Looking Ahead To South Carolina For The Dems

After losing Nevada handily yesterday to Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama is no doubt very happy to be competing in South Carolina this week. That primary is next Saturday, January 26, and Obama is heavily favored holding double digit leads in most polls.

The chances of Obama losing in South Carolina seem almost nonexistent. He has completely solidified his support in the African American community, which will comprise half of the electorate. Obama will win African Americans by 4-1 over Clinton, which will get him to 40% on that vote alone.

But there is a pitfall for Obama. In the last two primaries, he has been drubbed by Clinton among Democratic voters. If South Carolina is close and Obama's victory is solely fueled by overwhelming support by African Americans, Obama risks getting a label he has fought hard to avoid - that he is the black candidate. It would be an entirely unfair label, but it could be attached to him.

More . . .

Already, as Steve Soto noted, the Media is eager to discern "ethnic tensions" among Democrats, and the Nevada results fueled that talk. The label would be completely unfair as would the talk of ethnic tensions. Obama has run remarkably well among non-African Americans, considering he is running against a heavily favored experienced politician carrying the name of the most popular Democrat in the nation. But fairness often has nothing to do with politics, and the risk for Obama remains.

For Democrats, an Obama win with stronger than expected results for him among non-African Americans and a WEAKER than expected showing among African Americans would be the best result. It would demonstrate that ethnic tensions are not running rampant in the Democratic Party.

And for the record, I do not believe ethnic tensions are more prominent as a result of this campaign. Voting for Obama as a matter of ethnic or racial pride is NOT evidence of ethnic tension. Women voting for a woman candidate in gender solidarity is not a sign of tension. Latinos voting for a candidate with a proven record of support for Latinos is NOT a vote against an African American.

This race is great for Democrats, as we are about to make history, nominating for the first time either a woman or an African American for the Presidency. There is nothing the Media can do to change that

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    Having his cake...and eating it too (1.00 / 1) (#50)
    by Richard in Jax on Sun Jan 20, 2008 at 08:49:47 PM EST
    Hold on a minute.."he wanted to avoid being the black candidate"..I don't think so. Although he was somewhat successful in projecting his injection of race into this contest, (and he did so), on Sen. Clinton . Yes, there is no way one can construe Ms. Clinton's remarks at any point in this campaign as racist..but Obama was able to put that garbage out there. Mr. Change used one of the oldest scams in the book. Mr. Bring Us Together used the biggest wedge out there. So no, I don't think Obama wants to be considered outside of being Black,. I think he wants very much to be the Black candidate to blacks (and grab their votes because of it) and the Change candidate to everyone else. I suspect he will lose the nomination if he continues such a path.
    Note: I have considered that dividing the Democrats along racial lines, inflamatory racial lines , would be a huge plus for the GOP candidate. Some blog commenters claiming to be African American (or trolling beer gutted GOP white guys) suggest that they will vote for McCain if Hillary is nominated. Think about it: If the Gop'ers can inject a racial wedge (and they love that tool) into the Dem effort, they can create a new take on the Southern Strategy. So a caution to all, make sure it is you Dem candidate speaking.
    Obama is toast. I was going to early vote for him  here in Florida..thank God for my delay. My vote goes to Clinton.

    Hillary (none / 0) (#1)
    by athyrio on Sun Jan 20, 2008 at 04:05:26 PM EST
    Just apparently just got a huge endorsement in NYC from a Rev Calvin Butts who is a powerful figure in the black community....I don't think he can count on total support from the blacks but certainly quite a lot...which is why he was doing the spin so hard after his loss in Nevada...he might win but I bet it isnt double digit...Rev. Butts stated in CNN that his support has nothing to do with race but has everything to do with economics....Since apparently we are heading into a bumpy period on wall street, Clinton might appeal to those of us who remember the Clinton administration and their good economy....

    Good analysis (none / 0) (#2)
    by andgarden on Sun Jan 20, 2008 at 04:20:42 PM EST
    I'm wondering if there's a scenario where Obama walks away with the nomination at this point. I suspect it will be quite difficult.

    No. (none / 0) (#3)
    by LarryInNYC on Sun Jan 20, 2008 at 04:25:22 PM EST
    Too many closed primaries coming up.  He needs the independent cross-over vote to win.

