“In the bunker there exists a different reality. In the bunker, Hillary is the winner: of the popular vote, of a series of big swing states, of the authentic American vote. In the bunker, Hillary is introduced by the indefatiguable Terry McAuliffe as ‘the next President of the United States!’ When asked about the reality outside the bunker — that Obama supporters were in a minor rage over Hillary’s speech — McAuliffe looked at me incredulously. ‘Tonight was Hillary’s night!’ he exclaimed. ‘We won tonight! We won in South Dakota! We keep winning!‘”
Sigh. Or, put another way via R.E.M.’s Life’s Rich Pageant: “I will hide and you will hide, and we shall hide together here. Underneath the bunkers in the row. I have water, I have rum. Wait for dawn and dawn shall come, Underneath the bunkers in the row.“
Also, on McAuliffe’s point about it being “Hillary’s night,” see Jeffrey Toobin on CNN yesterday, referring to “the deranged narcissism of the Clintons.” They really don’t make it easy to cut them a break.
Update: The endgame is now Saturday: “Clinton will host an event in Washington on Saturday ‘to thank her supporters and express her support for Senator Obama and party unity,’ according to Howard Wolfson, who did not explicitly state that Clinton is dropping out of the race. But other campaign officials said the event will coincide with her departure, despite her earlier reservations about stepping aside.” Well, better late than never.
“‘I want to say also that this may be the last day I’m ever involved in a campaign of this kind,’ the former president told Clinton supporters in South Dakota, ABC and NBC reported on their news websites. ‘I thought I was out of politics, till Hillary decided to run. But it has been one of the greatest honors of my life to go around and campaign for her for president,’ he added at the start of his stump speech.” There’ve been rumors floating around about Sen. Clinton’s speech in New York tomorrow, but has Bill let the cat out of the bag? One can only hope.
Update: Sigh…A Clinton spokesperson categorically denies an imminent exit tomorrow. In related news, New York Magazine’s John Heilemann and The Atlantic‘s James Fallows ponder what Sen. Clinton is thinking these days. Heilemann: “[M]y response is simple: She wants to be president. Duh. And if it ain’t gonna happen this year, then her central objective is to make it as likely as possible in 2012.” Fallows: “The Clinton team doesn’t worry about hurting Obama’s prospects of winning in the fall, because they assess those prospects at zero. Always have…So by definition they can’t be making things worse. It is like sticking pins into a corpse — you’re not really hurting it any more. And if these efforts in fact make Obama’s victory less likely — well, then, reality will conform to their preexisting view.“
Update 2: Word this morning is Sen. Clinton will in fact concede (sort of) tonight. “The former first lady will stop short of formally suspending or ending her race in her speech in New York City…But for all intents and purposes, the two senior officials said, the campaign is over.” Update 3: McAuliffe says not so. Get it together over there, y’all.
Update 4: Well, for once McAuliffe was right — You can’t call that a concession. Sen. Clinton’s “un-concession” speech tonight in New York, delivered an hour after Sen. Obama had mathematically clinched the Democratic nomination, would’ve been stunning in its gracelessness, if it wasn’t so much in keeping with what we’ve seen all election season from her. Classy until the end.
Whatever President Clinton’s recent issues, he’s still a much-loved figure down in Puerto Rico, as Sen. Clinton’s large victory in the island territory today partially attests. (We’re at 68%-32%, with 98% reporting.) Too little, too late, of course — particularly as Puerto Rico currently doesn’t count in the general election — but at least Sen. Clinton got a chance to go out with a bang.
Update: Some interesting math via Rural Votes: “Spanish-speaking Puerto Rico, obviously, is a place where Limbaugh has no significant listenership, and this provides us a yardstick with which to measure Limbaugh’s actual impact on English-speaking state primaries. In Kentucky for example, on May 20, a full 19 percent of Clinton’s voters said they would not be satisfied with her nomination. On May 13, an equal number – 19 percent – of her own voters in West Virginia said they wouldn’t be satisfied with her nomination. But only five percent in Puerto Rico were in that category. This suggests that 14 percent of Clinton’s vote in recent mainland state primaries consisted of the Limbaugh ‘chaos’ voters.“
“Tonight, Iowa, in the fullness of spring, with the help of those who stood up from Portland to Louisville, we have returned to Iowa with a majority of delegates elected by the American people, and you have put us within reach of the Democratic nomination for president of the United States.” After winning Oregon 59-41 (with 94% reporting) and, uh, doing less well in Kentucky (although I was heartened to see he took Louisville), Sen. Obama returns to Iowa with a majority of the pledged delegates, thus effectively sealing up the nomination.
