End of An Era?
The bullet train that was the Hillary Clinton Presidential Campaign has come to a sudden stop, and many of us are still reeling from the impact. I began this post ten days ago, but had to “suspend” it until now, due to an acceleration of flying information to either disseminate or set straight — similar to the last three months, but faster. I was fortunate to attend the last of Hillary’s campaign events, and finally here we are.
Some of my friends and family, both Obama and Hillary voters, don’t seem to understand why I can’t readily jump on board the Obama train or would consider casting a protest vote. They are horrified, as am I, at the thought of the results of four more years of Republican rule. Like Gloria Steinem, one of my ardent feminist friends is now throwing her support to Sen. Obama. After all, they say, he won. Albeit things were a bit scuzzy, it’s time to move on — Supreme Court, Roe v. Wade, The War, and won’t it be great to have a black President? Other supporters say, please, we must listen to Hillary, it will look bad for her otherwise, and could hinder her ability to accomplish her programs. If we claim to support her, we’ll take the wisdom of her request and respect it. Some say yes VP, others say, no way, it’s beneath her; let him find his way out. Others buzz: You never know; perhaps he’ll self-destruct before the Convention, and the Party will beg Hillary to come save it.
Many Clinton supporters, men and women, of all races and ages, insist that they will never, ever, ever vote for Obama due to his disrespectful, misogynistic, race-baiting treatment of Hillary and Bill — and by extension all of us — his lightweight resume, questionable associates and tactics, his wavering, shallow policies, reported caucus state irregularities by surrogates, his stand against full Florida and Michigan voting rights, his hijacking MI delegates, plus taking those that weren’t actually his; last but not least, his potentially dangerous position toward Israel, and associations with anti-Semitic, racist preachers and factions. That’s just the short list.
Jubilant In Puerto Rico
Ten days ago, on Sunday, June 1, 2008, Hillary had just won the Puerto Rico primary by a landslide. The Puerto Ricans were jubilant, and honored her with the respect that they clearly understood she deserved. The previous day, the DNC Rules and Bylaws Committee had their much anticipated vote in which they decided to: restore Florida to one-half vote per delegate; award 55 Michigan delegates to Obama, who had tactically removed his name from the ballot before the primary; and give four Clinton delegates to him as well, rather than reflect the 73 percent of that state’s vote, which Clinton had actually won.
It’s not easy to abandon a candidate who is clearly the strongest to win for the Democrats in November, but more than that, to abandon the one who won. People I met in person at campaign events or online, had become activated and motivated beyond their wildest intentions. As Hillary has acknowledged with gratitude, they gave months and years of their time, volunteering, serving internships, overworking as underpaid staffers. They traveled on buses to multiple states, blogged, emailed, created websites, made phone calls, raised and donated money, registered voters, stood on street corners waving signs, attended caucuses, and protested. People cast their votes for Hillary Clinton because her strength, courage, compassion, competence, and policies resonated with them.
DNC RBC Meeting and Aftermath
They say a day is like a year in politics. Surely, it feels that way these days. After returning from the DNC RBC Rally late Saturday, May 31, I watched the replay and aftermath commentary on CPAN’s Washington Journal the following morning, happily avoiding the Sunday “political” shows.
Mitchell Caesar, of Florida, Superdelegate and DNC Executive Board Member, felt bad that Florida didn’t get 100% of their vote. He asked that people have patience and likened the ruling to “a family fight, and we’ll come together in the end” — to which a caller responded sardonically,
“You had eight years.”
Martha Fuller Clark, Obama for President, NH co-chair, declared stunningly that voters should be grateful, because after all:
“We could have elected to not count 100 percent of the vote.”
Soooo? You’re saying then, it WAS arbitrary, and not about the rulz?
Karl Rove’s no nonsense assessment was:
“They took their finger and shoved it in her eye. On Saturday, he took 55 delegates not his and four of hers. He’s not a confident individual.”
By Monday, June 2, I was still wondering: What was Hillary going to do about the rights she’d reserved during the RBC Meeting via Harold Ickes to take her vote challenge to the DNC Credentials Committee? We were waiting to hear, but nothing emerged — only the perceptible, expectant drum beat of delegates marching in tandem over to Obama’s side. Were they being pressured? How? By whom? Their constituents? The Party?
