Now that the primary season has nearly run its course, a different pattern can be seen. Followed day by day, the race for the Democratic nomination has been the most exciting election in living memory. But viewed in retrospect, it is clear that it has been quite predictable. All the twists and turns have been a function of the somewhat random sequencing of different state primaries, which taken individually have invariably conformed to type, with Obama winning where he was always likely to win (caucus states, among college-educated and black voters, in the cities), and Clinton winning where she was likely to win (big states with secret ballots, among less well-educated whites and Hispanics, in rural areas). Even the initial drama of that week in early January – when Obama’s victory in Iowa had seemed to give him a chance of finishing Clinton off, only to be confounded by her victory in New Hampshire, which defied the expectation of the pundits and had them all speculating about what had swung it (was it her welling up in a diner? was it hastily rekindled memories of Bill? was it hints of hubris from Obama?) – turns out to have been an illusion. Iowa was Obama country (younger, smaller, caucus meetings) and New Hampshire wasn’t (older, bigger, voting machines). The salient fact about this campaign is that demography trumps everything: people have been voting in fixed patterns set by age, race, gender, income and educational level, and the winner in the different contests has been determined by the way these different groups are divided up within and between state boundaries. Anyone who knows how to read the census data (and that includes some of the smart, tech-savvy types around Obama) has had a good idea of how this was going to play from the outset. All the rest is noise.
Anyone who knows how to read the census data (and that includes some of the smart, tech-savvy types around Obama) has had a good idea of how this was going to play from the outset.
“Knowledgeable people with well-informed opinions about policy” like Pam Spaulding, and Steve Benen, and Joshua Micah Marshall? People who are so “informed” that they’ve chosen to support Barack Obama, a man with all of the political experience of a high school student government officer? People who’ve completely overlooked his lack of qualifications, his sexism, his race-baiting, his practicing of personal destruction politics against Clinton, while he hypocritically decries such practices? People who are part of an online group that has all the hallmarks of a cult of personality and who refuse to acknowledge that he’s not only unelectable, but that he shouldn’t be elected?
Uh, yeah. Thanks, Duncan, but I’d rather be with the “mushy middle” on this one; a majority of that middle has rejected Obama so far, so I think it’s doing pretty well. Certainly better than what used to be called the “reality-based community,” most of which has chosen to eschew Realityville in favor of Obamaland.
After seeing what Obama and his mujahideen have done to the party, it’s time for the Democratic Party to be destroyed and rebuilt from the ground-up. The best way of seeing that happen is contributing to Obama’s defeat against McCain, if Obama becomes the Dem nominee.
Given that American political life is generally so cut-throat, you might think there was room for a polling organisation that sought a competitive advantage by using the sort of sample sizes that produce relatively accurate results. Why on earth does anyone pay for this rubbish?
The answer is that in an election like this one, the polls aren’t there to tell the real story; they are there to support the various different stories that the commentators want to tell. The market is not for the hard truth, because the hard truth this time round is that most people are voting with the predictability of prodded animals. What the news organisations and blogs and roving pundits want are polls that suggest the voters are thinking hard about this election, arguing about it, making up their minds, talking it through, because that’s what all the commentators like to think they are doing themselves. This endless raft of educated opinion needs to be kept afloat on some data indicating that it matters what informed people say about politics, because it helps the voters to decide which way to jump. If you keep the polling sample sizes small enough, you can create the impression of a public willing to be moved by what other people are saying. That’s why the comment industry pays for this rubbish.
I didn't hear him say that Pfleger's insults toward her were wrong - and McCain did. Sure he did it for political reasons. But I don't hear a lot of respect for Hillary and her supporters from Obama and the more it continues, the more it hurts him if he's the nominee. — citron
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