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The Game has Changed [UPDATE]

By all accounts this morning, Barack Obama is the Presumptive Nominee.

“The Math” still dictates that superdelegates will decide the nomination. Whatever superdelegates decide next week, or next month, the decisions that stick are the decisions they make in Denver, in August.

HIllary can campaign like hell, or she can go into quiet mode, or she can even try to pull the Unity bandwagon out of the ditch. None of that matters.

All that matters now is how Obama fares in the next three and a half months as “McCain versus Obama” plays out in the national media spotlight. That will be the story, and that will be the polling focus. “Clinton v McCain” head-to-head polling will be harder to find, and the superD’s will have to content themselves with prospects like THIS:

Obama McCain
10.4% probability of winning 89.4% probability of winning
Mean of 249 electoral votes Mean of 289 electoral votes

In short, either McCain will crash, or it’s a giant game of “If all your friends jumped off a cliff, would you follow them?”. Then, in the last week of August, superdelegates cast the votes that count.

As Democrats who think politics is about consequences, and have watched decade after decade as our Party threw away cycle after cycle on the politics of self-approval, we cannot be optimistic.

Still, Hillary is Hillary. Capable. Unshakable. Ready to take the 3A.M. call — any day, any time of day — no matter what.

And August is a long way off.

——- UPDATE ——-

Democratic demographic quant-wonk John Judis, writing in TNR, suggests:

The Democratic primary is over […but…] During the last two months, Obama has faltered as a candidate. He has seen his political base narrow rather than widen, and some of his strengths turn into weaknesses.

With empirical detail, of course.

From my perspective, the shiny side of his coin now is his capacity to pull people in. The dirty side is that The Presumptive Nominee be pressed to deal in particulars, and particulars nourish negatives. Great leader that he is, he has led big factions to expect big slices of big pies at the Unity Banquet … and almost everybody will go home hungry.

53 Responses

  1. Those are not pretty numbers. I still don’t understand folks who think Obama has a better electoral path to the White House than Hillary.

    The problem is that most of the SDs are going to be gutless about this. They will, indeed, follow Donna Brazile off a cliff.

    I feel so pissed and sad this morning.

  2. I’m sad too, litigatormom. I don’t feel like this is my party right now. What happened to “every vote counts”?

    I am not part of this “new movement” or “coalition” Brazile talks about. It looks like we may be thrown out like the baby with the bathwater.

  3. And that’s before the GOP and media fully tears into him! How I wish it weren’t true, but Obama is utterly hopeless. Good. Lord.

    Others are right: it’s like a watching a slow-motion train wreck.

  4. Ahh, the Monte Carlo simulation is starting to look like a real gamble, isn’t it?

  5. Interesting how the discussion went from “indiana is the tie breaker” to “win Indiana by a large margin and lose NC by single digits”. This change in the goalposts put HRC at a huge disadvantage. According to the original goals, HRC won last night by taking IN and keeping BO from his 20+% point blow out.

    I am not part of the new movement and will not be party to this. I’ve changed my registration to independent and will write in HRC.

  6. Whatever happened to “a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush”? Everytime I hear about how Obama is bringing in new voters, and that’ll make up for all us old Democrats, I want to scream. How many of those new voters signed up to vote for Clinton, not Obama? How many of those “independents” and “moderate Republicans” who voted for Obama in open primaries are going to vote for Obama in the fall? How many extremely pissed off voters in MI and FLA and else where are just gonna stay home?

    Just because I’m gonna drag my ass to the voting booth in November doesn’t mean we all will.

    Just sayin,’ Donna. I’m a woman of color who started out liking Obama, just not as much as Hillary. Now, I dislike Obama. I don’t trust him. For me, he’s the lesser of two evils (compared to McCain). But don’t hold your breath waiting for my check to the DNC.

  7. The understandable illusion that many have is that if Obama is nominated, “It’s still the Democratic Party, after all.” Well, It will not be the Democratic Party we grew up with. And it will be one which has deliberately alienated its long-time core group of White working-class voters by calling them bitter racists. But hey, guys, we still will use your vote for our purposes, so get in line. An Obama victory is a victory for Brazile, Dean, Pelosi, race-baiting Axelrod, anti-semitic Black activists, African-Americans who think that it is wonderful to vote 90% for their ethnicity, and that everyone who votes against them is a racist. To imagine that if Obama is elected, he will morph into FDR or the pre-VP Hubert Humphrey is exceedingly foolish.

