Thursday, February 7, 2008

Why Clinton is stronger after Super Tuesday

If you paid any attention to the news leading up to Super Tuesday it was clear Obama had the momentum with a string of celebrity and union endorsements. Clinton was shown to be at least even if not behind in polls in California. There was no doubt about who won the state tally on Super Tuesday. Barack Obama won thirteen states to Clinton's eight with New Mexico pending and looking favorable to Obama.

The Obama campaign should be happy at what they accomplished against one the most recognizable political names in America. The Clinton folks should also be upbeat after winning California and Massachusetts and thus nullifying the endorsements of the Kennedys and John Kerry. A close look at the states won by each candidate gives an insight to which candidate has a better chance in the general elections.
Obama won more states but those included states like Alaska where the total votes cast were under 400. He also won states like Utah, Idaho and North Dakota which do not have enough delegates to make a difference in the total count and are republican strongholds. No Democrat has any chance at these states in the general elections. The Democratic Party has not and will not spend time in these states.

Obama did make headlines by winning the southern states with the exception of Tennessee which went to Clinton. Again the Bible belt is red from top to bottom and no Democrat has a chance there. The Black vote in these states will be small and inconsequential in November to make a difference for Democrats. The Hispanic vote will have a much bigger impact for the Democrats. Obama's biggest victories on Super Tuesday were Missouri, Colorado, Delaware, Illinois, Connecticut, Kansas and Minnesota. Missouri, although a win for Obama, is essentially a tie in terms of the delegates awarded to each candidate.

Hillary Clinton also won in red states like Arkansas, Tennessee, Oklahoma, and Arizona where the Democratic nominee does not have a chance in November. But the Clinton camp should be happy with Super Tuesday’s results because of her wins in delegate rich Massachusetts, California, New York and New Jersey. These are Democratic states in the general elections. This is the Democratic base and Clinton did very well here. This means the democratic base with the exception of Illinois, Connecticut, and Delaware went with Clinton on Super Tuesday. It implies that she has the support of the voters in the states that democrats traditionally carry in the general elections.
This is the argument she can take to the big donors of the Democratic Party. Clinton only has to catch up in Connecticut, Delaware and Illinois while Obama has to work in New Jersey, California, Massachusetts and New York. Missouri is an exception where both would have to work to win that state along with the Republican nominee. Thus Obama has more work to do in winning the Democratic base than Clinton.

This is by no means over and Hillary Clinton should now concentrate on a few select states beyond Super Tuesday. States such as Texas, Ohio and Pennsylvania are noteworthy. She can let Obama win more states and get the headlines but in terms of the base votes and delegates Clinton will remain ahead. She also has to attack Obama on the lack of specifics of his policies. The media seems to have given him a pass on the details but Clinton cannot afford to do so. She has to force him to unveil the nuts and bolts of his economic, military and social plans beyond the redundant change concept. Everyone gets it that Obama wants to bring about change but Clinton has to force him to get to the ‘how’ part.

There is no doubt that Barack Obama will continue his huge cash flows and get high profile endorsements. However ,the Clinton machine will work the grass roots like they did in Massachusetts, New Hampshire and California. Like in California and Massachusetts Obama’s celebrity endorsements will be reduced to nothing more than an opportunity to name drop by the Obama campaign.

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