It looks like Sen. Clinton has decided to hang around a few more weeks nonetheless (in part, it seems, to expose the “vast sexist conspiracy” which caused her not to contest caucus states or come up with a plan past Super Tuesday), but the focus for Team Obama is now clearly on John McCain and the GOP. “‘I will leave it up to Senator McCain to explain to the American people whether his policies and positions represent long-held convictions or Washington calculations,’ Obama’s remarks continued, ‘but the one thing they don’t represent is change.’“
Update: By way of The Late Adopter and sententiae et clamores, The Village Voice‘s Allison Benedikt puts the lie to Sen. Clinton’s grappling with sexism of late: “Currently pregnant with the next generation, let me just say this: There is no greater wish that a mother can have for her daughter than that she will exploit poor people, obliterate Iran, and win rigged class president elections, Putin-style. (Mom, I won 100 percent of the vote!)…This War on Women is just like the War on Christmas: imaginary.”
As expected, Sen. Clinton wins the Mountain State handily, taking West Virginia 67%-26%, with 7% For Edwards. (Her main key to victory: The 71% of the WV electorate without a college degree broke for her 71%-29%.) But, alas for Sen. Clinton’s hopes for a miracle comeback, this is basically the equivalent of a garbagetime touchdown. And, worse still for Team Clinton, a new poll has Sen. Obama up 20 in the significantly larger state of Oregon, and the supers continue to move toward the presumptive nominee regardless. Today’s haul thus far: Obama +3.5. (Rep. Pete Visclosky (IN), DNC member Awais Kaleel, OK State Senator Mike Morgan, WI State Sen. Lena Taylor, and Dem Abroad Christine Marques against a Tennessee UAD for Clinton.)
The night’s big political news, however, happened down in Mississippi. In an upset that has stunned and demoralized the RNC, Democrat Travis Childers wins a special election going away, 54-46%, in a strong-conservative district that voted 62-37% for Dubya in 2004. Childers is not only the third Dem to win a safe-GOP district in recent months (following Bill Foster in IL and Don Cazayoux in LA), he was also explicitly painted as an elitist pro-Wright, prObama Dem by the Mississippi GOP. So how’s that for an electability argument? (To be fair, Dick Cheney also showed up to stump for Childers’ opponent…that might’ve helped us too.)
With all due respect to the Magnolia State, if the Republicans’ tired culture-war strategy didn’t play in the most conservative parts of Ole Miss, it’s not going to play anywhere this year…not even in West Virginia.
Just to do this properly, Sen. Obama wins North Carolina by 14 and comes within 2 in Indiana, effectively ending the race for the Democratic nomination. (Yes, it was already over, but now it’s really, really over.) When I got home late last night, Clinton had cancelled all of her public appearances, and it seemed reality had finally set in. But, no, word this morning is she will press on, and continue to burn money and goodwill for no apparent reason. Still, even if her campaign remains gracelessly in denial, I’d expect high-profile Clinton supporters will soon close the deal for her regardless. (Former Clinton backer George McGovern, for one, has now switched to Obama and is urging her concession.) So, the upshot is we’re done here, folks. It’s all over but the cryin’. And Senator Barack Obama of Illinois is our Democratic nominee.
Update: Sen. Obama picks up four more supers (one formerly a Clinton supporter, so it’s Obama +5 to Clinton’s +1), while Sen. Clinton’s Senate backers start looking for the exit. And May 20 is the new May 6.
Heya…just got home from an extended academic function. But…NC by 14, IN by 2? We’re done. It’s over. IT IS OVER, and not a moment too soon.
Thank you, Hagatna: Sen. Obama wins the Guam presidential caucuses by seven votes, 50.1%-49.9%. (This means a 2-2 delegate split, but also puts Obama two closer to the magic number of 2025.)
