Sunday, March 16, 2008

The Bottom Line: 7 Mistakes Doomed the Clinton Campaign

The verdict is in and only the paperwork remains to be completed. Hillary mismanaged her campaign and blew It, Barack ran a brilliant campaign and snatched it; and Rendell, Onorato and Ravenstahl missed it!

The Democrat presidential endorsement is won by who gets the most delegate votes. The pledged delegates represent the millions of voters who cast their ballots in primaries and caucuses. The 795 super delegates are the members of congress, local elected officials and party officers. To win a candidate needs 2025 delegates.

Currently Obama leads in total delegates with 1628 delegates to 1493; and 1415 to 1245 when only pledged delegates are considered.

Since delegates are won on a proportional basis in each state, no winner take all, it is estimated that Clinton would have to win more than 65% of the vote in all of the remaining 10 states to even catch Obama. A feat that virtually all of the experts agree is impossible.

Clinton’s campaign has been fatally flawed from the beginning. Seven mistakes doomed her candidacy

1. Assuming that the voters would not be tired of the 20 years of Bush/Clinton/Bush occupancy of the White House
2. Assuming that Bill Clinton was a net plus for her campaign
3. Assuming that experience would be the deciding narrative of this election for voters; instead change was
4. Assuming that not many voters would not see how flimsy her claim of 35 years of experience really was
5. Assuming with a stunning arrogance that the February 5th Super Tuesday primaries and caucuses would decide the contest and not planning or preparing for any campaigns after that date
6. Assuming that they could run a ‘fat’ campaign never dreaming that they would not raise the most money and would run out of money right when they needed it most- after Super Tuesday
7. Assuming that Black voters, and independents would overwhelmingly support her when instead; Blacks shifted their support and independents have nearly always greatly favored Obama

So why do some in the main stream media and in the political establishment continue to think Clinton is the best candidate when it is clear that she failed to

· Provide strategic leadership
· Exercise competent executive management to her campaign
· Build a competent campaign organization
· Develop a compelling rationale for her candidacy other than gender
· Develop an effective strategy for victory
· Adjust quickly and effectively when it became clear the initial strategy was not working

Conversely Obama

· Assembled a first rate campaign team
· Crafted a winning strategy
· Presented a compelling rationale for his campaign other than race
· Found the proper balance between the campaign on the ground and the virtual or Internet campaign
· Built an unprecedented enthusiastic grassroots movement of supporters
· Raised by far the most money without being beholding to the usual fat cats
· Demonstrated that he could win the support of the young, independents and Republicans

Pennsylvania is decidedly old school, having one of the oldest populations in the country with the exception of the retirement capitol Florida. The Keystone state is also one of a dwindling number of states where there is still traditional Democrat party machines operating. Governor Rendell, County Chief Executive Onorato and Pittsburgh Mayor Ravenstahl have unsurprisingly played it safe by endorsing Clinton. These elected officials may win the battle (the Pa. Primary) only to lose the war in the future (future races for Governor and Mayor) when the supporters of Obama reflect on this behavior. For example Obama supporter Pittsburgh City Controller Michael Lamb is looking good as a future challenger of Mayor Ravenstahl, and perhaps Obama supporter Congressman Chaka Fattah will fare better against Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter next time.

Bottom line is that Clinton cannot win it as the rules are set. Only by dirty tricks and an undemocratic stampede of super delegates who ignore the rules and the will of the voters can she succeed.

WARNING: turn off the young voters, the independent voters, and the African American voters and the Democrats lose the White House in November.

Some people think that the Black vote has nowhere to go but the facts say otherwise. The percentage of registered African American voters in Pennsylvania is 9%. The percentage of the Black votes cast as a percentage of the total Pennsylvania vote in the last three presidential elections was 9% in 1996, 7% in 2000 and 13% in 2004. Blacks cast 90% of their votes for Gore vs. 7% for Bush in 2000, and 83% for Kerry vs. 16% for Bush in 2004.

Kerry won the Keystone state in 2004 with 2,938,095 to 2,793,847 for Bush a difference of only 144,248 votes or 2.5%! In 2004 Blacks cast 745,000 ballots (13%) in Pennsylvania.

A fall off of only 20% of the Black vote in Pennsylvania would have given Kerry 149,000 less votes and moved the state into the Republican column. Unlikely you say? Well the 20% fall off does not have to be comprised of only Black voters, a disaffected young and independent electorate coupled with a disenchanted Black community can easily translate into a drop off of 20% of the turnout.

This calculus can be even more devastating in the 11 states that had African American voter turnout percentages of 13% or more in 2004. As the young people might say- the Democrats better recognize!

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