Tuesday, April 22, 2008

I'm Too Old For This Shit

Clinton pulled off a 10 9.2 point win in Pennsylvania today, just barely hitting the mark that all the pundits predicted she would need to remain a viable candidate; of course those same pundits also knew that she would still have the gall to continue even if her margin of victory was several points less. She will now frame this as a decisive victory against a powerful opponent who outspent her 3-1, trying once again to play the underdog despite the notable advantages of an electorate that voted decisively for her along gender, age and racial lines and having a 20-25 point lead in the state before either candidate even started campaigning there.

Even so, this win today changes very little as far as the hard math is concerned: Obama still leads in delegates by 138, in the popular vote by about 500,000 and in campaign cash by tens of millions of dollars. What she really won today is something much harder to quantify: perception. She will now still be perceived as having a chance at the nomination; she will be perceived as being able to win the big swing states in the general election; she will be perceived as being unstoppable and the media will see to it that all of this comes to pass because the media positively thrives on the winner-take-all horserace aspect of our election process.

Now we move on down the seemingly endless primary road once again, merely drawing out a process that is increasingly becoming more and more painful to stomach. All signs indicate that Obama will be the Democratic nominee this fall; practically nobody disputes that this race is surely his to lose. Nobody except, of course... I've made this point before, haven't I? I'm not exactly sure what mysterious, freakishly strong fuel powers the Clinton marriage/partnership and I might jokingly suggest that we should attempt to harness it as a fuel supply were it not appallingly apparent by now what kind of pollution it produces and the effect that pollution has had on our political system.

So tonight brought nothing unexpected as the people of Pennsylvania voted exactly as predicted and both candidates reacted exactly as expected. All the numbers say that this will still be decided before the convention; Obama has huge winning potential in both North Carolina and Oregon and a very good shot at keeping Indiana at least close. He also has enough cash on hand to start working on those wins today, while Clinton will be forced to use the fundraising boost she receives tonight in order to pay her outstanding debts before anything else. Here's hoping that an Obama victory in one of these states should be decisive enough to start a superdelegate stampede in his direction and bring an air of decisiveness to this whole thing. I'm tired.


Anonymous said...

I know that when the primaries came through Texas it was a big deal because this was the first time the Texas vote could really make a difference in a primary. Obviously that's due to the redness of the state, but what I want to know is how often these states way down here at the end are accustomed to seeing useful primaries. You know anything about that?

JBW said...

Not very often. I know that the current system was set up in 1982 to give party leaders more control of the process. Personally, I think the states should be rotated, say in groups of 10-12, every four years to the top of the primary calender and superdelegates should be abolished. This will never happen since the people who can change the rules have the most to lose by doing so; as is so often the case in our political system.