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Civil war

If Clinton can pull off a couple more victories, the democratic party is headed for a disastrous, fight-worn finish
By STEVEN STARK  |  February 20, 2008


It’s true that Barack Obama currently has a narrow lead in delegates and momentum. But despite the results in Wisconsin Tuesday, the whole Democratic race is still only two steps away from becoming a train wreck that could derail the party’s chances of winning in November.

This year’s tight contest for the Democratic nomination is unusual in the modern era, but it is not unprecedented. In 1976, the Republicans faced a barnburner of their own when Gerald Ford and Ronald Reagan went through all the primaries and into the convention in a close heat, with Ford ultimately prevailing 1187-1070.

But the Republicans avoided a civil war (though they still lost the election) because their process differed from the Democrats’ current one in two key respects. First, no matter how close the candidates remained, the process was designed so that someone had to win a majority of the delegates selected during the campaign. (There was no large bloc of superdelegates to override the process.) Second, in their “wisdom,” the Republicans hadn’t unseated two of their largest delegations, as the Democrats have done this year with Michigan and Florida, thus leaving their nomination in a state of perpetual chaos.

The first step toward Democratic bedlam could occur on March 4, when Texas and Ohio vote. Demographically, Ohio is made-to-order for Hillary Clinton, with a high percentage of working-class voters, older voters, a relatively low percentage of minorities, and the support of the incumbent governor’s organization. Texas is relatively better for Obama (the primary is more open to Independents and Obama can probably count on the student hotbed of Austin) — but not much so, because the high percentage of Latino voters could well tip the state to Clinton, as it did in California.

If Clinton comes back to win those two states, the Democrats are in trouble. At that point, there are no further significant races until April 22, when Pennsylvania votes. If she’s successful on March 4, Clinton (with the help of the press) will bill the Pennsylvania contest as the ultimate face-off, the proverbial seventh game, even though she’ll still trail slightly in delegates, whether or not she wins.

Again, Pennsylvania favors Clinton, with one of the highest percentage of elderly voters in the country, and a high proportion of working-class and Catholic voters. If she’s won Ohio, there’s no reason to think she can’t win the Keystone State, too — at which point civil war in the party will break out.

Making the case for war
Although Obama will likely still lead at the end of the primaries by around 100 to 200 delegates (not counting the superdelegates), neither candidate will have enough to win. So both will need considerable support from those 796-or-so superdelegates. Clinton will argue she won every large state, save Obama’s home; Obama will argue he won more states, total. Both will be correct.

Clinton will argue that the Florida and Michigan delegates should be seated and primarily awarded to her because she won their primaries (even though Obama’s name wasn’t even on the ballot in Michigan and neither candidate campaigned in Florida). Obama will contend that it’s wrong to change the rules now, and will be forced into the unfortunate position of trying to keep out of the convention the delegates of two states he would need in the fall. (Even if he agrees to “redo” the states in June caucuses — holding the primaries again would require legislative approval unlikely to come — Clinton will probably refuse. Better for her not to resolve the issue than risk losing yet another caucus to Obama.)

Obama will argue that, as the delegate leader, he is the “real victor” and the superdelegates should ratify his lead. Clinton will likely argue that she’s ahead in the popular vote or, if she’s slightly behind, that if you add in the popular votes of Michigan and Florida, she got more votes. Again, if these patterns continue, both will be correct.

As ace US News & World Report political analyst Michael Barone has noted, it’s the 2000 election controversy all over again — down to “count all the votes” (once the Gore slogan, now Clinton’s) and “don’t change the rules in the middle” (once the Bush thesis, now Obama’s). Like the election that year, this controversy could well end up in the courts. And, when it’s all over, one side will feel, somewhat rightfully, that it was robbed.

The Democrats lost the White House in 1968, in part because the public witnessed the chaos surrounding their convention in Chicago. This year could produce something similar, only it will be played out over weeks, in slow motion. Lest we forget, the November election is only nine weeks after the Democrats assemble in Denver, not a lot of time to get a muddled act together.

There’s one way to avoid this whole mess, of course. Obama could win Ohio, Texas, or Pennsylvania and make Clinton’s arguments moot. The alternative is a result that stands to benefit only one candidate. His name is John McCain.


