A couple thoughts on Obama’s victory

Now that its a done deal and Obama is the official “presumptive” nominee, just a couple of quick thoughts today.  First, I'm pretty proud of myself for my accurate predictions of Obama vs. McCain back in early January, when most thought that was a pretty unlikely match-up.  I've always confessed to being a poor political prognosticator despite my extensive political knowledge, so I'm pretty pleased to have nailed this one, especially since all the logic behind my thinking seemed to largely play out.  Lots of interesting pieces today on how Obama managed to win.  Long version, this nice Post article about Obama's delegate-centric strategy.  Shorter version, this interesting Jay Cost analysis of Obama's narrow victory.  Among the interesting insights, Obama was basically more delegate efficient:

Thus, Obama has won the Democratic nomination not because his voting
coalition is larger than Clinton's. As best we can tell, they are of
equal size. Instead, Obama has won because his coalition is more efficient
at producing delegates than Clinton's coalition. Obama's relatively
narrow vote lead has produced a relatively wide pledged delegate lead,
which has in turn produced an even wider lead in superdelegates. The
following chart indicates this point by measuring the number of votes
per pledged delegate. The idea here is that, the lower the number of
votes per pledged delegate, the more delegates a single vote produces
for the candidate, and therefore the more efficient a candidate's
coalition is.

Votes Per Pledged Delegate.gif

As we can see – Obama's voters are worth more delegates. Put
precisely, there are 10,237 voters for every Obama pledged delegate and
10,807 voters for every Clinton pledged delegate. That's a difference
in Obama's favor of 570 voters per delegate. That might not seem like
it would make a big difference, but it most certainly has. If the
“votes per pledged delegate” metric were equal for Clinton and Obama –
Obama's pledged delegate lead would drop from 106 to 12.

I also have to say, I'm just amazed by Hillary's alternative reality non-concession last night.  Lots of really negative responses among my favorite on-line sources.  TNR's Michael Crowley nicely describes the “bunker” mentality. 

How fitting that, on the night Barack Obama
finally claimed the Democratic nomination, Hillary Clinton delivered
her non-concession speech from a concrete bunker. To reach the Baruch
College gymnasium where Hillary spoke with such surprising defiance her
supporters had to descend two flights below street level. The thick
subterranean walls blocked out cell phone and BlackBerry signals, and
no televisions were provided in the main event hall, thereby insulating
Hillary?s cheering supporters (intentionally, some theorized) from the
dispiriting events unfolding at the Xcel Center in Minneapolis.

In
the bunker there exists a different reality. In the bunker, Hillary is
the winner: of the popular vote, of a series of big swing states, of
the authentic American vote. In the bunker, Hillary is introduced by
the indefatiguable Terry McAuliffe as “the next President of the United
States!” When asked about the reality outside the bunker?that Obama
supporters were in a minor rage over Hillary?s speech– McAuliffe
looked at me incredulously. ?Tonight was Hillary?s night!? he
exclaimed. ?We won tonight! We won in South Dakota! We keep winning!?

I also liked this Meghan O'Rourke response at Slate's all female blog, the XX factor:

Hillary's right, in a sense, that the way we elect our party
nominees is a little … complex. Even flawed. Sure. That's open for
debate. But not WHILE the election is taking place. For better or for
worse, we don't rewrite the rules midgame in American politics. Or at
least we don't do that most of the time. And that's always been what
made American democracy robust. The primary system is one the United
States has followed for a long time. And Clinton doesn't get to change
the rules midelection simply because they don't favor her. So I find it
disingenuous?deeply, deeply disingenuous?that she claimed last night
she really cares about “the deepest values of our party.” Ours is a
system of representative democracy. You don't get to throw a temper
tantrum just because “your vote” wasn't “heard.” After all, every time
there is an election, some voters feel remorse that their candidates didn't win. If
each of those candidates stirred up their supporters to the point
where, as Dahlia put it, they looked ready to set off small brushfires,
we'd be living in a much more violent country.

So you know what, Hillary? The deepest values of the party would
suggest that you don't emotionally manipulate those who have less power
and less authority than you. They would suggest that you don't stir
voters into a moblike frenzy.They would place on you the burden of
acting like a representativeup someone who can compromise gracefully,
negotiate wisely, and be generous even when the world does not bow to
your will. Instead, you're creating a schism within the Democratic
Party. If you really think there's a problem with the way primaries are
run, take it up after you bow out.

I'm going to be very curious to see just what Hillary says and does in the next couple of days.  I don't think I would ever support her in a race against pretty much any other Democrat at this point. 

Hmmm, I meant to write a short post.

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