From MSNBC’s First Read:
As we have noted plenty in the past year, Democrats have enormous advantages heading into November’s presidential election: They lead by a large margin in generic ballot match-ups; their candidates have raised mountains of more money than their GOP counterparts have; and they’ve bested the Republican Party in turnout numbers in Iowa and New Hampshire. But is the increasingly nasty Clinton-Obama race opening a wound that might not completely heal in time for the general election? The latest incident yesterday was when Clinton supporter (and BET founder) Bob Johnson unmistakably invoked Obama youthful drug use and — if that wasn’t enough — referred to him as Sidney Poitier. Women and African Americans are the two most reliable Democratic voting blocs, and one of them will be greatly disappointed (and hurt) when we finally have a Dem nominee. How many unaffiliated Democrats are biting their nails in nervousness wondering if this developing rift between women and blacks will heal in time for the general? Most likely, this all means that whoever comes out on top — Clinton or Obama — is going to have a lot of work to do to reach out to the losing candidate. Will the two have no choice but to run with each other on the same ticket?
Anyone who’s been following the democratic primary over the last few days probably noticed the rapidly increasing schism among the democratic voters. As First Read notes, there’s one side composed of young voters and half of the African American population that supports Obama there’s another side composed of women, older voters, and the other half of the African American community that supports Clinton. With the flair up of attacks between the two campaigns this weekend over the issue of race, the party is definetely in danger of opening up wounds that are too deep to win in November. On either side, supporters are swearing not to vote for Clinton or Obama.
However I doubt that this divide will do too much harm in November. The incentive to rally around the Democrat nominee in order to beat the Republican nominee is too large. There’ Supreme Court Justices, the War, Universal Health Care,etc. But I do think that the heat of this race is increasing the probability of a Clinton/Obama ticket in November, particularly if Clinton wins the nomination.
If this is the case, thats good news for the Democratic party. A Clinton/Obama ticket would allow democrats to unify the mantra of Experience AND Change into an overwhelming Tour-de-Force which could blow by the Republicans and into the White House.
Click the read more link for the reasons a Clinton/Obama ticket would be good for the party:
Some of the advantages of a Clinton/Obama ticket off the top of my head:
1. Experience AND Change: Some voters think with their hearts and some think with their head. It’s difficult to predict which way the wind blows on this issue and even worse, it’s always subject to change. On the same ticket Clinton/Obama compliment each other by covering the other’s weakness. Clinton reassures voters that you can have change without taking a risk on Obama’s level of experience. (I’m not making a claim about Obama’s level of experience, many people might hesitate to vote for Obama because of his experience particularly after the right wing machine launches their Tet offensive in the general) On the flip side, people craving change and a fresh face will have Obama to represent them in Washington.
2. Clinton/Obama could equal a Democratic White House for the next 16 years. I’m not trying to get ahead of myself here. Obviously Democrats need to win in November first before we start talking about the next two decades. But my point is that being the Vice President would be an excellent way for Obama to increase his seasoning, name ID, and stay in the front of media. Obama’s main weakness is the question of his experience. Imagine the Obama of today being able to say “I was the Vice President for four or eight years.” That’s hot!
3. The Democrat/Independent/Young voter alliance : Without a doubt one of the main draws about Obama are the indepedent voters he draws. It’s good to have bi-partisian support, but at the end of the day Obama will need democratic voters AND the democratic machine behind him to win. Clinton brings the weight of the democratic machine and Obama brings independent and young voters with him. This is the type of base, independent voter alliance that helped George Bush get re-elected twice. Also, both Clinton and Obama have shown the ability to turnout new types of voters. Clinton with women voters and Obama with young/first time voters. If the democrats were succesful in turning out those two types of voters, we would win 2008 in a landslide by finally solving the turnout complex which has hampered many a democrat.
4. The Campaign Machine: One of the reason’s why Obama has benefited and Clinton has been harmed during the primary season is because primary elections and general elections require a completely different type of campaign. In democratic circle’s the word “swift boat” is considered a bad word. Many democratic voters have a knee jerk reaction to call any attempts to draw contrast “negative campaigning”. There are actually people who justify their voting decision based on “running a clean campaign.”
Not so much in the general election, where the gloves come off and its a free for all brawl where Republicans have no problem flat out lying to the American people, ask John Kerry. Barack Obama is good at parring attacks and playing the “they’re being mean to me!” argument which is very helpful in the primary. But in the general voters will laugh at you for complaining that your opponent is treating you unfairly. What the Clinton campaign is best at is deflecting and fighting right wing attacks. Imagine how effective a Clinton back handed remark would be when parred with Obama’s “why can’t the Republican’s seem to play nice” spiel. I imagine it would go something like this
Clinton campaign: “I think it’s very unfortunate that, Mitt Romney has decided to take such a controversial stance on a position that show’s that he is against helping the African American, Latino, and the Middle Class workers of America. Romney promised change but it’s apparent that the only thing he is offering is four more years of Bush politics. I would expect that someone of his faith would have more appreciation for the plight of the average American.”
Clinton campaign translated: ” Why is Mitt Romney being such a douche? Can this guy get anymore racist or classist. Typical Republican. A Republican that believes in change? That’s what Bush, ie THE WORST PRESIDENT EVER, said in 2000. How did that turn out? Oh yeah…isn’t this dude a Mormon?”
Obama Campaign: “Americans are tired of the republican politics of usual. We just experienced eight years of conservative policies that divided a nation. And what did we get? Tax cuts for the rich, an unpopular war, and a recession. It’s time we unified this country in order to bring the change that so many American’s are demanding.”
Obama Translation: “Same old Republican smear campaign. I am SO over Bush right now. Remember all those things they said would work? Yeah, they didn’t. Why don’t we all rally around something we can agree on. Getting rid of Bush and Bush lite’s.”
… * sigh * Brings a tear to my eye. 🙂 (Btw…should I totally be writing statements for politicians or what?)
5. Attacking from a Defensive position: I’m making this point descriptively and not normatively. Republicans will have to watch their step when going after an African American/Female candidate. The potential for backlash is high and would have dramtic effects resulting in people NOT voting for republicans and adding fuel to the high turnout fire which would burn republicans.
6. the Huckabee factor: I think it’s becoming increasingly likely that Huckabee will become the Vice President for whoever is the nominee, unless he is the nominee in which this point is even stronger. A lot of people like Mike Huckabee and regardless of his position on the issues, a lot of people will vote for him “cuz he seems nice.” Having Barack Obama on the ticket would provide a powerful counter to Huck’s personal appeals.
7. The Downticket races: Many democrats argue that if Clinton is the nominee, downticket races will be harmed. I don’t think that’s true but address it in a later piece. But even if that were true, people overlook the campaign structure that is necessary to win a state. Trust me, campaigns, especially presidential campaigns, are trench wars where having a superior ground game means A LOT of difference between victory and defeat. With a Clinton/Obama ticket, the Clinton’s could bring their superior and more experienced general election campaign while Obama could act as a face to the ticket, making appearances in places where Clinton visiting might not be beneficial. It’s the perfect blend of beauty and power.