On the super side, Obama picks up Brian Colon of NM, Inez Tenenbaum of SC, and Parris Glendening of MD (the latter two are UADs.) Clinton, meanwhile, gets Jaime Gonzalez of TX and Kathleen Kennedy Townsend of MD (also a UAD). So the day’s super tally: Obama +3, Clinton +2. Adding ‘em to the post-PA super count, that puts us at Obama 17, Clinton 11 (or Clinton down 23 from her needed 2-1 split.)
Well, I’m sure you watched it too. But, anyway, to recap: In tonight’s big contest, the two race horses started out neck-and-neck, and it looked in the early going that an upset might be in order. But, slowly but surely, the plodding, methodical contender pulled away for a small but convincing victory, and that’s all she wrote. I’m referring, of course, to Game 2 of the Suns-Spurs series. Why, was there something else going on?
(By the way, in case you didn’t know, I’m not sure of the Obama analogue yet, but the San Antonio Spurs are definitely the Clintons of the NBA. Tim Duncan’s the Bill of the bunch, the natural talent (with past championships to his name) who whines and works the refs constantly. Bruce Bowen is Hillary, a less-talented workhorse whom people in the media describe with euphemisms like “tenacious”, when he’s clearly and obviously just a dirty player. And, like the rest of the Clinton campaign, Parker and Ginobli are basically slashers…but let’s not belabor it too much.)
At any rate, so, yes, in a huge shocker Senator Clinton won Pennsylvania by ten this evening, 55%-45%. [Update: Since it seems to have confused some Clinton-leaning folk on other blogs, I meant "huge shocker" ironically. See below.] We’ll know the delegate spread tomorrow, but, however it turns out and like Ohio six weeks ago, tonight is just another case of Clinton winning the battle and losing the war: There’s no way at all she gets enough delegates to become viable again. Simply put, Sen. Obama’s previously insurmountable delegate lead is now, to coin a phrase, even insurmountabler. Do I need to link the same post again?
Nevertheless, if you’re looking for someone to blame for Obama’s loss tonight, look no further than Philadelphia. The City of Brotherly Love broke from the rest of the state and went 2-1 for Obama. And, as every sports fan knows, Philly always loses despite themselves. You can’t fight the curse.
In any case, I’d been girding myself for a 15-point margin for Sen. Clinton of late, so, in the grand scheme of things, 55-45 was fine with me (particularly given that the contest seems to have cost Clinton what was left of her bankroll.) So, now, on to Indiana and North Carolina in two weeks, where hopefully this primary — finally — comes to an end. Eat, drink, and be merry, Clinton folk, for tomorrow, your candidacy of choice dies.
Update: They’re still tallying the delegates, but it’s looking like Clinton will remain behind by around 150 pledged delegates overall. In the meantime, Al Giordano crunches the exit poll numbers: “Senator Clinton lost ground in every one of those key foundations of her former base vote…Whether or not the commercial media spins it that way – in her campaign’s lexicon – ‘doesn’t matter.’ And ye shall know the dumbest and slowest – and intentionally dishonest – political reporters, pundits, bloggers (and former presidential candidates and spouses) by those that argue otherwise.“
Update 2: It ain’t over yet. This (pre-PA) Youtube suggests a potential path to victory for Clinton. (Here’s a hint: The Hartford Convention.)
“Houston is filled with promise. Laredo is a beautiful place.” With 88% reporting (56%-44%), Barack Obama has officially won the Texas caucus, and by extension the Lone Star State. What was that Bill Clinton said about Texas again?
At the Iowa county conventions today, as a result of Edwards and other candidate delegates switching their support, Sen. Obama picked up six additional delegates on Clinton (or, to be more exact, 7 to her 1.) “Edwards dropped 8 delegates to 6. Those six will be up for grabs, perhaps, at the Iowa Democratic Party state convention in June.” Update: Reports emerge that Obama’s Iowa take today could be seven delegates, or even as many as nine. That’s an Ohio-sized haul. Update 2: We’re going to need a bigger boat: Now, it’s Obama +10. Update: Also, +3 in California.
