Wednesday, February 13, 2008

A Democratic Bloodbath in the Future?

Rick Moran writes:
But I suspect that beginning this week, the calls will start coming for Hillary Clinton to drop out of the race in the name of party unity. Obama is creating an aura of inevitability about him by winning every single contest since Super Tuesday. Those victories have come all over the country and have been by huge margins. He has won 80%-90% of the black vote. He has consistently won among white males – an astonishing achievement for a black man. He is carving up the Democratic base and winning among all income groups, all levels of education, union households, and every age group except those over 60.

If Obama has a knock against him during this brilliant run of victories beginning on Super Tuesday when he won 13 states to Clinton’s 8, and continuing on through his last 8 straight wins since then, it is that the Illinois senator has failed to win any of the 10 largest states in the union save his home state of Illinois. This is significant because traditional Democratic general election strategy relies on the huge electoral vote harvest available in those states to be competitive with Republicans on election day.

Clinton’s argument to Super Delegates is that since she is more capable of taking those large states, she should be the nominee. Most of Obama’s victories have come in states that will probably not go Democratic in the fall. The true test, Clinton will plead, of who is most electable — and that will be the criteria most of the Super Delegates will be weighing — comes in those states where most Democratic voters are concentrated; the large states on both coasts.

It is a compelling argument and probably the only one she has left. But Obama will have his own counter-argument. It is he who will have won the large majority of primaries and primary votes. It would be undemocratic, he will say, to choose a candidate who finished second when the people spoke but was handed the nomination by a quirk in party rules.
It is that "quirk" in the party rules that could lead to a massive revolution in the Democratic party. Obama could run the table for the rest of the primaries, but with proportional assignment of delegates, Clinton could keep it close and then win the nomination on the backs of the Superdelegates.

Then the bloodbath would begin.

The superdelegates, those 700+ elected officials and party elites who can support any candidate they choose might be swayed by Hillary Clinton's last ditch appeal. But there are two possible outcomes of the super delegates ignoring the will of primary voters.

1). Those voters, including large numbers of young, first time and minority voters (remember the superdelegates are largely older and white), will revolt and start voting the superdelegates out of office, rightfully noting that they are a relic of the past and should be discarded as beholden to a bygone era. A new Democratic party would rise populated by people who have moved beyond identity politics. Make not mistake, they would still be quite liberal, but their liberalism will not be based on race or cultural consciousness, but on other factors.

2). Those same voters, disenfranchised by the super delegates will abandon the Democratic party in droves. Sure, some will still vote for Hillary clinton in November, but the surge of new activism created by the Obama campaign will surely ebb and Hillary Clinton will be castigated (and rightly so) for having caused the demise of the modern Democratic party.

Can the Democrats, who are poised to take over in November, afford to have the Superdelegates neglect the will of the voter?

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