    Personally, I think it's a good thing he attracts independents to vote as Democrats, but that simply isn't possible in some of the biggies coming up.


    How he attracts them is troubling to me (5.00 / 3) (#5)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Jan 20, 2008 at 04:36:20 PM EST
    Sure there are (none / 0) (#4)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Jan 20, 2008 at 04:35:55 PM EST
    Wins South Carolina and gains eough mo to win California and some other 2/5 states.

    Hillary makes mistakes, some big thing comes up, who knows?

    Is he the underdog? He ALWAYS was the underdog.

    HE would have won the nomination however had he won New Hampshire.


    I guess CA is the big prize (none / 0) (#11)
    by andgarden on Sun Jan 20, 2008 at 05:04:00 PM EST
    But I'm wondering what happens if they split the 2/5 states 55/45. I think that means the race isn't over.

    Basis for your final sentence? (none / 0) (#12)
    by oculus on Sun Jan 20, 2008 at 05:20:33 PM EST
    My own guess is that a NH win would have confirmed (none / 0) (#23)
    by rhbrandon on Sun Jan 20, 2008 at 06:07:45 PM EST
    the storyline coming out of Iowa. Once he lost in NH, the myth of inevitability was punctured. Had he won, Clinton might have been in the position that Edwards increasingly finds himself in: perceived as unable to stop stronger candidates ahead of him. Now, a new version of the former Clinton invincibility meme is making a comeback in the media analysis of her strengths for Super Tuesday.

    South Carolina will be an outlier for Obama; no more indicative of actual strength than would a Romney win in Utah on Super Tuesday.

    My two-cents worth.


    Thanks. I hate throw away lines of such (none / 0) (#24)
    by oculus on Sun Jan 20, 2008 at 06:10:35 PM EST
    seeming importance but w/o explanation.  Wonder what BTD will say?

    They are still counting in NH (none / 0) (#31)
    by Bob In Pacifica on Sun Jan 20, 2008 at 06:56:39 PM EST
    Just saying. Already there are very bizarre errors found in the Diebold counts. If I were Rovian and I wanted to sink Clinton I'd expose an election fraud to her benefit.

    So far, it looks like... (none / 0) (#49)
    by rhbrandon on Sun Jan 20, 2008 at 08:49:08 PM EST
    all of the Democratic candidates are losing votes in the recount.

    No scandal for any one candidate; a considerable one for the voting process.


    None at all unless (none / 0) (#8)
    by RalphB on Sun Jan 20, 2008 at 04:45:31 PM EST
    he can win California.  Unless something god awful happens to the Clinton campaign, that won't happen.

    Anyone see a poll for Cal? (none / 0) (#32)
    by Bob In Pacifica on Sun Jan 20, 2008 at 06:58:17 PM EST
    I live in Cal and I haven't seen one. And I can't say I've seen any public expressions of support for Clinton.

    All of the polls (none / 0) (#35)
    by athyrio on Sun Jan 20, 2008 at 07:26:33 PM EST
    to date show Hillary ahead in Calif...Here is the latest one

    BTD, hope you don't mind (none / 0) (#6)
    by Jeralyn on Sun Jan 20, 2008 at 04:42:38 PM EST
    I added our new South Carolina graphic to your post.  TL's great graphic artist, CL,  got it to me yesterday.

    Mind? (none / 0) (#9)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Jan 20, 2008 at 04:46:12 PM EST
    Now I can use it all week.



    speaking of underdog (none / 0) (#7)
    by athyrio on Sun Jan 20, 2008 at 04:43:41 PM EST
    these are interesting delegate counts by alot of the media outlets....

    this is amazing and not close at all

    what the counts include (none / 0) (#29)
    by Joe Bob on Sun Jan 20, 2008 at 06:30:28 PM EST
    The counts you link to are the total of pledged superdelegates (e.g.: members of Congress) plus district-level delegates, which are the ones allotted by vote. Obama is ahead by a small margin in the latter category.

    yes (none / 0) (#30)
    by athyrio on Sun Jan 20, 2008 at 06:33:44 PM EST
    But he is behind in the overall count as you can see from that link....Be that as it may, there are many many states left to weigh in, I was just including what the media outlets have been reporting....