“What we’ve tried to do is steadily make sure that in each state we are making the case about the need for change in this country. Obviously the people in Mississippi responded.” Sen. Obama takes Mississippi handily, winning 60%-38% (with 99% reporting.) This means a probable pick-up for Obama of five more delegates (19-14).
And now, mainly because pundits seemingly can’t do math and the Clinton campaign has proven itself utterly shameless in defeat, we’re in for six misbegotten weeks of ruthless campaigning until the next test in Pennsylvania. Sen. Obama is up by approximately 160 pledged delegates on Clinton, meaning Clinton has to win every state ahead — including states she’ll be lucky to even come close in, like Oregon, Montana, and South Dakota — by 67-70% — margins she has yet to accomplish anywhere but Arkansas. If, for some reason, we want to play by the Clinton metrics, Obama’s popular vote lead is at least 680,000 votes in the official tally, but that doesn’t include several of the caucus states. Add them and Obama’s lead becomes 830,000 votes. And, of course, Obama has won twice as many states.
Now, I for one think there’s a good bet Sen. Clinton will win Pennsylvania by an Ohioesque margin. Guess what? It won’t matter. It’s over. But because the Clinton campaign refuses to face the reality of their situation, and because neither the supers nor the media seem to be inclined to inform them of thus, expect six more grueling weeks of needless intraparty bloodletting.
Sigh…between this and Spitzer’s meltdown, it’s Christmas in Spring for the GOP right now. Update: In a bit of good news for Sen. Clinton, she gets her own version of the CA recertification bounce, picking up four delegate in Colorado and one in New York as those results become official. Of course, she’s still down 155 or so, but I’m sure the Clinton campaign will take solace where they can find it.
“I think that the Clinton administration (sic) has fairly ruled that out by proclaiming that Senator McCain would be a better Commander in Chief than Obama. I think that either way is impossible.’” Sinbad aside, you really don’t want to tick off Speaker Pelosi. Calling a joint Obama-Clinton ticket “impossible” in an interview with New England Cable News today, Speaker Pelosi makes her displeasure obvious with the Clinton campaign for hyping McCain over the Senator from Illinois. “I wanted to be sure I didn’t leave any ambiguity.” Play with matches, Sen. Clinton, you were due to get burned. Update: Lest anyone missed the import, Pelosi says it again: “I do think we will have a dream team, it just won’t be those two names…Take it from me, that won’t be the ticket.”
The math just got even harder. Sen. Obama wins the Wyoming caucuses 61%-38%, meaning he’s picked up three more delegates on Clinton (7-5 + 1 add-on UAD), i.e. 75% of her ostensibly game-changing 4-delegate victory last Tuesday. Next stop, Mississippi on Tuesday.
California officially certifies its delegate count from Super Tuesday, and, as it turns out, Senator Obama has picked up eight more delegates there. That’s twice as many as Clinton received on her big “blowout” day of March 4th, when, delegate-wise, she won Ohio and, it seems, lost Texas. Update: Just to clarify, I should say Obama picked up four more delegates in CA, which Clinton in turn lost. So Obama +4, Clinton -4, a.k.a. an eight-delegate swing.
“Hillary Clinton won big victories Tuesday night in Ohio, Texas and Rhode Island. But she’s now even further behind in the race for the Democratic nomination. How could that be? Math. It’s relentless.” Seemingly a rarity among pundits at the moment, Newsweek‘s Jonathan Alter does the post-Tuesday math, and makes the case I outlined yesterday: the race for the Democratic nomination is over, and Barack Obama has won. “I’ve asked several prominent uncommitted superdelegates if there’s any chance they would reverse the will of Democratic voters. They all say no…The Clintonites can spin to their heart’s content about how big March 4 was for them. How close the race is. How they’ve got the Big Mo now. Tell it to Slate’s Delegate Calculator. Again.“
Sigh. Since the spin levels today coming out of the Clinton camp are reaching Iraq war proportions, let’s take a moment to review. As I said on Monday and several times before, Sen. Clinton had a very tough task before her last night. Unfortunately for her candidacy, she failed to accomplish it. The Clinton campaign did not “turn a corner” last night, unless you mean they’ve now rounded the corner to oblivion. Let’s assess Sen. Clinton’s post-March 4th position by her own standard, before we collectively sign on to the notion that the Clinton “surge” is suddenly working: (Via David Plouffe on Monday.)
