06 May 2008

The end of the line?

There's no way to spin it differently -- today's primary results add up to a disaster.

Clinton won Indiana only very narrowly, while Obama won North Carolina by a large margin.

An Obama nomination, and therefore a McCain Presidency, now seems inevitable. That means the Supreme Court packed with reactionaries for decades, Roe vs. Wade swept away, further erosion of the separation of church and state, more years of rule by scientific illiterates.

Perhaps Clinton could try again in 2012, but a huge amount of irreversible damage will have already been done by then.

Make no mistake -- I'll still vote for Obama in November. But I'll do so without enthusiasm, and without hope of victory.

I'm feeling lousier right now than I have for a long time. After staying home sick from work, I at least managed to get to sleep early, only to be (just now) blasted awake again by the noisy neighbors. Only to get on the internet for the news and be faced with what seems like the final collapse of hope for a better political situation for the next four years.

My forebodings in October were justified. In a year when all the stars were right, we found a way to lose.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

I disagree on this one. I think Obama will win easily. Most people don't follow the real news that carefully, so the Wright story will not be as big a factor as many believe. The dominant issues when the presidential election finally comes around will be the economy (people mainly vote on pocketbook issues) and Iraq - and the current administration will get the blame by the electorate for both. But I also wish Clinton had won.

07 May, 2008 08:48  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Much as I hope you're right, I'm not optimistic.

I recall seeing a poll somewhere that said 80% of the population was "closely following" the Wright issue, though I can't find it now to link to it. In any case, the Republicans will be sure to make use of it as the election gets closer. Hardly anyone had heard of Willie Horton until the Republicans made him an issue.

Wright himself, of course, is likely to continue making a spectacle of himself between now and November.

The real problem is demographics. One of Clinton's strongest groups is blue-collar workers, who are concentrated in the critical swing states. This is the group most antagonized by Obama, whom they see as a snob who looks down on their culture (as with the remark about "clinging" to guns and religion). They are also likely to find McCain appealing, if they can't have Clinton -- this is a group which has shifted between Democratic and Republican before. Clinton could easily carry Ohio, Pennsylvania, and perhaps even Indiana thanks to these voters. I see little chance that Obama could.

Obama's strongest groups are blacks, the young, and the college-educated. These people are not concentrated in the swing states; they would mostly reduce McCain's margin of victory in a number of red states, but that would not affect the Electoral College outcome. Also, if Clinton were the nominee, these people might not vote, but they'd be very unlikely to vote for McCain.

Obama also does very poorly with Hispanics, which could swing California and Florida.

See the links to Electoral College maps here.

The dominant issues when the presidential election finally comes around will be the economy (people mainly vote on pocketbook issues) and Iraq

This is certainly our best hope. If the economy has gotten disastrously bad, I suppose he might pull it off (Iraq will probably be pretty much like it is now, at least in public perception).

It's not totally out of the question that Clinton could still get the nomination. The superdelegates could decide Obama's unelectable and swing it to her, though that would be an explosive move at this point. Other scenarios I've seen involve Clinton pulling some kind of weird parliamentary maneuver at the convention. But the odds of this happening look a lot lower now than they did on Tuesday morning.

07 May, 2008 12:11  
Blogger concerned citizen said...

I don't think it's always good to project too far into the future. If Obama gets the nomination, it might not be the end of the world.
According to a lot of people he would be easier to work with then "Politics as usual Hillary", & I know I criticized Thom Hartmann for doing the same thing on my latest post, but I was expecting the party to come up with something innovative.
What do I know? I'm doing my best to sell either one.

07 May, 2008 16:08  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The less power government has, the less power it has to screw up your life. Even if you have your dream candidate at the next election, and 300 magnificent congressmen, and 80 fantastic senators.. What about in 4 years? 8 years? There will always be more Bushes and more corrupt politicians, fundamentalists and such -- that's what politics attracts. Productive individuals don't want to do that.

So reduce the power of government, don't just wish for your dream candidate.

08 May, 2008 09:05  
Blogger John Evo said...

Infidel -

2 points (related) on your second comment. Those disaffected-by-Obama blue collar workers were mostly democrats who prefer Hillary. But those who are "true blue" will stick with Obama in the general election after McCain is properly exposed and he will be.

I don't disagree that we will lose some of them to him, but a large chunk of the Hillary vote, all of the Obama vote and even some independents are going to go Obama, making it closer than you fear.

