Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Ten For Ten

Yesterday Obama won his ninth and tenth votes in a row. He won Hawaii in spite of some last minute hard campaigning by the Clintons -- they even sent in Chelsea, though why that should matter is a mystery to me -- and he took Wisconsin. That's important because Wisconsin is seen as a barometer for delegate rich Ohio, a state Clinton must win if she is to have any chance at all.

More and more it is looking like she won't have that chance. Obama is now cutting into every sure base of support for her - women, seniors, working class, Catholics. He even took the Latino vote in Maryland and Virginia. That is supposed to be her ace in the hole come Texas. Speaking of which, the Democrats have an interesting system when it comes to apportioning delegates: the more voters in a district, measured by the previous election, the more delegates. In the last election voter turn out was high among Texas blacks and low among Latinos!

Earlier I wondered if this campaign season would be marked by a lack of momentum, with the two races going to the convention, but now it looks like it will be all but settled come March 5. Once McCain gets enough votes to ensure the nomination, Huckabee will step down and the race for Team Red will be over. Unless Clinton can perform a miracle Obama will take an insurmountable lead, and that will be that. I do expect Obama to come under heavy, heavy fire from opponents. Right now McCain seems to be letting the Clintons do most of the attacking, though their biggest salvo so far was particularly lame. They compared speeches by Obama to those of Governor Patrick of Massachusetts, found a lot of similarities, and accused Obama of plagiarism. Patrick quickly came to Obama's defense, pointing out that the two are friends and that those often share their ideas and opinions. A member of Obama's Wisconsin came forward to point out the similarities between the language used by Obama and the Clintons themselves. The Clintons were attempting to do to Obama what was done to Joe Biden in his 1988 campaign, when it did work to undermine the candidate's credibility. It is exactly the sort of cheap attack that has turned voters off the Clintons in the first place, but they don't seem to realise it.

So far my posts on the elections have been pretty narrowly focused on delegate support, but as things go ahead I intend to spend more time on analysis. Why oppose Clinton? Why should someone who hasn’t got a vote in the first place care? Plus deeper looks at the eventual winner’s pasts and policies.

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