Delegates and Supers
Then after an unexpectedly juicy South Dakota 10-point win on final Dem primary day — a day when a Trojan horse AP story declared that Hillary was dropping out, and Superdelegates pushed Obama’s lead to the new magic number of 2118 — he was declared the winner. Then the big shocker: Hillary did not make the speech she was expected to make. She, like me, wasn’t ready and made the speech she needed to make. I thought it was great, considering she’d just been cheated out of becoming POTUS, and nearly yanked off the stage by the salivating DNC.
Riverdaughter commented at The Confluence:
Hmmm, now we know why the RBC did what they did. She had over 100 delegates from Florida and 73 from Michigan. If he got zero from Michigan and both states had been able to seat with full strength, she could have added over 86 delegates and he would have lost 59. Hmm, that brings her total to 1725 and Obama’s to 1707. Day-um! I wouldn’t concede either.
I still thought about the vote challenge, but on Wednesday, June 4, the day after Hillary was criticized for her remarks at Baruch College, with the world, including Barack’s native Kenyan village, proclaiming him the winner, what could she do? Unseat him? Ummm, excuse me, but we have this challenge. There would have been riots in the streets. Sure, they had to let 18 million of us down, but heck, how could the snowball have been rolled back uphill? I specifically blame the DNC for this. That day, Charles Rangel and the NY Congressional delegation came out for Obama, after chastising Clinton for not honoring the theft nominee and for taking too long to concede. Like many of their colleagues, in the end, they couldn’t stand the pressure. It’s as if none of the 18 million voters even existed or had weight.
Campaign manager, Terry McAuliffe announced that Hillary would have an event for her supporters at the end of the week and make her speech then. So people calmed down a little bit, but he’d been saying the same thing all week.
Who cares. At least there finally was a winner.
So, how did the votes actually add up?
Obama won. The MSM, DNC, and Obama campaign reported it.
Who Really Won?
Who really won the 2008 Democratic Presidential Primaries? Are caucuses fair? Do you understand what happened with all these numbers?
Texas Darlin’ at No Quarter says, “It’s a Tie! (Popular v. Pledged Delegates)” — The final tally:
Congratulations to both Democratic frontrunners!
Hillary Clinton has won the popular vote by over 300,000 votes. Barack Obama has won 130 more pledged delegates.
Here are the final totals:
POPULAR VOTE (all primaries and caucuses)
Hillary Clinton: 17,785,009
Barack Obama: 17,479,990
Barack Obama: 1766.5
Hillary Clinton: 1639.5
Hillary won the most popular votes in presidential primary history. She won them for the Democrats, and instead of celebrating her, they tossed her out on her fanny. Striking, no?
Hillary’s supporters understand what their candidate has asked of them in suspending her campaign and requesting that 18 million of us join to elect Barack Obama POTUS. Hillary is a politician. She’s cut out for the battle, and can turn around and schmooze with adversaries like it’s old times. Me, not so much. I’m troubled, like many people, by the apparent DNC internal decision to crown Barack Obama the nominee, passing over the more substantial, qualified candidate, who’s BTW a woman.
So? Now, I’m supposed to roll over, kiss, and makeup like a good girl? Sorry, not so fast, I’m not that easy.
Are Caucuses Fair?
On June 3, 2008, Huffington Post political editor Thomas Edsall posted, “Obama’s Debt To Harold Ickes,” in which he explains:
If the caucus states were eliminated, Obama would not be the one on the verge of declaring victory.
As of June 2, according to RealClearPolitics, Obama had a 157 delegate vote lead over Clinton, 2072 to 1915.
In the 14 states that picked some or all of their delegates through caucus systems this year, Obama won 400 delegates to Clinton’s 193, a 207 delegate advantage that more than accounts for his overall delegate lead.
An analysis (pdf) published on TalkLeft found that total Democratic voter participation in the caucus states amounted to 1.1 million people, compared to the 32.4 million voters in Democratic primaries, a ratio of 30 to one. Caucus participants made up 3.2 percent of the total of 33.5 million primary voters and caucus goers combined.
In contrast to the relatively close results in most primary states, Obama won many of the caucus states by huge margins, often substantially exceeding 60 percent. As a consequence, he piled up large numbers of delegates in the relatively low turnout contests.
