Another Electability Argument Regarding Caucuses

It's generally recognized that caucus results are less representative of a state's voters than primary results. Their curtailed voting hours and the lack of early voting, absentee or mail-in voting ensures it. But they count for choosing pledged delegates, so that's water under the bridge.

When it comes to electability arguments for the superdelegates, however, I think there's something they need to consider -- that caucus results vastly undercount one particular segment of voters who will vote in big numbers in the general election: The elderly and infirm, including nursing home residents who weren't mobile enough to attend a caucus but who can vote by absentee ballot in primaries and the general election.

If unable to attend caucuses, and most likely were, their preferences were excluded. This is one more reason I don't think that a superdelegate can equate a caucus win in a particular state with a win in that state against John McCain in November.

The Democratic party needs older voters this year more than ever against John McCain. And they have been coming out in primaries for Hillary. Statistics on our 37 million residents over age 65, 1.9 million of whom live in nursing homes, are below:

America's population over age 65:

In 2006, 37 million people age 65 and over lived in the United States, accounting for just over 12 percent of the total population. Over the 20th century, the older population grew from 3 million to 37 million. The oldest-old population (those age 85 and over) grew from just over 100,000 in 1900 to 5.3 million in 2006.

The states with the largest elderly populations:

In 2006, Florida had the highest proportion of people age 65 and over, 17 percent. Pennsylvania and West Virginia also had high proportions, over 15 percent.

As to gender:

In 2006, women accounted for 58 percent of the population age 65 and over and for 68 percent of the population age 85 and over.

By race:

In 2006, non-Hispanic whites accounted for 81 percent of the U.S. older population. Blacks made up 9 percent, Asians made up 3 percent, and Hispanics (of any race) accounted for 6 percent of the older population.

On to the statistics for nursing home residents:

In 2006, 1.9 million people lived in nursing homes.

The Census Bureau reports:

  • Females comprised approximately half of the total population, but were nearly 70 percent of the nursing facility population.
  • Nearly three-in-four residents of nursing facilities were 75 or older. The median age of nursing facility residents was 83.2.

There's been a big difference this year in results from the three states that have held both primaries and caucuses.

  • Washington: Obama won the caucuses with 21,000 preferring Obama to 10,000 preferring Hillary, but in the primary held two weeks later, he only won 51% to 46%, 353,000 votes to 315,000 votes. Only the caucus votes were used to determine delegates.

The elderly clearly aren't the only group under-represented at caucuses, but they are a somewhat quantifiable one. I attended caucuses in Iowa and Colorado. I saw only a smattering of people who seemed to be over 70 and none looked to me to be in their 80's. I spend every weekend at a nursing home visiting my mother, and almost without exception, the TV's in the residents' rooms are blaring CNN. (Their cable doesn't get Fox or MSNBC). These voters will vote, in person or by absentee or mail-in ballot.

My point: When superdelegates consider electability against John McCain in November, Barack Obama's caucus wins should be among the least important factors. The results are skewed and not representative of the state's total voting population.

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    Jeralyn, Jeralyn, Jeralyn (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by cmugirl on Wed May 14, 2008 at 04:04:57 PM EST
    (Sigh) You're doing it again - thinking in the reality-based world. Don't you know there's a narrative going on here that is bigger than mere mortal voters?

    Anything that dares criticize the caucus system and calls into question the coronation of Obama is strictly verboten and any SD who even considers it will be "disappeared".

    Because despite the media BS (5.00 / 0) (#76)
    by ChuckieTomato on Wed May 14, 2008 at 04:37:43 PM EST
    This race is very close, especially if Florida and Michigan are included. It's almost a tie.

    They want to push Hillary out and take attention away from West Virginia.


    The NYT article says the rally is timed to (none / 0) (#53)
    by fuzzyone on Wed May 14, 2008 at 04:32:45 PM EST
    hit the evening news to take attention away from WV.

    Won't help (none / 0) (#59)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed May 14, 2008 at 04:34:19 PM EST
    and looks desperate.

    This is (none / 0) (#57)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed May 14, 2008 at 04:33:42 PM EST
    Obama's fatal flaw. He thinks that an Edwards endorsement will help him with working class whites. It won't.

    Obama must really be running scared and afraid the nomination is slipping away from him if he's doing this kind of thing.


    But why would Edwards do this? (5.00 / 1) (#74)
    by DJ on Wed May 14, 2008 at 04:37:12 PM EST
    I feel like I am part of some upside down universe.  What is happening?  It makes no sense.

    He's (none / 0) (#93)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed May 14, 2008 at 04:49:04 PM EST
    probably been promised something.

    Can you say pandering and trying to remain (none / 0) (#95)
    by PssttCmere08 on Wed May 14, 2008 at 05:01:58 PM EST
    relevant like the others:  Kennedy, Kerry, Daschle

    I don't think Edwards is pandering (none / 0) (#100)
    by stefystef on Wed May 14, 2008 at 07:10:39 PM EST
    I think he still wants to be relevant and a player in the Dem Party.

    Do I think his endorsement will help?  No particularly.  But very few people want to be seen as backing the losing team.

    The Democratic Party is on it's way to another '72 debacle.


    Is Edwards Looking to Run in NC again (none / 0) (#107)
    by BackFromOhio on Thu May 15, 2008 at 11:39:41 AM EST
    The Edwards endorsement only makes sense to me if he gets something out of it.  The possibilities that I can think of are:
    •  Tapping into Obama's magic mailing list for financial support for Edwards' poverty initiatives;
    •  VP nomination
    •  Hoping to ride on Obama's popular vote coattails in NC if he once again runs for elective office there?


    really jeralyn... (none / 0) (#67)
    by p lukasiak on Wed May 14, 2008 at 04:35:53 PM EST
    most of these older votera are already registered, and thus can't be considered the "new" voters that the party is so crazy about.  And you need to get with the program regarding the "new coalition" as well -- since we're going to have to do stuff that all the new members of the coalition want, that means the concerns of the current members of the coalition have to take a lower priority.

    and as someone who considers myself "old" but not yet "senior", I have the feeling that on some subsconcious level I, and other "old" people, don't react well to all this emphasis on "new."  Obama's messaging sucks for older voters. They have "hoped" that politicians would do the right thing and had those hopes dashed in the past so they know that "hope" isn't something you can count on.  And they lived through lots of "change", and not only is in not always a good thing, but the older you get, the less you feel like dealing with the adjustment required for change.

    I mean, if I was in a nursing home, I'd probably vote for McCain, because I'm pretty sure he won't pull the plug on my healthcare... but Obama, who knows what he'll do?


    has nothing to do with registered voters (5.00 / 1) (#96)
    by Jeralyn on Wed May 14, 2008 at 05:03:05 PM EST
    it has to do with attendance at caucuses.

    And many of them are democrats who won't vote for McCain but for Hillary who has the better health care plan.

    Or are you being sarcastic?


    Just looking at the way (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by Salo on Wed May 14, 2008 at 04:05:10 PM EST
    the internal elections are conducted, you have to objectively conclude that the GOP are more democratic in this respect than the Democrats.

    In three ways:

    Tranparent proceedures. The delegate allocation is a mad house in the Dem primary system. You have texas with a primary and a caucus.  The Superdels decide it anyway.  The PR system is niether Proportional nor easy to understand.  

    Then you have the willingness of the rules committee to meter out arbitrary punishments for infractions.  The rules people are using power in unpredictable and OTT ways.

    The excessive use of caucuses.  They are a fun way to do the preliminary stuff but they stink to high heaven when you look at Texas, Washington and Nebraska.

    and (none / 0) (#8)
    by Salo on Wed May 14, 2008 at 04:10:54 PM EST
    Transparent delegate allocation.  Easy to understand. winner take all. Similar to eventual process.

    modest use of rules committee metering out a rebuke that respects the voter.

    Almost no use of caucuses--although I could be wrong about that. Also the caucus they do use is often a papaer ballot of some sort.