    Which makes Clinton (none / 0) (#33)
    by Bob In Pacifica on Sun Jan 20, 2008 at 07:11:00 PM EST
    the candidate of the status quo/DLC.

    That's good for getting a head start in delegates. When Clinton supporters claim the inevitability of Clinton's ultimate victory by throwing around the number of delegates she got from party bosses, are people waiting for their turn to vote be so in awe that we abandon our priniciples and candidates and just give up?

    I can't think of a front-runner for the Democratic nomination whose campaign and supporters have managed to generate so much hostility within the party so early in the campaign.


    Both these candidates are (none / 0) (#45)
    by RalphB on Sun Jan 20, 2008 at 08:08:23 PM EST
    the status quo, in case you hadn't noticed.  Obama's campaign is hardly insurgent, what with the big money support from the same limousine liberals who supported Bradly in 2000.

    There is no insurgent left in this race, but if you're determined to label one that would be Edwards.


    Rev Butts endorsement (none / 0) (#10)
    by athyrio on Sun Jan 20, 2008 at 04:51:07 PM EST
    This is from Reverend Butts' endorsement of HRC.

    "I, too, join countless Americans in a collective desire for change, and I do so with a vital recognition that change and experience are not mutually exclusive. The rhetoric of change in which we are presently engaged must also be accompanied by the experience and ability necessary to successfully and resourcefully accomplish it. Experience is not synonymous with status quo nor should it be vilified for the sake of campaign soundbites. With experience, comes the value of lessons learned. With experience, comes proficiency and understanding. With the right experience, comes change. Thus, I have not based my decision on the idea that I must embrace one over the other. I have instead based my decision on the candidate whom I believe will effectively use both - change and experience - to lead our nation to a place of domestic and international prosperity."

    Is it significant that Obama has no (none / 0) (#15)
    by oculus on Sun Jan 20, 2008 at 05:35:04 PM EST
    palm tree sprouting from his head?

    Here is a 1998 piece from (none / 0) (#17)
    by oculus on Sun Jan 20, 2008 at 05:36:59 PM EST
    the Village Voice on that issue:


    Agreed on one point (none / 0) (#20)
    by OrangeFur on Sun Jan 20, 2008 at 05:57:16 PM EST
    The media really wants to say that the 80/20 split in favor of Obama among African Americans is because of the recent tussle over MLK, etc, as if there is some deep division in the Democratic Party.

    I see it more as a positive statement--many African Americans naturally being proud and excited that a (half-)black man is running for President. That's perfectly understandable and completely valid, and not a sign of anything amiss.

    There were personal factors. .. (none / 0) (#26)
    by LarryInNYC on Sun Jan 20, 2008 at 06:18:52 PM EST
    involved in that decision that involved both a political feud within the community and non-political consideration.

    Butts endorsed Bloomberg in 2005, and Bloomberg took 48% of the black vote in New York City.

    NPR's Debbie (sp) Elliott in S.C. (none / 0) (#27)
    by oculus on Sun Jan 20, 2008 at 06:19:44 PM EST
    says NAACP is holding a meeting, to which Clinton campaign is sending Vernon Jordan.  Meanwhile Obama is holding a campaign appearance across town.  Conclusion by Elliott is Obama doesn't feel the need to court the older establishment segment of the black community.

    I would say (5.00 / 1) (#28)
    by ding7777 on Sun Jan 20, 2008 at 06:30:14 PM EST
    Obama doesn't feel the need to court the older establishment segment of the [any] community is more acurate.

    Ironically (none / 0) (#34)
    by Bob In Pacifica on Sun Jan 20, 2008 at 07:24:09 PM EST
    If you push all the identity politics aside Edwards' positions are much better for women and blacks, and working class whites, than either Obama or Clinton.

    Edwards (none / 0) (#36)
    by athyrio on Sun Jan 20, 2008 at 07:29:17 PM EST
    I agree and Edwards is my first choice, but Hillary is my second as it is for many people that I have spoken with...Hillarys lead in Calif should enlarge after such a good showing in Nevada with Latinos....Go Hillary!!!