The TalkLeft analysis noted that Clinton won 11 more delegates than Obama in the New Jersey primary, which she won by 112,128 votes, while Obama won 12 more delegates than Clinton in the Idaho caucuses which he won by 13,225 votes. Similarly, Clinton netted 12 delegates by winning the Pennsylvania primary by 214,115 votes, while Obama came out ahead by 14 delegates by winning the Kansas caucuses by 17,710 votes.
Wow. Gives you pause, no?
Were Deals Made?
Plukasiak discusses The RBC Violation of DNC “Sunshine Rules” in a guest post at The Confluence. Here’s an excerpt:
Barack Obama and his supporters on the committee engineered a deal in secret to disenfranchise constituency groups that have consistently supported Democrats – and who have consistently supported Hillary Clinton during this primary season. These key constituencies were treated as “half citizens” in Florida and Michigan solely to benefit Obama.
And there can be no question that it was the intent of Barack Obama to provide different treatment to different voters. In Michigan, Obama had his representative demand that the delegates in Michigan be provided with full voting power, (while completely ignoring their votes, and demanding a 50-50 split) while demanding that Floridians – a state with large number of Jewish voters, Latino/Hispanic voters, and older voters –– were to be given only half-representation. Obama’s position was so internally inconsistent that it can only be seen as an effort to disenfranchise those constituencies that have consistently supported Hillary Clinton, and provided her with a considerable margin in Florida among both delegates and the popular vote.
And “the rules” is no excuse. If “the rules” compel you to treat some Americans as being unequal to all other Americans, then there is something wrong with the rules. Anyone with an ounce of human dignity would recognize this, and take the easy and appropriate step of resigning from the RBC rather than enforce a provision of the rules that is an insult to human dignity.
Who Made Them?
Tom In Paine wrote yesterday, June 10, in his post After Math that this was the first time in history the Democratic contender with the most votes lost the nomination. This is due to the failed Democratic apportionment system which gives nearly equal delegates to primary losers as winners, and which in the end produced no clearcut winner.
So super delegates are asked to do something you hate to see a Democratic elected official do — exercise their political judgment and pick the candidate they think has the best chance to win in the fall.
Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and Howard Dean insisted it had to be done now even though the convention was 2 months away. And why? Because Pelosi, Reid, Dean and the Obama wing of the party are trying to sell a candidate with a resume and a list of accomplishments that you can read faster than a value meal menu and they didn’t think Obama could stand up to 2 more months of Hillary Clinton. Given the way Clinton finished and Obama limped to the finish line they might have been right.
But what did super delegates do when they exercised their political judgment? They looked at the popular vote and decided to choose the candidate the majority of voters in the Democratic Party voted against. They looked at the delegate count and saw that, not counting the 55 disputed Michigan delegates, Obama ended with a delegate lead of 77 out of over 4000 even though the democratic apportionment system awarded Obama over 700 delegates in states where he lost by landslide margins. They saw that Clinton was the winner of the 13 biggest and most populous states in the country, won every big state in the northeast, took the industrial midwest, the entire southwest from Oklahoma to Nevada, Kentucky, W.Va, Tennessee, Florida, Michigan, and California by landslide margins and decided they wanted the loser. And now they’ve got him and half the Democratic Party is ready to defect.
Finally, commenter anne, sums it up:
Me, right now, I’m just watching, seeing what goes down. Like I said. Slow down, I’m not so easy.
. . . how difficult many women find it to face sexism head on. If Obama had been defeated by a similar kind of rancid form of racism and cheating from the Clinton campaign, you can be pretty sure that none of his supporters would be ignoring the racism that made him lose – it would be front and center of any push back against his loss. A lot of women on the other hand seem to be searching for ways to rationalize what was done to Hillary, when in fact the only way we can get through this and ensure it doesn’t happen again is by not voting for Obama. If the stinking misogyny of his campaign and his media supporters is rewarded with a win, the misogynists will take it as a green light to carry on. The sexist triumphalism we’ve seen from some of Obama’s supporters trolling Clinton supporting blogs will only be the start of it.
On the other hand a loss will mean that perhaps finally women will be taken seriously as a constituency to be courted and not just the by-rote “we”ll protect Roe vs Wade” when they plan to do no such thing.