Posts about election

Obama has not won

I’ve had it with media trying to kick Hillary Clinton out of this race. It is not over. And Barack Obama has not won, not by a long shot.

Obama, just like Clinton, will depend on the super delegates to get the nomination. Obama, just like Clinton, stands virtually no chance of getting to the convention the winner from elected delegates.

Obama and his camp are speaking out of both sides of their mouth about the party’s nominating system. On the one hand, we have Nancy Pelosi and others arguing that Obama should get the lion’s share of the super delegates because he’s ahead in the popular vote — though he has just over 50 percent of it. (And here are big Clinton and Democratic donors protesting Pelosi’s early call of the election before it is over.) But the voting isn’t over yet. And that’s not how the system was designed. If we land at the convention with no clear winner, then the point of the super delegates — the legacy of the smoke-filled back room, the party’s safety valve to prevent another George McGovern — is to do what’s best for the party and to try to get a winner in November. That is the system. Not fair, you whine?

Well, there is nothing fair about disenfranchising the voters of Florida and Michigan. There is nothing fair about Obama himself arguing that, hey, that’s the system and so they shouldn’t come to the convention. There’s nothing smart about this, either, because this will surely alienate voters in two key swing states. But we have Howard (the loser) Dean to thank for that as well as Obama himself.

Go to the CNN delegate calculator and run some scenarios. If Clinton took 60 percent of the remaining vote, she’d come to the convention with 1827 delegates, Obama with 1846. With 60 percent of the super delegates, she’d get 2032, enough to win. Not possible? No, it’s not. So let’s say that Obama gets 60 percent of the votes left — also not possible; he’d get to the convention with 1961 delegates, still not a winner. Let’s be more reasonable. Let’s say Obama gets 55 percent of the remaining vote and 50 percent of the super delegates, which is about his fair share given his current votes; he still lands with 2105 delegates, not enough.


So why do I hear that it’s unfair for Clinton to rely on super delegates when Obama relies on them as well? Because there’s nothing fair in love and war, especially media love.

Why does Politico declare Clinton toast? Michael Scherer at says it’s nothing less than link-whoring. Or influence peddling. Or maybe they just hate Clinton. But they’d never admit that.

Why should anyone be calling for Clinton to drop out of the race? Obama hasn’t won. Indeed, the latest Rasmussen poll says equal numbers of voters — 22 percent in each case — say that Clinton and Obama should drop out. And, of course, we have today’s Gallup Poll saying that 28 percent of Clinton voters will switch to McCain if she does not win vs. 19 percent of Obama voters. You could say that’s not fair or it’s sour grapes — or it’s democracy.

It’s an election. Let the voters vote, all of them. It ain’t over till it’s over.

: LATER: I just got scolded in the comments for not disclosing my Clinton affiliation, though I ve done it a score of times and it should be neon-obvious in this post. But fine: I voted for Clinton and hope to have the chance to do so again. There.

The flip-flop show

I’m appearing on CNN Sunday at 7:30 to talk about the YouTube campaign with, I believe, Robert Greenwald, co-creator of The Real McCain, an internet video show and site that aims to show John McCain’s inconsistencies. I made a little video about it and the trend we are sure to see this season with the inconsistency police nabbing politicians on their flip-flops, namby-pambying, pandering, and lies. This is all the more powerful when seen on video and all the more possible because everything a candidate does will end up on video. As I say at the start of my video, in 2001, grandpappy blogger Ken Layne famously warned media that “we can fact-check your ass.” And now, with The Real McCain, YouTubers warn politicians that their asses are getting fact-checked, too. Here’s my piece:

Here’s the devastating video by Greenwald and Cliff Schechter:

There’s tremendous power here. With Outfoxed, his movie about Fox News, and his latest film about Wal-Mart, Greenwald learned the power of viral distribution — and that was before YouTube. Now he can get his story spread far and wide by sympathetic voters on the internet. As of today, the McCain video has had 155,000 views on YouTube — that’s the size of the audience for an MSBNC show — not to mention coverage in papers and on TV. This is a powerful, demonstrative, visible tool. Cliff Schecter — who blogs at CliffSchecter.comwrites on Huffington Post:

We don’t have FoxNews. We don’t have Rush Limbaugh (which at least means less progressive cash spent on buckets of honey-glazed wings and Schedule IV narcotics). But we have something almost as powerful, if recent events tell an accurate story. We have synergy. Coordination. Call it what you will.