    I will wash my hands of this. They don’t want me, they scorn me, so I will not help them. Every criticism of an Obama presidency is going to be called racist, bet o it. That’s their problem. I can only do what I can to help Hillary be nominated. If it’s not enough, then Spike Lee (“Well, we had to act grateful to Massa Clinton, but no more. It’s our turn now.,” or words very similar), and right-wing/left-wing fascists Arianna and Kos will be in charge. I won’t lift a finger to vote for Obama, nor will I defend him from the right-wing attack machine. Nor will I watch the convention, the debates or the election-night voting. I will cling to my novels, my college football, my personal life. And I will seriously consider moving to a country where there are actually fair elections and a democratic process which is not fixed from the start.

  8. Thanks, Ron.

  9. Why are you accepting the media’s take on yesterday?

    They wanted her out after Super Tuesday, after TX and OH, even after PA.

    This is just more of the same.

  10. We desperately need a way out of 8 years of Bush and McCain isn’t the answer. But Obama isn’t either. I have no idea what this man actually represents. So far he has shown me nothing but pretty speeches followed by a big round of applause. I still don’t get it. How did this candidate emerge so far from the back of the pack with such limited experience and background? He jumped over Biden, Edwards, Dodd, Clinton, all experienced and qualified to get this close to the nomination.

    Most of us here are political junkies. We know the issues because we have studied them and Hillary speaks on our behalf. We coalesced because she had the answers and knew her stuff. This guy stumbled all over the stage. Most of his debate performances were mediocre. His background is questionable yet the media surged to his side. He is condescending and his record in Chicago, which I have obsessed over on this blog, is murky and shows me nothing. Yet he has been the anointed.

    I feel like I have been tossed into the wilderness after supporting Democratic candidates for 40 years. I protested the Vietnam war, I marched for civil rights, I made phone calls, drove voters to the polls, held signs, signed petitions, and I am now being told that they can do without me. All I can say is it hurts.

    rd: Thanks for letting us vent here today. It is the only solace left.

  11. BTe, I am changing my party affiliation today from Democrat to “unaffiliated”. In NJ, I can vote in either primary that way.
    This isn’t my party anymore and as Paul Begala said last night when told he was part of the old coalition, “Count me out”.

  12. How odd that as a new “unaffiliated” voter, the Obama Party will actually court me when they spurned me as a Democrat. BTW: even if he pulled out all the stops to pick up Clinton’s coalition (he won’t), it’ll be too little, too late. He needed to do that when it mattered.

  13. Davidson: Yeah, isn’t that ironic? As a Democrat, I was just a stupid old woman. But as an unaffiliated voter, I join the ranks of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Models with PhDs in Architecture. I am sooooo cool now I shouldn’t even be hanging out with you losers from the “old coalition” anymore.

  14. I wish we could convince Bill, Hillary and Chelsea to form a new party. Call it the Archie Bunker coalition !

  15. RD: you mean the oldy, moldy coalition. I like the sound of this “indy for Hillary”.

  16. I’m with you. I no longer can consider myself a democrat (and
    after the last legislative session I was on the way there anyway)
    What I am now thinking is it is time for a real 3rd party. A
    women’s party, and then let them see what alienating 52% of the population brings. Hell, maybe we could find a way to make it
    viable and win. A party where our issues were the issues, instead
    of the “women’s” issues.

  17. RD: And you’re no longer wearing Klan gear, I see. Nice! I just finished releasing my guns and rosary from my kung fu grip. By next week, I should be frolicking in the meadows with magical ponies!

  18. @ Son of Sam: Yes, you’re right Zogby is the last word on everything and Obama v McCain (10.4% for BO) beats Clinton v McCain (89.4% for HRC). Stop dropping acid in the morning.

  19. Shades of Opposite Day

    SDs deciding to wait?!!! In holding pattern? Oh noez!!

    Clyburn tells HRC that it’s not time to get out and a NC uncommitted SD was asked for support and said “he’s waiting”.

    http://www.politico.com/blogs/bensmith/0508/Clyburn_Clinton_doesnt_need_to_drop.html

  20. Taylor Marsh has a posting from Veritas that is illuminating. Something I have also obsessed over on this blog in discussing Deval Patrick and his rise to governor of MA. For those from MA it will come as no surprise. But look for more editorials like these surface because of the parallels.

  21. SD question:

    Has anyone seen an analysis of how the remaining uncommitteed SDs might throw their support? I would guess that some of these folks may be an easy guess.

