FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

What Double Digit Win?

by DAVE LINDORFF

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).

More articles by:
May 30, 2016
Ron Jacobs
The State of the Left: Many Movements, Too Many Goals?
James Abourezk
The Intricacies of Language
Porfirio Quintano
Hillary, Honduras, and the Murder of My Friend Berta
Patrick Cockburn
Airstrikes on ISIS are Reducing Their Cities to Ruins
Uri Avnery
The Center Doesn’t Hold
Raouf Halaby
The Sailors of the USS Liberty: They, Too, Deserve to Be Honored
Rodrigue Tremblay
Barack Obama’s Legacy: What Happened?
Matt Peppe
Just the Facts: The Speech Obama Should Have Given at Hiroshima
Deborah James
Trade Pacts and Deregulation: Latest Leaks Reveal Core Problem with TISA
Michael Donnelly
Still Wavy After All These Years: Flower Geezer Turns 80
Ralph Nader
The Funny Business of Farm Credit
Paul Craig Roberts
Memorial Day and the Glorification of Past Wars
Colin Todhunter
From Albrecht to Monsanto: A System Not Run for the Public Good Can Never Serve the Public Good
Rivera Sun
White Rose Begins Leaflet Campaigns June 1942
Tom H. Hastings
Field Report from the Dick Cheney Hunting Instruction Manual
Weekend Edition
May 27, 2016
Friday - Sunday
John Pilger
Silencing America as It Prepares for War
Rob Urie
By the Numbers: Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are Fringe Candidates
Paul Street
Feel the Hate
Daniel Raventós - Julie Wark
Basic Income Gathers Steam Across Europe
Andrew Levine
Hillary’s Gun Gambit
Jeffrey St. Clair
Hand Jobs: Heidegger, Hitler and Trump
S. Brian Willson
Remembering All the Deaths From All of Our Wars
Dave Lindorff
With Clinton’s Nixonian Email Scandal Deepening, Sanders Must Demand Answers
Pete Dolack
Millions for the Boss, Cuts for You!
Gunnar Westberg
Close Calls: We Were Much Closer to Nuclear Annihilation Than We Ever Knew
Peter Lee
To Hell and Back: Hiroshima and Nagasaki
Karl Grossman
Long Island as a Nuclear Park
Binoy Kampmark
Sweden’s Assange Problem: The District Court Ruling
Robert Fisk
Why the US Dropped Its Demand That Assad Must Go
Martha Rosenberg – Ronnie Cummins
Bayer and Monsanto: a Marriage Made in Hell
Brian Cloughley
Pivoting to War
Stavros Mavroudeas
Blatant Hypocrisy: the Latest Late-Night Bailout of Greece
Arun Gupta
A War of All Against All
Dan Kovalik
NPR, Yemen & the Downplaying of U.S. War Crimes
Randy Blazak
Thugs, Bullies, and Donald J. Trump: The Perils of Wounded Masculinity
Murray Dobbin
Are We Witnessing the Beginning of the End of Globalization?
Daniel Falcone
Urban Injustice: How Ghettos Happen, an Interview with David Hilfiker
Gloria Jimenez
In Honduras, USAID Was in Bed with Berta Cáceres’ Accused Killers
Kent Paterson
The Old Braceros Fight On
Lawrence Reichard
The Seemingly Endless Indignities of Air Travel: Report from the Losing Side of Class Warfare
Peter Berllios
Bernie and Utopia
Stan Cox – Paul Cox
Indonesia’s Unnatural Mud Disaster Turns Ten
Linda Pentz Gunter
Obama in Hiroshima: Time to Say “Sorry” and “Ban the Bomb”
George Souvlis
How the West Came to Rule: an Interview with Alexander Anievas
Julian Vigo
The Government and Your i-Phone: the Latest Threat to Privacy
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail