Pennsylvania: the Worst of All Possible Worlds


For the Democratic Party it was the worst possible result. If Hillary Clinton had won by 20 points, which was her lead in Pennsylvania around the time the Rev Jeremiah Wright’s sermon jumped from Youtube to cable news, then there would have a case for arguing that yes, Obama had taken too much damage from Wright, from his ill-considered remarks about small-town bitterness at a California fundraiser and his tenuous ties to a former leader of the Weather Underground.

If on the other hand Hillary had eked out a victory by 5 points or less in a state tailor-made for her it would have accelerated her downward drift, and her campaign funding crisis would have been insoluble, assuming – which we safely can – that Bill wouldn’t give her a credit line on the $109 million earned since 2001. But in the end Pennsylvania gave  her an 8 to 10 point victory. The demographic contour of the Democratic voters was old, (second, behind Florida, in the union), Catholic (40 percent of those voting last night). Almost 60 per cent of the vote was cast by women. The state is more rural than Ohio and 55 per cent of the voters had high school degrees or less.

It’s clear that a sizable chunk of those questioned  after they voted lied to the pollsters. The exit polls showed a 5 point margin for Hillary. In the end the margin was approximately twice that. This is a big problem for Obama as is the fact that far more voters for Hillary said they would never vote for Obama than the other way round. One of Hillary Clinton’s big achievements has been to seriously, maybe fatally, wound Obama among her own supporters.

Since South Carolina, back at the start of March, the Clintons have deliberately  fragmented the Democratic vote. Here’s where the mysterious resignation of John Edwards from the campaign race has been particularly significant. As the Clintons  methodically widened the racial divide, Edwards would have been there to capture the white working class male voters who don’t particularly care for Hillary. With Edwards in the race she never would have been able to get away with her tricky footwork on NAFTA, and he would have savaged her on her campaign and familial ties to the anti-labor death squad regime in Colombia.

Hillary ran as a caste member of The Deerhunter, playing Russian roulette in this instance with the Democratic Party’s chance for the White House and control of Congress. In the final days of the campaign she rhetorically obliterated Iran with the clear implication that this is what real Presidents do, whether at 3 am, after breakfast or before dinner. What was Obama meant to do? Come on as a gun-toting black man? The Pennsylvania State Troopers would have gunned him down.

Hillary must know that she cannot possibly win the nomination by any rational standard. Hence the comic moment on Tuesday when her finance chairman Terry  McAuliffe was asked  to define what Mrs Clinton would invoke as a fair claim on the Democratic nomination. McAuliffe said it would either be  a victory in the popular vote in Democratic primaries and caucuses — including Michigan and Florida –  (a very remote contingency) or a lead in the pledged delegates (an impossibility) or a lead among Superdelegates (among  whom, since March 6, HRC has collected 12 and Obama 88) or there would be a consensus among party leaders that Obama is incapable of beating McCain. Obama is still ahead of McCain, though thanks to Mrs Clinton’s efforts the margin is narrowing. 

In other words there’s no rational scenario here, except the one suggested here by St Clair a month ago that her real aim is to ensure a McCain victory this year and come back in 2012. 

In two weeks comes the Indiana primary which will probably be close. Obama is likely to win North Carolina, South Dakota, Montana and Oregon. Hillary will most likely  win West Virginia, Kentucky and Puerto Rico. At the end of the day Obama ends up 150-160 pledged delegates ahead of her, and about a 500,000 edge in the popular vote. He will have won about 32 states against HRC’s 20.

So on we straggle.


October 08, 2015
Michael Horton
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Ben Debney
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Pepe Escobar
The NATO-Russia Face Off in Syria
Yoav Litvin
Israeli Occupation for Dummies
Lawrence Davidson
Deep Poverty in America: the On-Going Tradition of Not Caring
Thomas Knapp
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Brandon Jordan
Sowing the Seeds of War in Uruguay
Binoy Kampmark
Imperilled by Unfree Trade: the TPP on Environment and Labor
John McMurtry
The Canadian Elections: Cover-Up and Steal (Again)
Anthony Papa
Coming Home: an Open Letter to 6,000 Soon-to-be-Released Drug War Prisoners From an Ex-Con
Ramzy Baroud
Listen to Syrians: The Media Jackals and the People’s Narrative
Norman Pollack
Heart of Darkness: A Two-Way Street
Gilbert Mercier
Will Russia, Iran, Hezbollah and Iraqi Shiite Militias Defeat ISIS in Syria and Iraq?
John Stanton
Vietnam 2.0 and California Dreamin’ in Ukraine
William John Cox
The Pornography of Hatred
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Nancy Scheper-Hughes
Witness to a Troubled Saint-Making: Junipero Serra and the Theology of Failure
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Joyce Nelson
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Jonathan Cook
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Joseph Natoli
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Piero Gleijeses
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Andrew Stewart
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Rajesh Makwana
#GlobalGoals? The Truth About Poverty and How to Address It
Joan Berezin
Elections 2016: A New Opening or Business as Usual?
Dave Randle
The Man Who Sold Motown to the World
Adam Bartley
“Shameless”: Hillary Clinton, Human Rights and China
Binoy Kampmark
The Killings in Oregon: Business as Usual
Harvey Wasserman
Why Bernie and Hillary Must Address America’s Dying Nuke Reactors
Tom H. Hastings
Unarmed Cops and a Can-do Culture of Nonviolence
October 06, 2015
Vijay Prashad
Afghanistan, the Terrible War: Money for Nothing
Mike Whitney
How Putin will Win in Syria
Paul Street
Yes, There is an Imperialist Ruling Class
Paul Craig Roberts
American Vice
Kathy Kelly
Bombing Hospitals: 22 People Killed by US Airstrike on Doctors Without Borders Hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan
Ron Jacobs
Patti Smith and the Beauty of Memory
David Macaray
Coal Executive Finally Brought Up on Criminal Charges
Norman Pollack
Cold War Rhetoric: The Kept Intelligentsia
Cecil Brown
The Firing This Time: School Shootings and James Baldwin’s Final Message
Roger Annis
The Canadian Election and the Global Climate Crisis
W. T. Whitney
Why is the US Government Persecuting IFCO/Pastors for Peace Humanitarian Organization?
Jesse Jackson
Alabama’s New Jim Crow Far From Subtle
Joe Ramsey
After Umpqua: Does America Have a Gun Problem….or a Dying Capitalist Empire Problem?
Murray Dobbin
Rise Up, Precariat! Cheap Labour is Over
October 05, 2015
Michael Hudson
Parasites in the Body Economic: the Disasters of Neoliberalism
Patrick Cockburn
Why We Should Welcome Russia’s Entry Into Syrian War