Politics, USA

Hillary’s dilemma

While we wait for the final numbers from Oregon to establish what kind of win Hillary needs in Puerto Rico to overtake Obama in the popular vote count even without Michigan, just a wee thought: many agree that, with the kind of numbers she has, Hillary will be hard to stop if she really wants to become VP. Let us suppose that to be true.

Conventional wisdom also has it that, the way in which Obama and Hillary have over the last few months brought to the polls such diverse elements in the electorate – and in such substantial numbers – their ticket could not be stopped: Hillary would campaign in Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Arkansas, New Hampshire, West Virginia; and Obama in Colorado, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan. And they would win. Let us suppose this also to be true.

Finally, conventional wisdom also has it that Hillary is convinced that Obama cannot win in November (not alone, anyway). Let us also suppose that Hillary thinks that, independently from the merits of such view.

Now, suppose you are Hillary Clinton. Given the above, you have a clear path to become VP – neither Democrats nor Republicans, we have supposed, can stop you. But also, given the above, you are convinced that if you don’t push yourself onto the VP seat, Obama will lose, and you will very likely pick up the shuttered pieces of the Democratic Party in 2012, and probably defeat old John McCain – after all, there would be no need to remind everyone that you did warn them against Obama: even unborn babies know that much. So what do you do, Hillary?

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Politics, USA

Is Obama finished?

In the last three months – since February 20th – there have been eleven democratic primary contests (two more, Oregon and Kentucky, take place today).

In these eleven contests, Obama has obtained a total of 394 pledged delegates, while Clinton has taken 398.

So in the last three months Obama has gathered fewer pledged delegates than Hillary Clinton.

In the same last eleven contests Obama has received 5,515,438 votes; while Clinton has received 5,858,938.

So in the last three months Clinton has received 345,500 votes more than Obama.

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Politics, USA

Hillary’s last supers

Primary Folk will unquestionably remember the last few weeks as the time when Obama overtook Clinton in her last desperate stand: the number of super-delegates.

I am rather surprised, on the other hand, by the fact that Hillary got around twenty super-delegates endorsements of late. Why would a super-delegate who has been courted by both candidates for months come out and endorse the candidate that, according to everyone, has already lost? Why wouldn’t you stay on the fence a while longer and then endorse the next President of the United States? Isn’t it peculiar?

Three possible explanations:

1) principles: those super-delegates have finally realized that they identify with Hillary and her politics. Not a chance in the all bloody universe…

2) short-term personal gain: the Clintons are still able to guarantee significant political gains for people that, let’s remember it, are nobodies. But can it be that Obama was not able to outbid them?

3) those superdelegates know something that we don’t, and that’d have to do with Hillary’s prospects…

1 is out of the question and 2 isn’t very convincing. Can it really be 3 is on to something?

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Barack Obama, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Politics, USA

restraint

I would be delighted if Hillary humiliated Obama today in West Virginia, say something above 70% against something below 25%.

But I actually think that it would be better for Hillary to win by a norrower margin: if the margin is too big and way out of line with anything we have seen in the last few months, then that will offer the MSM the perfect excuse – and God knows how desperate they are for it – to ignore Hillary’s continuing campaign – on the grounds that West Virginians are just freaks: starving racists with a religious problem.

Therefore it would probably be better if Hillary got a solid but realistic win: something comfortably above 60% to 30% something. That would ‘look’ better – while still guaranteeing a delegate landslide, district by district.

Then, with WV under her belt, Hillary should manage to hold off the party for another week to go on and try to win both Kentucky and Oregon next Tuesday (which, according to this very interesting post, isn’t impossible).

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Britain, Politics

Can this really be happening?

This chart describes betting patterns on the London Mayoral Elections for the last three months – converting them in implied probability. It’s got two messages, really: as unpredictable an election as I can remember; in the last few days most people seem to have made up their minds that Boris will actually do it, as unbelievable as this might sound on Earth.

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Britain, gordon brown, Labour Party, Politics, Scotland

Brown’s strategy will backfire both north and south of the border

You don’t need a nostalgic Blairite to waste his precious time convincing you that Gordon Brown is a poor political strategist: you already know that all too well. So it’s no surprise that Mr. Brown is getting his strategy for the next election completely wrong. Roughly, this is what Brown and whoever advices him are thinking: we’ve got a Scottish problem. If the English electorate perceives us as too Scottish, we really have no chance at the next general elections against two candidates, Cameron and Clegg, who are quintessentially English. So what we are going to do is making sure that the English public can’t say that we are being partial to Scotland. That will also suit the purpose of giving Salmond a very bumpy ride; so that whenever we decide to call the next general elections – because it’s we who call the shots – we’ll get respect from the English for not having given in to our Scottish roots; and also Scottish Labour will be stronger against the SNP just in virtue of the fact that we have made it so difficult for the SNP to govern, thanks to a – relatively to the past – underfunded Scotland.
That sounds, if not clever, at least reasonable. And it explains, along with many other things, the anti-Scotch budget; and the recent unsuccessful trip to Westminster by John Swinney, Scotland’s Finance Secretary. Problem is, Gordon Brown’s strategy is going to backfire. Here’s why: the Scots are going to be particularly outraged by a Scottish Prime Minister who appears to be particularly tough on them of all people. That will inevitably result in a perception of the SNP as the only party standing for Scotland – as was more than obvious over the budget, when Scottish Labour MPs had to go on telly defending anti-scottish legislation: Salmond knows how to play that card; has played it ever since the beginning of his time in office; and Brown is being thick enough to continue playing in Salmond’s hands. This could ultimately result in the SNP being a serious player in the next general elections: it is estimated that, with the present level of support, the SNP could get as many as 30 Westminster parliamentary seats next time around – which could prove decisive in case of a hung parliament (and, needless to say, it’s not with Labour that the SNP would strike a deal).
But Brown’s strategy might backfire in England as much as in Scotland. His thinking is that by being tough on Scotland he’s going to prove to the English that he would do their interest, and never put Scotland’s interest ahead of the interests’ of the majority. Fair enough: problem is that if Brown alienates the Scots, he offers the Conservatives a brilliant argument against him. Cameron can then tell the English: here’s a Scottish politician loathed by his own people; why should we English trust him?

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