I put Middle Earth Journal in hiatus in May of 2008 and moved to Newshoggers.
I temporarily reopened Middle Earth Journal when Newshoggers shut it's doors but I was invited to Participate at The Moderate Voice so Middle Earth Journal is once again in hiatus.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

What To Make Of Democratic Super Tuesday

The winner is....a tie.

For delegate count with the Congressional Districts factored in it looks like essentially a tie. If that were all of it there'd be little point chiming in.

I'll state my bias up front, I do not like Hillary Clinton and it has nothing to do with the reich noise machine's hate bias. If most of what they hate were actually Hillary I'd like her more. Oh well, she's not and I don't.

Starting where things seemed to stand a week ago and Hillary was unstoppable something is becoming clearer, and it is something I've said before. Hillary does not wear well. If voters are exposed to her for sufficient amount of time, her so-called advantages don't impress. When she has to answer questions her tendency to try to play all sides to the middle is more obvious. When something is called into question she ducks, it is not her fault and everybody is just being mean. Made and broken deals are suddenly a matter of principle and the manifest unfairness lies with those she made the deal with to begin with. Most insultingly she claims power where she has none, though that may be evident only to those who work inside the system. People begin to notice that she claims credit for the good of the WJC administration and ignores or denies the shortfalls.

Obama on the other hand seems to spend little time blaming or ducking, some of that is because he sticks pretty closely to the Unity theme. The policy differences between them on domestic issues seem to come down to pretty negligible details none of which will survive Congressional messing about anyhow. The most striking policy differences are in foreign policy and that seems to come down to his lower level of bellicosity. Where there is outstanding difference is in tone and point of view, Obama's message of unity and looking forward is greatly emphasized by his relative youth and oratorical skills.

The demographics of votes seem indicative of a trend toward Obama, youthful voters favor him, men favor him, and he seems able to capture a near split of the white vote while heavily carrying the black vote. He seems weakest among Hispanic, older voters, and women, pretty much in that order.

While it will require care, some of the upcoming states should be receptive to his approach and some could easily be resistent to "Clintonism." Ohio has a sizable black population and was poorly served by the off-shoring that accelerated under Bill Clinton and was abetted by his trade policies. Care would need to be exercised in regard to that, swinging an axe at a fellow Democrat is not good politics. (it should be noted, it is a large and sharp axe and statistics hone it) Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Texas have all been home to some incredibly divisive politics, and that can be played to, particularly in regard to their failures to respond to very real problems.

Campaign funds will play largely and Obama seems to have an edge in that regard. His great improvement in vote gathering over previous polling should give him additional credibility and Hillary's slide from previous standing makes her look vulnerable. The inevitible candidate isn't. Obama's strong showing in some very white states begins to take some of the steam out of the can't win with whites argument, Bradley (??) effect or some such. Areas that tend to be forward looking, such as the West, broke pretty strongly for Obama.

I believe there exists a hard-core Clinton constituency that has some historical or gender loyalty to Hillary that will not be budged and it seems to be mostly rooted within the Democratic Party itself. There has been an element of polling support that seems to have been more rooted in name familiarity and media inevitibility mantra than actual enthusiasm and these appear to be wandering off. The media is currently enthused with the Obama come-back story and his "newness" which could evaporate if not fed. Possibly the greatest threat to Obama is a potential one rather than one extant and that is a slip up on his part could have huge repercussions. He absolutely cannot damage his image of Unity and forward looking.

My guess is that this race is not going to get settled soon or quickly, and I also sense that it is shifting in Obama's direction. I believe that the map is favorable to him, the decrease in pace and up-coming demographics are in his favor. My sense of a Clinton wear and tear effect may be more subjective than the rest of my analysis, but if it holds as seems evidenced that may be the biggest factor.

Obama supporters had best not rest on their laurels, this thing is still early days and Hillary Clinton has shown an ability to shift ground in a hearbeat and she has a good campaign. A year ago I predicted that Oregon's May Primary might count largely in this election, events are beginning to make that a better bet.

Thanks, Ron, I've owed you one for some time.