Republicans have signaled that they have the Reagan Democrats at the top of their target list. Ken Mehlman, a former GOP national chairman who is informally advising McCain, said the campaign’s blue-collar outreach would attract Reagan Democrats for the same reason the former president did: McCain is seen as frank, a good leader, strong on defense and opposed to tax increases.
Some analysts say the threat of defections to McCain will be particularly acute if Barack Obama is the Democratic nominee. In many of this year’s caucuses and primaries, Obama has lost working-class white voters to rival Hillary Rodham Clinton. Holding on to those voters in swing states such as Ohio and Pennsylvania will be one key to the party’s efforts in November against McCain, the presumed GOP nominee.
“The Obama campaign has not been very successful in connecting with middle-aged, older, white working-class voters,” said Geoffrey Garin, a Democratic pollster who has done work for the AFL-CIO and is not affiliated with any candidate. “It is very important for them to understand why that is so because those are the kinds of voters who have been swing voters in the last two general elections.”
Democratic voters have shown fairly consistent demographic patterns during the primary-season balloting: Clinton’s strongest support has come from a coalition of lower-income and older voters, while Obama in most states has been strongest among blacks, upscale voters and the young.
The Latino population in Ohio is between 4-6%, much smaller than in other states where the Latino population has made a big difference for Clinton. However, the Latino population is strong in the cities of Allentown and Harrisburg. Latino outreach to these targeted areas could make a real difference.
This might seem a little meta, but Obama’s win in Mississippi is also a big picture loss for his campaign. Huh?
This morning, HillBuzz was asked if we were disappointed Clinton lost Mississippi last night and we truthfully said we expected to lose Mississippi, as Obama’s demographics were stronger in that state. However, HillBuzz found the exit poll results coming out of Mississippi very interesting, with grave implications for Obama if he’s to be the Democratic nominee.
(1) Race bloc voting is indeed happening: 90% of African Americans voted for Obama in Mississippi. This mirrors what has happened in states since South Carolina. The African American community has rallied behind Obama and he will continue to do very well in areas with high African American population from here on out. He should do very well in North Carolina and in the Philadelphia region of Pennsylvania as a result.
(2) With the increase in bloc voting, Obama has lost support amongst white voters. In Mississippi, he scored only 30% of the white vote. His claim coming into Mississpi was that he would put Southern states into play in the general election. Mississippi is one of the 11 most-reliably Republican states: states the Democratic party will not win under any circumstances in the fall. Obama has now won all 11 of these most-reliably Republican states, in mostly caucuses. His campaign has tried to spin this in terms of “being able to change the nature of the electoral map”, but that’s just not the case. In Mississippi, Obama needed to win between 35-40% of the white vote to have a chance at taking the state from the Republicans in the fall. He didn’t come close. The rise in African American turnout corresponded to an equal loss amongst white voters, meaning the excitement he generated in one demographic was offset by his losses amongst another. So, it was a wash for him, in terms of “changing the electoral map”. Even with 100% African American turnout in the fall, Obama would not even come close to making Mississippi, or other Deep South staes like it, playable in the general election.
(3) Obama lost the most conservative areas of Mississippi. For his claim to reach across party lines and redraw the electoral map to be true, he had to do well in the most conservative areas of Mississippi. He didn’t. So, his game-changing claims are false hopes.
(4) Obama’s best support group outside of African Americans remains young voters. While he attracts large crowds at his rallies, only 19% of eligible young voters (on average) actually turn out to vote. In upcoming states, the population 50 and over greatly outweighs the youth vote. Obama has thus far done no better than Kerry or Gore in actually getting young voters to the polls. He might be able to get them to a rally, but he doesn’t get them to a polling place. At this point, there doesn’t seem to be anything he can do to change that.
