February
6th 2008
Super Duper Tuesday Wednesday Morning Quarterbacking!

Posted under: American history, women's history

nast-donkey.jpgWell, not so much quarterbacking as straight reportage.  At Historiann’s precinct 114 in Potterville, Colorado, the vote count was 57 for Barack Obama, and 26 for Hillary Clinton–a better than 2-to-1 margin.  That tracks with his margin of victory statewide, now pegged at 66% to Clinton’s 33%.  It was wonderful to see so many people turn out–there were nearly 90 of my neighbors in my precinct meeting room at the local high school, and the other seven classrooms looked equally jammed full of commited and patriotic Americans.  It was clear that the Obama people had really organized the hell out of the caucus–they were there in force, with signs and stickers, and they drew a truly impressive turnout.  So that an encouraging sign if Obama’s the man in November–if they can organize this state into a solid Democratic pickup, I’ll be with them all the way.  However, caucuses inevitably favor a particular subset of the Obama base:  affluent people with graduate degrees, whereas Clinton’s base is more working class, female, and Latino–people who might have a harder time getting out at a particular time on a particular weekday evening.  Women turned out in good numbers, but Latinos and working-class people were very underrepresented, not just in my precinct, but from what I could tell about the other precincts too.  Historiann was a dewy young thing compared to most caucus-goers, who were overwhelmingly 55+, although that’s a group that in previous primaries and caucuses has favored Clinton, so good on Obama for improving his age spread in Colorado.

Nationally, however, the news was much more favorable to Senator Clinton.  The vote between Obama and Clinton was split until the California results came in, with HRC picking up all of the really big states and most of the pretty big states (except Illinois and Georgia), including a very respectable showing of southern states.  Clinton’s double-digit blowout (at least so far, with 90% of the vote counted) in California helped her open up a 100-delegate lead.  Obama did well in states with caucuses, but states with lots of Democratic voters seemed to prefer Clinton.  And in the end, the Kennedy endorsements don’t appear to have helped Obama enough in the primaries, at least not in the states that the endorsing Kennedys actually live in.  Clinton won Massachusetts, despite The Senator’s nod (and Sen. John Kerry’s and Gov. Deval Patrick’s endorsements) and California, despite Maria Shriver’s endorsement and the late campaigning by the Obama-endorsing side of the family (by The Senator and Caroline, especially.)  Perhaps people who are persuaded to caucus or vote for Obama aren’t persuaded by the dynastic arguments, after all?  Well, good on them.

UPDATE (FOR JAMES):  The final delegate total is Obama 538, Clinton 534.  California and New Mexico weren’t included in the spread cited above or in the comments below.  Scuzzi!

20 Comments »

20 Responses to “Super Duper Tuesday Wednesday Morning Quarterbacking!”

  1. ej on 06 Feb 2008 at 8:02 am #

    Numbers of delegates aside, I found the most encouraging thing about last night to be the record turnout of Dems across the country. While John McCain gave what was clearly a victory speech to a crowd that was desultory at best, the energy at Clinton and Obama headquarters was electric. Whoever wins the nomination, I’m hoping we can carry this enthusiasm into the general election next November!

  2. Monocle Man on 06 Feb 2008 at 8:20 am #

    HistoriAnn -

    Having been oppressed my whole life by the hegemonic apparatus of graduate-degree-ism, I hear what you are saying about certain undemocratic aspects of caucusing.

    What do you think about the public nature of the caucus? Some say that voting in public is wildly undemocratic. Others say that the rah-rah, old-timey, town meeting aspect of a caucus, combined with looking at your neighbor in the eye and saying “I vote for Alan Keyes” is a heartwarming throwback to some sort of Golden Age of democracy.

  3. Historiann on 06 Feb 2008 at 9:42 am #

    I agree ej–everyone at my caucus was pumped, and Senatorella delivered a very good victory speech (but still not quite as good as Obama’s!)

    Monocle Man: great question. I agree that that’s another reason to switch to a primary where the voting booth is private. One of my mentors in graduate school, Michael Zuckerman, published an important article called “The Social Context of Democracy in Massachusetts” forty years ago, in which he argued that the face-to-face nature of town government in early New England forced consensus on its participants, and was therefore “something less than democracy; men who are finally to vote only as their neighbors vote have something less than the full range of democratic options. Government by mutual consent may have been a step in the direction of a deeper-going democracy, but it should not be confused with the real article.” If he still holds the same view of 18th C New England politics, I think Zuckerman would therefore agree with Historiann that caucuses don’t probably encourage the fullest range of political expression. However, I still think the most problematic un-democratic feature of the caucus system is that it excludes too many people, not that it exerts a pressure for consensus or conformity.