  22. Don’t give up. You never know when something is going to happen out of left field that changes everything.

    This has been my guiding rule for 50+ years. Trust me.

  23. CALIFORNIANS…would you still vote for Hillary if the primary were held today? What follows is from today’s “San Francisco Chronicle,” which endorsed Obama. When I mailed in my ballot a week early for Hillary, I was a supporter, but had yet to volunteer or donate.

    I usually waited until the Democratic nominee was selected before I became involved, and I was usually not too enthusiastic, other than for Bill Clinton. This time was different. The more I learned about Hillary, the more I liked her. The more I realized that we have an opportunity to elect a real leader who is in this for people, not ego. Health care matters to me. Not another empty suit. Someone with experience and a deep understanding of government and policy. Not someone whose first campaign was won by hiring an election expert to remove all competition.

    I also have had time to learn more about Obama. Before I was just turned off by the lack of experience and the “rock star” rallies with the vapid rhetoric…Axelrod’s latest rerun of the Hope-Change campaign. “We are not the Red States. We are not the Blue States. We are the United States of America.” Duh! “Yes, we can.” “Yes, we can.”

    I voted before the race cards were brought into play. Before the caucuses were gamed. Before party “leadership” did not defend the Clintons from the racists attacks. Before Obama lied about lobbyist money. Before I saw the videos of Wright. Before I knew that Obama launched his State Senate campaign from Ayers home. Before more and more of Rezko connection was known.

    At the time of the California caucus, I would have voted for Obama if he were the nominee, but would not have volunteered or donated. Now I will not vote for him. I’m writing in Hillary’s name. Finally, I’ll be able to vote for a President I’d be proud of. If Florida and Michigan are not counted fairly, I’m leaving the party.

    Here’s the story from the Chronicle. As a Californian I’m going to let my voice be known to him:

    Rep. Sam Farr, whose Monterey district went narrowly for Clinton, is one of the superdelegates in a lingering group of about 75 Democratic members of Congress who has not lined up with either camp.

    In the end, Democrats need to focus on how to win more states,” Farr said. “I think that’s where a lot of the pressure will build. … We need to win one more blue state, moving it from red to blue, and the swing states that everybody is looking at are Ohio or Florida. Assuming Democrats hold all the states they held in the last election, and they get either Ohio or Florida, they win the presidency. That’s Hillary’s argument.”

    Other factors will also be at play for superdelegates, Farr said, including simple self interest.

    “Democratic members have said to me privately, if Barack is at the head of the ticket, they won’t do well, they won’t get re-elected, and I’ve heard the same thing if Hillary is at the top,” Farr said. “It depends on what kind of district you represent. … All the members of Congress have to get re-elected in their own districts.”

    THE FOLLOWING IS THE PARAGRAPH THAT I FIND ASTOUNDING!

    Farr also wondered whether California, by far the biggest trove of delegates, would still vote for Clinton today, having given her a solid nine-percentage-point victory 13 weeks and several political lifetimes ago, preventing her from losing the nomination and Obama from cinching it.

    Congressman Farr

    Fax 202-225-6791 (Washington Fax Number)

    After anthrax, do we still have problems communicating with D.C.? Here’s his CA. office’s address:

    100 West Alisal Street
    Salinas, CA 93901

  24. PJ – I think we have quite a few MA clintonians on this site. I for one see an eery parallel between Gov. Patrick and Sen. Obama and it’s not just the “…we can” slogan. Tell me BO won’t be as ineffectual as Deval? Please.

  25. Clyburn tells HRC that it’s not time to get out and a NC uncommitted SD was asked for support and said “he’s waiting”.

    Thanks for that, Clyburn. You really are about rallying us Dems together. Uniting us all for the common good. Hooray. I’m feeling better about BO already, aren’t y’all?

  26. I think this sums it up where Patrick’s interests lie:

    “Governor Deval Patrick traveled to New York last week to shop a proposal for an autobiography among New York publishing houses, departing the state to pursue the book contract just hours before the House voted down his high-profile casino legislation on Beacon Hill… Patrick’s book would recount his dramatic rise from the streets of Chicago’s South Side to the governor’s office. Such a tale would draw comparisons to books written by his friend and political ally, Senator Barack Obama, whose “Dreams From My Father” and “The Audacity of Hope” have been longtime bestsellers.”

