FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Hillary’s Ghosts

On the eve of the first presidential debate, concern is growing among Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton supporters that her previous lead in the polls is narrowing and Republican rival Donald Trump is nearly “neck and neck” in voter support in key “swing states.”

In what are two of the three ‘bellweather’ states—Ohio and Florida (the other is Pennsylvania)—Trump appears ahead going into the first televised debate on Sept. 26. As of last week’s mid-September polling, he leads in Florida by 43.7 percent to 42.8 percent for Clinton. Other polls show him with a similar modest lead in Ohio. Should Trump win Florida and Ohio, it is highly likely he’d get the 270 electoral college votes necessary to win; and should he take Pennsylvania as well, it’s virtually assured he would.

U.S. presidential elections are not determined by the popular vote. They never have been. In the archaic and basically undemocratic U.S. electoral system—dominated by the highly conservative institution called the electoral college—all that matters this year is who wins the electoral college votes in the 8 or 9 “swing states.”

The remaining states are safely in either the Clinton or the Trump camp. The swing states, sometimes called the “battleground” states, are: Ohio, Florida, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Iowa, Wisconsin, Virginia, Colorado, and maybe North Carolina this year. The largest in terms of potential electoral college votes are Florida and Ohio. Pennsylvania is also significant.  Whoever wins Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania—the bellwether states—will almost assuredly carry the other five as well; and whoever wins most of the swing states, wins the election.

Clinton may have problems mobilizing the very voter constituencies that made the big difference in giving Obama one more chance in 2012.

On the eve of the first presidential debate, concern is growing among Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton supporters that her previous lead in the polls is narrowing and Republican rival Donald Trump is nearly “neck and neck” in voter support in key “swing states.”

In what are two of the three ‘bellweather’ states—Ohio and Florida (the other is Pennsylvania)—Trump appears ahead going into the first televised debate on Sept. 26. As of last week’s mid-September polling, he leads in Florida by 43.7 percent to 42.8 percent for Clinton. Other polls show him with a similar modest lead in Ohio. Should Trump win Florida and Ohio, it is highly likely he’d get the 270 electoral college votes necessary to win; and should he take Pennsylvania as well, it’s virtually assured he would.

U.S. presidential elections are not determined by the popular vote. They never have been. In the archaic and basically undemocratic U.S. electoral system—dominated by the highly conservative institution called the electoral college—all that matters this year is who wins the electoral college votes in the 8 or 9 “swing states.”

The remaining states are safely in either the Clinton or the Trump camp. The swing states, sometimes called the “battleground” states, are: Ohio, Florida, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Iowa, Wisconsin, Virginia, Colorado, and maybe North Carolina this year. The largest in terms of potential electoral college votes are Florida and Ohio. Pennsylvania is also significant.  Whoever wins Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania—the bellwether states—will almost assuredly carry the other five as well; and whoever wins most of the swing states, wins the election.

The outcome in the swing states will be determined in turn by which candidate can mobilize its constituencies and get out the vote. And that’s where “Clinton’s Ghosts” will play an important role, that is, reducing her ability to “turn out her vote” more than Trump is able to mobilize his.

Trump’s key constituencies are middle-aged and older whites in general, high school or less-educated white workers, religious conservatives, wealthy business types and investors, and the Tea party, radical and religious right. The Democrats’ constituencies are African Americans, Latinos, immigrants, the college-educated, urban women, trade unions in public employment and what’s left of the industrial working class, students and millennial youth under 30. This is the “Obama Coalition” created in 2008, that was barely held together in 2012, and is now in the process of fragmenting in 2016. The consequences of that break up may be determinative in the coming election.

The Ghost of Free Trade

On the eve of the first presidential debate, concern is growing among Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton supporters that her previous lead in the polls is narrowing and Republican rival Donald Trump is nearly “neck and neck” in voter support in key “swing states.”

In what are two of the three ‘bellweather’ states—Ohio and Florida (the other is Pennsylvania)—Trump appears ahead going into the first televised debate on Sept. 26. As of last week’s mid-September polling, he leads in Florida by 43.7 percent to 42.8 percent for Clinton. Other polls show him with a similar modest lead in Ohio. Should Trump win Florida and Ohio, it is highly likely he’d get the 270 electoral college votes necessary to win; and should he take Pennsylvania as well, it’s virtually assured he would.

