Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Daily Politics: The Electability Myth

As I have said, Dems are not good at predicting electabilty, but I'd like to add something. There are many Hillary supporters who like to say that Obama should not be the nominee because he did not win the big Dem states. In my opinion, this is a very bad argument. They seem to be thinking as if Obama was not a Dem and that this is a general election. It's not. They're both Dems. In a way, this electability argument is pretty silly -it slowly seems to be coming clear that, Obama could be the candidate.

Still, I want to adress this issue.

  • In an election where the two candidates don't have significant policy differences, then we see demographics and machine politics making a bigger impact. Both Hillary and Obama have the support of these voters. Obama has the AA and Hillary has the middle-aged women. Obama's edge is coming out now because of his across-the-board appeal.

  • A lot of the larger states - NJ, CA, NY, IL, WA, will vote for a turnip if the turnip is running as a Dem candidate. We know that these loyal Hillary Dems will not change their party identification. That is not a fear. If Obama takes it, he will hold her base and his diverse base as well. The key is that his base is much more varied and helpful in the GE. No brainer to me. Demographics aren't the SAME issue when a Dem runs against a Republican. Some of the same people who would vote for Hilary on a demographic basis (say single women, and older women) will turn right around and vote for Obama if he is the guy (and vice versa) rather than vote for the Republican. So you can't evaluate "electability" in an intra-party election, like you can a two-party election.

  • Not accounting for his charisma and discounting earlier his disadvantages as the underdog, Obama has already come very far. To come to the point where he eked out a very narrow win on Super Tuesday is huge. And yet, people forget the fact that clearly, incumbency, and not electability, is one of the main reasons why Obama has not won a big state - it's much harder to overtake someone who has name recognotion and a few extra public service years to line up the people and organizations in the big states.

  • As the challenger, Obama had to find a different route to the nomination and he found it. He found it in the small states. This is not proof of a lack of electability as TH suggests, but actually, proof of the sheer ingenuity on the part of Obama and his team.

Obama has a lot of work to do in the upcoming Tex-Oh-Vania.


Mom said...

Yes, he does. Obama can not get complacent....forge on with his message and he should be fine.

Sid said...

I saw a poll today that showed that of 81% democrats would be happy with Obama as the nominee compared to just 65% for Hillary. As you mentioned, I am sure that true democrats would vote for either candidate, as would I. However, Obama is attracting a lot of independents, which would probably switch over to McCain, with is "moderate" tendencies, if Hillary were the nominee. I have talked to many people who despise Hillary, whether justified or not, but would vote for Obama over McCain. I just wish that more democrats would understand this.

Oncle Jean said...

I predict he will win TX and do well if not win in Ohio.