    Salo (none / 0) (#104)
    by cal1942 on Wed May 14, 2008 at 09:55:19 PM EST
    I believe you're right about the GOP caucus system.  They simply vote.  There's no viability requirement, no exposed voting of any kind, strictly private ballots.

    Paul is never sarcastic (none / 0) (#108)
    by lambertstrether on Fri May 16, 2008 at 01:00:56 AM EST
    What's wrong with you?

    My only disagreement is re point one (none / 0) (#48)
    by fuzzyone on Wed May 14, 2008 at 04:31:26 PM EST
    Delegate allocation was only more transparent in winner take all states, which is massively undemocratic.  The reason that they had so many winner take all states, as I understand it, is that Guilliani got a bunch of states he expected to win to switch to that formula.  I do think delegate allocation needs to be fixed to be more transparent, but I don't think winner take all is the solution.

    No (none / 0) (#73)
    by Salo on Wed May 14, 2008 at 04:37:08 PM EST
    It's a good way to imitate the final college.

    Why run a contest that is manifestly different from the one you will need to run in?


    By that logic all primaries should be open (none / 0) (#106)
    by fuzzyone on Thu May 15, 2008 at 09:51:45 AM EST
    Since everyone is going to be able to vote in the general election.  I thought the point was to be more democratic.

    very informative Jeralyn - thanks (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by Josey on Wed May 14, 2008 at 04:06:02 PM EST
    Anybody know how many states only held caucuses?

    Nevada should have been the last one. (none / 0) (#6)
    by Salo on Wed May 14, 2008 at 04:08:24 PM EST
    I think (none / 0) (#24)
    by Leisa on Wed May 14, 2008 at 04:19:41 PM EST
    Iowa, Nevada, America Samoa, Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Minnesota, New Mexico, Nebraska, Us Virgin Islands, Maine, Hawaii, Wyoming, Guam

    Washington and TX hold both caucus and primaries...


    BUT (none / 0) (#45)
    by NWHiker on Wed May 14, 2008 at 04:29:21 PM EST
    But the WA state primary doesn't allocate delegates for the Dems (Rs allocate half their delegates from each place).

    you left out... (none / 0) (#84)
    by p lukasiak on Wed May 14, 2008 at 04:39:44 PM EST
    Alaska and North Dakota

    oops! (none / 0) (#98)
    by Leisa on Wed May 14, 2008 at 05:21:54 PM EST
    Not only the elderly... (5.00 / 3) (#5)
    by eric on Wed May 14, 2008 at 04:07:16 PM EST
    This year's caucuses alienated anyone who cannot bear a room packed full of boisterous youngsters all juiced up on Hope.

    We left our caucus...it was unbearable.  I'm 35.

    That was planned (5.00 / 2) (#22)
    by dianem on Wed May 14, 2008 at 04:18:42 PM EST
    They planned on taking over the caucuses. There were diaries on Daily Kos talking about just how far they could go, and generally claiming that Clinton's people had cheated, with periodic comments implying that it would not be a bad thing if they made lots of noise to discourage Clinton supporter's.

    You are not alone (5.00 / 1) (#101)
    by stefystef on Wed May 14, 2008 at 07:22:14 PM EST
    I read many posts and diaries about the overbearing obnoxiousness of the Obama followers during the caucuses.

    They totally took over and "fixed" the contests.  That's why Obama's campaign budget stayed in the black... he basically got free labor for the last 6 months, getting "disciples" instead of supporters.  He didn't have to pay people because everything was donated and volunteered.

    But you see the differences will people go to vote in private, without a bunch of loud, annoying, spoiled self-righteous eggheads pressuring you to vote their way.

    The votes were very different.  And that is going to happen in November.  The vote will be very different.

    <Obama- our generation's McGovern</i>


    We'll know in a few weeks (5.00 / 0) (#7)
    by phat on Wed May 14, 2008 at 04:09:41 PM EST
    How many of the caucus attendees in my county voted in the NE primary.