“This election will come down to delegates…After March 4th, over 3000 delegates will be committed, and we project that Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama will be virtually tied with 611 delegates still to be chosen in Pennsylvania and other remaining states…As history shows, the Democratic nomination goes to the candidate who wins the most delegates – not the candidate who wins the most states.” — Mark Penn, February 13, 2008. (Well, he’s right about the delegates. But it’s March 5th, and they’re not tied. And Sen. Obama has won the most delegates and the most states.)
“We think that at the end of the day on March 4 we will be within 25 delegates.” — Clinton aide Guy Cecil, February 13, 2008. (They’re not. They’re down at least four times that.)
“I Think We Will Be Ahead In The Delegate Race After Texas And Ohio.” — Howard Wolfson, February 11, 2008. (They’re not. They’re down big.)
None of these happened. While the numbers are still being crunched, it looks like Sen. Clinton picked up between 4 and 10 pledged delegates last night (depending on how the Texas caucus ultimately comes out.) She was down approximately 150 pledged delegates, and there are not enough contests left for her to feasibly make up that difference. Ohio and Texas were her last, best hope to turn things around, and — in spite of all the sorry Republicanisms of the past week — she failed to do so. As such, the race is now effectively over. Finished. Kaput. In the fridge. Our nominee is Senator Barack Obama of Illinois.
True, some news outlets are tipping their hat to the mathematical reality today: Fournier at AP, Dickerson at Slate, the Wash Post and the New York Times. But, since all too many (ostensibly Clinton-hating) media outlets seem to be playing the idiot and rolling with her “comeback” spin today, I’ll try to explain it using a sports metaphor. Obama is up 34-7 in the fourth quarter. Clinton just scored a touchdown. The score is now 34-14, but now there’s only 2 minutes left and Obama has the ball. For all intent and purposes, he can just take a knee and run out the clock. (Not that I suggest he do so. Since the other team is playing dirty, we might as well run up the score.) Or, since we’ve been talking knockout punches of late, Obama failed to land one last night, true. But he’s way up on points and will clearly win the decision. Clinton needed to score her own knockout last night. Unfortunately, for her, she didn’t connect.
Now, some might argue, “What’s the rush?” Why not just let the Clinton campaign continue to send dispatches from their make-believe world until the convention in September? Well, that might’ve been acceptable if Sen. Clinton had chosen to go the amiable, Huckabee route. But, she hasn’t. Rather, she’s been trying to make Obama bleed, and has now — as if her credibility wasn’t already at rock-bottom — donned the fearmongering and national security wardrobe of the Bush-Cheney GOP. In effect, she is now basically acting as a McCain surrogate. Since we can only expect her to continue this behavior for as long as we indulge her delusional fantasy that she can be the nominee, despite all evidence to the contrary, it is time for the Democratic party to collectively put its foot down.
So, to sum up, the race is over. And, since Sen. Clinton will not withdraw gracefully, or do anything that might put the good of the party before her own desperate ambitions, it is now up to the supers to force her out. Every day they wait is another day our chances in the general election are threatened, merely for the sake of assuaging the vanity of an also-ran who is “drawing dead” and has conducted a truly terrible campaign.
Whatsmore, despite her grasping this morning, Sen. Clinton will not be on either end of the Democratic ticket this year. In fact, now that she’s in the process of destroying any likelihood of her being Senate Majority Leader, the closest she’ll get to the White House anytime soon is if President Obama is charitable enough to let her on a Health Care Task Force of some kind. (Although, a word of warning, Mr. President-to-be: She ran the last attempt at health care reform right into the ground.)
So, how was your evening? It’s late, and I just got home, so I’ll save a full post for tomorrow. But, in brief: As I said the other day, a knockout punch in either Texas and Ohio would’ve been grand. Still, Clinton did not win either state by the margins she needed. So, simply put, her campaign from now herein is Dead Woman Walking, mathematically speaking. As such, I’m not too depressed about the Texas and Ohio results, frankly…You can’t always get what you want, but we got what we needed, and, even with a 10-point margin in Ohio, Sen. Clinton has only managed to forestall the inevitable.
