A Recycled Argument

The Clinton campaign, through high powered surrogate Evan Bayh, has displayed its latest and greatest argument that something other than delegate count should be used to determine who the Democratic nominee should/will be.

Now, what’s really important are the electoral votes.

The argument, seemingly endorsed by Clinton’s communications director, Howard Wolfson, is dubious at best, and honestly, lacks creativity.  This because it is little more than an older argument that has received a rushed make over.  Winning more electoral votes is, for all intents and purposes, just a different way of saying that the nominee should be based upon who won the big states, or who won the swing states.

This argument is a rehash of the unspoken argument that the Clinton camp really started employing when Obama ran up an eleven state winning streak that, basically, the only states that are really important are the ones that Clinton has won.

There is a glaring hole in all of these arguments, however; winning a party primary is in no way analogous to winning that state in the General Election.  It’s not even a physically possible argument given that we would need two Texases just to accommodate it.  I don’t know if you know any Texans, but I’ve known my fair share and let me tell you; one Texas is enough.

Further, this isn’t taking into account voters who vote for one candidate in the primaries but choose the candidate of the opposite party in the General, or voters that don’t vote in primaries at all but do participate in the GE.  In fact, the entire electoral make up is so completely different from primaries to the GE that you simply can’t make hardly any GE predictions based upon primary performance.

This is not to be confused with the argument that because Obama won some states in the primaries he is the stronger of the two candidates.  No one thinks that Obama will pull Georgia in the fall just as no sane person would believe that Hillary would carry Texas.  Neither is going to happen.

In Obama’s case, however, the argument I have seen in the past is more of an argument for a fifty state strategy.  The idea here is that no one thinks that Obama is going to win the South, but if he competes heavily there, he’s going to force McCain to drain resources and energy in order to hold onto safe territory, and therefore direct his attention away from battleground states.

Two totally different arguments here.  Hillary’s argument is specious at best, Obama’s argument is one that Democratic activists have been wanting for a long time now.

2 Responses to “A Recycled Argument”

  1. DrGail says:

    My sense of fair play (which doesn’t come out often, I assure you; I’m the “runs with scissors type” mostly) says that “the rules are the rules”, and Hillary’s attempts to grasp at straws is embarrassing for her.

    What I find particularly frustrating about the repeated efforts from Team Clinton to find some way — any way! — that suggests she is in the lead is that I see this primary race as a proxy for one between “the old Democratic party” and “the new Democratic party”. In Hillary’s corner are the DLC and the party “elders”, most of whom advocated that being “Republican Lite” is the way to win elections, and in Obama’s corner is Howard Dean’s 50-state strategy and the netroots and the bottom-up approach that has been fostered and nurtured for the past several years.

    The “new Democratic party” has a lot of victories under its belt: Ned Lamont winning the CT primary, Donna Edwards ousting Al Wynn, Jim Webb winning the Senate seat, and numerous others. Now the BIG one has come along, and it’s just so frustrating to see Hillary continue to slug it out despite her extremely long odds of winning, when all indications (including the record numbers of registered Democrats as well as the wonderful candidates we’ve recruited even for pretty strongly red districts and states) are that the netroots and the “new Democratic party” have achieved primacy.

    Aargh! It’s like watching a train wreck in slow motion.

  2. Well, Josh Marshall has it pretty summed up in a post he wrote earlier today. Don’t remember all of the specifics, but basically it boils down to, after all is said and done, it’s still a race for delegates no matter how you try to slice it.

    We can get irritated at the fact that she’s still trying to win, but it is what it is, and this is one of the things that she’s going to do; change physics any way she can in order to at least create the illusion of winning.

    Remember, that illusion is the only thing that has stemmed a mass outbreak of voices calling for her to drop out, so in that vein, you can blame her, but it’s totally understandable.

    It’s just, at every single junction, Hillary handles things in the exact opposite way that she should, or at least, than she should if she wanted to appeal to voters like me. You know, I have been saying for a while now that if she had chosen just once to stand up and do something different than the mold, different from what her advisors keep telling her to do, something that really shows true leadership, she would be doing so much better now, but at best, the way her campaign has performed is simply ho-hum and not very inspiring at all.

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