    I'm very curious about those numbers.

    You're forgetting... their votes don't matter (5.00 / 2) (#9)
    by dianem on Wed May 14, 2008 at 04:11:20 PM EST
    This is about the new Democratic Party - the one composed of young people and blacks. The people who remained faithful to the party over the past decades are not important. The future is what it's all about.

    Okay, I'm feeling cynical... but in all seriousness, I've become quite dismayed by how Democrats run their primary. The phrase "Politics is like sausage, you're better off if you don't know too much about what goes into it" comes to mind. It's as if the party has designed a process for selecting a candidate that is guaranteed to result in a candidate who is likely to lose the general election. Did the Republicans have a say in this? They couldn't have done a better job of coming up with a system guarnateed to ensure them continued power.

    True (5.00 / 0) (#12)
    by cmugirl on Wed May 14, 2008 at 04:13:10 PM EST
    Karl Rove is chilling the Cristal for May 20, when Obama announces he's king of the world...oops...I mean the presumptive nominee.

    High fives all around at Fox News.


    That the primary process for the Dems (none / 0) (#19)
    by Salo on Wed May 14, 2008 at 04:16:39 PM EST
    mirrors the schedule of the GOP indicates that the two systems are designed to produce similar candidates. The media also get to excessively stick their rotten noses into the process and thumb the scales.

    i'd note that the GOP version of the primaries is more transparent, simple to comprehend reflective of the popular vote and therefore more democratic than our own method.


    The parties (none / 0) (#105)
    by cal1942 on Wed May 14, 2008 at 10:05:09 PM EST
    are private organizations.

    It's just that one is dumber than the other when it comes to electoral politics.

    The Democratic Party hasn't been the same since the McGovern Commission in 1970.


    I agree that number of voters is the (5.00 / 2) (#16)
    by Joan in VA on Wed May 14, 2008 at 04:15:04 PM EST
    worst part of caucuses. How can 20,000 award the same number of delegates as 200,000? That is ridiculous.
    Also a 1 hour timeframe to hold it excludes many voters. And, the secret ballot is the standard here because it eliminates coercion. Dems need to get with the program!

    also leaves out (5.00 / 2) (#65)
    by Kathy on Wed May 14, 2008 at 04:35:37 PM EST
    active military, people whose employers won't give them time off, hourly workers who can't afford to lose $8/hr x 4 hours in order to caucus, people out of the country or traveling.

    I think it's very interesting that Jeralyn focussed on a group that so strongly loves Clinton and all she stands for: elderly women.  These are the folks Bill Kristol said, "we can't do anything about them."  Well, apparently, you can: caucus and leave them out.

    Cady Stanton would be at his throat with a knife.


    The caucus (none / 0) (#21)
    by Salo on Wed May 14, 2008 at 04:18:32 PM EST
    is fun for a few contests, but on supertuesday it's got to go.

    It's so 16th century.


    Multiple star chambers... (none / 0) (#35)
    by jeffinalabama on Wed May 14, 2008 at 04:26:21 PM EST

    Not to mention the lack of organization (none / 0) (#27)
    by dianem on Wed May 14, 2008 at 04:21:00 PM EST
    It seems to be more or less an honor system, in which people can easily cheat if they want. This may work well when people aren't emotionally vested in a candidate, but does not work when some people think that the opposition is the devil incarnate.

    This is excellent Jeralyn (5.00 / 1) (#25)
    by bjorn on Wed May 14, 2008 at 04:19:52 PM EST
    I hope you will send it to the DNC so they can change the freakin rules for the next cycle in 4 years.

    Wisconsin (5.00 / 0) (#34)
    by karen for Clinton on Wed May 14, 2008 at 04:26:18 PM EST
    Also off topic and very old news:

    Feb 19th I sent this email to a friend:

    "obama's camp has been pushing any state (such as wisconsin) with open election (dems and reps can vote) party affiliation, to turn democrat and vote for him for the day.  the republican white males have come out in strong numbers for barack because they do not want to oppose hillary in the general election (and obama encourages it!)  they will of course not vote for him in the general. this is being reported all over the net, i'm not making this up!  the republican numbers are lower than normal due to them voting for obama for democratic candidate.  they know hillary is stronger and vetted and they will have a cake walk against obama the new teflon man. he will be an easy target."

