Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Polling PA part II: the morning after

Thanks a lot Pennsylvania. Turns out that it was easier to kill Rasputin than it is to get rid of Hillary Clinton.

On the numbers:
Again presuming that Obama and Clinton split the delegates from the remaining primaries, their totals look like this:
Obama: 1926
Clinton: 1797
Remaining uncommitted superdelegates: 306
Total needed to win: 2024

So if Obama can get commitments from just 98 of the remaining 306 superdelgates, the race is finally over. Of course the real race has been over since February. Everything since then has simply been Clinton buying time in the hope that Obama's candidacy will suddenly become unviable and we'll have nowhere else to go. Hillary's campaign is now showing that there is no depth to which it will not sink, and even thinking about a shotgun wedding with her makes me sick. Well, no one said this would be easy. Yes we can!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Polling PA, debate debacle, and southern stategy

After six long weeks without a single contest in the race for the Democratic nomination, it's finally here: The Pennsylvania primary! So what's changed in a month and a half? Frankly, nothing at all. Hillary Clinton is sill on target to drop out sometime between this Wednesday (if Obama pulls off a victory in Pennsylvania) and no later than after the last primary on June 3.

Clinton has failed to accomplish any of the things she needed to in order to turn back the Obama tide. The superdelegates are still flocking to Obama rather than her. She has failed to convnice them, and the public as well, that she is the more electable candidate. Her disapproval numbers are rising. Right now, I'd say that the curtain will most likely fall in two weeks. Clinton will probably manage a small victory in Pennsylvania (prediction: a 6-point spread) but then go on to lose Indiana and North Carolina on May 6. If she tries to go on after failing in those two contests, she is going to look crazy. Time for her to bow out and rebuild her credibility.

So the big news this week was the Democratic debate on ABC, possibly destined to go down as the biggest disgrace in the history of television news media. To wit:
1. A debate with commercial breaks!
2. During the first hour, not one single question on the issues. Questions instead on Bittergate, Bosniagate, lapel pins and every other bit of trivial gossip the moderators could find. George Stephanopoulos even had the termerity to drop the Weather Underground bomb even though it had already been revealed that the question was a plant from Sean Hannity specifically designed to make Obama look bad. Hey, where was the question about Obama's bowling scores?
3. Hour two, we finally get to some issues, but all the questions are in a ridiculous "gotacha" style. Not "explain is your position on Iraq" but "Will you 100% guarantee to pull the troops out immediately?" Gibson asks Obama a dubious question on taxes, then refuses to let him answer.

I hope that Charles and George have the decency to resign or at least disappear for a while. On the upside, I think the fallout from this bomb is actually helping Barack, as he's now showing how well he can handle this kind of disgusting treatment. Furthermore, it's reinforcing one of the main points of his campaign: We need to talk about issues, not bullsh*t!

New topic: There continues to be every indication that a Democratic tidal wave is coming this fall down the ticket. The latest indicator of the coming disaster for Republicans comes in the form of this year's special Congressional elections. Democrats picked up Denny Hastert's strongly Republican seat last month, and it looks like there may be more takeovers on the way. Democrats are running strong in both districts in the South that have upcoming special elections, despite the fact that both are quite conservative: LA-6 (May 3), and MS-01 (May 13). And of course Democratic candidates are continuing to show great poll numbers for many of the conservative-leaning seats that will be open this fall because of the wave of Republican retirements. Whew! A record number of links in a blog post. Good night, and good luck.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Pennsylvania may seal Hillary's doom and I met Sam Gamgee!

Hillary is counting on a huge win in Pennsylvania to show that she has momentum, and that she is the one who can win the "big states." The polls taken in the last week, however, suggest that the race in the Keystone state is now a dead heat, with Clinton fading fast from the double-digit lead she was showing in March.

Hillary cannot lose Pennsylvania and maintain viability as a candidate.

And remember the superdelegates? The ones Hillary is counting on to put her over the top? Well, it seems that in the last two months, Obama has picked up 69, while Clinton has lost two.

Additional Update: I met Sam Gamgee! This past Saturday, I attended my Congressional District's Democratic Caucus as a delegate for Obama. Much to everyone's surprise, the official speaker on behalf of Hillary Clinton was none other that actor Sean Astin, star of the Lord of the Rings films. Democracy is awesome.

Also: Historians weigh in: G.W. Bush is the worst President ever.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Hillary Rodham Clinton, Will You Please Go Now!

Hillary Clinton has recently taken to comparing herself to Rocky Balboa in her fight to win the Democratic nomination. This analogy is apt, considering that in the film Rocky, the Italian Stallion admits that he can't beat Apollo Creed. But even as his friends beg him to quit, Rocky remains determined to prove that he can go the distance.

Certainly there are those that fear that the long, long battle for the Democratic bid will damage the eventual nominee, Barack Obama, so badly that he will not be able to defeat John McCain.

I remain convinced that the protracted battle actually helps more than it hurts. With the two candidates carrying the Democratic message to every state and territory, there is strong evidence that they are continuing to pull in more and more new Democratic voters, further increasing the gap between registered Democrats and Republicans.

On to the Prediction: When will Hillary finally quit?

The Democratic Convention begins on August 25, but the last nominating contests will occur on June 3. Here's how the numbers will stack up on the morning of June 4th, based on the prediction that the two candidates will exactly split the delegates from the remaining primaries, and that there will not be new votes in Florida and Michigan.

Total Obama: 1914
Total Clinton: 1783
Total needed to win: 2024

As of today, 332 of the 793 superdelegates have yet to make up their minds, at least publicly. Many will commit to one of the two candidates in the next few weeks. Any who are still uncommitted come June 4th will be under overwhelming pressure to endorse a candidate so this thing can finally end.

This race will be over in two months, and it will end in one of two ways.

1. Clinton is counting on a huge win in Pennsylvania on April 22 to build momentum. However, in the last couple of weeks, her lead in the polls there has dropped from about 20 points to single digits. There's some chance she'll be forced out if Pennsylvania is anything but a big win, or she could be forced to quit a week later if she loses badly enough in North Carolina and Indiana.

2. At some point in the next few weeks, and no later than early June, we will see most or all of the remaining superdelegates commit to one of the candidates. Obama needs one-third of them to seal the deal.

To summarize, Hillary in order to win has to pull off some combination of the following: (1.) convince most of the remaining superdelegates to support her, (2.) figure out a way to get the Party to seat delegates from Florida and Michigan in a way favorable to her, or (3.) engage in a scorched-earth policy of going all the way to the Convention and challenging the credentials of Obama's delegates. I'm confident that when Obama reaches the magic number of 2024 committed delegates, she'll bow out gracefully. To do otherwise would be to sacrifice any political future.