Sunday, August 17, 2008

Happy Days Are Here Again!

After long negotiations, the Obama campaign has decided that Clinton's name will be formally placed in nomination and she'll get a roll call vote.

Why is this important? Clinton received almost half the votes during the Democratic primary, and her supporters were very passionate. Possibly having the first woman President was just as significant as having the first black one. Many of them have strong feelings about how their candidate was treated by the Obama campaign, the Democratic Party, and the media. Consequently, they weren't warming up to Obama, even though their candidate was urging them to.

Initially, Obama and the Party tended to ignore the Clinton supporters and were focused on having a unified Convention. They just assumed those voters had nowhere else to go. This strategy wasn't working very well. The national polls showed the general election as close, and it was getting closer as time went by.

One reason was that some of these Clinton supporters, mostly women, were really, really angry, and they were organizing. For an example, check out Just Say No Deal. At first, the Obama campaign thought this was just a fringe group or a front for Republicans, but they were dead wrong. Democrats just aren't used to women playing tough, but they sure are now.

Ignoring these voters was definitely the wrong move - that made them even madder. His campaign points out that Obama does well with women in recent polls, but that doesn't tell the whole story. Black women and young women do support Obama overwhelmingly, and a majority of Hispanic women, as well, but these groups historically have low voter turnout. But older white women do not support Obama, and senior women overwhelmingly do not - and they always vote. No Democrat is going to win without the white female vote, especially since they're not going to get the white male vote.

Several of Clinton's female big money supporters weren't ponying up for Obama. When they were approached, they said you'd better do something for Clinton's supporters or you'll lose.

A simple thing would have been for Obama to choose Clinton as his Vice President, but that wasn't going to happen for several reasons, the biggest of which was that they simply don't like each other.

The next best thing is to allow Clinton's nomination. If they do this legitimately, this will appease many of her supporters - enough to probably make a difference in the election results.

There are definitely risks to this strategy. Close to half the delegates at the Convention may vote for Clinton, and Obama will have to share much of his limelight with the Clintons.

But ultimately, it's a very wise move. Why?

For one thing, there was a strong possibility of an ugly Convention - especially outside the hall - and the Democrats definitely didn't want that.

But mainly, because it shows respect for Clinton's historic candidacy, and her supporters were really tired of being treated like dirt under someone's shoe.

For another, there was a lot of anger over the way the primary election was run. Winning the nomination fairly at the Convention gives more legitimacy to the Obama victory in the eyes of Clinton supporters.

It also makes Obama look gracious and magnanimous, when many have the opposite opinion.

Finally, Clinton and her husband are both speaking at the Convention, and with this show of respect, I think they'll be able to win over her delegates.

In my conversations with the Mississippi Clinton delegates, I know this will make most of them much happier. They were elected to vote for Clinton, and they want a chance to do it. Then they'll be on board the Obama wagon.


jwiggins said...

Excellent blog here Casey Ann. Keep up the good work.

A sincere question. Political campaigns are inherently contentious things. There are always hurt feelings, on all sides, by the time it's all over. I don't, however, understand the level of anger of some Clinton supporters toward Obama himself. Disappointment, sure. Anger at the media, absolutely. Maybe too at the Democratic Party. But to the point of giving Dubya a third term?

Of course things were said by "the Obama campaign" that offended Clinton, that she thought were unfair, but the reverse is also true. So what exactly did Obama do or say that is so far beyond the pale of "normal" political competition, that accounts for this?

Maybe it's justified. Fill me in.

In the interest of full disclosure,...from early in the process, I've been an Obama supporter, though I've never quite convinced myself that he is the Second Coming.

Anonymous said...

As a Clinton supporter I think the reasons we are so disappointed she did not get the nomination are because of all the reasons you stated and--the misogyny exhibited by all the male political commentators was overwhelming--so unfair and so maddening I could not stomach it.

