Tuesday, February 12, 2008

All Kinds of People Are Riding the Obama Train... Even Republicans

UPDATE, MAR. 2: Interesting NY Times Magazine analysis of Obams's trans-racial politics. To me, this underscores that for once, this isn't a black man; it's just a good man, running for an important office.

Consistent with the previous trend, Texas Republicans are crossing the party line to vote for Obama.

DATE, FEB. 20: And now some pretty ugly revelations about how Hillary is responding to Obama's momentum -- including smears and threats to sue to win. Yech.

More important news on how the primary is being rigged unfairly; plus relevant articles from USA Today and CNN on the Michigan and Florida delegates problem and the Wall Street Journal on yet another reason Obama would be the better candidate.

Please don't stop here; check the sidebar, and the VichyDems home page, for more on the superdelegate and Michigan/Florida problems, electability -- and why (electability aside) VichyDems is strongly endorsing Obama (who's not perfect) over Clinton (whose imperfections -- different ones than those Fox News, a major Clinton campaign contributor, tells us about! -- make Obama's insignificant).

Today Barack Obama scored huge wins in the Potomac Primaries -- in one case by a 3-to-1 margin -- and he did so not only with African Americans but with a broad range of voters. CNN reports:

Illinois Sen. Barack Obama pulled support from virtually all sectors of the voting public Tuesday on his way to defeating rival Sen. Hillary Clinton in the Virginia, Maryland and Washington, D.C., Democratic primaries, according to CNN exit polling.

Obama was expected to poll well among young voters, independents and African-Americans, and he did -- taking 60 to 70 percent of the votes in the first two groups and nearly 90 percent of black voters, the polls suggest.

But he also was edging out Clinton among voters 65 and older, blue-collar workers and women, all groups that Clinton was counting on as the core of her support. ***

[Y]oung voters flocked to the Obama campaign... . Seventy-five percent of poll respondents under 30 and 67 percent of those under 45 voted for him in Virginia. Those numbers were 68 percent and 71 percent in Maryland. ...Obama also edged Clinton ... among voters over 60 in Virginia and ... Maryland .... And he split white votes about 50-50 with Clinton in both states.

Also check out the Washingon Post article on today's sweeps here. That paper notes:

Even Latinos, who helped deliver Nevada and California to the senator from New York, split about evenly between Obama and Clinton -- although the number of Hispanic voters was much smaller. "Certainly he broadened his coalition," [pollster Celinda] Lake said.

So let's stop talking about Hillary's "firewall" or fearing discrimination in November. Obama's electable with white people, OK? And with Latinos. And Asians. Young people. Old people. Definitely with real Progressives, but also with Independents. Moderates of all stripes. Even some Republicans. He's electable, he's electable, he's electable; only the execrable Bob Novak still thinks he'll face any "Bradley Effect", as if America hasn't changed any in the 25 years since 1982.

Obama's broad popularity is critical to a Democratic victory in November. McCain's main advantage is that independents and moderate Republicans like him. That means that Obama can cut into McCain's voter base in a big way, even snagging Republican voters the way Ronald Reagan took "Reagan Democrats" away from Jimmy Carter in 1980. (Hillary can't do that: every poll shows she has no traction at all with independents and that Republicans of all kinds essentially detest her; that's why as many as half of all Americans say they would never vote for her.) Obama, thankfully, doesn't carry that kind of baggage.

Think hard about the potential impact of Obama winning those "Obamacans" (not my term; I prefer simply "Obama Republicans"). CNN again:

Voters who described themselves as independents made up 22 percent of those who cast a ballot in Virginia's Democratic primary and 13 percent in Maryland, according to the polling. Those voters favored Obama by a margin of 66 percent to 33 percent in Virginia and 68 to 24 in Maryland. ... Eight Seven percent of voters in the Virginia primary described themselves as Republicans -- and 70 percent of those polled voted for Obama. According to CNN exit polling, 3 percent of people who voted in Democratic primaries on Super Tuesday described themselves as Republicans -- most of them backing Obama. ***

(Video report on Obama Republicans here.)

The Clinton campaign's only response -- the only response they could have, frankly, given Obama's increasing momentum, his remarkable and unexpected string of victories, and what the WaPo calls "cracks in [the] Clinton coalition" -- was to play the same card President Bush and Dick Cheney pull out of their cuffs when the polls turn against them: national defense.

Clinton's chief strategist told CNN that Clinton is the only candidate who can "block" John McCain from playing "the national security card", as if Clinton's few years of service on the Senate Armed Forces Committee and her votes for the Iraq War resolution, the surge, and the Kyl-Lieberman Amendment accusing Iran of terrorism somehow will stand up against McCain's honest-to-gosh wartime experience and heroism. (If real wartime experience and heroism didn't help John McCain beat a chickenhawk like George W. Bush, how can Clinton's non-experience somehow trump McCain on national security?)

Luckily, national security isn't what the voters we care about, care about. Or, at least, they're figuring out that the Republicans are weaker on real security than we are; after all, they're the ones who've wasted 3,000 American lives in Iraq, pretending to avenge 3,000 American lives lost on 9/11. McCain offers no hope of improvement; he's welcomed a 100 year war in Iraq. And while we're distracted in Iraq, Afghanistan falls apart, our military alliances are deteriorating, the Taliban are flaunting their untouchability even in nuclear-armed Pakistan -- and we're losing control of our own nuclear arsenal right here at home! It's understandable that even some Republicans are starting to recognize that Democrats probably make our country and our troops safer than the Republicans have; after all, we could hardly do worse.

On the issues voters really care about -- fighting on our own ground, not the enemy's -- Obama was the winner among respondents who said the economy, the Iraq war or health care -- a trademark issue for Clinton -- was the most important issue to them. "This is the new American majority," Obama said at a rally in Madison, Wisconsin, where he declared victory in the three contests. "This is what change looks like...."

Yep. This is what change looks like. Let's just hope the Establishment Dems can't steal it from us at the National Convention using Superdelegates and by seating the currently-disqualified Florida and Michigan contingents.


Anonymous said...

The Obama train is almost unstoppable. If he wins this big in Ohio or Pennsylvania, Clinton may as well drop out of the race. Clinton's speech last night was stiff, studied, mechanical, disingenuous and downright boring. You could tell she's very worried. Obama's speech on the other hand was energized, intelligent, and absolutely electrifying. He's on fire and he knows it.

On the Republican side, Mike Huckabee should have gotten the message very clearly last night. His ONLY support is from right-wing, born-agan wackos -- the exact same people who stupidly still support Geo. Bush and think he's a great leader. John McCain should also have leared something last night. He got support of every demographic group except born-again Christians. The message is clear: moderates, both Republicans and independants, like McCain. The neo-conservative movement is dead. The right-wing, born-agan wackos can either change their politics, or be effectively disenfranchised. America is sick of their closet neo-Nazi ideas.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous is right, especially about McCain's lack of support among social conservatives -- which makes it all the more important that we nominate Obama rather than Clinton. No Democrat will gain the rightie wingnut vote, but for once neither will the Republican; there simply will be low turnout in that demographic and they won't be a factor. So the race will be to win at least half the moderates that McCain appeals to so much. Hillary, with her high disapproval ratings, can't; Obama is proving he can.

In Huckabee's defense: he's still got Stephen Colbert on his side. That's gotta count for something! (Though come to think of it, I don't think I've seen Huckabee wearing a WristStrong bracelet, so that love affair may end in heartbreak...)