Let’s assume Hillary wins tomorrow in Pennsylvania. Regardless of her margin of victory, superdelegates are still tasked with picking the Democratic nominee. A post by Jeralyn on TalkLeft argues convincingly that Obama would face almost insurmountable odds against McCain. Jeralyn uses William Arnone’s analysis of the electoral landscape. Jeralyn says:
First, we need to figure out which of the 20 states are vulnerable to McCain and decide whether Hillary or Obama has a better chance of carrying them. Mr. Arnone says those states are: Pennsylvania, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Oregon and Wisconsin, which have a total of 68 electoral votes.
As I’ve written before, Kerry won Pennsylvania by only 2% in 2004. Obama’s inability to carry large states besides his home state does not bode well for his candidacy.
What is more troubling is that Kerry won Wisconsin by a mere .5%. Also, if Michigan is lost by selective disenfranchisement, then the Democratic Party should go into another line of business.
Next are the ten states the Dems didn’t win in 2004 that there’s a chance of winning in 2008. They are: Arkansas; Colorado; Florida; Iowa; Missouri; Nevada; New Mexico; North Carolina; Ohio; and Virginia. Of these, all but North Carolina have already voted. Mr. Arnone says: “The winner of the popular vote in the Democratic primary or caucus in each of these key states will have a higher likelihood of carrying that state in November. This is a critical consideration in determining who is likely to be the Party’s most successful Presidential candidate in the general election.”
Obama would be certain to lose Florida and it’s hard to imagine him winning any of the states above, regardless of how much the so-called “progressives” wish it. Jeralyn tracks Arnone’s argument that the Democratic candidate will have to pick up four crucial constituencies: women, Catholics, the elderly, and Latinos. Obama is very weak with all four groups while Hillary is remarkably strong with all four. While Obama would likely lose ALL swing states, Hillary would probably win Arkansas, Florida, Iowa, Nevada, New Mexico, and Ohio. In other words, a landslide.
The Obama campaign has argued that the superdelegates should pick the person with the most delegates at the end of the primary season, but of course that’s without counting Michigan and Florida. Selective disenfranchisement is the name of their game. But that’s precisely NOT the role of superdelegates. Their role is to exercise independent judgment and pick the strongest candidate, the candidate that will most likely win in the General Election.
There are rumblings that a group of young militants are recruiting African Americans and others to riot at the August convention if Obama is not selected as the nominee. This may be true as Obama’s surrogates have used strong-armed tactics to sway the caucuses and it is well known that many of his young followers see themselves as part of a radical movement. Some people feel that the superdelegates are afraid of these consequences if they don’t nominate Obama.
However the threat of rioting is a manipulation by Obama’s overzealous youth movement (they’ve been seen posting pictures of Che Guevara in Obama offices) and it has been intentionally overstated and exaggerated throughout the blogs. Moreover, the superdelegates are much more concerned about the Democrats winning the General Election than they are about the threats made by Obama’s young followers. And as much as Hillary’s supporters may cringe at the thought, Hillary will likely pick Obama as her running mate. She has stated so publicly and her former campaign manager, Patti Solis-Doyle, is running a campaign she calls voteboth.org, an operation, I believe, to assure the superdelegates that Hillary will select Obama and bring his troops into the fold. Think Kennedy-Johnson 1960: two warring factions of the Party must be united to win. Or as President Johnson said: It’s probably better to have him inside the tent pissing out, than outside the tent pissing in.
With only a hint of sarcasm, I accept Obama and Howard Dean’s word that Michigan and Florida will be seated. Therefore, Hillary is currently 9 delegates behind Obama today and will likely be ahead tomorrow. A stolen nomination is a lost election, and superdelegates cannot allow that to happen.
The superdelegates are at a crossroads: they could placate Obama’s wing of the Party (and the ObamaMedia) and accept certain defeat, or they can select Hillary and win a victory and usher in a historic era of activist government.
Thanks to Mary Jo Kopechne, PhD, for her assistance with this essay.