    After the counts that night I sent him this:

    "This is a poll of party affiliation, they were evenly split in the dems, however 27% of the whole vote was surpringly "independents or something else"  and obama got 63% of those crossover republican etc votes.

    Party Pct. of total  Clinton Obama
    64 Democrat            49     50
    27 other party         34     63

    Who thinks republicans really wanted obama in the white house?  Raise your hand, don't be shy.

    Caucus this... (5.00 / 0) (#37)
    by Buckeye on Wed May 14, 2008 at 04:26:42 PM EST
    Obama's support in the causus states is built on an empty house of cards that the slightest breeze knocks over. Take Texas, Obama won the caucus by 10 points, but lost the primary vote by over 100,000 votes.  This is why Obama netted more overall delegates out of TX, even though he lost the popular vote.

    Washington state and Nebraska showed the same patterns. Obama won the caucus in WA by 33 points, with a turn out of around 30,000. Two weeks later, Obama only won the WA primary by 3 points, with a 200,000 turnout. Obama also won the Nebraska caucus by over 30 points, and it had around 35,000 people participate in it. Last night, around 100,000 people voted and the presumptive Democratic nominee with deep fundraising pockets and broad-based media support only won the primary by 2 points.

    This PROVES an important point.  That if all the states' were structured in the same manner as the GE (no caususes that consist mainly of liberal party insiders and college students), Hillary would be well ahead in popular vote and elected delegates and would be constructing her GE campaign as we speak.

    I feel like I (5.00 / 0) (#62)
    by Leisa on Wed May 14, 2008 at 04:34:46 PM EST
    have been shouting about the caucus problems and it falls on deaf ears...  I have been submitting these ideas as news leads to a number of media outlets...  I have not seen anything about this in the MSM...  What is going on here?

    It also proves that the caucus system (5.00 / 1) (#103)
    by stefystef on Wed May 14, 2008 at 07:25:21 PM EST
    is antiquated and needs to be removed from all the states.

    It proves... (1.00 / 0) (#63)
    by EddieInCA on Wed May 14, 2008 at 04:35:05 PM EST
    ...that Obama put together a better organization and plan to win DELEGATES - as per the rules of the Democratic Party.

    Everyone knew, at the beginning of the process, that the race was for Delegates.

    So it's easy to blame the system now, late in the process, as inherently unfair to Clinton. But the reality is that Obama and his team prepared better for the system currently in place to win the DEMOCRATIC nomination.


    Maybe (5.00 / 1) (#78)
    by Buckeye on Wed May 14, 2008 at 04:37:52 PM EST
    you have not been reading the posts.  No one is saying it was unfair (they are the rules), just that caucus result are not as indicative of the will of the people as primaries.  The above mentioned states in Jeralyn's post proves that.

    No (5.00 / 1) (#83)
    by Salo on Wed May 14, 2008 at 04:39:32 PM EST
    the point is that the system produces losers.

    It's intrinsically flawed. i'm not a Clinton supporter and i view the system as flawed.


    No one is saying (5.00 / 1) (#66)
    by Buckeye on Wed May 14, 2008 at 04:35:41 PM EST
    the caucuses do not count.  We are simply arguing they are not indicative of the GE and in this particular primary (considering how vastly different the state's primary results were vs. the caucuses), the Democratic primary may be nominating the weaker candidate.

    I have to be honest ... (5.00 / 1) (#97)
    by cherubic18 on Wed May 14, 2008 at 05:05:33 PM EST
    ... that before this primary election, I never thought about caucuses one way or the other.  Being a Californian, my PRIMARY vote never even mattered in deciding the presidential nominee.

    But if CA used the caucus system, the last time I would have been able to vote would have been in 1986 when I registered at age 18.  For the next 22 years, both school and job commitments forced me to vote by absentee ballot.  

