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Clinton’s victory: a tour of the analyses

The WaPo’s Dan Balz summarizes the conventional wisdom. Steve is pithier on the same subject.

Jay Cost says she won by mobilizing the traditional Demcoratic coalition, which, he notes, will be an even larger part of the electorate in other states (with African-American voters the X-factor). He calls it the "Mondale model," with Barack Obama playing the role of Gary Hart (the resemblance is much closer this morning than it was yesterday). But, as he reminds us, the fact that HRC is using Mondale’s primary strategy doesn’t mean she’ll face his fate in the general election.

The NYT’s Adam Nagourney focuses on women and the argument about HRC’s advantage in experience, noting also that many of the upcoming races don’t permit independents to vote in party primaries. He observes that the Clinton campaign has had a hard time going negative on Obama, but a dearth of indpendents in the electorate and a good GOTV strategy may mean she doesn’t have to.

Peter L. says that Obama’s "bobo plus black" coalition can be a winner, if African-Americans don’t join the interests coalition supporting Hillary. Does Obama have to emphasize his racial identity to head this off?

Jonathan Alter explores reasons for why HRC connected so well with women--most of them frothy--but suggests that a victory in November requires men. Will Republican women vote for HRC? Will Democratic men vote for anybody but HRC?

Gary Langer, ABC’s director of polling, says that pollsters are going to have to reexamine their sampling methods and turnout models:

In the end there may be no smoking gun. Those polls may have been accurate, but done in by a superior get-out-the-vote effort, or by very late deciders whose motivations may or may not ever be known. They may have been inaccurate because of bad modeling, compromised sampling, or simply an overabundance of enthusiasm for Obama on the heels of his Iowa victory that led his would-be supporters to overstate their propensity to turn out. (A function, perhaps, of youth.)

But he also calls attention to rhis argument about the placement of Hillary’s name on the ballot, way ahead of Obama’s, and allegedly worth 3% in the voting. In case you forgot, that’s the margin.

Update: Daniel Casse argues that in a long slog through the interests, plans and promises (HRC’s strength) trump hope and change.

Discussions - 4 Comments

Black Americans seems awfully tentative about moving to Obama. If they had thrown their support behind him, then this race would effectively be over, for that is the main and most important constituency of that party. I've been kind of surprised by their reluctance to support him. But perhaps his victory and his 2d place finish in New Hampshire might convince some that it's safe to support him. They've been burned before, what with Jesse Jackson and Sharpton.

Are there numbers of blacks in New Hampshire? Actually, I don't hear anyone much discussing the racial demographics of NH ( blacks 1.1%)as a factor in this primary. That's because Democrats are past the race issue, of course. Still, are there that many blacks in America that if they all supported Obama (no sure thing) for the Democratic nomination, he would get it? Identity politics doesn't do him enough good, especially in 95% white states.

Listening to NPR last evening the impression was that Hillary's "human moment" (is that all she has?) was the deciding factor for a number of women who might have Oprah-ized in Obama's direction, otherwise. Since that moment is played everywhere, I have heard it and even seen it a number of times. In it, she reminds me of my most self-pitying sister-in-law in one of her self-righteous moments. "Nobody appreciates the sacrifices I've made for this family. Nobody understands me." I am the first to rush in with my "There, there" and a hug. The women who were interviewed on NPR sounded like that, either their guilt or sympathy pressing them to a vote for the vulnerable; the vote as hug and affirmation. "Yes, Hillary. You're right, we have been neglecting you." I think that self-righteous, self-pitying moment came naturally to Hillary, but wonder how often she can expose that sentiment before people get sick of it. It's all very well, but that "Poor me!" can't win an election, can it?


The influence of the black vote in Democratic primaries can be huge. In states where African-Americans are, say, 20-25% of the population (much of the South), they can comprise around 50% of the Democratic primary electorate.

Whatever the immediate influence of the tearful moment (overblown, I suspect), I think you're right that it doesn't have a long shelf life. And perhaps a renewed dose of Oprah (who, if I'm not mistaken, didn't campaign in N.H.) might negate any lingering effect.

Lucas pointed out on another thread that there was absentee voting in N.H., which began, as I recall, on December 10th, long before Obamamania struck. Like him, I haven't heard any discussion of that. I assume it helped Hillary.


Yes, I know. I looked at SC - 29% - roughly the same as your Georgia. Well, Iowa has 2.5% black population, so maybe I can just go on wondering about this. In many blue states the black population is well under the national average of 12.8%, though who can say what will constitute a blue state this time around.

The absentee voting issue was part of my question in that same thread about NH's primary rules. In Ohio it is also the case that you can vote absentee just about whenever you like and for any cause including "I felt like it." That's not the only wide open aspect of voting in NH. When NH says they want everyone to vote, they aren't kidding. Look at this, "There is no minimum period of time you are required to have lived in the state before being allowed to register." Can you declare you "live" at the Holiday Inn and register? College students, resident someplace else, can also vote in NH. This is chance for them to exercise a new right to vote early and often: democracy in action.

"Undeclared voters may declare a party and vote at any primary." So who would not be an independent and wield influence at will? This makes a hash of the idea of the winner of such a primary being the front-runner of the party in that state as party affiliation has so little to do with the matter.

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