My latest at Pajamas Media is up and let me tell you, it was a labor of love – or a labor anyway.
I had the piece finished around 10:00 PM when Hillary was comfortably ahead by 40,000 votes. Then came the incredible – and ominous – news that the precincts in Lake County, including the city of Gary which is 85% African American, had not reported much of their total. When the mayor of Gary said that the results might be a “shocker,” one began to wonder how close the crooks in Chicago’s neighboring metropolis and kindred machine could actually make the race.
I began a major re-write (still with Hillary the victor) and finished just a few minutes after Fox finally called the race shortly after midnight.
The optimism exhibited the last few days by the Clinton campaign that they were finally making progress in convincing Democrats that she would be the better candidate to face John McCain in the fall came a cropper in Indiana. It vanished in the middle of the night when a comfortable lead disappeared amidst hints of ballot shenanigans in one of the most crooked cities in the United States: Gary, Indiana.
Chicago has nothing on its close neighbor Gary when it comes to playing fast and loose with the electoral process. In 1967, the white city machine was in a panic because African American candidate Richard Hatcher appeared headed for victory. Like any crooked machine, they resorted to the time tested methods of vote fraud, ballot box stuffing, purging voter lists, and ghost voter registrants. Hatcher called in the Feds and the courts and got the process cleansed just in time for him to sweep to victory.
In the end, it really didn’t matter if Gary tried to rig the vote for Obama. By not winning comfortably in a state she was expected to do very well, Hillary Clinton’s campaign suffered the ultimate defeat: she failed to meet expectations.
As you know by now, Hillary cancelled her morning show appearances. Originally, the campaign also cancelled all her appearances for the day but apparently were taken aback by the almost universal interpretation of that action as the end of the road so they added an event at noon today in West Virginia.
But really, how can she go on? The Democrats seem bound and determined to nominate a Jimmy Carter – worse, a Jimmy Carter with baggage. But in this, the worst potential election year for Republicans since 1974, it might be enough anyway.
It’s no accident that the GOP has been losing these special elections in previously safe Republican districts. The party’s message is uncoordinated and mushy, there is trouble raising money, and the caucus is hopelessly divided on what to do to fix it:
Shellshocked House Republicans got warnings from leaders past and present Tuesday: Your party’s message isn’t good enough to prevent disaster in November, and neither is the NRCC’s money.
The double shot of bad news had one veteran Republican House member worrying aloud that the party’s electoral woes — brought into sharp focus by Woody Jenkins’ loss to Don Cazayoux in Louisiana on Saturday — have the House Republican Conference splitting apart in “everybody for himself” mode.
“There is an attitude that, ‘I better watch out for myself, because nobody else is going to do it,’” the member said. “There are all these different factions out there, everyone is sniping at each other, and we have no real plan. We have a lot of people fighting to be the captain of the lifeboat instead of everybody pulling together.”
In a piece published in Human Events, the Republicans’ onetime captain, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, warned his old colleagues that they face “real disaster” on Election Day unless they move immediately to “chart a bold course of real reform” for the country.
But even with all of these advantages, Obama could still lose to John McCain in the fall. It appears that whatever gains he made with white voters over the months have been lost – at least temporarily – by the Wright fiasco. The party knows this but still seems unwilling to cut him loose and turn to Hillary as an alternative.
For her part, Clinton really can’t drop out immediately. She is going to win in West Virginia next week and Kentucky the following week – both by big margins. My guess is that she will trundle onwards, hobbled by a lack of money and with no rational argument to take to the Superdelegates to get them to overturn what is rapidly becoming inevitable.
Slate’s keeping an eye on RCP’s running popular-vote totals and notes that not only will Obama widen his delegate margin tonight, he’ll erase the PV gains she made in Pennsylvania. In fact, as of this moment, even if Florida and Michigan are counted RCP gives her a popular vote lead of just 3,000+ votes — a margin of less than one-tenth of one percent. And that’s assuming that the popular vote totals from the caucuses in Iowa, Washington, Maine, and Nevada (which weren’t reported) aren’t counted at all. If you estimate for those states, he ends up with a lead of more than 100,000. Which means she has nothing left to commend her to the supers except an electabilty argument unsupported by a single key metric or even circumstantial evidence that Pastorgate has done Obama grievous damage at the polls. Are they going to take the nomination from the first serious black candidate for president without any compelling data to hang their decision on? Not a chance. It’s over. Let’s move on.
There are some – Sean Hannity for one – who have been hinting that Hillary’s oppo research on Obama has come up with some extremely damaging stuff that they have been showing privately to select party leaders in hopes of enlisting their support to carry out what would amount to a coup d’etat against the certain nominee. That sounds like Hannity passing gas. Obama has somewhat inoculated himself against further Wright outrages so it would have to be something that involved the candidate personally in Wright’s diatribes to have any effect at all.
It’s not quite time to write the post mortem yet. Hillary will not go quietly into that goodnight until external forces extinguish her candidacy. But the race is over – has been over as I’ve been pointing out – for a couple of months. All that’s left for Clinton is to find the right moment to exit the stage with as much grace as she can muster.