Tuesday, May 6, 2008

The Sweet Smell of Desperation (JM)

"It's over! Why does anyone even care?!"

"Look at the Delegate Calculator, she needs to win over eighty percent of the remaining delegates to win!"

"Hillary should just drop out! She cannot possibly win!"

For people who are so sure of victory, Obama supporters are feeling more and more like people desperately clinging to a conviction slowly slipping away. It's like a game of Risk, where one opponent is about to do something that will really screw you and you insist that this is a bad move for them. The more urgently that you insist, the more sure they become that it is precisely the move that ought to be taken. Until you're screaming and yelling and threatening absurd consequences that you cannot possibly follow through on (Author's Note: Don't play Risk with me, I am unpleasant to play with).

Anyway, here's my take on tonight. This is Hillary's shot to game change, she has to win Indiana pretty well and come close or win North Carolina. There are two scenarios that work for her: 1) Huge Indiana win, tiny North Carolina loss; 2) Moderate Indiana win; North Carolina effect tie or win. Either of these scenarios really put a knife in to Obama, especially with a predicted 20 point possible drubbing coming up in West Virginia (which is basically all the parts of Pennsylvania that loved Hillary, with none of the metropolitan areas). Anything else and despite momentum I suspect Hillary is done. But then, I have thought this before.

"Jonathan, superdelegates will never allow Hillary to steal this election."

Please, hypothetical Obama-supporting strawman, you are ridiculous. The same inane group of people who think Florida and Michigan should be outright disenfranchised because "rules are rules" cannot stand that other rules will get in the way of Obama's ascendancy. But let's take this one further, oh worshipers of the might principle of democratic representation. Obama's entire delegate lead is on the back of incredibly unrepresentative caucuses. I've explained this before, but once more with feeling. Caucuses drive down turnout insane amounts and are most likely to suppress the votes of poorer working-class individuals as well as the elderly. They are often much more representative of the loudest, pushiest voters (ie. Obama supporters). Superdelegates are, for the most part, people elected by way more votes than people who actually vote in caucuses. So do me a favor and stop using the word "steal" as your last ditch effort to stop people from realizing if Hillary gets to McCain that she will flatout steamroller him.

Oh, just one more thing... (said like Columbo). I am tired of people referring to Obama as the candidate of the educated elite. Having a college degree does not make you a member of the educated elite, my god I know some encephalitic Obama supporters who count, statically, as members of the educated crowd. There are obviously exceptions of both sides of the table (very noted ones so if you are my friend and an Obama supporter I am probably not talking about you), but the truth is amongst my most educated friends it has always been the ones whom I have considered the smartest who support Hillary, not Obama. They are the people who rail for Obama with some sort of crazy belief that he'll actually change politics, make candy grow from trees, and turn international war crimes in to some magical, delicious form of frozen yogurt that tastes better than ice cream, but has no calories, that I lack any sense of intellectual respect for, and this usually began before they even started supporting him.

In fact, let me end with this hierarchical theory. The first plateau is working class folk, who have no time to indulge in the dream of a better world, and thus largely support Hillary. Then there are the well-to-do suckers who think that magically politics will change over night. Finally, there are the cynics who are aware that politics will always be a ground fight because it involves groups of people who very very much disagree over issues. Compromise is possible, but it's the Hillary-type, not the Obama-type that gets compromises hammered out. Obviously there are exceptions to these rules (interest groups come to mind) and not all people support either candidate for such reasons, but most do and it's pretty silly how it has been categorized.

So tonight will mean a lot in the grand scheme of things. For what it's worth I expect a tie in the sense that Hillary will get a slightly favorable outcome. I suspect a decent Indiana win and a pretty close showing in North Carolina. It probably won't matter in the long run, but I will allow myself, just for tonight, the audacity of hope.

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