Wednesday, February 06, 2008

A post-election call to California

I decided to check in with The Red Electric’s Barack Obama correspondent in California (Berkeley to be exact) on the day after the big primary.

John McCarthy, an old college friend, leapt onto the Obama bandwagon early and helped precinct leaders navigate computer data in the days leading up to Tuesday’s vote. John has been into the political uses of computers from the early days, but that’s another story.

“Hey, we didn’t do badly,” he exclaimed. “Two weeks ago we were down by 20 points,” The gap was narrowed to nine points in Tuesday’s vote, he pointed out.

Besides, he added, the delegate count is proportional, so Obama’s surge in the closing days netted convention votes.

So where does it go from here? Some in the campaign are painting a “nasty scenario,” he said.

If the contest goes to the convention without either candidate having a clear majority, there’s talk of a rules committee fight over whether delegates from Florida and Michigan should be seated. Because the state parties in the two states moved their primaries up, the national party punished them by disallowing their delegates.

Because no delegates were at stake, the candidates didn’t campaign in Michigan and Florida — except Clinton, who, absent opposition, won the two elections.

A decision by the convention’s rules committee could be appealed to the floor of the convention for a real donnybrook.

Enter the 20 percent of the delegates with “super” status. These are party functionaries who weren’t elected by flesh-and-blood voters.

John surmises that the “super-delegate” pols could view their choice in two ways.

They might see Obama, with his demonstrated strong appeal to independent, new and young voters, as a sure winner in November. For the super-delegates, that means longer political coattails helping elect Democratic Party candidates deeper down on the ticket.

Obama has even demonstrated some appeal to Republicans who are ready for his “change” strategy and are fed up with more of the same. With Hillary as the nominee, the same Republicans are likely to stick with a McCain.

Then again, super-delegates don’t get to be super-delegates without putting in their time and pressing the flesh. They may owe chits to the Clintons stretching back to 1992 or even farther. Talk about coattails.

John and I talked about a disturbing reality that has emerged from the voting. Large numbers of voters are casting ballots based on race and gender. Consider the preponderance of women voting for Clinton and the preponderance of blacks voting for Obama. Call that prejudice “for.” Its flip side is prejudice “against”: white men voting against Clinton; Latinos voting against Obama. In California, a big surprise was the Asian-American vote that was 75 percent for Clinton (or against Obama.)

What is there to explain this besides race? (Quick now, what’s the issue that leads Asian-Americans to vote three to one for Hillary?)

Little of this voter bias shows up in pre-voting polling because no one wants to admit to being a bigot. But the bias is undeniable in the results and it is scary.

John had some interesting observations about voting irregularities in the California primary, but I’ll save them for tomorrow.

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Anonymous Jay said...

The facts: Obama is, plainly speaking, just unpopular and unimpressive to Asians and Latinos. His resume outside of his Senate win is nothing to be excited about. Many Latinos and Asians have accomplished much more with many more difficulties. And giving a decent speech in his preacher like oratory fails to make him special. There are thousands of good speakers in America. On the same token his debate skills as one of my latino friends recently said are “unimpressive and novice.” While Hillary is considered to be like family to our communities. Nominating Obama may swing these voting groups more to Republicans in the general election when McCain is the candidate. Obama talks about no red or blue states, but nominating him will certainly convert some blue states to red. I guarantee he loses every swing state with large latino populations and losing large portions of the Asian vote if not all to a McCain. These are just the facts. If Democrats want any chance of winning in November they need to be more realistic and support Hillary. If not, more blue states will become red. I admire Hillary but support no one yet, but I will say that she is the only one that can pick up the swing states due to her Latino and Asian backing. Democrats will be massacred with Obama as a nominee. I want to see change but only Hillary has a chance of beating McCain. Otherwise Florida, Ohio, New Mexico, Nevada and maybe many more states go to McCain. These are real facts.

6:18 AM  
Blogger Rick Seifert said...

Thanks for the comment, Jay. I'm having trouble seeing the "facts" or "real facts" in your post. Your comments seem to be largely opinion. So I hope you respond to a couple of questions. What evidence is there that race and gender aren't driving preferences of men, women, Latinos, Asian-Americans and blacks? What are the stands on the issues that lead to the preferences? Does Hillary Clinton take positions on the issues that are particularly appealing to Latinos, for example? Perhaps her vote to support the Iraq war attracted Latino support, although I doubt it. Are Latinos attracted to her failed efforts to pass health care reform? Why is she considered "family"? Why is Obama NOT considered "family"? Could this be code for race and gender preferences?
Why are women voting for Hillary disproportionately, beyond the fact that she is a woman? Do her positions on the issues appeal to women?
And why are African-Americans voting for Obama disproportionately, beyond the fact that he is black?
It may be wishful thinking on my part, but I believe our voting should be gender and race blind.
Thanks again for your comment. I look forward to reading your answers to my questions.


7:09 AM  
Anonymous Jay said...


I think it would take me a long time to thoroughly answer your questions. The facts that I am talking about are seen clearly in voting patterns. There are many reasons for this.

I can give you a personal story that embodies the love that people have for Hillary, Bill and Chelsea. A few years ago there was an earthquake in Asia where many of my relatives passed away. I was quite sad but there was a fundraiser for victims that I decided to attend. At the fundraiser Bill Clinton showed up and instead of simply being an attendee he became the MC and started compelling people to donate. He won our hearts that day and the Clintons became family. Image that, a white guy who Asians think of as family. The Clintons truly transcend race. Asians and Latinos remember Hillary in this light also since Hillary and Bill have done this among many communities. When Obama talks about change and says that Hillary doesn't represent change, I know he is a fraud. Hillary has brought real change when this guy talks a lot and disses others.

When one doesn't give due respect where respect is deserved, such a person loses the respect of others.

3:14 PM  

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