Don’t Count Clinton Out

Seemingly eons ago, Barack Obama was poised to win New Hampshire, with polls handing him a double-digit lead before the Granite State voted. Yet Hillary’s resiliency, aided by a tear, kept her in contention. The same scenario replayed in the run-up to Super Tuesday, characterized by erratic polling setting the stage for an Obama upset. That day, Hillary fought to a stalemate, again preserving her status in the race. Now, the third wave of declaring Hillary a bygone of the 1990’s has crested. The rush to pen obituaries is premature.

The terrain since Super Tuesday has favored Obama, as many states had either significant African-American populations or well-educated electorates. Yet on March 4, the field shifts to Clinton territory. Texas has a significant Latino population which could compose as much as a third of the Democratic primary vote, and polls currently hand Clinton a double-digit lead. In Ohio, there are many downscale Democrats receptive to Hillary’s retooled populist message, powering her seventeen point lead in the state.

Wisconsin acts a bridge between the demographic divide in the calendar. The state has a progressive tradition hearkening back to Robert LaFollette, but is also home to a substantial white, working-class population. Current polling gives Obama a slim lead of 4%, barely outside the margin of error. Also of importance, anywhere from 10-15% of voters are undecided. In the depressing flow of data for the Clinton campaign recently, there has been one bright spot, concerning late deciders. In Maryland, which Obama won by 23 points, voters who decided on the day of the primary went 48% for Clinton and 41% for Obama.

The Clinton campaign is clearly making a push in the Badger State. Hillary is campaigning across Wisconsin this weekend and Monday morning, sacrificing valuable time that could be spent in Texas and Ohio – states she cannot afford to lose. The campaign is castigating Obama on the airwaves, broadcasting negative ads deeming him a candidate lacking substance. The concerted effort is a bid to keep Obama’s margin of victory low, while preserving the possibility of an upset.

On “Hardball” yesterday, Chris Matthews asked USA Today columnist Susan Page how the newspaper headlines would spin an Obama victory in Wisconsin by less than five points. She replied, “Closer than expected,” despite the fact that the hypothetical mirrors the polls.  The Clinton campaign has effectively lowered expectations, now able to spin a close loss as a victory.  A Wisconsin “win” would provide Hillary a much-needed boost heading into March 4, potentially halting Obama’s momentum.

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One Response to Don’t Count Clinton Out

  1. InformedLatino says:

    As a Latino, I am amazed at the extent to which some Latinos display their ignorance about black people. Lest we forget that black people played a major role in shaping the Latino culture and defining who we are as people. The Latino dance (salsa, merengue etc), music and musical instruments are African in their origin. They were brought to the SA continent by African Slaves and their descendants.
    I am so fed up with all the “Latino don’t like black people” talk played by the media and some ignorant Latinos in this election. A large chunk of Latinos are descendants of African slaves. The Latino community in general is not monolithic, but racially diverse. We have Latinos of African, European, Asian and Native Indian descents.
    Ex-President Fujimore of Chile is a good example of a Latino of Asian descent. President Chavez of Venezuela and Lula of Brazil were born to a family of African, Native American and European stock. However, they were certainly not among the first or the most famous Latinos of African Origin. That honor belongs to Mexico’s Vicente Guerrero. Vicente Guerrero was a towering figure in the Americas, masterfully commanding Mexico’s liberation army during much of its independence movement, and later assuming his country’s presidency (on April 1st, 1819) where he fought off foreign invaders.
    Those Latinos who won’t vote for Obama or a black candidate simply for being black are ignorant fools who need some lessons in Latino history.

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