  4. James Stripes on 06 Feb 2008 at 10:15 am #

    Where are you getting your delegate count? Other figures (such as number of pledged delegates) have Obama ahead 603-590, while Clinton has more total delegates. I have not seen another source that has Clinton ahead by 100, but CNN has her ahead by 72 (783-709). Counting Democratic delegates is not simple. Do you count Florida and Michigan, too?

  5. Historiann on 06 Feb 2008 at 10:19 am #

    Sorry James–I should have put a citation in, and a time stamp, because the number is changing all the time. I was citing a delegate count I saw on msnbc.com this morning when I wrote the post. Here’s some updated info from the AP about an hour ago:

    “Obama won 13 Super Tuesday states; Clinton, eight plus American Samoa. Clinton scored the advantage in delegates, bring her total to 845 to Obama’s 765, by the latest accounting. The road ahead was long for the Democrats: It takes 2,025 delegates to claim their nomination.”

    So it looks like an 80 delegate edge. Superdelegates are not included, nor are FL or MI.

    http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5jld3VILFDbEY6uciu_lp_YgBnGqwD8UKTC200

    It’s still close, but I sure would rather be HRC this morning than BO!

  6. Historiann on 06 Feb 2008 at 10:32 am #

    One more update: I just checked msnbc.msn.com, and their “super dashboard” says HRC has 582, and BO has 485. That’s the 97 vote advantage to Clinton that I was looking at this morning–don’t know why it’s still up, as there are clearly newer numbers.

  7. David on 06 Feb 2008 at 4:51 pm #

    I actually think this was a win for Obama. He squared off against Clinton in 22 states and won a majority of them. No, he didn’t win New York (that wasn’t going to happen under any circumstance) and he didn’t win California (a long shot given that he was 22 points in the hole in the polls a couple weeks ago), but he did win some nice prizes. Besides Illinois, you have Georgia, and Connecticut. Plus he really mopped the floor with her in a lot of states like Colorado and Minnesota.

    At this point, the way I see it, there’s no way the nomination gets decided before the convention, when the super delegates actually cast their votes. Next Tuesday should be a sweep for Obama (Virginia, DC, Maryland), and after that, I expect Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Texas to all be very competitive. Obama should win most of the remaining Southern states (North Carolina, Mississippi, maybe Louisiana). Ultimately it will come down to how the superdelegates cast their votes, and most of them haven’t picked one side or the other.

    The important thing, though, is that he went head-to-head with her on the one day where she had the biggest advantage (her name can pull a lot of votes when Obama doesn’t have the chance to personally campaign in many of these states.) Now it will be a bunch of single state showdowns on different days, and I expect him to remain very competitive.

  8. Historiann on 06 Feb 2008 at 6:23 pm #

    David–good points. I still think that MA, NJ, AZ, and CA (and, finally, NM!) are extremely important wins for her, but it’s likely that whomever is the Dem nominee is going to pull down at least MA, NJ, and CA in the general. I think too that it’s important that HRC seems to have prevailed in heavily Democratic primary states rather than in caucuses, which are highly selective and (IMHO) anti-democratic, although props to the Obama team for going with the strategy of focusing on the caucuses. His long list of states won last night are definitely burnishing his reputation!

    For more confusion on delegate counting, see this handy link:

    http://tpmelectioncentral.talkingpointsmemo.com/2008/02/your_election_central_delegate.php

    (The higher estimates there that give a 100 delegate edge to HRC include the “Super Delegates.”)

  9. Rad Readr on 06 Feb 2008 at 6:43 pm #

    If this comes down to a floor fight at the Dem Convention, it is going to be messy. A lot of people are going to be angry if superdelegates pick the nominee. And suddenly the tight race and the possibility of a brokered convention have opened up a scenario that is too painful to contemplate — the Dems find a way to blow it again. As I have said before, Hillary is the machine candidate. She is not really a Clinton. She is a Kerry. A Gore. A Mondale. And, I am so sorry to say this dear historiann, she is a Dukakis. She’ll be putting on that helmet any day.

    If some of the wonder bread states can swing so wildly toward Obama, then she has a real upHill battle in the general election. The test here is not who wins California — it will go Democrat no matter what — the question is who has traction in those evil places like… Colorado. (Well, at least you have sunshine.)

    Right now Obama has the organization, the enthusiasm, the young people, the money, the speeches, the drunken bunch, and Oprah. I’m cheering him on all the way. Go Obama. Change you can believe in. You can do it. Sack Tom Brady. I feel for those little boys throwing rocks at that building in Chicago. You can do it. Si se puede ..

    but here’s the scary part, I voted for Senatorella!!!!! I’ve become part of the machine! Help me, Barack! Help me out of this machine!!

  10. Historiann on 06 Feb 2008 at 7:59 pm #

    All right, Rad! You had me going there for a moment. I knew you couldn’t resist her. I wonder what Mrs. Rad did…?