Odds: 1-15 | past week: same
Odds: 30-1 | same


Odds: 5-7| past week: 6-7
Odds: 7-5| 7-6

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Civil war
Obama was playing by the rules when he pulled himself off the ballot in Michigan and Florida. He has nothing to apologize for. It should be no problem for him, with his diplomatic ease, to explain to their voters, should the question arise in September of whether their votes should count--that he respects their right to have a voice in the primaries, and respects them. It is simply a greater good to respect due process at a federal level.
By gordon on 02/21/2008 at 9:26:20
Civil war
Whoa ! Hillary in a skirt ? Wrong.
By Mighty Mouse 4000 on 02/26/2008 at 8:24:12
Civil war
REAL News - Dick Cheney's NEXT Big Energy MONOPOLY Power RIPOFF: Obama is the pre-packaged "New & Improved Chocolate Flavor" Presidential candidate PRODUCT - being hyped & PUSHED by GE and its WHOLLY-Owned subsidiaries NBC & MSNBC...along with Westinghouse & its subsidiary CBS...while slamming the Clintons all day every day. (Assisted by...CNN/FOX/ and a lot of newspaper & radio media dependent on advertising$$.) GE is the 2nd largest corporation on the planet. Obama is IN with the Nuclear Industry: Excelon Corp of Illinois has been one of his largest contributors from his entry into politics to the present. Excelon is the largest nuke operator on the planet;owns Con-Ed of NY; more nukes in Illinois than any other state. GE, Westinghouse, Excelon & 3 consortiums of other companies are planning to build 29 new nuclear power plants. Their Wholly-Owned & Wholly Influenced "News" media are selling the Obama Product because Obama is in favor of Nukes. In 2005 Obama Voted FOR the Cheney Energy Bill (H.R.6) which ENABLED the nuke industry to make its Plans to build 29 new nukes-by Guaranteeing Taxpayer Payback of any nuke loans that default. (No nukes were built for the past 30 years because the banks wouldn't loan the money - too risky) Obama Voted FOR the Cheney Energy Bill-despite the fact the Congressional Budget Office rated the risk of default on the nuke loans at 50% or greater. (Does that sound like...GOOD...JUDGMENT to You?) [NY Times has several articles about the nuke plans & a map showing all 29 locations; Wikipedia covers the subject] Clinton Voed AGAINST the Cheney Energy Bill and said her Energy Plan does not include nuclear. ? "Its about the FUTURE...Turn The PAGE" ? Nope. ts about Turning the PAGE BACK to the PAST: Obsloete 50 yr old nuke power plants-the dirtiest most expensive kind/centrally-controlled MONOPOLY POWER-instead of inventing New, Clean, Green De-Centralized inexpensive Energy. An ad campaign has already begun on the TV media to re-package & re-name nuclear power plants as: GREEN & CLEAN -for-everybody too young to remember the 1970's anti-nuke movement and all the Bad News about nuclear energy. Don't be taken in by the ad campaigns-Google:'nuclear waste dumps' & read about the hundreds of BILLIONS of gallons of nuke waste at the Hanford Washington dump; 140 tons of plutonium stored at Rocky Flats, Colorado; Barnwell, South Carolina; leaking into groundwater and rivers; plutonium released into the air around Denver from 500 instances of fires at Rocky Flats; stored on-site at every nuke reactor in America...presenting hundreds of potential "dirty bomb" targets for terrorists. Is it true that Obama takes No Contributions/NO MONEY from Registered Federal Lobbyists? Yes. It's a LawyerSpeak/Trick of: Speaking a Small truth covering up a Big Lie. Nope, doesn't take money from REGISTERED FEDERAL Lobbyists. DOES take money from STATE Lobbyists, Not Registered Lobbyists, AND the wives, husbands, law partners, aunts, uncles cousins...of Registered Federal Lobbyists. Gets money from the same big corporate donors as any other candidate. Obama's campaign finances are involved in the prosecution (by Patrick Fitzgerald)and trial of his friend of 20 years Antoin Rezko. Some of the funds... allegedly...extorted by Rezko went into Obama's campaign coffers. Curiously, Iraqi Power Plants amd fraud are also involved in Rezko's trial. (Google: Obama -Rezko- Alsammarae-Auichi- IRAQ POWER PLANTS) GE & the same wealthy people who sold the "new & improved vanilla flavor" Presidential PRODUCTS: Reagan & Bush/s 1 & 2 - are behind the massive ADVERTISING CAMPAIGN to sell you OBAMA. At the beginning of this campaign season a large majority of voters were looking forward to electing Clinton. Then Obama stepped in and started the dirty campaigning that has created the DIVISION he so hypocritically decries. Obama played "the race card" so he could win in South Carolina. He was caught red-handed playing that race card-but the media blamed it on Clinton-even though they all knew they were pushing the Big Lie. With nearly ALL "the mainstream media" pimping for Obama & slamming, smearing, and lying about the Clintons-it is truly amazing enough voters have seen thru the Media-Created Obama "movement"-for Clinton to STILL be in the race. The only way a very small minority can CONTROL a very large Majority is: DIVIDE & CONQUER-Exactly the same Republican Strategy/Deception they have successfully pulled for most of the last century And ALL of this century, so far. . . GE, the nuke industry/wealthy have hedged their bets & they will get Billions of your money via 29 new nukes IF either Obama or McCain is elected President. Ladies & Gentlemen, Dads & Moms buy nothing GE & Westinghouse are selling - not Obama, not a washing machine, a dishwasher, 29 nuke power plants, or a garbage disposer .... because there is no garbage disposer for Radioactive Nuke Waste. Do not allow them to poison the earth and your children anymore.
By elme on 03/02/2008 at 4:58:10

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