Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The Obama Train Keeps Gathering Speed; Clinton Continues Trying to Jimmy the Tracks

UPDATE, FEB. 20: More on exactly how Hillary Clinton is trying to "jimmy the tracks" -- amazing revelations, to me, from a reliable source -- are here.

ORIGINAL POST: Primaries are being held today in Hawai'i (20 elected or "pledged" delegates, plus 9 "superdelegates" (more on "supers" here)) and Wisconsin (74 "pledged" delegates, 18 "superdelegates"). Hillary Clinton's campaign, which originally focused primarily on larger states and conceded smaller states and "caucus" states to Obama, has tardily recognized its error and has been fighting hard to win these contests, especially in Wisconsin. Obama similarly wants to win both states for several reasons -- to add to his "momentum" meme by increasing his winning streak to 10 in a row; to prove (in Wisconsin's state) that he can win in an industrial state similar to Ohio and Pennsylvania, whose primaries are coming soon; and of course to increase his lead in democratically-elected pledged delegates and therefore his moral entitlement to the votes of the SuperDelegates that Hillary's hoping will act contrary to their constituents' desires and throw their support to her (it's still an open question whether Hillary, who has Bill's Rolodex and an Establishment Democrat's ability to offer favors to Friends Of Hillary, does or doesn't retain her lead in the SuperDelegates who, in this tight race, almost certainly will make the final decision who the Democratic nominee will be regardless of who their constituents think it should be).

CURRENT EARLY RETURNS: CNN says Obama leads Clinton. Update: CNN projects Obama wins Wisconsin. So do USA Today and the Washington Post and, according to the WaPo, "the networks." Some interesting demographic details here. More demographics from CNN here. UPDATE, FEB. 19 11:36 PM PACIFIC: Record high turnout in Hawai'i's caucuses. Could it be that someone's energizing the electorate? UPDATE 11:47 PM: very early results show Obama winning in HI by a 2:1 margin. UPDATE, FEB. 20, 12:04 AM: News reports and analysis links: race moving to TX and OH; ditto here; different analysts' takes. UPDATE, FEB. 20, 12:38 AM PACIFIC: Honolulu Star-Bulletin: early returns show Obama winning by 3:1; turnout five times last election's.

FINAL RESULTS, Feb. 20: Barack Obama didn't just win in Wisconsin and Hawai'i; he won big: "Obama won 58 percent of the vote to Sen. Hillary Clinton's (D-NY) 41 percent in Wisconsin. Obama also captured the Democratic caucus in his home state of Hawaii by a wide margin Tuesday, picking up another 20 delegates." Now he faces two huge tests, two states that really are Hillary Clinton's "firewall": Texas and Ohio. She needs big wins there, not just slim margins, while even slim wins by Obama may force her to cave on all her anti-democratic maneuvering -- but it clearly is an uphill fight for him in both places. Of course, VichyDems will follow them closely.

(Two side notes. One is that Wisconsin's delegate allocation system is downright weird: Obama could win by 10% and still tie in delegates won. The other, for folks who quite properly are concerned about which Democrat is better able to beat McCain in the general election: Wisconsin is yet another piece of evidence that Obama, not Clinton, would be the better standard-bearer. Newsweek:

Wisconsin primaries are open to all voters. With the Republican race all but decided for John McCain, Republicans and independents might flock to the Democratic primary, and they have supported Obama more than Clinton so far this year.

So: pledged delegate gain for Obama good; continuing SuperDelegate controversy bad (and fundamentally undemocratic); Michigan/Florida question still up in the air as well.

What's a concerned citizen, who wants candidates to follow the rules and for citizens' votes to matter more than party insiders' votes, supposed to do? Here are some options:

- Write a letter to the editor of your local paper, pointing out the unfairness of SuperDelegates having votes worth roughly 10,000 citizen votes;

- Call the SuperDelegates in your state (much contact info here) and tell them how you feel;

- Sign a petition here or here;

- If you think Obama's playing fairly and Clinton is not, donate to Obama or make phone calls for him.


Anonymous said...

Sure Obama keeps winning. Anyone would in his position with all the media coverage he is getting from CNN free. While he gets all positive coverage,CNN goes out of it's way to say everything negative about Hillary. If Hillary had made a statement like Michelle Obama did, CNN would be all over it. Because of their being biased, I will for the first time in my life vote Republican if Obama is nominated.

Anonymous said...

Can someone explain to me what changes Obama is referring to. He has shown me nothing but Words....no solutions or ideas....I wish people would open their eyes

Anonymous said...

Speaking of words, how many times is Clinton going to repeat the same negative catch phrases about Obama? She's starting to sound like a republican.

Roy said...

This is in reference to the comment made by 'Anonymous'. Sorry, but you simply don't get it. And here's the bottom line...if you are a white American (or anything other than Black), you will never understand why Obama's wife can make a statement like that and get away with it. Wake up my friend. Your comment is typical of the stupid, nonsense that the minority of American’s believes in. Blacks in America do not have equal rights and a fair-share of the pie! As human beings, we will always have to struggle and our skin color and history of being slaves will never change. Now, I know you didn't want to hear that, but it's in your face. We have the right to run this country. And we will do it with respect. We, as African Americans have earned that respect. America has lost respect in itself. That is proven everyday that we have allowed Bush to remain President. He is a shameful embarrassment to this nation. And for some reason, America is wallowing in his sty.

Roy said...

America, please do me a favor. Stand up. Stand up for a new America, one we can all respect. Not just for the upper class and middle upper class, but for the masses. In Obama, there is a vision. A vision of change…real change. Not only in a political gender, but in the face of the nation. We are America. We are a mixing bowl of change. This face that we now display…is damaged! America’s credibility is soured. Iraq, Eron, Katrina, the 2000 Election, Weapons of Mass Destruction, Halliburton, the blatant cover up of 9/11! We need a change. Look at the stock market for the past year. Confidence in America has taken a drastic nose-dive. I know you see it. Everyone sees it, but we don’t want to believe that our government would betray us in this fashion. Gas prices are unbelievable, totally. And it’s all about “Special Interests Groups” and the money that you and me don’t have. It is time for a change. The same old government and way of thinking definitely will not bring us there. A Clinton presidency will kill us in the long run. I like Bill, but his time is up. And if Hillary is in the White House, believe me, Bill will be running the government again. We need a standard to be set. We need a stable government that is for the nation’s well being and not the special interest groups of the wealthy. We need to take care of America and stand up.

Roy said...

African American roots are so deeply engrained into the fabric of America’s culture that, we have become America. Anglo Saxons do not have a right to dominate a nation that they have inherently opened up to all who wanted to enter. Africans were kidnapped and brought into this nation in the 1700’s as cheap farm workers and laborers. The 1700’s. That means, we’ve been here a long time! Black culture is so ingrained into the fabric of American culture that is no longer distinguishable. Face up America. It does gonna happen. God Bless!