  11. Said Friend on 06 Feb 2008 at 8:16 pm #

    Yes, Barack has a lot going for him. But why is it that it seems impossible to revel in Senatorella’s strengths, assets, accomplishments? Why does she need to be defended so much? I recently had an unpleasant conversation with a younger housemate of mine (I reside in dewey young Historiann’s age bracket), who declared that she would vote for McCain if HRC won the nomination. There I was again, having to explain to this younger woman (who has the luxury of taking Senatorella’s early struggles in public life for granted) the significance of HRC’s commitment and accomplishment. Bill Maher, too, has felt the need to defend HRC’s honor. In the last Real Time, he made the point that although HRC is reviled by the Republicans, there is actually nothing hateable about her. The problem lies with the haters, he said, not the hatees (I’m paraphrasing). So why is Barack the automatic darling and Senatorella a crowd killer? My theory: The upwardly mobile plight of any man, whether black or white, is infinitely more palatable than the upward climb of a woman. Barack’s journey (or “movement,” as it is now called) fits in rather well with the old Horatio Algier (hope that’s the guy’s name; help me out Historiann) fantasy. There is still no national fantasy honoring a woman who comes to power. The power of representation and the representation of power are still very much at issue. Lately, I’ve also been thinking about that that terribly divisive 1860 convention(Historiann, help again) where African American men were granted the vote and women were denied it. Do we have a parallel struggle here? Is there something telling in this?

  12. David on 06 Feb 2008 at 10:34 pm #

    It’s weird. I live in New York and I have voted for Hillary Clinton twice as Senator. I really didn’t understand why people disliked her so much, and I didn’t really have a preference between Obama and Clinton until the last couple months. But now, I don’t know, I’d be very disappointed if she won the nomination. What ultimately turned me totally against her was Bill’s behavior following the loss in Iowa, the condescension that just oozed out of her campaign for some time there until they realized it was counterproductive. It made me think that if Hillary becomes president, Bill will hold some extremely powerful position in her administration and be utterly unaccountable to anyone. Now I really hope she loses. If it were between her and McCain, I might not vote. But that doesn’t matter because I live in New York and my vote will never matter as long as the country stays with the electoral college.

    Obama did well in the caucuses, Ann, but he deserves more credit than that. Many of the big wins for Clinton were right in her backyard (NJ, MA). And Obama decimated her in a number of primaries (IL, AL, DE, GA, UT), not to mention his close wins in CT and MO, the latter after everyone had called it for Clinton.

  13. Historiann on 07 Feb 2008 at 8:54 am #

    I don’t consider Massachusetts her “back yard” (CT is, though)–not with the Kennedy, Kerry, and Patrick endorsements. And I’ve given him props for his victories, although I don’t think the outcome for IL was a suprise. (Utah? Delaware? Enjoy! I’ll take California, thank you very much.)

    I think I agree more with Jane Hamshire here:

    http://firedoglake.com/2008/02/06/rashamon-wednesday/

    although I *hope* this isn’t settled at the convention. One way or the other, I hope we have a nominee–whoever it is–by the end of April.

    If Obama supporters really stay home in November if HRC is on the ballot, then they’re not really Democrats, they’re cultists. I’m for whomever wins. Loyal Dems suppor the nominee. (I’ve never voted for the candidate in the primary who went on to become the nominee.) Nothing succeeds like success–and we need a big win in the fall.

    p.s. to Said Friend: Yes, Horatio Alger, very good! And I think you’re referring to the rift that opened up in the feminist movement over 15th Amendment, which granted African American men the right to vote in 1870. Sadly, this put an end to 40 years of cooperation between the antislavery and feminist movements. There is a wonderful Bedford reader on this subject by Kathryn Kish Sklar called Women’s Rights Emerges Within the Antislavery Movement, 1830-1870, described more here at: http://www.bedfordstmartins.com/usingseries/hovey/sklar.htm. I think you make an excellent point about the absence of narratives that laud women achieving power and accomplishment. Who are the powerful women in most popular narratives? They’re the Wicked Quees, Wicked Stepmothers, and witches who live in enticing gingerbread houses, right? And in terms of American history, there has never been anyone writing Horatio Alger-like narratives for girls and women. Nancy Drew, until fairly recently, gave her drippy boyfriend Ned the credit for all of her supersleuthing acheivements. Laura Ingalls just grows up to marry a struggling farmer like her father. Am I missing any important children’s/youth writers?

  14. David on 07 Feb 2008 at 9:49 am #

    Well I guess I should add that I’m not a loyal Democrat. I’m officially registered with the Green Party, though I voted for Kerry in 2004. My main worry with a Clinton presidency is that she will let herself be pulled to the center the way her husband did, and that desperately needed progressive reforms will be jettisoned if she calculates that they work against her own political interest. Who knows, maybe Obama would be just as calculating. But at this point I’d rather go with the devil I don’t know.

