Saturday, May 03, 2008
Superdelegates Must Tell Color of Change What it can do with its Silly Vote for Obama Petition
Earl Ofari Hutchinson
Color of Change which presumptuously bills itself as the premier national grassroots organization is the latest to jump into bully the super delegates for Obama game. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, DNC Chair Howard Dean tried their hand at it and failed. Now Color of Change says it will urge the alleged legions of activists it claims to speak for to petition and flood Pelosi, Reid, and Dean with letters demanding that they stop Clinton from hijacking the nomination.
Reid, Pelosi, and Dean should toss this silly petition and their letters in the can. Here’s why. The group claims that Clinton thumbs her nose at blacks, plays the race card (figure that contradiction out), sows divisions, and disenfranchises millions of voters. She also, they assert, falsely says that the Democratic race is a tie. This thwarts the will of the pledged delegates who overwhelmingly back Obama. These are all self-serving myths.
The assumption that all blacks scream with one voice for Obama is foolish, arrogant, and racially myopic. In some states, mostly the South, blacks have voted ninety percent for Obama. But they also voted in nearly the same high percentage for white Democratic presidential candidates Al Gore and John Kerry. Overall Clinton nets about one in five black voters. The Congressional Black Caucus remains split between Clinton and Obama. There are hundreds of prominent black state and local officials from New York governor David Patterson to the former chair of the California Legislative Black Caucus Mervyn Dymally that back Clinton. There are packs of black personalities, celebrities, business and professional persons that support Clinton.
Even if all black voters backed Obama, the black vote is only one of several crucial vote demographics in the Democratic fold. The Democrat’s hope to bag the presidency hardly hangs solely on the wishes of black voters.
Color of Change’s claim that a vote for Clinton disenfranchises millions is even more ludicrous. It ignores the nearly two million voters in Florida who overwhelmingly voted for Clinton and now because of a clueless and bungling DNC chair Dean they will likely remain disenfranchised. It also erases the millions of white, blue collar, rural, Latino, older white females (and a not inconsiderable number of black females), and Jewish voters who powered Clinton to big state and swing state victories. Without their vote neither Obama nor Clinton have a prayer of raising their hand in January at the presidential inauguration. Nearly one quarter of these voters are adamant that if Obama is the nominee they will vote for McCain or stay home. They apparently don’t count either.
Color of Change says that the Clinton/Dean claim of a tie in the popular vote is dead wrong. They’re right. Clinton is ahead. Her total: 15,112,000 votes. Obama’s total: 14,993,000 votes.
The group charges that Obama has trounced Clinton in the number of pledged delegates. This is another myth. He has a bare eight percentage point lead over her in pledged delegates. If the Democratic primaries were winner take all as is the GOP’s, Clinton would be decisively ahead of Obama in pledged delegates. Even with the Democrats confusing, shoot-themselves-in-the foot proportional system, count Florida for Clinton and she’s ahead of Obama in the number of pledged delegates. A solid win in Indiana, West Virginia, and Kentucky, (North Carolina is suddenly very much in play for Clinton) and she’ll be ahead or in striking distance of him in the number of pledged delegates.
Color of Change scoffs at Clinton’s claim of electability. But the magic number to win the White House is 270 electoral votes. To get those votes, a Democratic presidential nominee must beat McCain in a majority of the 15 key battleground states. Clinton won 9 battleground states in the primaries. They hold 116 electoral votes. The 6 battleground states Obama won hold 54 electoral votes.
If Clinton wins the 15 solid Democratic states and the 9 battleground states, she wins the presidency with a comfortable 312 electoral vote. If Obama wins the 15 solid Democratic states and his 6 battleground states, he winds up with 250 electoral votes, and loses the presidency.
In late April, polls in the three most crucial battleground states, Florida, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Clinton beats McCain by nearly 10 percentage points. Obama either trails is slightly behind or is only marginally ahead of McCain in those states. Clinton is competitive or outright beats McCain by corralling white blue collar, and rural voters. But Color of Change doesn’t give a hoot about them.
When Reid, Pelosi and Dean tried to bully the super delegates to make a down and dirty final decision most refused. Their job is to back the Democrat who can win. They must do their job again and tell Color of Change what it can do with its browbeating petition and letters.
Earl Ofari Hutchinson is an author and political analyst. His new book is The Ethnic Presidency: How Race Decides the Race to the White House (Middle Passage Press, February 2008).