April 20, 2008

If Obama Were White......Our PA, IN, NC Prediction and the Clinton Convention Endgame

Another media hit job, I mean, debate has come and gone, another event in the slow motion destruction of the Obama campaign. On the eve of the South Carolina primary, with Obama poised to win by a wide margin, I predicted that we had seen the beginning of the defeat of the Obama campaign. I said then "the Clinton campaign has succeeded in two things. 1. making Obama a "black" candidate in the minds of white voters and 2. diminishing Obama's stature, bringing him down, in the eyes of voters, to the level of typical politicians, to frankly, their level."

I have watched the continuing battle with great hope that Obama would be able to shatter the trick box of race he has been put into, but I remain doubtful that he can do so. Clinton is pressing coded "themes" that all play upon Obama's black identity for their potency and her campaign is merely a preview of the republicans. His comments framing small town Pennsylvanians as bitter towards the government used to assert he is an elitist, code for "uppity negro". The fierce criticisms of America made by his pastor ascribed to him, framing him as an "angry black man", a natural predicate characteristic which when coupled with the non issue of not wearing a lapel flag pin, damns him as unpatriotic as well.

Following the Philadelphia debate, Clinton is again actively baiting him, using his criticism of the poor performance of the moderators of the ABC debate to paint him as weak, untested and unprepared for the fight, trying to goad him into an overreaction or ill advised attacks and with some success. Once again, as she did in the runup to Texas, she seeks to lure him onto her ground, the close combat of the politics of personal destruction, a black art of which she is a dark aficionado, employing the lessons she learned at the hands of her republican tormentors so well.

Obama did not want this to be about race. Now, race is the dominant subtext and its influence and presence in this nomination battle can't be ignored. So lets go there for a moment. Ferraro said Obama would not be where he was if he was white. I think I may agree with Ferraro. Because I'm starting to wonder "if Obama were white, would he already be the nominee by now?". Leading in delegates....leading in popular vote...leading in number of states won....leading in the money race....but he is still questionable as the nominee?

If he where white, would the party sit by while Clinton is permitted to bloody him up for the general election, even though she cannot achieve the needed numbers of delegates even if you assume the most favorable outcome for her in all the remaining contests? It is a fact that the only way she can achieve the nomination is to politically destroy Obama, either directly or by pouncing on a misstep he makes. The democratic party could end this , but they have chosen not to do so, leaving Obama to twist. Despite protestations that we will have a nominee by June, I think not. Clinton has made it clear she does not intend to withdraw, and frankly, its the only route she can go if she is determined to win. She intends to fight in every remaining contest and take the battle all the way to Denver, where it will become a knife fight on the convention floor. The Clintons know how to play this game, and so far they have managed to intimidate the rest of the democratic party into going along with this mad scheme.

And truly, this way lays madness for the democrats. Because if Clinton is permitted to carry out her tactics of attacking Obama all the way to the convention, damaging him enough to beguile the supers to give her their support for the nomination, blacks will walk away from the party in large numbers in November. Some will stay and vote with Clinton, but most will stay home. It does not require all of us to stay home in order for the dems election hopes to be sunk. Democrats don't win without the black vote. Period, full stop.

Bloggers (like me) will be screaming from the rooftops in that scenario that if blacks give their vote to Hillary after winning the nomination dirty, you are suckers and unworthy of respect. Lets also be clear. The VP spot on the ticket for Obama in that scenario won't do, even if she were to sincerely offer it. I and most of the black community would lose all respect for Obama were he to take it and consider it to be a very foolish thing for him to do. So here is the other racial subtext; is the democratic party risking losing the black vote, its most dependable, reliable voting bloc without which it does not win, because they just don't think we'll walk away, even after a slap in the face like Hillary stealing the nomination? Because they perhaps think blacks will get over any indignity? I suppose Hillary assumes that she'll lure blacks back into the fold with the promise of electoral bribes in the form of government programs and positions in her government for those blacks who stood with her. Its worked in the past, why not now?

I believe all such thinking to be quite erroneous. With blacks supporting Obama at 80% and above, the idea that they will simply turn off their allegiance to his run after the Clinton's finish their Tonya Harding routine is simply silly. Apparently the dems are willing to risk it and too intimidated by the Clinton machine to shut it down. The Clintons are betting the farm on winning this game of political chicken with the party. They figure, "hey, it will be a little ugly, but we will get all the Negroes back on the plantation by November, or at least enough of them, so don't worry". Thats the game they are playing. Its a scorched earth, bare knuckles, anything we can get away with fight.

So all of that being said, here's our prediction for NC, IN and PA. Hillary will win PA tomorrow and she will do so by a margin of 9%-15%. Energized by that win, she will have enough momentum and fund raising to continue to draw Obama missteps with her attacks and his off message reaction. She will lose in NC, but she will manage to squeak out a narrow win in Indiana. She will continue to eke out small spurts of momentum in the primary contests to follow and thereby sow fear, uncertainty and doubt among the supers, making them stay their hand before the convention. The Democratic leadership will not prevent this battle from going to the convention because they are both too intimidated by the Clinton machine and too timid to risk the potential alienation of blue collar white voters. If Hillary is not forced to concede the nomination battle by either campaign losses or orchestrated pressure from the democratic party to withdraw before the last primary contests in June, its over.

The nomination fight will go to the convention. Obama has already lost.