This is a sometimes 'cheesey' blog about British and American politics and anything else which tickles my fancy!

Wednesday, 14 May 2008

The Party is Over

Hillary Clinton may well be determined to stay in the Democratic race after her win in West Virginia last night, but she risks seriously splitting the Democrat Party in the process.

Obama remains ahead in the popular vote and ahead in the delegate vote. He has also managed to win over more superdelegates today. He has the momentum.

However, results from states like West Virginia and Pennsylvania show that he does have a problem reaching out to the white working class. You cannot win elections solely on this group's support, but you cannot afford to ignore them either.

His problems don't disqualify him, but they do pose a challenge for him and his team. He needs to do a number of things:

1) Stress his background. While Clinton was a corporate lawyer, Obama was working with some of the poorest people in inner city Chicago. He was brought up by a single parent. He knows better than most what it is like to struggle, that nothing in life comes free and hard work pays off. Exactly the message the white working class wants to hear.

2) He needs to lay off the soaring rhetoric of his speeches and campaign at a local grass-roots level. This is not always possible in the bigger states but he needs to acknowledge that his message doesn't always get through.

3) Bread and Butter issues. He must continue to expose the hollowness of Clinton's gas pledge and instead set the agenda himself on issues like food prices, gasoline, tax and health care.

4) He must relentlessly communicate his message of 'change.' This is powerful, right and has so far been a winning formula.

But while Obama is doing this, Clinton remains determined to drag him down.

Her actions look like someone increasingly out of touch with the reality on the ground. Every poll which pits Obama against McCain shows that Obama would win the Presidential Election.

Her actions are poisoning relationships within the Democrat Party and seriously undermining its attempt to successfully win the Election in November.

She has shown by her constant repositioning during the Primary Campaign and her exploitation of racial divisions that she is neither principled nor a woman of conviction. It saddens me that someone, who until now I admired and respected, has chosen to act this way.

Her only hope must be that something so bad happens to Obama or regarding Obama that the superdelegates switch to her. This is wishful thinking.

The idea of a joint ticket is also ridiculous. It would look too contrived, after everything that has been said and I am not sure either candidate would want it.

Obama is strong enough without her and would benefit more from Bill Richardson or John Edwards as VP. Meanwhile, if Clinton genuinely thinks Obama will lose against McCain in November, which I am sure she does, she will not want to be blamed if it all goes wrong. Therefore, there will be no dream ticket.

For her, the party is well and truly over. She can campaign in the remaining primaries over the next two weeks, which I am sure she will, but it will be pointless and damaging.

Bill Clinton rebuilt the modern Democrat Party and took it to power in 1992. It would be a shame if another Clinton was responsible for its implosion.

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