    Ah, I can’t wait for the BO presidency. Wonder how the plans for the basketball court are coming?

    http://www.boston.com/news/local/articles/2008/03/28/patrick_chased_book_deal_during_vote/

  27. There was a “snark” at the end of my post – deleted?

  28. Patrick is positioning himself for a presidential run. And in true MA governor form, during this layover until his bid he’s not doing his homework or taking care of business in the state. Actually, Romney’s looking pretty good compared to Patrick…did I just say that?!

    Sorry about the run on posts, I’ll stop now.

  29. I bet the remaining superdees are leaning Obama since he’s winning right now.

    Hillary’s job is to win the popular vote out right (if possible – depends on Puerto Rico) or keep it close enough that MI/FL could be the decider. If she can keep it close enough, then they’ll have to come up with a process to deal with MI/FL (revotes or negotiating with current results). Bottom line, she has to keep it close for MI/FL to matter. There’s a chance she can win the popular vote depending on Puerto Rico turnout and her margin of victory there.

  30. John McBush yesterday promised the radical right that he will continue to stock the courts with anti-choice, anti-women judges….

    Hilary or Barack, we need a democrat! Dont lose sight of the larger issue!

  31. Elixir: just hours before the House voted down his high-profile casino legislation on Beacon Hill…

    oh, and he ran on an anti-gambling platform … state ‘progressives’ were shocked, shocked I tell you, by his reversal on the issue.

  32. yoda: Dont lose sight of the larger issue!

    That’s what the Freedom of Choice Act in Congress is for. It’s why we have a system of checks and balances.

    Oh yeah, I forgot. We’ve been so busy stocking Congress with anti-choice, anti-women legislators (see Casey) that Dems aren’t moving this one forward.

    The good news is that Casey is on BO’s short list for VP!

    What were you saying about scary judges, again?

  33. when did obama promise he will nominate a pro-choice judge? don’t be scared b/c thats all they have. First the race card now they play the SOTUS card, hah. fortunately, me, my family and friends were not born yesterday.

  34. Casey is on Obama’s short list for VP? Well, then I might not grudgingly vote for Obama after all.

    Still would never vote for McCain. But Obama + Casey is a complete non-starter for me. Color me write-in.

  35. yoda — I have my sights on the “larger issue”, and I will make my affirmative case for McCain as the lesser evil in a future post.

    Meanwhile, you do realize we are talking about the same Barack Obama who clinched his Harvard Law Review presidency by tossing plums to the Federalist Society faction, don’t you?

  36. Axelrod’s second ad campaign of Hope + Change (TM) might just win again–worked for Deval Patrick, seems to have gathered a young, adoring cult following for Bama. Wall Street knew what it was betting on.

    I do wonder if the change that is to come might be the big switch of the corporate-consolidated media to “Maverick John McCain.” No chance of returning the airwaves to the people or of having free substantial campaign ads on the people’s airwaves and not just pushing products. General Electric of NBC/MSNBC (with Microsoft) does have its nuclear power plants to consider, but McCain would be a better bet than Bama.

  37. Long night, and it’s a miserable morning watching all the cable pundit spin. Watching McGovern switch sides this morning totally sucked.

    I never liked Lord Obama, being a former Edwards supporter who switched to Hillary. Obama is an elitist, out of touch with the working class of america, and a deeply flawed candidate who McCain and the republicans will slaughter this fall with Bittergates, Wrightgates, etc etc etc……..

    I have a feeling unless something big happens, I am going to have to put my political junkie-ness aside, and move on with life, and will not be voting this fall. I just can’t stand Obama. I cannot fathom myself voting for, or supporting him. The only hope the Democratic party has to get my vote is for a third candidate, ala Gore, Edwards, etc.

    See ya in 2012, unless something happens in the next 3 weeks that allows Hillary to wage a comeback.

  38. Yoda: If you are really worried about that, you should be on the horn to Donna and Dean and Obama and tell them to stop pissing us off.

  39. By all accounts this morning, Barack Obama is the Presumptive Nominee.

    By whose account?

    Does the media have this kind of power? Do they just get to declare tha Obama is the nominee, even though he lost the tie-breaker?

  40. What are they gonna do when the swimsuited PhD in Architecture looks like this after a few years?

    http://tinyurl.com/67fwlv

    (didn’t post first time)

  41. I’m with Nature Guy.

    I think Gore is probably our only hope of preventing disaster for the party and the country. I hope Hil and Bill are talking to him and cutting the deal for an August surprise…if necessary.