Also Hillary is at her prime, her penacle--this is it--the time is right. I feel her power, courage, passion, that I don't feel from Obama. He has time, why not wait 8 years--I sense a weakness and fatigue in him--his shoulders are narrow --silly observation maybe, but I can't say I see absolute Presidential presence there.

And yes, Hillary is a woman and I feel America will elect a martian before they will allow a woman to be elected to the highest position in our country.

We had the right person, at the right time and it didn't work out. Of course we are upset. We are sick.

I'm sure there are other reasons but that's all I have at the moment.

Anonymous said...

I can only answer your question personally and do not speak for all "angry" women. I apologize for the length but it is hard to answer such a question in a short post.

I recently became a member of the Puma movement via There is a place to say why you are joining and I think what I wrote can answer your question.

"There are two reasons why I cannot vote for Obama in November. First, the Democratic Party leaders rallied behind Obama very early in the primary season and unfairly influenced the election. I am uncomfortable with supporting a candidate not chosen by the people. Second, I am turned off by the irrational hatred of Hillary Clinton and extreme sexism of many of Obama's followers and within his campaign. I cannot get excited about and vote for a candidate who is supported by a movement rooted in sexism and hate. In the long run, it is more important to prevent this movement from gaining momentum and power than it is to remove Republicans from The White House. Sexism and hate are dangerous for our country and for humanity and this movement must be stopped immediately. This is why I'm joining Just Say No Deal and consider myself a PUMA."

I personally am not angry with Obama himself. Although, I have to say, with all of his recent flip flops, I do not trust him. He has done a few 180s on issues very important issues and the fact is, we really do not know how Obama will govern if elected.

My anger lies mainly with the Democratic Party leaders. They should have stayed out of it. To say that they influenced the election is a mild way of putting it. Much of the influence was obvious. Many party leaders, going against the way their constituency voted, strategically timed announcements of endorsements for Obama. They asked Hillary to step down from the race "for the good of the party" via the media, fully knowing this would affect momentum. They did this even when she still had more pledged delegates than Obama. Other involvement was less obvious. For example, "punishing" FL and MI was absolutely unnecessary. Saying "rules are rules" is not a real answer. FL had a good reason why they moved their primary earlier in the season (Republican controlled legislature did it.) The Democratic Party committee that decided to "punish" FL had a chance to excuse FL but chose to ignore their legitimate pleas. In addition, the rules are created
by Democrats, they are not the law. So the Democratic Party had a chance to help themselves. Instead they chose to "punish" and risk angering Democratic voters in two highly populous battleground swing states. Looking at this from the perspective of wanting to win the general election, this seems really, really stupid. Why would they do this? Is it because they truly are stupid or was there another motive? Either way, when the Democrats lose in November, one can only hope our party leaders will at least learn a lesson from this one (of many) obvious mistake.

When the Party leaders decided to rally behind Obama, they knew they would risk the women vote. They knew they could either lose our vote or they took our vote for granted, assuming they would get our vote anyway. Yet they still made their choice. This logically should be a little upsetting to a voting woman. Seriously, why should we vote for a Party that literally wrote off our vote or took it for granted? How can we expect such a party to be strong on our issues? When Obama is "reaching across party lines", how can we legitimately be surprised when our issues are the first to be compromised?

Instead of voting for Obama, I will write in Hillary Clinton. Let's face it, Obama will not win Mississippi. McCain will win MS. So instead of wasting a vote for Obama, all Hillary supporters in MS should write in her name on the ballot. (This is legal in MS.) Obviously Hillary will not win MS either. This is a way to have their vote count by sending a clear message to the party leaders to let the people elect the nominee. In addition, it makes sense to vote for the most qualified candidate.

So, to put it simply here is the chronology of things that may have caused women to be angry:

1st Women love and identify with Hillary
2nd She was the by far the most qualified candidate
3rd She won the popular vote
4th She would have won delegates if not for the party leaders and the sexist media
5th She is not the Democratic Party nominee

Yes. We're a little angry and I hope our votes count in November.