    Jeralyn (none / 0) (#37)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Jan 20, 2008 at 07:41:47 PM EST
    This is a banning offense.

    What? (none / 0) (#38)
    by athyrio on Sun Jan 20, 2008 at 07:45:59 PM EST
    What is a banning offense?

    Calling posters here racist (none / 0) (#39)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Jan 20, 2008 at 07:49:54 PM EST
    I was just called one.

    I have asked Jeralyn to ban the person who did it.


    ohhhhhhhhhhhhhh (none / 0) (#40)
    by athyrio on Sun Jan 20, 2008 at 07:51:52 PM EST
    I agree, very harsh, and I am sick and tired of race being drug into this time and time again ....Causes nothing but devisive reactions from all concerned....

    I just saw it and deleted it (none / 0) (#44)
    by Jeralyn on Sun Jan 20, 2008 at 08:07:09 PM EST
    as well as one calling a candidate racist. That isn't allowed here.

    I always find it curious about endorsements (none / 0) (#41)
    by Bob In Pacifica on Sun Jan 20, 2008 at 07:58:39 PM EST
    It has to do with the iconic nature of politics. This icon-leader bestows the blessing of this constituency on this icon-candidate whose blessing was earned on the basis of her/his concern/future actions on behalf of said constituency. In reality, no one is operating without self-interest.

    For example, my union supports Clinton. Based on what? Certainly, the fact that my union makes a lot of money from its own health insurance, which would disappear with single-payer, has something to do with it. So although a true single-payer would be better for its membership, our national officers would just as soon see a Democrat in the White House who wants the status quo regarding healthcare.

    When our national president came to our last branch meeting and gave an hour-long speech for Clinton, it wasn't because he thought that she would be backing radical pro-union legislation. Clinton's got anti-union people around her campaign and she herself worked for the anti-union Rose Law Firm. He supports her because she'll let him continue to profit on health insurance.

    As George Seldes (as quoted by Lisa Pease) wrote: "If you look for the social economic motive, you will not have to wait for history to tell you what was propaganda and what was truth."

    Or as the Contours sang, "First I look at the purse."

    Doesn't anyone care about the touchscreens? (none / 0) (#42)
    by Bob In Pacifica on Sun Jan 20, 2008 at 08:00:40 PM EST
    These things were unreliable for the Republicans. No paper trails. Why does everyone presume that everything's a-ok with electronic voting? Isn't anyone old enough to remember 2004?

    Touch Screens. (none / 0) (#46)
    by RalphB on Sun Jan 20, 2008 at 08:11:14 PM EST
    I'll bet just about everyone cares about the touch screens but just griping about it does no good. Come up with an idea to fix it and then we can talk.

    Count all the votes by hand... (none / 0) (#47)
    by Dadler on Sun Jan 20, 2008 at 08:22:14 PM EST
    ...employing MILLIONS of Americans to engage in the hands-on work of voting.

    That we want elections to be easy and quick is the problem.  They should be hard and slow to ensure fairness and an accurate count.

    We should all be grading each other's work.  All of us.


    urls must be in html format (none / 0) (#43)
    by Jeralyn on Sun Jan 20, 2008 at 08:04:55 PM EST
    or they skew the site. The comment will be deleted since I can't edit them.

    I love Wolfson (none / 0) (#48)
    by commissar on Sun Jan 20, 2008 at 08:25:59 PM EST
    President Clinton is a huge asset to our campaign and will continue talking to the American people to press the case for Sen. Clinton.

    And we will have an ambulance standing by this coming Friday.

    Why is it that (none / 0) (#51)
    by talkingpoint on Sun Jan 20, 2008 at 09:39:49 PM EST
      whenever someone speaks against Obama that makes them a racist? Do people have the right to like one candidate over the other nowadays? Obama plays the race card when it benefits him, and don't when it doesn't benefit him. I notice that when Obama speaks to a black audience is tone and body language is different than when he speaks to a more diverse crowd. If one don't believe start taking notice.

    If Obama (none / 0) (#52)
    by athyrio on Sun Jan 20, 2008 at 09:49:24 PM EST
    keeps playing the race card that will hurt his campaign deeply....