(5) By losing Ohio, Obama proved he cannot win a big-state primary where demographics work against him. If the same holds true in Pennsylvania next month, Obama will have a hard time arguing any ability on his part to “change the electoral map”. He has a delegate lead now, largely thanks to successes in caucus states, where his supporters are much more likely to be able to attend a two hour caucus (because they are either students or are well-off enough to be able to take that time off work). When everyone in a state has the opportunity to vote, and the demographics are more or less equal, Obama loses the primaries. Without the large African American vote in Mississippi, Obama would have lost the state. He lost independents and Republicans, and also lost the white core Democratic voters. This does not bode well for Obama in a general election matchup with McCain.
Obama’s only hope is to pull a huge upset in Pennsylvania. Realistically, he lost the nomination on March 4th when he lost Ohio. The talking heads and pundits who support Obama claim he has “the math” in his favor, but should the Democratic nominee be the person ahead in delegates, thanks to wins in unrepresentative caucuses and wins in states the Democrats have no chance of carrying in the fall? Should states the Democrats have no chance of winning decide who should be the party’s nominee? That sounds like a recipe for disaster, and a sure coronation of President McCain.
There are a lot of interesting questions about Obama’s viability as a national candidate coming out of Mississippi and, it seems, Pennsylvania will provide some equally interesting answers.
Where Were You in ’02? Bush’s War and the Prince of Darkness
Posted March 11, 2008 | 11:51 AM (EST)
Back in September 04, I had a meeting in the Senate Intelligence Committee offices. I was there to discuss 9/11 issues. The war in Iraq came up in our discussions. I clarified and said, “Oh, you mean Bush’s war?” The republican staffer said, “The president? The president isn’t responsible for this war. Congress voted for this war. It is Congress’ war.”
The staffer’s wry, spooky smile (I actually call him the Prince of Darkness) oozed with absolute pride over his new Rovian spin of who to blame for the Iraq war.
I bluntly looked at him and said, “Congress’ war? Are you kidding me? Do you mean to tell me you guys are going to try and sell that line of garbage to the American people? That is was Congress who created and took us to this war? That it was Congress who started this mess? Do you really think you are going to get away with that? You will get destroyed. Everyone knows that Bush is responsible for this war! He started it! He owns it! It is his war! And nobody will ever forget that!”
And yet in 2008 we Democrats seem to have forgotten that it was George Bush (along with the Republican war machine) that brought us first and foremost to the war in Iraq.
I wonder if the Republicans ever imagined the success of their spin.
Remember back in 2002. There was a drumbeat for war with Iraq. First it was a link between Iraq and 9/11. Then it was WMD. Then it was Saddam was a bad man and needed to be eliminated. And remember how the vast majority of the country fell for it hook, line, and sinker.
Indeed, more than 75% of our Senate voted for the authorization to go to war — including Senators Daschle, Dodd, Kerry, and Rockefeller I might add — all of whom work as advisors on Barack Obama’s campaign. And yes, so did Senator Hillary Clinton.
So where did you stand back in 2002, 2003 and 2004? Do you remember the fever? The frenzy? The momentum? Do you remember the call to speak with one united voice? That was Senate Majority Leader Daschle’s plea to the American public back in 2002. Yeah, the same Tom Daschle whose advice and judgment Barack Obama seeks out daily on the campaign trail.
I remember it all. And, I know where I stood. I was down in Washington fighting for a 9/11 Commission and I was steadfast against the war in Iraq.
But back in ’02, for those of us who dared to speak out against President Bush and his war in Iraq, we stood virtually alone. There was no resounding chorus of people calling “bullshit” on Bush’s folly. No, back in 2002 you were called unpatriotic if you dared to question the president; labeled as helping the terrorists if you raised doubt about his divine call to action.
Now forgive me, but I do not recall the help (or the voice) of any Barack Obama from Illinois. Indeed, I cannot recall hearing or feeling the impact of any one speech from the Illinois Senator. Did he attend the rally on the mall in Washington? The marches and protests in NYC? Did he conduct national press interviews? Did he write any editorials? Organize any protest rallies? Mobilize the people? Did he write any petitions? If he did, I never saw any of them.
Yet according to Barack Obama, because he spoke out in 2002 against the war in Iraq, he is better qualified to be president.
And according to Barack Obama, since Hillary Clinton voted to authorize the president to go to war in Iraq, she is unfit to be President.
