Posts Tagged ‘Democrats’
The Democrats are responding to the negative personal attack ads of the McCain camp by calling attention to the Keating 5 Scandal, which led to McCain being rebuked on the Senate floor. Having e mailed supporters to see a new documentary on the website Keating Economics, available 12 pm Eastern. But it will be something like this:
At the heart of the scandal was Keating’s Lincoln Savings and Loan Association, which took advantage of deregulation in the 1980s to make risky investments with its depositors’ money. McCain intervened on behalf of Charles Keating with federal regulators tasked with preventing banking fraud, and championed legislation to delay regulation of the savings and loan industry — actions that allowed Keating to continue his fraud at an incredible cost to taxpayers.[ibid]
This, together with McCain not able to lead in the bipartisan attempt to get the $700bn bail out bill passed (without sweetners which is at the heart of what is wrong with American politics), may be a good tactic for the Democrats. Attacking with something substantive works as opposed to guilt by association.
Sarah Palin may be disappointed that they have left the state of Michigan. Yet with Obama having a 7% lead in a state that voted for Kerry and Gore, it makes much more sense for the Republicans to focus on the key battle states and take the resources from this state to those where it may make the difference. Namely:
State Electoral Count Obama lead (%)
North Carolina 15 0.5
Nevada 5 1.8
Ohio 20 2.0
Virgina 13 2.4
Florida 27 3.0 [source]
If the Republicans concede any of these states then McCain has lost the White House. Taking states like those above where candidates have a 3% lead or less gives Obama 264 and McCain 163 – to win all it takes is 270. Despite Obama having on average a 6% lead in the polls (ranging from 3% – 9%) it will be those marginal states above that decide it. If McCain can get a 1.5% swing to him from Obama he will win the White House.
As I think that the polls are over stating Obama’s lead and under representing McCain, it is still very possible for McCain to win the White House. It is tight, and giving up on States that Obama has a clear lead in may be the smart move.
What McCain cannot afford however is to loose any states he currently holds. The good news for him (unlike Obama) is that most states are solidly supporting him, with only two states being vulnerable:
State Electoral Count McCain lead (%)
Missouri 11 1.7
Indiana 11 2.2 [source]
So when people tell you it will be a landslide for Obama or a close run race the answer is that there is an element of truth. If all the toss up seats go as they indicate above then Obama wins triumphantly 353 to 185. But a closer race is well within the margin for error. Obama wins Flordia or Ohio and keeps the other states that strongly support him then it is game over for McCain.
If the polls are under representing support for McCain he has a good chance of a narrow win. All the states above that are for Obama voted for George Bush in both 2000 and 20004. That may yet be reflected as we get nearer to polling day.
So expect more things like Palin pointing out that Obama was on a charity board with a founder member of the Weather Underground (a terroirst organisation against US involvement in the Vietnam war) while campaigning in Colorado (leaning to Obama 4.4% lead but voted for Bush the previous two times). What the McCain camp hope is that if the election becomes about character McCain will win. With Obama in Virgina attacking McCain’s health plan we may yet see an ideological battle occur to against an economic meltdown backdrop.
The key thing will be getting out the vote in these states. If Obama supporters feel that it is a done deal they may be inclined to stay at home. That would be a nightmare on polling day when results show the contest closer then the media were calling it. Obama has shown that he can create the momentum. The thing is to keep it going and on election day deliver his supporters to the polling booth.
One thing which McCain and Palin may use in the campaign:
The positive component is pretty straightforward: McCain and Palin are common sense conservatives and proven reformers. The record of reform can be emphasized and contrasted with Obama’s and Biden’s record of conventional, go-along, get-along liberalism. And implicitly: If McCain and Palin are reformers and outsiders, it’s not Bush’s third term. More important is the negative message. The McCain campaign has to convince 51 percent of the voters they can’t trust Barack Obama to be our next president. This has an ideological component and a character component. [Weekly Standard]
Democrats keep the champagne in the fridge – instead keep drinking the coffee because you are going to have to bust a gut to make sure that Obama wins the key states above and not fall for the hype that is being generated. The time to relax is when the polls close, because it ain’t over till it’s over.
Despite a majority of Republicans being against the bill, it passed by 263 – 171. $100bn in new tax breaks helped move enough Republicans (101 still voted against 91 in favour).
It also included tax breaks to help small businesses and to boost alternative energy, expanded the child tax credit and extended help to victims of recent hurricanes. (BBC News)
Has John McCain lost a beat by not opposing the Bush plan? 45% of people oppose the plan, though a similar number say they are confused by it. The mood however seems to have been blowing in the we need to do something, this is something, therefore we must do it, at least on Capitol Hill with the sweeteners above sealing the deal.
Further financial instability would have started hitting main street, with businesses unable to get credit for the next business transaction or investment to increase production. The question though is that the bill by a way to stabilise the economy without rewarding the mistakes made by the banks.
In Europe however the situation could potentially be worse. In the US 96 cents was lent for every dollar in deposits. In Europe the figures are 1.40 Euros lent for every 1 Euro (The Economist). The only thing we can say is that the worse is not over.
It has only began. This may not even work. In the long run we are all dead. Economists are not the sort of people to always look on the bright side of life. The only thing we can hope for is that this measure calms the markets, makes the bank loosen up and let credit flow again to ease the monetary system. It is bad enough with businesses lacking custom without their banks not providing finance for decisions, because of their bad loans and lack of funds.
Ultimately animal spirits of the movers and the shakers will decide if this measure succeeds or fails. With people flocking to Ireland with their savings with the government saying that it will guarantee all deposits made that reassurance needs to be global in nature.
It is time for governments of the world to show that globalisation is not just about the allocation of resources, but independent nation states working together on interdependent issues affecting the economy. A free for all could end up in being a free fall.
McCain ain’t Dead
Meanwhile I have been saying that Obama needs to get to 10% by mid October to be safe from McCain making up ground in the closing stages of the campaign. With Gallup having him up by 8% and Rasmussen by 6%. Over the economic meltdown Obama has pulled ahead while McCain has floundered. Would Obama have followed if McCain had attacked the Bush plan? He could have appealed to Democrat leaning voters who are against the bail out. That decision may well come back to haunt McCain, even if he consoles himself that he was doing the right thing for America.
While Obama is on his way to victory, if his camp are really claiming that it will be a landslide that is premature. Victory yes, but in the closing stages McCain will come back His support is underestimated while Obama’s is overstated – the only poll that counts will wither bear this out or not, the real question is by how much and whether McCain can come back in the final furlong.
With close states going to the current leader, Obama wins 353 to 185 in the electoral college that decides the Presidency (see blog linked below for explanation and how far this has moved from before the economic meltdown). However Obama has narrow leads in 85 of those votes. A 3% swing to McCain in those seats (well within margin of error) makes it 268 to 270 in McCains favour.
If Obama can keep Ohio worth (2.0% lead) worth 20 votes and Florida worth 27 votes (3% lead) then he will win. But calling it a landslide now is almost begging for my analysis to come and bite you in the ass. I want it to be true, but the numbers cannot be taken for granted. Just a 3% swing at the moment would out McCain in and that is so easily possible that if I was a Republican I would be making my base feel that they have to come out and fight while making Democrats feel they can stay at home in key states, it is a done deal.
Democrats need to be talking up the fight rather than being assured and complacent. It is there to be lost and will not take much. There is no prize for winning opinion polls and loosing the only poll that counts – the election. If McCain can get the Democrat controlled congress blamed for the current crisis …
Hillary started well with talking about the hard work of the campaign being wasted with failed Republican leadership retaining the White House. “No way, no how, no McCain”. The greatness of America being bound up with the determination of the American people in everyday life.
She was grateful for the support and “sisterhood of the traveling pant suit” through the fifty states. After eight years of George Bush the standing of the US is at a low internationally. She started talking about why she stood for the Presidency – and it almost sounded like she still was as the crowd became fired up. “These are the reasons why I support Barack Obama”. The Campaign was not just for her as a candidate but for the people of the United States.
“There are no limits to what is possible in America – but this will not be easy … We must fight for a Democratic President”. This was the talk that Obama supporters needed to hear – building up Obama as the man to get it done and the Democrats knowing how to do it. If only talking made it so; but reality is not what you want at a convention. What you need is something that fires up supporters and makes good TV. On that score , Clinton excelled.
“John McCain is my colleague and my friend”. Perhaps the friend bit was overdoing the sentiment when you consider the latest polling suggests as much as 30% of Hillary supporters are going to vote for McCain (up from the 15% The Economist mentioned over two weeks ago). “We do not need four more years of the last eight years”. The message that what angers Democrats about America today will only change with Barack Obama in the White House is the one that needed playing: inadequate health care, out sourcing, fore closers, more war less diplomacy, unequal pay – more of the same with McCain.
The story of the struggle of women to vote in the US, to the point now where her daughter could vote for her. To keep going in the darkest moments; as Americans not big on quiting and to get going to get Obama elected, without a vote to spare. “The duty to build that bright future.”
It hit all the right notes, and it was impressive. Gracious in accepting Obama, he could not have asked for more if he had written the speech. The question is will the die hard feminists that championed Clinton as their woman for so long will, like her, get up from the disappointment and support the party.
Her speech gave them no cover to do anything other than support Barack.
Senator Clinton has released her delegates from voting for her at the Democratic Convention. It will be crucial for the party to lick it’s wounds, heal the rifts and fully support the Democratic nominee: Senator Obama. Already outside the convention there have been protests suggesting that Clinton was cheated out of the nomination.
Such talk will not help is such bellweather states as Ohio. With a quarter of Democrats leaning towards McCain or undecided Clinton needs to encourage her supporters to actively vote and work for a Democratic President. In Ohio McCain leads by 1.5%.
The Democrats have transformed their political machine. That will be crucial in tight states. But the last thing any political party needs is one at odds with itself. The time for bitter recriminations and self reflection is after the General Election – never when you are asking the electorate for power. If you cannot govern yourself you do not deserve to govern a country.
If Clinton can get her avid supporters to put the party before the candidate and realize that a Republican President is not in their interests on the issues – that is what counts. She needs to be guns blazing with McCain in her sights and why Obama needs the Democratic Party’s full support. In short a cheerleader to rally the party.
However this will be at 3 am GMT (10 PM Eastern Seaboard). So reflections on her speech will be after Cornflakes. Strongly recommend C-Span to people in the UK – more then just something people watched in episodes of The West Wing. Includes live feeds of the convention.
Eddie Tabash spoke of the importance of the Presidential election in the USA being about one vote – that of the new Supreme Court Justice that will replace 88 year old Justice Stevens when he retires. At the moment the Supreme Court is finely balanced 5-4 for those that uphold the secular constitution as envisaged by the founding fathers. With one appointment that legacy would be undone, from abortion, religious establishment of prayer, state religion. A move towards a theocratic state where the separation of God and State no longer exists and the state regulates faith in public life.
That is the reality, and it may mean some decisions that secular activists may not want to make. My take on the situation (and I want to make it clear what follows is my own opinion) is this. Obama is the only candidate that the Democrats can choose that stands a chance at defeating McCain. Not least a poll that has Obama winning by 5% and Clinton loosing by 5%.
That however is not enough. The Democrats are loosing ground with the bitter campaigns that are splitting the party down the middle. Even the story that McCain’s people have twice talked to the Democrats about defecting seems like the kind of speculation I had about Obama being McCain’s running mate. It sounds like an idea of bi-partisanship to change the country for the better but it will not only never work but never happen.
However I think that any lead that the polls suggest Obama has will be inflated by two key factors. One is that those who are not strongly inclined to vote will be more likely to choose Obama as their man – and may be less likely to vote. The second is that some Republicans, not least because of the recent press coverage about McCain’s team flirtation with the other side in the past, may be more inclined to suggest they are not voting – but come polling day they will vote for McCain.
This, together with the margin of error in polling of 3% variation suggests to me that in the 4 weeks before Polling Day Obama needs 10% to be certain. Let there be no mistake – McCain is the dream candidate and he is a better candidate than President George Bush Sr. or Jr. His experience, and story together with policy on key issues like national security and health will I believe come into it’s own towards the end of the campaign. There will be a McCain bounce that would be enough in a close race let alone one that misrepresents just how close the two candidates are.
This will be tight with Obama, and a 5% lead may even not be enough – I believe the margin of error could be as high as 6% variation. So to be home and dry you are looking at 10%, because I think McCain can claw back good percentage points in the course of a well run campaign and that also his vote will be underestimated by the polls while Obama’s will be overstated.
What can Obama do? With Clinton fighting to the bitter end there is not much he can do on that score but making bridges with the Super delegates that are behind Clinton will be crucial not least for him to have a Democratic Party that would give him 100% motivated support.
The second is that he needs to keep the margin at least to 6% to win. The key states where voter turnout is low and the State crucial need to be identified and the vote got out. Every vote will matter because the McCain bounce is very real let alone what I consider will be McCain’s underrepresented intended voting.
The third is that Obama must play the one trump card he certainly has over McCain – his youth, energy and having party willing to make reform and change happen. That can only happen if the Democratic Party can unite around him quickly, but also get election fund that they need – already wasted on a Primary between the one that stands a chance and the one that has none.
Finally Obama must not believe the hype that surrounds him. McCain is a real threat even if loosing by 5% points in the last few weeks. Every single vote will count, every activist contribution will matter, the result will be closer than the polls suggest. The future of the United States as a nation of freedom based on principles that defend liberty on a secularist constitution is under threat. This is further confounded if McCain as an over 70 year old candidate chooses either Romney or Huckabee as his running mate.
Not only must the American people realise the danger to the historical legacy of their country, and do the right thing come polling day – the Democrats must do the right thing now as activists. The vote on the nominee to the Supreme Court will have lasting implications. It is for this reason and if one of the two above become McCain‘s running mate, that I have decided that Obama should be the next President of the United States.
My analysis need not hold true if Obama can run an effective campaign achieving the goals I mentioned above. But a bitter campaign between Clinton and Obama, together with a situation that one has the popular vote and the other the delegate count (unlikely – Obama should hold both) let alone super delegates having the final say kiss the White House good bye.
Unforgettable if it means loosing the White House – the race will be tighter then the polls suggest. Unforgivable if it changes the constitution of the nation. One only hopes that Obama is moved by his principles and not his former Pastor Wright, whose rather inflammatory opinions are a further reason to show that when the founding fathers thought that religion and state went against the liberty and freedom of citizens they hit on an idea that is timeless.
Senator Clinton may still be trailing in terms of delegates 1391 to Senator Obama’s tally of 1477. But her wins in Ohio and Texas yesterday means that she is still in the running.
[EDIT: FOX NEWS readers for current politics blogs follow this link here]
The rest of the race for the Democrats looks like this:
Meanwhile Senator McCain went over the target number of delegates and Huckabee dually withdrew leaving McCain as the Presidential nominee for the Republican Party. Lunch today at the White House may see the seal of approval from President Bush – but it is doubtful we will see him on the campaign trial.
Much is being made that a prolonged negative campaign between Obama and Clinton could leave McCain sitting pretty as he has the opportunity to act as a statesman – and separate himself from President Bush. As a political maverick and someone that is known to be independent that should not prove difficult.
The proportional way in which a State’s delegates are allocated has meant in the close Democratic race there is no knock out blow. A winner takes all allocation may give a more resounding margin to one person. McCain can concentrate on raising funds for the White House campaign. Meanwhile the Democratic candidates will be chasing funds for the Primary at least into May.
Obama may have had hope that winning both states may have seen Clinton bow out. His campaign has learnt from earlier on not to build up such expectations. The key thing will be to recognise that the honeymoon is over and that the scrutiny from media and Clinton will be intense, and in all probability very negative. He won Vermont and is still ahead – it is about shifting gear to keep that margin lead to cross 2025 first.
16 states, 1,391 delegates
- Arizona, Arkansas, California, Florida, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas.
24 states, 1,477 delegates
2,025 delegates needed for nomination. Source AP (includes all kinds of delegates)