    Anyway, I appreciate the debate!

  15. Said Friend on 07 Feb 2008 at 2:42 pm #

    I like the distinction between Democrats and cultists (I’m battling the cultism of my housemates all of the time these days, and will be raising that distinction to them the first chance I get). But back to the demonizing of Hillary…..I do think there are some dubious and embarrassing things about her campaign (Celine Dion, anyone?). What most bothers me is the fact that Mark Penn, the dork who wrote that book on microtrends and whose PR firm serves Blackwater as a client, is her campaign manager. This affiliation is of the icky kind. And having Bill in the White House will raise all sorts of problems (as we’ve already seen), some of them constitutional. On the other hand, as I was explaining to a cultist last night, Bill Clinton never once betrayed us on policy issues, and although he is known as a centrist, he did begin his presidency with the fight for gay rights in the military. So calculating he was not. I’m not yet convinced by the argument that Hillary will be so swayed by conservative forces. And I’m not yet convinced that Barack Obama won’t be swayed by the conservatives (let’s not forget all of his centrist talk about uniting, etc.). Barack Obama may be a great man (and I think he is), but he is not a panacea.

  16. David on 07 Feb 2008 at 4:37 pm #

    Yeah, but Clinton caved on the gays in the military issue. He lost the health care battle, and then tacked to the center for the rest of his presidency.

    As for Hillary, she’s already shown that she will cave for political reasons, as her vote on Iraq demonstrates (at least to me).

    I see that the new meme is that Obama supporters are cultists who have no logical reason for supporting their candidate other than that he is the messiah. Come on. It’s entirely possible to watch his campaign, read his positions on issues, watch him in the debates, listen to his speeches, look at his record, and conclude that he’s the better candidate, plain and simple.

  17. B. Dagger Lee on 07 Feb 2008 at 5:17 pm #

    Thanks for the description and the post-analysis in the comments. I dropped a link to you in the “I Blame the Patriarchy” message board, so you might get a little feminist traffic.

    yrs,
    B. Dagger Lee

  18. LTownsend on 08 Feb 2008 at 10:11 am #

    I agree with so many of these posts, especially David and Said Friend, but OK, at the risk of repeating what’s probably already been stated: two things: 1. what about her stance on the war in Iraq? and 2. I don’t think she’s a slam dunk to beat McCain. Perhaps most worrisome is her unwillingness to say uncle on the Iraq thing. That inability to admit mistakes reminds me of someone…. Oh yeah, Dubya. And the less than clean politicking — Bob Kerrey’s “Barack Hussein Obama will be a wonderful ambassador to the radical Muslim world with madrassa training” (not sure I got this entirely right but still…) I agree wholeheartedly that Hillary is subjected to crap that male politicians never have to cope with — see David Brooks in a snarky op-ed in the NYT on her treatment of a competing healthcare plan back during the healthcare debacle — she’s a strong person who can play with the big kids. So what? In fact, I am in a continual debate with my husband about this, who DID have an overbearing mommy. But with two candidates who are so similar on their positions (I must admit ignorance on the healthcare differences), character does become important and I’m bothered by much of the old Clinton history — lack of loyalty to friends and colleagues (see Lani Guanier) and the defection of so many staunch Clinton loyalists in government to Obama must mean something. As for Obama playing to the right, what about Clintonian triangulation? And what about how they sold welfare down the river during his administration (sorry!). There’s a lot to worry about with this dynasty, not the least being that they have sometimes borrowed from Karl Rove’s playbook on the campaign trail.

  19. Historiann on 08 Feb 2008 at 11:22 am #

    All right LT! Welcome! You make great points–the Clintons made a lot of mistakes and burned a lot of people in the 90s. Each voter will have to decide if that’s 1) evidence of HRC’s character flaws, or 2) is inevitable if you’re 60 years old and have been in public service and/or politics since Yale law school. Was the same level of scrutiny brought to bear on Joe Biden, Chris Dodd, and Bill Richardson, who are all HRC’s generational peers? And is the absence of political missteps in Obama’s case affirmative proof of his superior character, or is it just proof that he hasn’t been in electoral politics or high-visibility public service long enough to have made as many enemies and mistakes?

  20. David on 08 Feb 2008 at 2:16 pm #

    Historiann,

    You are right that Obama is largely an unknown. These days, I’ve just come around to the point of view that I’d rather go with the devil I don’t know than the one I do.

    And I think Biden, Dodd and Richardson would have gotten lot more scrutiny if they had, you know, actually won any votes, the way Hillary has. When you are a front-runner, everything goes under the microscope, as the Clintons well know.

    At the same time, I also think the Clinton style of politics is going to produce a lot of enemies, on both the right and the left, just as it will produce a lot of victories.

Trackback URI | Comments RSS

Leave a Reply