RUN CLINTON RUN May 22, 2008Posted by wmmbb in US Politics.
As expected, Clinton won comprehensively in Kentucky in what might be described as one horse race (enough of the puns already), and Obama more significantly and more impressively won Oregon. Obama’s win in Oregon came as no surprise after he had addressed a crowd of 75,000 in Portland, where 15,000 people had been turned away. Clinton’s success followed the patterns set previously in Pennsylvania and West Virginia. Just why poorer, less educated people support her remains a mystery to me, except in resignation and hopelessness.
It interests me, and almost nobody else that I am aware of, that Oregon was originally going to push its primaries up the calendar, and its legislature pulled back from that idea, unlike Michigan and Florida. The other thing that interested me was that all voting is by postal ballot, which may delay the count, but is convenient for the voters. I do not know much about Oregon, or for that matter Kentucky, other than in the past that their were pockets of extreme poverty in Kentucky, and that Kentuckians seem drawn to Chicago, and in my limited experience their speech of some is both fast and incomprehensible, perhaps like bluegrass music.
The common feature was that both states are predominantly Euro-American – I hope one day that the current classification system used in the United States will be dropped and replaced by one that is more ethnically and genetically accurate. If Clinton is such a hit with this generic type, which as Jon Stewart observes comes in many flavours as ice cream, why could she not win in Oregon?
Both states had a similar number of pledged delegates at stake. Obama won 30 of the 52 on offer in Oregon. Clinton would have picked up two-thirds of the 51 Kentucky delegates. The relative position of the candidates with respect to pledged delegates has not changed much, except that Obama is closer to the number he requires to clinch the nomination, not counting the delegates of Michigan and Florida.
The question is: Why does Clinton keep going on? Supposedly because she believes that she can still win the nomination. She has said she will stay until the last primary is held.The possibility is, I suppose, in a fit of egotism and vanity gone made, she wants to crash the Convention in Denver. She is helping McCain to some extent by running against Obama in way she is, but were she to do that destroy her own chances as a candidate, but destroy the Democratic Party.
As expected the questions were asked, and the answer is according to Patrick Healy in The New York Times:
Rather, in private conversations and in interviews, Mrs. Clinton has begun asserting that she believes sexism, rather than racism, has cast a shadow over the primary fight, a point some of her supporters have made for months. Advisers say that continuing her candidacy is partly a means to show her supporters — especially young women — that she is not a quitter and will not be pushed around.
Obama gave his speech on race, perhaps we await Clinton to speak out on gender. But will she? Or is there another rationale?
Juan Cole reports Obama is leading McCain by 10 per cent, whereas Clinton is running level with him. Furthermore, Obama is doing OK with the working class, other than in Appalachia.
In London, The Independent editorial calls Obama the most exciting presidential candidate in a generation and says it is time for Clinton to see the writing in the tea leaves:
His opponent, Hillary Clinton, has fought an admirably indefatigable campaign and the drawn-out contest has made Mr Obama a stronger, more mature, candidate. But, that said, there seems little justification for Ms Clinton extending the contest now that any realistic chance of her overtaking Mr Obama has disappeared. The time has come for the New York Senator to step aside and concede defeat graciously for the good of her party. What Mr Obama needs now is to be given time to show that he is not merely the best candidate for the Democratic nomination, but the best candidate for the White House.
Good call on all grounds. The contest is now effectively between Obama and McCain.
Marie Cocco in Truthdig asks the question: If not Clinton who? Putting aside all the questions of the influence of sexism and racism, I understand the angst of supporters of women as political candidates. Still Marie Cocco in this piece gets the analysis wrong. She writes, for example:
Thatcher, for instance, never ran for executive office on her own. She became the first (and only) female prime minister of Britain by reaching the leadership of the Conservative Party. That is how many women heads of state have risen—through parliamentary systems that often use quotas to guarantee women legislative seats. Americans don’t like quotas much.
And since Thatcher there has not been a woman PM since, and one is not likely. The reason that women and other minorities get elected in other systems has more to do with the electoral system. Proportional representational systems have other virtues, and do not require quotas. Women and other groups without proper representation should be considering alternatives to the two party system and the winner take all electoral process.
Still, I should note that California’s two senators are both women. Perhaps Barbara Boxer should be considered as a presidential candidate. Nancy Pelosi is afterall the third in line to the Presidency as the Majority Leader in the House of Reps.
It looks as if Clinton is going to attempt to strong arm the convention and win the nomination there, and hang the consequences. The national polls, such as that indicated by Juan Cole, in this play become important in influencing the superdelegates. Clinton’s sense of entitlement appears to know no bounds – what must she be thinking? This could end in tears and bitterness.