    Still, RonK…I’ll watch and wait for your affirmative pitch for McCain…I may even consider it.

    I’m too old for this. And too angry.

  42. I wish she would drop out, declare as an Independent and run anyway. I’d be willing to bet on her chances.
    Of course, I know she’d never do that, but it’s a nice fantasy.

  43. just wondering what the cost is for doing a poll. Maybe we can all chip in to hire SUSA to do a poll for us. I bet that in 3 way race, Hillary can get at least 30% if not more.

  44. Nature Guy — I am going to have to put my political junkie-ness aside, and move on with life — Agreed. There are other ways of striving to improve the human condition, and the levers I have spent one life struggling to wrest and master will be practically inoperative (win or lose) if Obama has his way.

    As Miyamoto Musashi advised his students, “do nothing which is of no use”.

    And as mentioned before, I have a sprout or two in my Garden of Ideas that needs tending.

  45. As RonK can tell y’all, we don’t register by party in our state…so there’s no such thing as ‘changing’ our registration to send anyone a message. You’re either registered or you’re not.

    BUT…refusing to pay your party dues…state and national…after years of reliability, will show up in the databases and the totals. Not attending their fundraisers will show up. Not volunteering and not going to meetings will be noticed.

    Saying ‘NO’ when they call will be noticed. Tell them why and it will be reported…and repeated.

    When my governor endorsed Obama (yes, it’s political and I do get it) that was one thing…when she invited Bill Richardson (ack!) to be the special guest at her campaign kickoff fundraiser, I told her why I wouldn’t be attending…or sending a check. The Obama people should fill those tables and send those checks.

    It’s evidently their party now.

  46. I just spent 5 years desconstructing a Republican administration. I’m not going to put in the energy deconstructing a Democrat one. I want to CONstruct, not DEconstruct. What to do, what to do….

  47. Guess its official, no longer being an official democrat. (I probably never was but voted like one). I need an official moniker: how about Pragmatic Progressive Populist, the 3P party… I don’t know…

    All I know is I do not see myself voting for Obama in the fall, if he is the nominee. Perhaps if McCain wins, it might not be that bad. He won’t be able to push thru right-wing judges to the supreme court, assuming BO is not such a drag down ticket that he would stop the 6 or so seats democrats should pick up in the Senate…

    McCain may force his way on foreign policy, but i sincerely do not think he is crazy. And i truly don’t see how he can wreck the economy any more from what Bush has done…

    We will see…

    Hopefully Hillary can save us all from this potential nightmare…

  48. No third party.

    Let’s just stay right here where we are, say our peace, and invite the Party to come back to us in its time. One may only hope that there is too much historical momentum for the Party to be able to switch its course so dramatically and make the switch permanent.

    I’ll be ready to slay the fatted calf when the Party returns. . . .

  49. As much as I like you RonK, I find this post and this site to be a bit rediculous. Considering the fact that Obama has just gone through a month that would have killed most pols yet still held on to win NC and get extremely close in Indiana, it’s rediculous to say that he can’t build a coalition. Especially when polling shows that he holds his own in the same terms as Hillary, Look at the Jewish support after al of this Muslim/Anti-Semite crap/

    And this site lools even worse. Any idiot who votes McCain or doesn’t vote deserves everything McCain gives them. And that won’t be pretty.

  50. When BO claimed that HRC wouldn’t get his voters, was he not implying that those voters would either vote McCain or abstain? So I guess that would make them idiots, too.

    (Off to make a donation to HRC for engaging a troll…)

  51. What can I say, we old-coaliton-democrats are “rediculous”

  52. Mike S — It’s not good form to stuff a scolding with false premises.

    BO does NOT hold his own with HRC in polling. That’s the subject of this post. Maybe someday he will. maybe he get a “presumptive nominee” bounce. After all, it’s a race to the bottom, and anything can happen. (As I suggested, they’ll stop polling the Hillary-McCain contest soon anyway, so we’ll never really know.)

    And BO bleeds Jewish votes – just not as deep as some might have anticipated. 61%, vs Gore’s 79%, Kerry’s 75%, Clinton’s 66%.

    Sure, McCain will be a horrible POTUS, and appoint a horrible SCOTUS, and probably die in office elevating an even more horrible VP to POTUS. Too bad about all that.

  53. […] that far behind? I hope not, we can talk about a division without promoting it to happen. Also, from RonK:… Barack Obama is the Presumptive Nominee. “The Math” still dictates that superdelegates will […]

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