• $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • other
  • use Paypal

CALLING ALL COUNTERPUNCHERS! CounterPunch’s website is one of the last common spaces on the Internet. We are supported almost entirely by the subscribers to the print edition of our magazine and by one-out-of-every-1000 readers of the site. We aren’t on the receiving end of six-figure grants from big foundations. George Soros doesn’t have us on retainer. We don’t sell tickets on cruise liners to the “new” Cuba. We don’t clog our site with deceptive corporate ads or click bait. Unlike many other indy media sites, we don’t shake you down for money every month … or even every quarter. We ask only once a year. But when we ask, we mean it. So over the next few weeks we are requesting your financial support. Keep CounterPunch free, fierce and independent by donating today by credit card through our secure online server, via PayPal or by calling 1(800) 840-3683.


What Double Digit Win?


The corporate media have been quick to buy into and promote the Hillary Clinton campaign claim that she won the Pennsylvania primary by “double digits,” but the truth is, that involves a bit of creative rounding.

The final figures for the vote are that Clinton won 1,258,245 votes out of 2,300,542 cast, compared to 1,042,297 for Barack Obama.

If you do the math, that works out to 54.71 percent for Clinton, and 45.31 percent for Obama.

Now granted, if you use the convention of rounding up numbers 5 or above and rounding down numbers below 4 and below, you get 55 percent for Clinton and 45 percent for Obama. But if you take the actual numbers, 54.71 and 45.31, and calculate the difference, it works out to 9.40 percent. And that is a number closer to 9 than to 10.

That is to say, it is more correct to say either that Clinton won by 9.4 percent, or, if you want to round the answer, 9 percent. Either way, it’s not a “double-digit” win. It’s a single-digit win.

Given that Obama came into the Pennsylvania race with polls showing Clinton ahead by a whopping 20 percent, getting that margin down below 10 percent has to be rated a pretty impressive accomplishment. Add in the viciousness of the Clinton campaign’s attacks on Obama, which played deliberately and shamelessly to the racial fears of her aging white, Catholic, working-class, less-educated female base, and it looks even more impressive.

That said, I think Obama ran a poor campaign in Pennsylvania. He relied heavily on television advertising, which has a diminishing impact the more that is spent (doubling a small number of ads can have a big impact, but doubling a large number won’t accomplish much). He spent most of his time campaigning in Clinton strongholds, trying to lure Clinton voters away, and precious little time in his own strongholds–especially in Philadelphia’s large black communities, which not surprisingly failed to turn out in the record numbers that his campaign needed, and which his historic candidacy should have logically gotten.

In part, Obama is hemmed in by his own national strategy: He is not running as a “black” candidate, and there is certainly the danger that if he got down into the streets and worked to generate real excitement in the projects and slums of cities like Philadelphia or Wilkes-Barre, he would simultaneously stoke the racist fears of white voters. But if he wants to win the nomination, and go on to win in November, he will clearly have to take that risk. (And it is considerable: Exit polls in Pennsylvania showed Obama losing by five percent, which means many people actually voted against him but didn’t want to admit it to pollsters, suggesting that many didn’t want to confess to casting an anti-black vote. Governor Ed Rendell, a Clinton backer, also famously noted that there are many people in Pennsylvania who “simply won’t vote” for a black candidate.)

Obama has the same problem in confronting the Clinton attack machine. In the Philadelphia debate, where he was assailed from three sides, by Clinton, and by the two ABC “moderators,” Charles Gibson and George Stephanopoulos, Obama tried to avoid returning the same kind of cheap-shot fire. In his six-week campaign in Philadelphia, too, he was far less willing to, and ultimately late in his counter-attack against Clinton’s redbaiting, race baiting and other assaults, trying to offer what he calls a “new” kind of politics.

Again, it’s clear that this “above the fray” kind of campaign strategy is not going to work–especially going forward. Americans say they want positive, issue-oriented campaigns, but they really want blood on the floor. Clinton is delivering that blood. Obama is going to have to do the same.

Finally, if he wants to win those white, working-class voters, and the women voters who are backing Clinton, Obama needs to do more than talk about Hope and Change. He needs to start talking concretely about fighting for women’s equality (he has two daughters—the case is easy!), he needs to talk concretely about ending not just the Iraq War, but the nation’s obsession with military spending, he needs to talk seriously about the crisis of global warming (not just creating green-energy jobs!), he needs to talk seriously about protecting American jobs, and he needs to talk seriously about how to break the insurance industry’s grip on the health care dollar.

