Sunday, January 27, 2008

Blacks Bolster Barack's Bid

Was Barack Obama's South Carolina primary victory conceded by the Clinton strategists? Did the Clinton camp see the futility of contesting this primary and opted to put up a token campaign instead? Was the high profile presence of former President Bill Clinton intended to draw attention to the issues raised against Obama and expose the Illinois Senator's weaknesses to the entire nation, not merely in South Carolina? Was the expected victory of Obama intended to consolidate Hillary's base of support in the 24 state primary the way she did in New Hampshire? Is this a Queen's gambit of sorts?

The Clinton perspective could have seen the situation this way: They have won New Hampshire and Nevada. The Super Tuesday primary was only 10 days from the South Carolina primary, where bigger states like New York, New Jersey and California had to be consolidated and won. South Carolina was predominantly black (almost 60% of voters) and polls showed an overwhelming support for Obama among blacks. The reasons for a Hillary loss here were in-place, and a loss would not diminish her momentum going into February 5th. All Hillary needed was to take second place to cast a respectable finish. Whether or not they expected it to be 2 to 1 is another story, but the polls had already indicated that margin more than a month ago.

The plan involved the following: Hillary campaigns in New Jersey, New York and California and leaves Bill Clinton and Chelsea to represent her during most of the campaign days. They decide to cut all costs to a minimum to the point of practically conducting the campaign by remote control. Only 5 people were working in the Clinton campaign office in Greenville since the fall, compared to Obama's 20. The campaign did away with phone and mail campaigns and removed practically any extensive expenditures 2 months before. In contrast, Obama's campaign had the most extensive field coverage ever witnessed by the state. Finally, Bill Clinton's task was to draw attention to himself and to the issues he raised against Obama, and away from Hillary.

South Carolina was a MUST win for Barack. He needed this win to set him back on track as a top contender after stunning back to back losses. And that's all this victory did, make him a contender, but at what cost? Eighty per cent of blacks (comprising 59% of voters) voted for him, he also took 25% of the white votes. He obtained 58% of the 18 to 64 year old voters and only 22% of the women votes. In the predominantly white (78%) Greenville County, he garnered only 22%. Among women voters and those aged 65 and over, Clinton got 44% and 40% respectively. The results show Barack's weak areas among women voters, white and elderly voters; which could give him a huge problem come Super Tuesday.

Interestingly, 47% of voters made their choices more than a month ago, another 32% said they decided within the month, while 10% of those polled said they decided 3 days prior to the voting itself.

If the Clinton strategy indeed was to concede South Carolina, was it a wise one? It was. Barack was visibly rattled and irked during his stump and was very defensive during the debates. He was unable to defend himself against attacks on his health care plan; and his counter attack versus Hillary about Wal-Mart, was quashed by her statement against Barack defending a "slumlord" in Illinois. The week before the primary saw one of the most bitter attacks, accusations, and distortions from both camps. Hillary and Bill are adept at this game, and Obama was lured into it. Bill Clinton evaded making the campaign a gender versus race issue and expressed elation at the Party's progress in its choice of a Woman and an African American, as living up to the ideals of Martin Luther King; but that seems to be his real intention. With the blacks coming all out for Obama, the Clinton camp is anticipating a consolidation of Hillary's base of supporters where Obama's base are fewer in number, and where the delegate harvest is greater. Remember, Bill Clinton is a shrewd tactician and a street smart politician.

The New York Times has endorsed Hillary, while Caroline Kennedy has endorsed Barack. Will one be greater than the other? Perhaps. Will it make a difference? Not much. Barack Obama's victory statement that the campaign "is about the past versus the future" is appropriate. He should put South Carolina behind him and focus on the future, 10 days to be exact, where from the perspective of race and gender that had been exhaustively covered in South Carolina, real numbers are stacked against him. And it looks very formidable indeed!



Kim said...

it all sounds rather complicated over there Durano...
the politics of politics !!!
I believe the money spent on these campaigns can be excessive and affect the future economy of the country...

ben c. said...

I watched with disgust as Hillary and Obama slugged it out in the three-way debate before South Carolina primaries.

Hillary kept shaking her head as Obama spoke and she kept saying Obama's push for a low-cost health care system was not sustainable.

Methinks hillary is shooting herself on her own foot by doing this. People want cheaper health care. Hillary can't go for cheaper health care because there's a drug industry contributing heavily to her campaign fund.

If drug companies slashed down their expenses on marketing and campaign contributions, their meds would be cheaper and health care more affordable.

I hope North Americans see that or else, they'll keep being "Sickos"!

Btw, read my take on how YouTube is helping Pinoys shoot to stardom:

durano lawayan a.k.a. brad spit said...

Hello Kim,you're right about the complicated nature of politics and the excessive costs to the economy of the country; but these politicians are either possessed with a Messianic complex or simply Megalomania.

Private thoughts and secret intentions are never known and these people are experts in what they term "plausible deniability". The biggest surprise of all is how Americans continue to believe these statements and actions. Its unbelievable! :-)

By the way, my Son-in-law, the only one so far, is preparing to go to Adelaide for a scholarship, perhaps this March. His wife, (my eldest daughter of course) will follow about a month later. If you ever have an exhibit in Adelaide, I'd tell him to take a look at it. He's in IT but is also into art, among many other things. Thanks for visiting! --Durano, done!

durano lawayan a.k.a. brad spit said...

You're right BenC. The bickering is so childish I'm beginning to doubt if either one of these candidates can unite the party, much less the Country!

Both are showing expertise at divisiveness and lack of respect. If either gets to win the Presidency, this foolish exchange will haunt them in their entire term. --Durano, done!

P.S. I'll take a look at the you tube link. thanks. D,d!

ozegold said...

Thanks Durano - well written!

I was tired and just skimming and you pulled me in and made me take notice!

I am afraid that with everybody claiming to represent the middle ground, that personal attacks are becoming more bitter, because that is where the main point of difference lays.

While I would like to see a black, or female president, I wonder if the US is ready for it?

Apart from race or gender, the differences aren't that great, looking in from the outside.

In the meantime, I have left a challenge for you on my blog in response to your comments!

Cheers mate!

durano lawayan a.k.a. brad spit said...

Allan,I guess the only thing that's different really is the color and the gender. Politicians are the same regardless. Isn't that a disappointment?

They could run together as President and Vice-President, that would make history and a double first! :-)I'll go take a look at your challenge.
--Durano, done!

ZenDenizen said...

On a side note, I must say I love your alliterative blog post titles!

durano lawayan a.k.a. brad spit said...

Hi Zen,

How was your rating?

There are times when I have long finished the post article but can't formulate the title yet. Is that crazy or what?

Are you okay now and no longer feeling distracted? Good to see you back! --Durano, done!

Kim said...

your daughter and son in law would enjoy Adelaide....Durano
I am a distance away on the Central Coast NSW...and have never been to SA...
dreadful really considering I have travelled all around the world...
perhaps one day I will see the other half of my country...:)

durano lawayan a.k.a. brad spit said...

I can imagine what "a distance away" could be in Australia. I do want them to enjoy the trip during the scholarship and I'm glad you have confirmed that aspect of their journey.

I have told them about you and the work that you do and both seem keenly interested. They also like exploring countries and perhaps they would attempt to venture into your part of the country at some point.They have an adventurous streak about them which may have been imbibed from me.:-)

Anyway, I guess I'll leave that up to them. Thanks a lot Kim, for the confirmation too. --Durano, done!

Anonymous said...

It seems to me, you are not right