I am bugged, however, that the Clinton campaign’s pathetic shenanigans this week have been seemingly rewarded by the voters, particularly in the Buckeye State. (Late deciders seem to have broke heavily for Clinton in both states.) But, oh well. More tomorrow when we have a fuller picture, and I’ve had a few hours’ rest to steel myself to the now very real possibility of several more weeks of Clinton hacks insulting our intelligence daily with their ridiculous spin.
It’s not just here at home. Sen. Obama takes the Americans Abroad primary 2-1 (65%-32%), winning most of the countries around the world (Ex-pats in Israel and the Philippines opted for Clinton.) Thanks, Kris, and all the other Obama voters out there across the seas. Update: Clinton did well in the DR as well.
“It is the place where I feel if things get too hectic, I can come back and get centered, and it will always be in my heart, and I hope if we are successful, I would come to Hawaii. Certainly it would be my preference over Crawford, Texas.” And No. 10: Sen. Obama crushes Hillary Clinton in the home state of his youth, 76%-24%.
Next up, two debates, then the line in the sand: March 4, Ohio, Texas, Rhode Island, and Vermont. These are huge and crucial states, and they will dictate how much longer Sen. Obama has to face a debilitating two-front war. But, I might as well come clean. I’ve been saying this elsewhere since the Potomac primaries, and now I’ll go ahead and say it here: The math is virtually inexorable now, and Sen. Clinton has lost. Her campaign even conceded thus a week ago. It’s now just a question of how badly she and her campaign wants Obama to bleed before she drops out. (To his credit, Mitt Romney got out early so as not to hamstring his party’s candidate in the general. Sadly, I doubt we can expect the same of Sen. Clinton.)
This is not to say Ohioans, Texans, Rhode Islanders, and Vermonters, to say nothing of Pennsylvanians, Kentuckians, North Carolinians, etc., should now become complacent. Far from it — now’s the time to redouble our efforts, and end this race, sooner rather than later. The tide has turned, and, to quote my former employer (who would tell Sen. Clinton the same), “When your opponent is drowning, throw the son of a bitch an anvil.” All that being said, I just don’t see Sen. Clinton coming back at this point. And, if she somehow finds a way to wrest the nomination from Obama, it’ll have been by dragging the Democratic party so deeply through the mud of asinine smears and obvious half-truths that the nomination will be worthless. It is time for her to go.
It’s late, I’m still waiting for the Hawaii results, and I’m still pretty peeved about Clinton’s ridiculous plagiarism gambit. But, If you’ll forgive the lapse into LotR metaphors, the treason of Saruman, once the noblest and wisest of our order, is almost subdued. The Battle for Middle-Earth is only beginning.
“At the sprawling Riverside Park Community apartments at Broadway and 135th Street, Alician D. Barksdale said she had voted for Mr. Obama and her daughter had, too, by absentee ballot. ‘Everyone around here voted for him,’ she said.” City election officials find “major discrepancies” between the reported and actual vote totals here in NYC. In 80 of the city’s 6106 election districts — including the nearby 94th election district right here in Harlem (I’m in the adjacent 93rd) — Obama was reported to have the grand total of 0 votes. (Clinton now leads the 94th 261-136, which frankly still sounds off for this neighborhood.) “In an even more heavily black district in Brooklyn — where the vote on primary night was recorded as 118 to 0 for Mrs. Clinton — she now barely leads, 118 to 116.“
Local party officials here in Sen. Clinton’s home state are calling the mistakes a result of human error. “‘I’m sure it’s a clerical error of some sort,’ Mr. Wright said. ‘Being around elections for the last 25 years, no candidate receives zero votes.’” (Hmm. Funny how these poll officials, instead of transposing a few numbers or somesuch, just accidentally wrote down a big fat zero.) In any case, the official count is what really matters in the end anyway, and — if this trend keeps up — there’s a possibility Sen. Obama might pick up a few more delegates here in the city.
More to the point, in an age where we can squeeze in 5-10 ATMs a city block, and all of them seem to know exactly how much (or how little) money I have, why are we still relying on a half-century-old voting system that allows for these sorts of “human error”? It’s the 21st century, people. Update: Although most reports seem to indicate the problem was legitimately human error, Hizzoner claims fraud.
