Pre Super Tuesday Thoughts
Yes, I’m a shameless Hillary suck-up, but somebody’s gotta do it. Here are a few thoughts on why I see this race shaping up as Hillary’s to lose, despite Obama’s midas touch (and yes, I will eagerly support Barack if he’s the nominee, so there!).
1. Clinton and Obama have been close in national polls for a while now. This is nothing new.
2. Obama has yet to win the white vote in a single primary. Not a good sign. Also, one can’t rule out the influence of the Bradley effect. I’m not saying it’s as powerful as it may once have been, but I don’t think you can confidently state it doesn’t exist. Don’t be shocked if Obama underperforms relative to the polling on Tuesday.
3. Clinton is absolutely dominating the Latino vote, protestations by Obama surrogates to the contrary.
4. The worsening economy plays to Clinton’s strengths.
5. Snubgate is hurting Obama with female voters. So, perhaps, may Teddy Kennedy’s endorsement.
6. Rezkogate is becoming a serious headache for Obama.
7. The seasoned Clinton campaign seems to have gotten the Bill eruptions under control. When he is under control, he’s a proven closer, as New Hampshire has shown.
8. Obama is drawing huge crowds. But, in similar fashion to New Hampshire, people who can’t get away from their day jobs (much less shell out $500 checks to political campaigns) are more likely to show up and vote than college kids cutting class to attend rallies. Advantage: Clinton.
9. Obama has been sharpening his attacks. That’s a risky strategy, as it detracts from his pure-as-the-driven-snow image. Surely this shows their internal polling tells them they’re unlikely to emerge as the top delegate gainer on Tuesday. My guess is that John Edwards’s exit from the race has unsettled them.
10. John Edwards’s lack of an endorsement speaks volumes. Nobody expected him to endorse Clinton. But nobody expected him to refrain from endorsing Obama. I think we’ll be able to look back in a few months’ time and conclude Obama lost the nomination the day of his triumph in South Carolina. For by finishing third in the state of his birth, Edwards’s campaign came to an end, making it a two person race. And that, in turn, was a development hugely beneficial to Hillary.
11. McCain’s rapid emergence as the presumptive Republican nominee widens the experience gap between Clinton and Obama. Democrats are facing the sobering prospect of running against a titan of the foreign policy and defense establishment. Clinton is much better suited for such a race than Obama. Indeed, the “dual presidency” so many pundits have decried doesn’t look so bad when the extra constitutional portion of the presidency happens to be the country’s single most capable diplomat.
12. Contrary to Broderesque analysis, it’s not good enough for Obama to “keep it close” on Super Tuesday. He needs a win in the delegates sweepstakes. Why? Because it is the Obama campaign that has made momentum its calling card. Finishing second to Hillary Clinton will hurt that momentum — probably fatally so. Because, with the GOP settling on McCain, Democrats will understandably start to get antsy to settle on a candidate. If it is Hillary who has the momentum and delegate lead on February 6th, they’ll begin to close ranks behind her, just as the GOP is doing with McCain right now. By Valentine’s Day we should know what the November matchup looks like.
13. Intrade still favors Hillary, and in fact has barely budged sensed South Carolina. The money, at least, is pretty skeptical of Obama’s chances.