    I can't imagine anything less democratic than disenfranchising someone simply because they're going to school and working full-time to create a better life for themselves ...

    Another Hillary Clinton Talking Point (1.00 / 0) (#55)
    by ToughOnCrime on Wed May 14, 2008 at 04:33:13 PM EST
    Hillary Clinton lost the caucuses because that incompetent team that she hired led by Mark Penn and Linda Solis Doyle did not organize them. Had Hillary Clinton won even HALF the caucuses, she would be the nominee - indeed she would have been a long time ago - and no one would have ever heard how "undemocratic" caucuses were, because Hillary Clinton had no problem whatsoever with caucuses when her husband used them to win two presidential elections!

    But because Hillary Clinton lost the caucuses, they are not supposed to count. They should if only because the Obama campaign's having more competent people working for it makes you think that he would likely make better appointments, especially to those mid - level appointments below the level of Supreme Court judge and Cabinet post that no one pays attention to ... appointments like FEMA director for instance.

    This is just like their claiming that the black vote doesn't count. Never mind that it was black voters that saved Bill's candidacy in South Carolina and Georgia in 1992, and saved him again in the 1998 midterm elections. When it worked for Bill, it counted. When it doesn't work for Hillary, it doesn't count!

    Look, I expect Hillary to say and do whatever it takes to advance her case, that is her job as a candidate. I don't expect her supporters to be so unprincipled as to parrot it as if it won't come back and bite you later.  Now Clinton fans are talking about banning caucuses, knowing full well that the reason why they are held is states cannot afford to stage a full election. here's betting that no matter who is the nominee, it will be quickly forgotten.

    Well Hillary fans, if your candidate does prevail, do not think that Obama's supporters are going to just forget that you claimed that all of his victories were illegitimate because they were just caucuses and states with black voters.

    Well (5.00 / 1) (#68)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed May 14, 2008 at 04:36:02 PM EST
    Obama has said that a swing state like WV or PA doesn't matter.

    Wow (5.00 / 1) (#75)
    by Steve M on Wed May 14, 2008 at 04:37:37 PM EST
    It's as if you believe there were no criticisms of the caucus system prior to the current primary.

    The poster (5.00 / 1) (#87)
    by Salo on Wed May 14, 2008 at 04:41:06 PM EST
    doesn't realize that the system appears to be designed to produce a string of losers.

    He thinks it is partizan sniping.


    I wonder how true this is or if times have changed (none / 0) (#1)
    by s5 on Wed May 14, 2008 at 04:03:46 PM EST
    Clearly, caucuses in this primary have been dominated by energized Obama voters, but previously, talking about caucuses has always evoked images of seniors with nothing else to do with their day. Are there any demographic stats on the makeup of past caucuses?

    You're right (5.00 / 0) (#11)
    by eric on Wed May 14, 2008 at 04:13:01 PM EST
    Caucuses were always run by the established older Democrats from the area.  Back in 1992, I recall some of the older people being annoyed with us college students not really knowing the rules very well.  We did our best, though.  We caucused and we were respectful.

    I believe (none / 0) (#10)
    by Steve M on Wed May 14, 2008 at 04:12:18 PM EST
    that some states allow absentee ballots in the caucus process.  Iowa does not, certainly.

    In Minnesota (none / 0) (#18)
    by eric on Wed May 14, 2008 at 04:16:13 PM EST
    you can send in a proxy requesting that you be selected as a delegate.  Wouldn't have helped this year, though, as they did the "presidential preference with a mini-primary "straw poll" with Obama supporters running the show.  

    If you can't vote in person, its not a caucus (none / 0) (#49)
    by Exeter on Wed May 14, 2008 at 04:31:46 PM EST
    That's the entire point of the caucus -- to thin down the field and take into account people's second, third, or fourth choice.  If some states are doing that, thats pretty ridiculous -- they may as well just have a primary.