As Democrats we need to remember exactly who took us to war in Iraq. We need to remind ourselves exactly who is to blame for the huge price tag our soldiers and their families have paid. We need to never forget that it was George Bush who created this debacle. Costing us billions in dollars and worldwide respect.
Maybe that’s what bothers me most about Barack Obama. He keeps talking about working with the Republicans. Reaching across the aisle. Compromise. Well, I’ve been to Washington. I have fought battles in Washington — most of them against the Republicans — to get 9/11 legislation passed into meaningful law.
And if there is one thing I know for sure right now, I do not feel like reaching across the aisle and finding compromise with Republicans particularly on any of the following issues: Roe v. Wade; torture; FISA surveillance and illegal wiretapping; unfounded wars with Iran, Syria, or any place else; stem cell research; the erosion of our constitution; alternative energy and global warming; and/or healthcare reforms.
So why does Barack Obama want to compromise on such issues? Doesn’t he get it?
To me, those issues are non-negotiable. To me, after 8 long destructive years of Republican rule, there is no wiggle-room left for Republican taint and ruin. I remember all too well that it is the Republicans who are to blame for our nation’s current precarious state.
That’s why the Democrats must win the WH back in ’08. We cannot afford another term of Republican ruin. That’s why the only place I am willing to compromise is when it comes to figuring out the best way–the surest way–to get the Democrats in the WH.
So would somebody please tell Barack Obama to stop talking about shaking hands with Republicans and start talking about shaking hands with Hillary Clinton and her half of the Democratic party so we can all start working together to beat the Republicans.
Unity Ticket ’08.
How out of touch with reality is she? When speaking to people in Pittsburgh making less than $21,000 a year, she has the audacity to lecture them on career paths in the “Helping Industry” without disclosing the almost $400,000 salary she brings in at the University of Chicago Medical Center.
Incidentally, HillBuzz wonders why she’s still collecting that salary while on the campaign trail, and also wonders why she received close to a $200,000 raise when her husband became Senator.
Complaining to people in working-class, blue-collar Pittsburgh about how expensive her daughters’ piano and dance lessons are (nearly $10,000 a year!) doesn’t seem like the best strategy to win Pennsylvania, either in the primary, or in the fall (where John McCain would seem much more in touch with Pennsylvania than the Obamas).
What’s next from this woman: cake for everyone!
HillBuzz is confused, which is understandable, since most of us at HillBuzz are old enough to remember seeing Ferris Bueller’s Day Off in an actual cinema, when tickets were something like a dollar. Bueller? Bueller? Anyone? Anyone? Hey, pass the milk duds, and don’t bogart those razzles.
For some reason, a story about a perpetually truant razzle-dazzler rings especially true these days. Can’t imagine why.
And let’s get this straight, just so HillBuzz understands: if Obama was too busy running for president, according to his own aides, to hold Senate subcommittee hearings on the war in Afghanistan, then how could he find time to dance with Ellen DeGeneres on her TV show?
Nothing against Ellen, mind you, whom we’re sure is a mighty fine dance partner, but HillBuzz thinks Obama’s time would have been better spent, oh we don’t know, working for the American people and holding subcommittee hearings on the war in Afghanistan.
Like he was supposed to do.
Bueller? Bueller? Obama?
That’s kind of what being elected to the United States Senate involves. The other 99 women and men in those chambers don’t cut out to go dancing, so why does Obama?
Today at lunch, a bunch of us at HillBuzz were talking, and someone brought up the ridiculous things people say about Hillary when they attack her. It really is crazy sometimes.
We at HillBuzz are wondering if you are proud of America.
We’re working on a project to teach Michelle Obama about America, and why, even in bad times, we are all still so very proud to be Americans. Maybe they didn’t teach history at Harvard or Princeton while Obama was there. Perhaps there are no books in the mahogany-shelved library of the Obama Mansion in Hyde Park. who knows.
But, this op/ed is a nice response to Obama’s miseducation.
What makes you feel pride in America? Looking back on the past 25 years, what have you loved most about America?
We want to hear from you: