Three days ago, rather jet lagged, I arrived in the Windy City of Chicago to campaign for Barack Obama at the Obama for America Head Office. Despite the freezing cold and snow I was warmed by the kindness, hospitality and buzz of the Obama campaign as I was immediately put straight onto a phone and computer to canvass voters in Texas and Ohio on behalf of the Illinois Senator.
Let's be honest, it wasn't the best result we could have hoped for but as I told a Chicago Radio station on Tuesday night it wasn't necessarily the worst.
Hillary Clinton, in her speech on the night, pointed out that she had won the states that need to be won if a Democrat is to win in November. She pointed to Ohio and Texas as examples. But we need to look deeper to find the real winner on this night because it has nothing to do with delegate count.
With these victories and Clinton’s declaration that she plans to take this to the Democratic National Convention, it is clear that this nomination will only go to her on the backs of super delegates. Her claim to those super delegates is that she can win the important states that need to be won in November. But looking at the details it seems that claim doesn’t hold substance.
I decided to look on the internet and compare results from the 2004 Presidential election to the results from Clinton’s so called victory in bellwether states.
Keep in mind through all this that the results from primaries where it is Democrat vs. Democrat is different than results from general elections where it is Republican vs. Democrat. If a Democrat wins a state in a primary it is not necessarily a sign that the candidate would fair better in the general. You must look at where their support is coming from within the invidual respective state.
The areas in Ohio that Clinton won that night are Republican areas in general elections and areas where a Democrat, no matter whoever he or she may be, will not win. Barack Obama, however, won the important areas; the major cities where the population resides. Most importantly, he won them with large, clear margins of victory overall.
Kerry lost Ohio in 2004 for lots of reasons, but he lost in a narrow margin. If the Kerry campaign could re do their campaign, they wouldn’t have targeted the reliably Republican areas that Bush won handily which are the same areas that Clinton won this year, but would look to increase their margin of victory in counties like Cuyahoga, Franklin and Hamilton among others. These were Kerry counties in ’04 but most importantly, Obama counties in ’08. The difference from ’04 to ’08 is that Obama won by large clear margins in these counties Kerry did not.
Compare the results of Texas and the same holds true. Even with an incumbent President who was a native Texan in ’04, looking at the results allows you to easily see where the Democratic strong holds are and where the Democratic nominee must win handily to win the state this coming November. Now look at Obama’s results and you will see wins. But most importantly, not just single digit margins of victory either - but large, clear margins of victory.
Look at Obama’s result in this primary in the swing states and it is clear to see that if the Democratic super delegate’s want to back the candidate who can win in November based on election night results alone and nothing else, then they must look at the results of Barack Obama.
If the Democrats are going to steal these types of states from Republicans in November, the US needs a candidate who is stronger in Democratic strongholds. The three most populous counties in Ohio this election went to Obama. The same holds true for the three most populous counties in Texas.
If Hillary Clinton goes into the general election against John McCain and runs well in only the republican dominated areas of Ohio and Texas then she will not carry the election in November. She may well end up winning the above talked about democratic counties, simply because she is a democrat, but not by large enough margins to carry the state overall. Barack Obama would run up the vote count in those places by enough of a margin to carry the states in question and carry their Electoral College votes and therefore the White House.