U.S. presidential elections are not determined by the popular vote. They never have been. In the archaic and basically undemocratic U.S. electoral system—dominated by the highly conservative institution called the electoral college—all that matters this year is who wins the electoral college votes in the 8 or 9 “swing states.”

The remaining states are safely in either the Clinton or the Trump camp. The swing states, sometimes called the “battleground” states, are: Ohio, Florida, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Iowa, Wisconsin, Virginia, Colorado, and maybe North Carolina this year. The largest in terms of potential electoral college votes are Florida and Ohio. Pennsylvania is also significant.  Whoever wins Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania—the bellwether states—will almost assuredly carry the other five as well; and whoever wins most of the swing states, wins the election.

The first ghost haunting Clinton is her historic, long-term advocacy of free trade deals from NAFTA to the current Trans-Pacific Partnership. Clinton has said she does not agree with the TPP, but only in its present form. She promises to “take a look” at it if elected. But that’s waffling that won’t fool union and white working class voters in the Ohio-Pennsylvania-Michigan-Wisconsin swing states that have seen their good jobs offshored and sent to other countries as a direct result of free trade deals from Bill Clinton’s NAFTA to Barack Obama’s TPP.

Nor will this former Democrat constituency forget how Obama in 2008 pledged, similar to Hillary, to take a look at changing NAFTA, but then went on to become the biggest advocate of free trade ever—cutting deals with Panama, Colombia, bilaterally with other countries and is now pushing hard for TPP and a similar deal with Europe.

Union workers in the Great Lakes area of Ohio-Pennsylvania-Michigan played a major role in carrying those swing states for Obama in 2008.  The majority have likely already gone over to Trump, who’s position on free trade deals is more directly opposed than Hillary’s carefully worded ambivalence. If they turn out to vote, it will be for Trump.

The War Hawk  Ghost

Another ghost haunting Clinton is her repeated and consistent war-hawk positions assumed while in the senate and then as secretary of state.  Hillary voted for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, was at the center of initiating war in Libya, and favored more direct U.S. military action in Syria.

As secretary of state, she also allowed—unchecked—her neocon-ridden state department, led by Undersecretary Virginia Nuland, to actively help provoke a coup in the Ukraine in 2014. No matter how hard she tries at the eleventh hour, Clinton cannot shed the war-hawk image she nurtured for more than a decade. This will cost her votes with millennials, who already deserted her for Sanders for her pro-war history.

The Ghost of Abandoned Millennials

College educated millennial youth are also abandoning Clinton as a result of the Obama administration’s failure to do something about their more than $1.2 trillion college debt and the long-term underemployed in part-time and temporary jobs with no benefits and little prospects for the future. The Obama administration may brag of the jobs it has created since the last recession, but most millennials languish in low pay, no benefit service employment, with more than a third living at home with parents and unable to start families or independent lives.

They may not like Trump but their resentment will likely translate into not voting for Clinton. Attempts to lure millennials back with promises of free college tuition are too late for those already indebted; and a few weeks of paid maternity leave for new parents appears as a token alternative for more generous childcare tax cuts proposed by Trump.

The Ghost of the Hispanic Vote

The constituencies of union labor, youth, and people of color were the voters that gave Obama his second chance in 2012 and returned him to the White House. He rewarded trade unions with the TPP and millennials with debt and underemployment.

Obama carried key swing states like Florida, Virginia, Colorado, Iowa and others largely as a result of the HIspanic vote as well. He promised them, in exchange for their vote in 2012, immigration reform, the Dream Act, and direct executive action. What they got was the largest mass deportations in modern U.S. history and broken families. Trump may insult Mexican-American voters with stupid off-the-cuff remarks and silly promises to build walls. But the deportations have had a far more devastating effect on Latino families and voters in key states in the Midwest, southwest and Florida.

Florida is a must-win swing state. Whoever loses Florida would have to win virtually all the remaining swing states. Obama carried more than two-thirds of the Latino vote Florida in 2012. Clinton has barely 50 percent support of that constituency today. In addition, a majority of the youth vote now favor Trump, not her. The ghost of past mistreated Latinos under Obama thus hangs heavy over Clinton in the present in that state—just as free trade and job loss do in the other key swing state of Ohio. Losing both means virtual defeat.

These ghosts hang heavy over the Clinton campaign in the swing states. Trump will have trouble with establishment Republicans and some Tea party types will certainly go to the Libertarian candidate, Gary Johnson. But Clinton may have even bigger problems with mobilizing white union workers, youth, and Hispanics—the very voter constituencies that made the big difference in giving Obama one more chance in 2012.