In short, he needs a much more aggressive and focused campaign.

He should start by questioning her “fuzzy” math in claiming a double-digit win in Pennsylvania.

DAVE LINDORFF is a Philadelphia-based journalist and columnist. His latest book is “The Case for Impeachment” (St. Martin’s Press, 2006, and now available in paperback edition). His work is available at www.thiscantbehappening.net





Dave Lindorff is a founding member of ThisCantBeHappening!, an online newspaper collective, and is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press).

October 13, 2015
Dave Lindorff
US Dispatched a Murderous AC-130 Airborne Gunship to Attack a Hospital
Steve Martinot
The Politics of Prisons and Prisoners
Heidi Morrison
A Portrait of an Immigrant Named Millie, Drawn From Her Funeral
Andre Vltchek
Horrid Carcass of Indonesia – 50 Years After the Coup
Jeremy Malcolm
All Rights Reserved: Now We Know the Final TTP is Everything We Feared
Paul Craig Roberts
Recognizing Neocon Failure: Has Obama Finally Come to His Senses?
Theodoros Papadopoulos
The EU Has Lost the Plot in Ukraine
Roger Annis
Ukraine Threatened by Government Negligence Over Polio
Matthew Stanton
The Vapid Vote
Louisa Willcox
Tracking the Grizzly’s Number One Killer
Binoy Kampmark
Assange and the Village Gossipers
Robert Koehler
Why Bombing a Hospital Is a War Crime
Jon Flanders
Railroad Workers Fight Proposed Job Consolidation
Mel Gurtov
Manipulating Reality: Facebook Is Listening to You
Mark Hand
Passion and Pain: Photographer Trains Human Trafficking Survivors
October 12, 2015
Ralph Nader
Imperial Failure: Lessons From Afghanistan and Iraq
Ishmael Reed
Want a Renewal? Rid Your City of Blacks
Thomas S. Harrington
US Caught Faking It in Syria
Victor Grossman
Scenes From a Wonderful Parade Against the TPP
Luciana Bohne
Where Are You When We Need You, Jean-Paul Sartre?
Kevin Zeese - Margaret Flowers
The US Way of War: From Columbus to Kunduz
Paul Craig Roberts
A Decisive Shift in the Balance of Power
Justus Links
Turkey’s Tiananmen in Context
Ray McGovern
Faux Neutrality: How CNN Shapes Political Debate
William Manson
Things R Us: How Venture Capitalists Feed the Fetishism of Technology
Norman Pollack
The “Apologies”: A Note On Usage
Steve Horn
Cops Called on Reporter Who Asked About Climate at Oil & Gas Convention
Javan Briggs
The Browning of California: the Water is Ours!
Dave Randle
The BBC and the Licence Fee
Andrew Stewart
Elvis Has Left the Building: a Reply to Slavoj Žižek
Nicolás Cabrera
Resisting Columbus: the Movement to Change October 12th Holiday is Rooted in History
Weekend Edition
October 9-11, 2015
David Price – Roberto J. González
The Use and Abuse of Culture (and Children): The Human Terrain System’s Rationalization of Pedophilia in Afghanistan
Mike Whitney
Putin’s “Endgame” in Syria
Jason Hribal
The Tilikum Effect and the Downfall of SeaWorld
Gary Leupp
The Six Most Disastrous Interventions of the 21st Century
Andrew Levine
In Syria, Obama is Playing a Losing Game
Louis Proyect
The End of Academic Freedom in America: the Case of Steven Salaita
Rob Urie
Democrats, Neoliberalism and the TPP
Ismael Hossein-Zadeh
The Bully Recalibrates: U.S. Signals Policy Shift in Syria
Brian Cloughley
Hospital Slaughter and the US/NATO Propaganda Machine
Paul Street
Hope in Abandonment: Cuba, Detroit, and Earth-Scientific Socialism
John Walsh
For Vietnam: Artemisinin From China, Agent Orange From America
Hadi Kobaysi
How The US Uses (Takfiri) Extremists
John Wight
No Moral High Ground for the West on Syria
Robert Fantina
Canadian Universities vs. Israeli Apartheid