The second point - Hispanics. It's the same for them. They are not so much anti-Obama as pro-Hillary and if she lines up behind Obama and doesn't try to sabotage him, you can bet that all of those (minus Cuban Americans and a few other GOP Latinos) are going to come heavily for Obama in the fall. I'll guarantee you my home state of California right now! You have my word on it. I'll need Ex to take care of Florida.

08 May, 2008 21:37  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

John Evo -- well, we'll see. As with Blurber, I hope you're right, but I don't believe you are -- a distinction which should be especially easily grasped by a fellow atheist.

My sense about that working-class voting bloc is that they don't merely have a mild preference for Clinton -- they're infuriated at Obama. He's too alien to them, in terms of both culture and perceived class. By comparison, they perceive Clinton and McCain as more similar -- and both of them as more acceptable.

As for Hispanics, they have been remarkably resistant to Obama's appeal so far. I don't know whether they'd switch to McCain; I am quite sure they won't turn out for Obama. I'm not opining about what they or anyone else should do. I am just trying to predict, coldly and accurately, what is going to happen in November.

My concern is to get as many as possible of the levers of power out of Republican hands. To succeed, we must work in the context of the electorate and the political system which we have, not those we wish we had.

The idea that Obama's sheer charisma and "transformative" blah-blah-blah can somehow negate the factors which always decide American elections, strikes me as similar to Bush's trusting his gut and ignoring the experts when he was "planning" (if that is the correct term for it) the conquest and reform of Iraq.

PhillyChief can call me all the names he wants, but that doesn't change the reality of the situation. Obama is the near-certain nominee. He can't win. The Presidency is lost. We should concentrate on building up the Senate as our bulwark against the dangers which will loom for the next four years.

08 May, 2008 23:28  
Blogger John Evo said...

While I disagree with the tone Philly took with you, I completely agree that when you make statements in May like "the presidency is lost" and again referring to what has "always" happened it is not just expressing your disagreement. Hell, I don't know that we would even "disagree" all that much, only that I'm UNCERTAIN as you, as a fellow atheist, should also be. Further, I see no problem with concentrating equally on both the Congress and the Presidency.

It's 6 months until the General Election. Much can, and will, happen in the intervening time.

09 May, 2008 11:06  
Blogger Mary Ellen said...

I'm still hoping Hillary won't drop out. Regardless, I won't vote for Obama in the GE, even if Hillary implores her followers to do so. I would rather vote for McCain than Obama...that's how strongly I feel about this. I also think that there will be a lot more Hillary supporters than you think that feels the same way I do. Thanks to Howard Dean we'll also lose FL and MI. Heckuvajob, Howard!

09 May, 2008 21:24  
Blogger Life As I Know It Now said...

I'm here from mary ellen's blog. I also see this situation the same way you do. Plus I am looking at it from a woman's perspective and there are many issues concerning women that Obama has shown himself to be less progressive on which upsets me so much. I wouldn't go so far as to vote for McCain instead because he'd be much worse but still, Obama throwing women under the bus is unacceptable to me. If he asks a woman (especially Clinton) to be his vice I'd be more inclined to forgive him.

10 May, 2008 13:58  
Blogger John Evo said...

Mary Ellen says: even if Hillary implores her followers to do so. I would rather vote for McCain than Obama...that's how strongly I feel about this.

While I don't know why you support Hillary, I can only assume (based on your statement) that you are:

1. In favor of a continuation of the Bush Presidency (because that's what McCain PROMISES you)
2. that you are OK with staying in Iraq indefinitely.
3. That despite the fact that this war (among other GOP mistakes) has put this economy on the verge of collapse, you are OK with the present tax policies towards the super-rich and corporate giants.
4. That you are willing to have our country continue using torture as a legitimate means of fighting the war.
5. That your fear of terrorism is so great that you don't mind continued intrusions on your civil liberties in violation of the greatest document in the history of mankind - The Constitution.
6. That you aren't particularly concerned at this moment of huge economic uncertainty that McCain has stated (very recently) that he doesn't know all the much about economics.
7. That McCain will do exactly nothing to change the current health care system.
8. That McCain has made no statements of concern about the impact of global climate change and the fact that our country (with 5% of the world's population) contributes 25% of the carbon emissions.

Mary Ellen - if you find yourself saying, "no, these are NOT my positions" then I suggest you seriously rethink your determination to support John McCain over Barack Obama.

10 May, 2008 21:35  

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