Eight days after the fact, Sen. Clinton picks up a win in New Mexico by 2000 votes (of 150,000 cast), giving her a 2-delegate edge (14 to 12) in the state. But, unfortunately for the Clinton campaign, New Mexico was a caucus state, and thus “not significant.” Oh well, sorry, y’all.
And now, 8-for-8. Sen. Obama sweeps the Chesapeake primaries, taking Virginia by 29 (64%-35%), Maryland by 23 (currently 60%-37%), and the District by 51 (75%-24%). Best of all, he won across the board and made clear and undeniable in-roads into Clinton’s demographic base. Next stop, Wisconsin and Hawaii, which Sen. Clinton seems to be ceding for her Giulianiesque firewall of Ohio and Texas. (I’m not sure why — both could feasibly play to her strengths.) Update: Clinton’s going to Wisconsin after all.
Capping the night of victories was another splendid speech by Obama, one that clearly and organically weaved some Edwardsian bread-and-butter populism into the existing stump speech. Sen. Obama also spent some time going after John McCain, and, after ekeing out Virginia on his end, McCain returned fire. We still have a ways to go on the Democratic side, of course, and I’m definitely not counting the Clintons out yet. (If anything, they’re more dangerous than ever.) But, Obama’s definitely got the Big Mo. And, at least during the speeches tonight, it was starting to look and sound like a general election…
Update: The target for the Clinton campaign right now appears to be 56% — that’s the percentage of remaining delegates Senator Clinton need to win to defeat Senator Obama in the overall pledged delegate count. But, according to media poobah Howard Fineman, at least, even the Clinton campaign concedes that’s not going to happen, despite all the talk about the firewall strategy in Ohio and Texas. Instead, barring a monumental collapse by the Obama campaign, the Clintons are basically looking for they closest they can get to a photo finish, followed by the superdelegates breaking against the will of the pledged delegates. I seriously doubt that dog will hunt.
From Senator Obama’s impressive victory speech in Wisconsin this evening:
“The politics of hope does not mean hoping things come easy. Because nothing worthwhile in this country has ever happened unless somebody, somewhere stood up when it was hard; stood up when they were told – no you can’t, and said yes we can.
And where better to affirm our ideals than here in Wisconsin, where a century ago the progressive movement was born. It was rooted in the principle that the voices of the people can speak louder than special interests; that citizens can be connected to their government and to one another; and that all of us share a common destiny, an American Dream.
Yes we can reclaim that dream. Yes we can heal this nation.“
The progressives are back!
How will the Clinton campaign rationalize the losses over the weekend? It’s not pretty. Said Senator Clinton: “‘These are caucus states by and large, or in the case of Louisiana, you know, a very strong and very proud African-American electorate, which I totally respect and understand.’ Noting that ‘my husband never did well in caucus states either,’ Clinton argued that caucuses are ‘primarily dominated by activists” and that “they don’t represent the electorate, we know that.‘” So, “activists” and African-Americans, not “real” Dems. Got it. As for Bill Clinton’s take: “‘Her campaign’s broad appeal is largely to people who need a president,’ Clinton told an audience in Silver Spring’s Leisure World retirement community tonight. ‘Very often they are working and busy and dont go to these caucuses.’” Sure. I guess holding them on a weekend probably didn’t help either. As a commenter at TNR wryly characterized the spin last night: “Clearly there’s been a massive flood of Latte sipping African American knowledge workers into rural Maine.“
Mind you, I’ve said before that caucuses may not be the best way to organize a statewide election. But, given both the breadth and depth of Obama’s leads in caucus states all across the country, Sen. Clinton’s continued losses speak less to the inherent problems of caucusing than to the inherent problems of the Clinton campaign. As I said yesterday, if her campaign is any indication of the managerial talent we can expect from a Clinton presidency, the prognosis is not good. To wit, it’s poorly managed, woefully disorganized, suffers from a lack of “activist” enthusiasm, and — like a certain Republican administration I could mention — clearly had no Plan B. (Also, apparently, Sen. Clinton wasn’t apprised of her dismal funding situation until after Iowa. Another managerial coup.)