How the two candidates perform in the upcoming presidential debates will also weigh heavily on the election outcome. Can Clinton offset her voter turnout disadvantage by clearly prevailing in the upcoming debates? The election may be scheduled for November, but it may be all but over by October if she clearly doesn’t.

More articles by:

Jack Rasmus is the author of  ‘Systemic Fragility in the Global Economy’, Clarity Press, 2015. He blogs at jackrasmus.com. His website is www.kyklosproductions.com and twitter handle, @drjackrasmus.

April 19, 2018
Ramzy Baroud
Media Cover-up: Shielding Israel is a Matter of Policy
Vijay Prashad
Undermining Brazilian Democracy: the Curious Saga of Lula
Steve Fraser
Class Dismissed: Class Conflict in Red State America
John W. Whitehead
Crimes of a Monster: Your Tax Dollars at Work
Kenn Orphan
Whistling Past the Graveyard
Karl Grossman TJ Coles
Opening Pandora’s Box: Karl Grossman on Trump and the Weaponization of Space
Colin Todhunter
Behind Theresa May’s ‘Humanitarian Hysterics’: The Ideology of Empire and Conquest
Jesse Jackson
Syrian Strikes is One More step Toward a Lawless Presidency
Michael Welton
Confronting Militarism is Early Twentieth Century Canada: the Woman’s International League for Peace and Freedom
Alycee Lane
On David S. Buckel and Setting Ourselves on Fire
Jennifer Matsui
Our Overlords Reveal Their Top ‘To Do’s: Are YOU Next On Their Kill List?
George Ochenski
Jive Talkin’: On the Campaign Trail With Montana Republicans
Kary Love
Is It Time for A Nice, “Little” Nuclear War?
April 18, 2018
Alan Nasser
Could Student Loans Lead to Debt Prison? The Handwriting on the Wall
Susan Roberts
Uses for the Poor
Alvaro Huerta
I Am Not Your “Wetback”
Jonah Raskin
Napa County, California: the Clash of Oligarchy & Democracy
Robert Hunziker
America’s Dystopian Future
Geoffrey McDonald
“America First!” as Economic War
Jonathan Cook
Robert Fisk’s Douma Report Rips Away Excuses for Air Strike on Syria
Jeff Berg
WW III This Ain’t
Binoy Kampmark
Macron’s Syria Game
Linn Washington Jr.
Philadelphia’s Top Cop Defends Indefensible Prejudice in Starbucks Arrest Incident
Katie Fite
Chaos in Urban Canyons – Air Force Efforts to Carve a Civilian Population War Game Range across Southern Idaho
Robby Sherwin
Facebook: This Is Where I Leave You
April 17, 2018
Paul Street
Eight Takeaways on Boss Tweet’s Latest Syrian Missile Spasm
Robert Fisk
The Search for the Truth in Douma
Eric Mann
The Historic 1968 Struggle Against Columbia University
Roy Eidelson
The 1%’s Mind Games: Psychology Gone Bad
John Steppling
The Sleep of Civilization
Patrick Cockburn
Syria Bombing Reveals Weakness of Theresa May
Dave Lindorff
No Indication in the US That the Country is at War Again
W. T. Whitney
Colombia and Cuba:  a Tale of Two Countries
Dean Baker
Why Isn’t the Median Wage for Black Workers Rising?
Linn Washington Jr.
Philadelphia’s Top Cop Defends Indefensible Prejudice in Starbucks Arrest Incident
C. L. Cook
Man in the Glass
Kary Love
“The Mob Boss Orders a Hit and a Pardon”
Lawrence Wittner
Which Nations Are the Happiest―and Why
Dr. Hakim
Where on Earth is the Just Economy that Works for All, Including Afghan Children?
April 16, 2018
Dave Lindorff
President Trump’s War Crime is Worse than the One He Accuses Assad of
Ron Jacobs
War is Just F**kin’ Wrong
John Laforge
Nuclear Keeps on Polluting, Long After Shutdown
Norman Solomon
Missile Attack on Syria Is a Salute to “Russiagate” Enthusiasts, Whether They Like It or Not
Uri Avnery
Eyeless in Gaza   
Barbara Nimri Aziz
Iraq Then, Syria Now
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail