let-them-eat-arugula-its-bitter-too.html

No Blood for Hubris said...

Hm. That didn't work. Anyhow, scroll down and click through.

cal1942 said...

Absolutely superb. I'd say you took the words right out of my mouth, but I could never write it with such clarity, eloquence and force.

Brilliant. A tour de force.

janiscortese, in comments, said that there are people in the party who don't really care if we win in November.

I think they want to win but for me it's abundantly clear that they care FAR more about their power position in the party than they do about winning. The Dean gang knows that if Hillary is the nominee, their positions and influence are gone.

Anglachel's right. They went after Hillary at the opening bell. The evidence is irrefutable beginning with the MI/FL death penalty. The DNC knew that Clinton was going to win both MI and FL. The death penalty was irregular and despite the claims of the Obama people was not THE rule. IA, NH, NV and SC also violated the rules but were not punished. In fact the DNC broke its own rules by selective punishmment and by not holding a hearing prior to levying a penalty.

The DNC knew that if Clinton won MI and FL early that she would be unstoppable. They knew Obama would have a chance in IA and NH, smaller states where a major candidate can be vulnerable to a concentrated effort by a less known opponent. After Hillary won NH, out came the Kennedy's and no one at the DNC put a cork in JJ Jr's mouth for the naked racism of his post-NH no tears for Katrina victims remark calculated to inflame African American voters in South Carolina.

It should be noted that the GOP took away half of MI's and FL's delegates as well as half of NH's delegates. There was no death penalty and they did not selectively penalize. The penalized ALL violators. Remember the GOP NV caucus and SC primary did not occur simultaneous to the Democratic contests. Neither NV nor SC violated GOP rules. Apparently, when it comes to elections, they're not that stupid and seem to have their eyes on the prize. There seems to be a 'line up' attitude in that party that Democrats should emulate.

The calls from the Obama camp, pundits and heavy hitters in the party for Hillary's withdrawal are not the same as the GOP's line-up routine. The DNC's version is manipulate, bend the rules and stop short to get a desired result.

The DNC's stand that both candidates had to agree on MI/FL re-votes eliminated all doubt about their culpability. They knew full well that Obama would never go along with a re-vote.

cal1942 said...

Absolutely superb. I'd say you took the words right out of my mouth, but I could never write it with such clarity, eloquence and force.

Brilliant. A tour de force.

janiscortese, in comments, said that there are people in the party who don't really care if we win in November.

I think they want to win but for me it's abundantly clear that they care FAR more about their power position in the party than they do about winning. The Dean gang knows that if Hillary is the nominee, their positions and influence are gone.

Anglachel's right. They went after Hillary at the opening bell. The evidence is irrefutable beginning with the MI/FL death penalty. The DNC knew that Clinton was going to win both MI and FL. The death penalty was irregular and despite the claims of the Obama people was not THE rule. IA, NH, NV and SC also violated the rules but were not punished. In fact the DNC broke its own rules by selective punishmment and by not holding a hearing prior to levying a penalty.

The DNC knew that if Clinton won MI and FL early that she would be unstoppable. They knew Obama would have a chance in IA and NH, smaller states where a major candidate can be vulnerable to a concentrated effort by a less known opponent. After Hillary won NH, out came the Kennedy's and no one at the DNC put a cork in JJ Jr's mouth for the naked racism of his post-NH no tears for Katrina victims remark calculated to inflame African American voters in South Carolina.

It should be noted that the GOP took away half of MI's and FL's delegates as well as half of NH's delegates. There was no death penalty and they did not selectively penalize. The penalized ALL violators. Remember the GOP NV caucus and SC primary did not occur simultaneous to the Democratic contests. Neither NV nor SC violated GOP rules. Apparently, when it comes to elections, they're not that stupid and seem to have their eyes on the prize. There seems to be a 'line up' attitude in that party that Democrats should emulate.

The calls from the Obama camp, pundits and heavy hitters in the party for Hillary's withdrawal are not the same as the GOP's line-up routine. The DNC's version is manipulate, bend the rules and stop short to get a desired result.

The DNC's stand that both candidates had to agree on MI/FL re-votes eliminated all doubt about their culpability. They knew full well that Obama would never go along with a re-vote.

Belle Gunness said...

I am a 40-year-old feminist, not the "Obama gurl" stereotype I frequently see derided in anti-Obama posts on the feminist blogosphere. And I am voting for Obama.

As far as I can see, it's only the Clinton partisans who are wringing their hands over the "bitter" remark. Yes, the rural poor are bitter. Hell, even Joe Bageant, who could never be accused of being a liberal elitist, says, "Yep, we're bitter. So?" And as a friend of mine says, "If you're living in the U.S. and you're not bitter, you're either in power or you're delusional."

I certainly don't buy into the cult of personality around Obama — there is much to be desired in his outlook and proposed policies. But, honestly, I think that you and various other feminist bloggers — especially on Shakesville — are making him into a scapegoat for all the misogyny out there directed at Clinton. "Periodically she gets down"? "The claws come out"? The first is grasping at straws, and the second, while winceworthy and not admirable on Obama's part, is nowhere in the same class as what's been slung at her from the likes of Matthews and Co.

If Clinton intends to bring back the 1990s over which her husband presided, she's certainly not the friend to the working class that you imagine her to be — and her choice of campaign manager implies that she does, in fact, wish to continue "triangulating" most of us into the poorhouse.

Nor am I persuaded of her feminist bona fides. She supported Rick Santorum's "Workplace Religious Freedom Act," which could be construed in a manner that would allow pharmacists to deny birth control to women out of "conscience." And then there's her deep involvement with The Family.

Finally, I question your reading of the poll numbers. Per Real Clear Politics:
Clinton v McCain - McCain + 2.4 (trend accelerating based on chart)
Obama v McCain - Obama + 0.6 (trend accelerating, but more slowly)