I found it curious that Greenwald and Schecter as Democrats were going after a Republican already. So I emailed them to ask why. Is it to show that McCain isn’t the moderate the press paints him to be? Is it to get rid of the moderate and force the Republicans farther to the unelectable right? Schecter — who, it turns out, is writing a book about McCain — responded:

I chose McCain . . . very simply, because his level of hypocrisy rises above that of all the others, whether Democrat or Republican. He runs on the fact that he is a “maverick” a “straight talker” a “principled independent.” It is simply not true.

He has switched positions on Bush’s tax cuts, the number of troops needed in Iraq, evolution, ethanol subsidies, Jerry Falwell as an “agent of intolerance,” lobbying reform, even recently on campaign finance reform (presidential matching funds). . . .

I decided it was incumbent upon me to do this, because he is handled with such kid gloves by the media–see Joe Klein’s most recent blog at Swampland, where he says nobody can argue that McCain has not been consistent on the war, something that could not be more false. In fact Chris Matthews has joked that the media is “McCain’s base.” Anybody who watches and reads the fawning coverage, knows this to be true.

I asked Greenwald what it took to do this. He said they did a lot of print research and then went looking for the video; most was not on YouTube. That will change through the campaign, I’ll bet. Greenwald says he’s getting tips from the public and he promises to do more.

Candidates, be warned: You will choke on your forked tongues.

: By the way, I’m going to be following the YouTube campaign in greater depth on a new blog and vlog. More on that later.

: I’m now told I’m appearing without Greenwald. Too bad.

: LATER: Greenwald emails that he’s not a Democrat but independent. Corrected. But as the bete noir of Fox News and Wal-Mart, I’ll just bet he’s not in the GOP inner circle.

: LATER STILL: Greenwald says that he has had 220k views on YouTube and on the RealMcCain site.

: Corrected: Yes, it’s “fact-check” not “check.” Thanks, correctors, for checking my checking.

Are campaigns and conversation incompatible?

The hiring and then mufflling of bloggers by the Edwards campaign has to make you wonder whether whether campaigns and conversation are incompatible. Or perhaps we just better get used to honesty — in the form of bluntness and transparency and frankness — as a new phenomenon.

When you hire a blogger, you hire someone who lives — thinks and speaks — in public. You hire someone who responds to conversations without the veils of spin and PR and plastic discretion that politicians must learn.

In other words, on our blogs, we all say things that might offend someone. Truth is, in life — in bars, in restaurants, in offices, on the phone — we all do that, only now there is a public and — usually — permanent record. So now when a campaign hires such a person, it has to gird its crotch for the inevitable finding-of-the-offensive that will occur in this, the age of offense. And then, as the Times points out this morning, it has to figure out what to do. Firing people because they once said something that might have offended someone won’t work; there’ll soon be no one left to hire except people who have nothing to say and have never said it. Censoring them post facto won’t work; it violates our ethics in blogs to try to erase your old words; it is a lie of omission. What the Edwards campaign tried to do was hold onto the bloggers but make them choke on crow to satisfy the chronically offended. That trick won’t last for long.

Why don’t we just get used to the idea that people say things that might offend others and that soon we will all — campaign workers and campaigners alike — have such things on the permanent record. Blogs, Facebooks, MySpace pages, YouTube videos — you might say that they will haunt us. But I prefer to think that they will force us to be more open, more honest. Maybe then we’ll have no choice but to have a real conversation.


James Kelm asks about the impact of YouTube and viral video on the next presidential election — or any election, for that matter. He notes that candidates should look at this as a way to directly give their messages to the public. Of course, it can also be used by opponents to show or remix candidates’ worst sides (cue Dean Scream). I remember in the last election getting to hear podcasts of candidates’ stump speeches thanks to one site and it was a great way to hear directly and all at once, rather than reading the lines dribbled out by bored pool reporters.

For the upcoming elections, I think any video sharing service worth its salt should enable sharing and editing of video: We, the people, should take along our cameras and put up entire stump speeches. We should also TiVo and share candidates’ spiels on TV and also network reports. Then we should be enabled to easily remix compliations of quotes: what all the candidates really said about immigration, or Daily-Show-like what-he-said-then-vs.-now comparisons.

The next revolution may not be televised. But it can be YouTubed. [via Sullivan]