News from the Votemaster
It is getting close in Texas and Ohio. Here are the latest polls.
The dynamics of this race are starting to look that those of previous primaries. Hillary Clinton has a big lead two weeks before the election, then Barack Obama starts campaigning in the state where the primary is and her lead vanishes. It has happened in Texas and is starting to happen in Ohio. The Clinton response has been to go for the jugular. She is running an ominous ad saying that it is 3 a.m. and your children are safe (for the moment) but a phone is ringing in the White House. Who do you want to answer it? The idea is scare the people witless. Karl Rove is probably chuckling thinking his influence has taken over the Democrats. But this ad has its real roots in the 1964 Lyndon Johnson daisy ad against Barry Goldwater in which a shot of little girl picking the petals of a daisy is followed by the mushroom cloud of a nuclear explosion. The message (unspoken) was: "Do you want that nutcake to have his finger on the nuclear trigger?" Walter Mondale ran a famous red phone ad with the same message against Gary Hart in 1984.
Politico has a story on how the Texas primary could influence the general election. If Clinton's ad works and she wins Texas (but Obama is ultimately the nominee) the Republican 527 groups are going to go all out trying to scare people. Every ad will have the subtext:YOU WANT YOUR CHILDREN TO DIE?
THAT IS WHAT IS GOING TO HAPPEN IF YOU VOTE FOR OBAMA.
YOUR CHILDREN WILL ALL DIE A HORRIBLE DEATH.
If Obama wins big Tuesday, the appeal of this kind of ad may become less, but it will surely be tried at least a little. It is also worth nothing that Giuliani's entire campaign was based on fear and he didn't do so great (but he had other problems, like too many wives and views that were anathema to his party).
At a different level, the Clinton campaigned threatened to sue the Texas Democratic Party over the election Tuesday. The fundamental problem is that Clinton is probably going to lose Texas and doesn't like the idea. While the combined primary-caucus system is somewhat bizarre, other states also have a primary and a caucus, but not on the same day (as Texas does). Neverthleless, Clinton knew the rules months ago and never objected until now. Chances are this is just bluffing. If she actually sued the Texas Democratic Party, she would complicate the election, lose the nomination, come off as a whiny sore loser, shred her reputation, and end any chance she could be the nominee in 2012 if McCain wins in 2008. The phone ad and the threatened lawsuit all send the same message: "Mark Penn's polling shows we are going to lose Texas and it is time for a Hail Mary. It's now or never."
Here are the delegate totals from various news sources rounded to integers (Democrats Abroad has 22 delegates, each with 1/2 vote). The sources differ because in most caucus states, no delegates to the national conventions have been chosen yet, just delegates to the district, county, or state convention. Also, all sources try to count the PLEOs (Party Leaders and Elected Officials) and unpledged delegates, who also get to vote at the convention. When different reporters call a PLEO and hear "Well, I like Hillary, but Barack has his charms too" they may score it differently.
Needed to win: Democrats 2025, Republicans 1191.
Here is another source for delegate totals.
-- The Votemaster