Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Houston, we have a problem

How big a problem is it for Barack Obama that he can't seem to connect with working class voters? And as the New York Times asks: "And what -- if anything -- can he do about it as he heads into the general election?" That is, if he becomes the Democratic nominee.

Mr. Obama took a step toward dealing with the challenge on Wednesday, as he headed out to campaign in front of working-class audiences in Macomb County, Mich., a Detroit suburb that has been identified for more than a decade with Reagan Democrats, the classic swing voter.
I wonder if any of the folks there asked why his supporter in the MI Senate blocked a chance for the state to revote?

He has taken to wearing an American flag pin on his lapel and sprinkling his speeches with references to God and country, gestures to reassure Democratic voters about his values.
I wonder how his supporters will take to Obama now pandering for the flag pin voters ... just askin' ...

Mr. Obama’s advisers downplayed the West Virginia loss, describing the state as demographically unfriendly territory — the primary electorate was 95 percent white; 70 percent did not attend college — and pointing to national polls showing him in a strong position.
This must mean the entire country is at least partially "demographically unfriendly territory" since only about 30% of the US population are college graduates. And how do his advisers measure this against Iowa, where the primary electorate was 93 percent white, and 76 percent didn't attend college?

Jamal Simmons, commenting on CNN last night, blamed the poor showing on the fact that Obama didn't campaign in the state. He claimed that once people got to know Obama their opinion would change. Which begs the question, why wouldn't the presumed front-runner campaign in a primary state?

And it might be a good idea for Obama not to listen to all his "consultants."

“You just can’t abstract from primary voters to general election voters — and all of her voters are going to vote for him,” said Jim Jordan, a Democratic consultant who is supporting Mr. Obama.
I think it's a huge mistake for the Obama camp to take ANYONE for granted. Clinton's supporters feel very strongly about their candidate. There is already an impression that she is not being treated with respect by Obama supporters and the media. If Obama doesn't fix this quickly I think a significant number of Clinton supporters will bolt in the fall.

... there is a pattern of weakness that has shadowed Mr. Obama as he has marched his way toward winning his party’s nomination. Even accounting for the fact that West Virginia may have been the toughest state he has faced, the contours of Mr. Obama’s defeat were daunting: more than half of the Democrats said Mr. Obama did not share their values, and 47 percent said they would not vote for him if he were their nominee. [...]

... Mr. Obama’s troubles in West Virginia with working-class voters were reminiscent of the troubles he had as he lost Pennsylvania, Ohio and Indiana to Mrs. Clinton. Mr. Obama’s challenge in winning over white working-class voters could prove to be one of the defining characteristics of his general election campaign.
And finally:

What the results from West Virginia and Pennsylvania did do was crystallize just how important Mrs. Clinton could be to Mr. Obama’s general election hopes, assuming he goes on to win the nomination.

She has managed to connect with white, blue-collar voters in way that has eluded Mr. Obama. Her embrace of Mr. Obama once this is over — delivered without reservation and accompanied by vigorous campaigning through the fall — could prove vital to his hopes of winning the backing of white voters who have come to embrace Mrs. Clinton as their champion during this primary fight.
Let's hope Obama is listening.

1 comment:

GeekLove said...

I helped create the “Mad is Hell”
video along with IndyRobin.

I created a NEW VIDEO: “We’ve Come a Long Way, Baby!”

It’s about Obama’s silence on sexism against Hillary Clinton and his own sexist remarks.

If you approve of the video, I’d appreciate your help in spreading the video by creating a post on the video and ask that you and your readers go to youtube to RATE, COMMENT & mark FAVORITE the video.