In the Caribbean, South, Midwest, and West, Senator Obama goes four for four, winning Nebraska (68% to 32%), Washington (68% to 31%), Louisiana (56% to 37%), and the Virgin Islands (90% to 8%) handily. Now, that’s a good day’s work. (As you can see from the picture, Maine is next…which looks to lean Clinton at the moment. We’ll know more tomorrow.)
“There is one thing on this February night that we do not need the final results to know: our time has come. Our time has come, our movement is real, and change is coming to America.” Obama takes the Super Tuesday hit, and not only stands his ground but deals some damage of his own. The result? We need more rounds.
It’s Wednesday morning, 3am, so I’ll keep it short for now. But, all in all, I’m pretty pleased with how Super Tuesday shook out tonight. Sure, I’d have liked to see Massachusetts, New Jersey, and California in our column, and was rather dismayed when those pesky exit polls — which had us winning in MA and NJ — turned out to be bunk. But, around 10pm or so, the tide turned, with Obama racking up a slew of states and drawing particularly notable wins in Connecticut, Colorado, Kansas, Minnesota, and Missouri. California didn’t fall, of course, but I’d written it off hours earlier thanks to that early exit poll data.
The thing is, Super Tuesday was meant to be Clinton’s knockout punch — as little as two weeks ago, she was up 20 in the national polls. And, now, Obama is not only still standing, it looks like he may be (ever-so-slightly, of course) in the lead. At the end of the night, we ended up with more states (13 to 8, with NM outstanding) and — more importantly — basically split the delegates (we should know the exact figures in the next few days, but the late tally is 841-837 for Obama, and, regardless, all we had to do is stay close.) And, while Senator Clinton’s support has held steady, Senator Obama has jumped 15 points nationally in just the past two weeks. Now, the Obama campaign has money to burn and time to spend on a smaller — and more favorable — playing field. We have a ways to go yet, but now that we’ve made it over the Super Tuesday hurdle, time is on our side.
Update: It’s still not absolutely official, but Sen. Obama seems to have won more delegates last night. And, as that was kinda the point of the evening, this is very good news.
“My friends, as I said the other week in South Carolina, there is nothing in our country that is inevitable. We can overcome any challenge as long as we keep our courage, and stand by the principles that have made our party and our country great.”
Florida votes, and Arizona Senator John McCain is the big winner and — arguably — now the prohibitive frontrunner for the Republican nomination (much to the consternation of the conservative base.) Given that he’s easily the GOP candidate with the most crossover appeal, that’s bad news for the Democrats, particularly if we decide to get behind the one person on this earth (well, two people, counting her husband) who could manage to reunite the abysmally fractured GOP.
Speaking of which, Senator Clinton handily won on the (meaningless) Dem side — prompting much rejoicing and e-mailing by the Clinton campaign. (Although, in a bit of a shocker, it turns out she actually tied the delegate count with Mike Gravel.) Seriously, though, given that Florida is particularly choice demographic territory for Clinton, she’d probably have won the Sunshine State in any event. (As George Will and Slate have both recently pointed out, Florida is known as “God’s Antechamber” for a reason, and, as has been the norm, voters over 60 — 39% of the voting Dems — went for Hillary 59%-24%.) But, given that this ended up being basically the name-recognition primary, and that no delegates came of it, I’m not too concerned about the results. On to Super-Tuesday.
Update: Looking over the CNN exit poll numbers for the Dem side, this would seem to be the key stat in viewing both tonight and the road ahead:
When did you decide who to vote for?
Today: (10%): Clinton 34%, Obama 30%
Last 3 Days: (7%): Obama 46%, Clinton 38%
Last Week: (7%): Obama 39%, Clinton 31%
Last Month: (16%): Obama 47%, Clinton 40%
Before That: (33%): Clinton 63%, Obama 27%
Absentee/Early Voter: (26%): Clinton 50%, Obama 31%
So, among voters that have decided since the campaign took off in Iowa, Obama does rather well. It’s the long-time deciders and absentees — 60% of the electorate — where he seriously fell behind. This would indicate name recognition definitely played its part today, and that actual campaigning in Florida could’ve made a significant difference. Good to know, as we move forward.