Pundits and analysts clamored for Hillary Clinton to bow out when she was losing all of those consecutive primaries to Barack Obama after winning on Super Tuesday, but she stood her ground. Even after all of that Obama love universities and the media across the country showed, Clinton came right back to win Ohio and Texas.
Clinton, in fact, has won almost every major state — those including California, New York, Pennsylvania, Indiana, and even the debated states of Florida and Michigan. That alone should give you pause as to the actual debate that Democrats should be having when trying to decide their presidential nominee. Obama clearly wins in popularity (but not by that much), but electability is an even more important factor, especially when considering running against the Republican nominee John McCain.
There’s a reason why Clinton is still able to be in the race despite many (but not that many) calls for her to quit and overwhelmingly media nonsupport. You have to look at the demographics and the supporters. Both Clinton and Obama have their die-hard supporters, but the 2008 presidential election will be decided on swing voters and traditional nonvoters.
Those supporting Clinton are less likely to vote for Obama than they are to vote at all. Race has a lot to do with that, which was heavily highlighted after the West Virginia and Kentucky exit polls. But race should always have been a point in the elections, but many people largely criticized the media for even mentioning it as an election factor. Why shouldn’t it? Race is still a huge issue, not just in American society but in global society as well. To ignore it would be to continue the problems that race issues have endured since tolerance became popular.
Those exit polls had residents cite their reasoning for not voting for Obama because he’s black is a blunt truth that probably affected more less-candid people when giving their reasons in voting instead for Clinton. These people are less dedicated to their party than they are to their own beliefs and values, which in a free world should be okay.
But that’s a huge problem for the Obama when many of his supporters seem to be more dedicated to (at the least) having a Democrat in the White House rather than a Republican. This makes Clinton even more electable, despite the misogyny she would face if she ran against McCain.
You can’t blame Clinton for the now obvious fragmented Democratic Party. She isn’t the cause for its problems, the leadership is. It should have been easy to pick and favor a Democratic candidate with the huge national anti-war and anti-Republican sentiment, in addition to President George W. Bush’s abysmal approval ratings. That never happened as Democrats rallied in favor of their prospective candidates and stuck to them.
This possibly ties into my whole idea that most Americans don’t actually care about the War in Iraq and that most of the anti-war noise is made from a relatively small (when looking at the total of 300 million Americans) group of very vocal activists. Living in California doesn’t help either. Plus, other issues like the economy, the housing and mortgage crises, and skyrocketing oil and food prices have put the war on country’s collective backburner.
On the flipside however, it also shows that Americans might be more active in the political process than they used to be because people didn’t simply follow the leader with Clinton and Obama sort of seesawing as frontrunners and actually stuck with whom they wanted to see as the nominee and eventual President. The media blitz be damned.
I might have been rambling and all of my talk might be overblown. If that’s the case, it should be really interesting to look back and examine what went wrong with both campaigns. We all know about Clinton’s campaign troubles (frequent exits by top campaign officials), but Obama has had his fair share too (African attire, Jeremiah Wright, elitist attitude, etc…). Mark my words, memoirs will be written.
I didn’t want to downplay Clinton’s continued fight has damaged Obama’s image, but I didn’t want to dwell on it. Obama has his issues, especially when looking at the fact that he hasn’t appealed as much to blue-collar workers, middle class white people, older people or Latinos when compared to Clinon. And to bring back an earlier point, he lost the big states of California and New York to her, despite almost universal acclaim from young people.
The latter actually hurts Obama because young voters aren’t the most consistent or reliable demographic to vote, whereas Clinton’s elderly supporters would give her a huge advantage come November.
I’ve said it before that I was a John McCain support, but if Clinton won the nomination I might have a real dilemma on my hands. It might have seemed that Obama was given the spotlight at the right moment, but that appears not to be the case. I somewhat salivate at the prospect of an Obama/Clinton ticket, but it doesn’t appear likely. I hope to eat my words, but unfortunately for Obama he didn’t realize a sad truth in today’s world: you should never underestimate how racist people can be and are.
John McCain will be inaugurated on January 20, 2009 as the 44th President of the United States.