    Well (5.00 / 1) (#56)
    by Steve M on Wed May 14, 2008 at 04:33:28 PM EST
    Not every caucus works the same way.

    And some caucuses are, as you said, little different than a primary by a different name.


    Off topic... (none / 0) (#15)
    by Tess on Wed May 14, 2008 at 04:15:03 PM EST
    But, it was just reported Edwards just endorsed Obama.

    there's a thread up for that (none / 0) (#86)
    by Jeralyn on Wed May 14, 2008 at 04:40:43 PM EST
    please stay on topic here

    Will there be any nominaiton process reform at all (none / 0) (#71)
    by ruffian on Wed May 14, 2008 at 04:36:25 PM EST
    if Obama wins?  I doubt it.  He likes it the way it is.

    McGovern got it revamped (5.00 / 0) (#91)
    by Kathy on Wed May 14, 2008 at 04:44:24 PM EST
    Obama will return us to backroom deals, I imagine.

    Clinton will take us forward and return the "democracy" to the democratic party.  I've been making calls all day to OR and KY for my girl.  Rise, Hillary, Rise!


    Any chance of a coalition of . . . (none / 0) (#99)
    by NotThatStupid on Wed May 14, 2008 at 05:34:47 PM EST
    . . . elderly, infirm, out-of-state military, two-job parents (and anyone else I've left out) getting together and filing a class action lawsuit against the national Democratic party and any state parties that held caucuses, on the grounds of their being discriminatory?

    Just a thought.

    Reflecting on West Virginia (none / 0) (#102)
    by pflentov on Wed May 14, 2008 at 07:24:23 PM EST
    Hilary's resounding win has her and her campaign surrogates again touting that she is the most electable candidate, citing her lopsided victory and the 64% of Clinton supporters in W VA who said they would not be willing to vote for Obama.

    Let's examine the facts; Hilary did very well in a state where the demographics play to her core constituency, an older, less educated, largely white blue collar electorate.

    Given the make-up of the voters in the state, and the fact that Obama largely bypassed the state, only stopping there a couple of times to campaign (three visits, I believe), it is not surprising that Hillary won by a very large margin.

    In an election the voters have to decide who they prefer; clearly the voters in W VA prefer Clinton, but does that preference mean they would not, could not vote for the other Democratic candidate, if their first choice is not the party's nominee in November?

    The unsubstantiated claim that her supporters will not vote for Obama, as repeated ad nauseam by Terry McCauliff and others, needs to be challenged.

    For that to be true, it would require at least one of the following:

    1. There is a significant difference in the policies being put forward between Clinton and Obama; there clearly is little difference on any of the substantive issues, and Hillary and Obama are much closer politically than Clinton and McCain. The notion that Clinton supporters would not be willing to vote for Obama based on differences in policy just doesn't stand up.

    2. As a person, Clinton is much more likable compare to Obama; actually for this to be a believable reason for 64% of Clinton supporters to say that they would not be willing to vote for Obama, Obama needs to be downright unlikable compared to Hilary. Again, the facts don't support this reason. Obama's favorable rating in almost all (all?) polls is higher than Clinton's, and more importantly, his unfavourable rating is significantly lower than Hilary's.

    3. The vast majority of voters in W VA are racist; certainly this could be a valid explanation, and while I don't doubt that racism is still a real problem in the US, I find it difficult to believe that nearly two-thirds of Clinton supporters are racist (remember, these a Democratic voters, not Republicans)

    4. All the talk by Clinton and her spokespersons over the the past couple of months suggesting that her supporters would not support Obama in the November election has become a self fulfilling prophecy and is being echoed by her supported. If that is the case, and I tend to believe that it is, then Clinton in her arrogant belief that she should be the Democratic nominee, irrespective of what the voters or pledged delegate count suggests; has potentially sabotaged the Democratic campaign in November.

    While there are no doubt voters in America who would not vote for a black man, there are clearly also male voters who would not vote for a woman as president.

    A Pew Research Center poll found that 6% of Americans would be less likely to support a black person for president, and 12% of Americans would be less likely to support a woman.