It has been many years since a party convention in the United States has been decided by superdelegates rather than delegates from state primaries and caucuses. It could happen this time again, says our guest writer Brian Livingston, editorial director of WindowsSecrets.com. Plus: He expects "the worst kind of racist smear literature coming from far-right extremists" should Barack Obama win the Democratic nomination. Here's what else he had to say shortly after the Washington State primaries:
My wife and I attended our precinct caucuses on February 9, and about 100 people were there to vote, as opposed to about 25 in the same precinct four years earlier, when Kerry, Dean, and Edwards were candidates. The vote in our precinct this month was more than 2-to-1 for Obama over Clinton (we supported Obama).
Hillary won in zero out of 39 counties in Washington State. The interesting part for people around the world, of course, is not how Washington State liberals voted, but how the nomination process will go in the rest of the U.S.
The New York Times recently reported that neither Obama nor Clinton will get enough delegates to win the nomination without some support from the "superdelegates" -- party officials from the 50 states. That is true unless Obama wins 81% or Clinton wins 91% of the delegates in the states that will vote in the coming weeks, the Times says (free registration required). Several polls have shown that, if the election was held today, Obama would beat McCain but Clinton would lose to McCain, according to CNN analyst Bill Schneider.
It is very early, of course, and anything can happen between now and the general election in November. If Obama is the Democratic nominee, I expect to see the worst kind of racist smear literature coming from far-right extremists who despise the concept of integration. But this might actually generate more sympathy for Obama, who could gain votes as a result.
When Bill Clinton made statements before the South Carolina primary comparing Obama to Jesse Jackson, a black presidential candidate who campaigned for civil rights in 1984 and 1988, many voters took offense and switched their support from Hillary Clinton to Obama. Six in 10 South Carolina voters told exit pollsters that Bill Clinton's comments had affected their votes, with 48% voting for Obama and only 37% for Hillary Clinton.
This year's U.S. presidential election is shaping up to be one of the most unusual campaigns in the past two decades: a Republican candidate who is considered far too moderate by conservative Republicans, and a Democratic candidate who will be either the first woman nominee or the first mixed-race nominee. (Obama's mother was a white American born in Kansas, and his father was Kenyan, but in the mainstream media Obama is always referred to as "black" rather than mixed-race. I assume the use of the all-or-nothing "black" label for Obama is an unconscious form of mild racism.) Please also see the Kansas Prairie Blog.