US primaries open thread

Been a bit busy lately, so it’s past time for a new US elections thread. Since Super Tuesday we’ve had an anticipated string of Barack Obama victories from caucuses in Nebraska, Washington and Maine and a primary in Louisiana, along with a narrow win for John McCain in Washington and probably meaningless victories for Mike Huckabee in Kansas and Louisiana. Tomorrow US time we have both parties holding primaries in Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia.

Author: William Bowe

William Bowe is a Perth-based election analyst and occasional teacher of political science. His blog, The Poll Bludger, has existed in one form or another since 2004, and is one of the most heavily trafficked websites on Australian politics.

1,263 comments on “US primaries open thread”

Comments Page 1 of 26
1 2 26
  1. I think if Obama wins his running mate should be Evan Bayh. From a medium sized red state Indiana. Not that much older than Obama. Was governor at a very young age. Endorsed Clinton so would appease Hillary backers. He had an extremely good record as governor and achieved the largest margin of victory for a democrat in his state for the senate. From the a conservative wing of the democrats. Plus if really lucky any small native son effect might spill over the border to western Ohio 😛

  2. 1170 Jen Says: “The ‘Obama is different thing’ is potent for those of us who aspire to see real change, and Hillary represents the old order.”
    Thnx Jen, I been wondering why so many have all-but-deified Obama as some sort of saint, while contrasting Clinton as one of the Four Horse(wo)men of the Apocalypse.
    Forget the vitriol against Clinton, I’m more astonished by the squeaky-clean vision of sainthood being bestowed on Obama by all and sundry. Anybody would think he was Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Ghandi and Superman all rolled into one, fighting for truth, justice and the American way (minus the cape).
    I’m sorry, I don’t buy it. For those aspiring to see “real change”, ( I’m sorry again, I keep choking with laughter on that one) I may be a pessimist, or a bit thick – but this is the USA we are talking about, isn’t it?

  3. 1181

    You beat me to it, and said it all.

    So, a running mate for McCain? How about…

    McCain and Zimmer Frame
    McCain and Imperial Pretensions
    McCain and Economics 101
    McCain and Neocon Circus
    McCain and Hard Right Supreme Court
    McCain and ‘Pro-Life’ (Read: No Choice)

    …they sound like winners to me.

    (There ya go zoom, is that better? LOL)

  4. zoom,

    the reason we were having some fun about Clinton is precisely because she’s renknown for holding grudges and can be pretty vicious, even to other Democrats. Don’t kid yourself she’s just ‘misunderstood’, she can get ugly, and so we were having a bit of fun about it.

    Sorry if the comic satire isn’t to your taste, but believe me, it’s mostly in fun, but Clinton’s reaction to losing sure as hell won’t be!

  5. Rain at 2
    For all the hyperbole, I haven’t anyone classify Obama as a saint, nor Hillary as the devil incarnate.

    The consensus appears to simply be that Obama is a superior candidate to Hillary in many respects. I’m sure Hillary has her advantages too.

    Unfortunately, we cannot package together the two with all their advantages and none of their disadvantages. 🙂

    Nevertheless, I’m sure either candidate will comprehensively thrash the republicans (even McCain, who isn’t too bad as republicans are concerned).

  6. Unless Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton dramatically change the current trend, a hung convention seems certain with all the accompanying problems. Because of the proportional allocation of delegates it’s likely to be close till the end. The role of the super delegates will be crucial and controversial and may help the Republicans.

  7. I suspect that all the SuperDelegates will get together and vote for whichever candidate has more elected delegates. I suspect that will be Obama, he’s well ahead on that score.

    They will make this clear well before the convention and so the convention will be the appropriate “crowning” rather than an actual negotiation.

    That’s what Dean has been hinting at.

  8. I don’t know which thread this belongs on but further to a question Rain (?) posted on teh previous topic, here is a link to an excellent article in the Economist on the likely geographical distribution of the US recession (and they are not talking about it hypothetically). See

    The worst hit states are forecast to be Michigan, Florida, California, Ohio, Nevada, Arizona, and a clutch of central states (Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Missouri) that already have the highest unemployment.

    Note that several of these (notably Michigan and Ohio) are swing states.

  9. Al said on the previous thread:
    “From the haven of neutral political coverage, Fox News are reporting that Mike Huckabee is challenging result of the Washington caucuses”

    Al, I hope you had tongue firmly in cheek when you used Fox and neutral political coverage in the same sentence 🙂

  10. Considering the model as put forward in that previous post has Obama running close in Maine and Washington, we can call it pretty ‘conservative’! LOL

  11. Rain @ 2 – I certainly don’t see Clinton as the devil incarnate, and why see seems to be so hated by many Americans puzzles me.

    However, I wouldn’t vote for her. Her willingness to vote for most of Bush’s worse policies suggests that as Prez she would bring little new thinking to the job – she’s too integrated with the Washington establishment and we’re likely to see many of Bill’s cabinet recyclede, and I don’t believe she would try too hard to get out of Iraq.

    OTOH, I know little about Obama. Frankly, I’m suspicious of politicians that are heavy on rhetoric. IME, most of it ends up being only BS. A link on Clinton -v- Obama’s voting record posted earlier today by Rates Analysis adds to my suspicion.

    It’s not so much what he voted for or against, though some concern me, but the number of contentious issues he failed to vote on that have me wondering. Did he have valid reasons for missing the vote or did he miss them so that future opponents would have less to hammer him on?

    These are of particular concern:
    Jun-07 – Attorney General No Confidence Vote: Vote so that a fillibuster can’t be used for the vote of no-confidence for Attorney General Gonzales Jul-07 – Sense of the Senate on Guantanamo Bay Detainees: Vote that the Guantanamo detainees not be released on American soil or transferred to American facilities Sep-07 – Expressing the Sense of Congress Regarding Federalism in Iraq: Vote to support the opinion that Iraq work toward a loose federalist state and that the Iranian Revolutionary Guard be considered a terrorist organization Sep-07 – Expressing the Sense of Congress Regarding Iran and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps: Vote to support the opinion that the United States should use its military, diplomatic, economic, and intelligence instruments to combat Iranian activities inside Iraq that are designed to destabilize Iraq

  12. Mayo-that is the point as far I’m concerned.
    Clinton supported the war in Iraq, therefore she is closely aligned with the thinking and political manouevering that has brought us (the West) to where we are today.
    Obama , on the other hand has been an outspoken critic of the invasion, and therefore represents a view that the neo-conservative approach to dealing with the many fraught and dangerous situations we face is not the way to go. He may not have the answers, nor is he the Messiah, but he does encapsulate a wllingness to approach the presidency differently, and Hillary doesn’t on her past form. Therefore I hope he wins.

  13. Glen- The name I hear the most as VP for Macca is Gov Pawlenty. Evidently a rising Repug star. Impeccable conservative and popular.

  14. Basil: What could be at all biased about a network that asks the question “George Bush: Good President, or Best President Ever?”

    Listening to Obama’s speech on CNN yesterday, it struck me how good an orator he was. It was a huge contrast from the current President, and surely something that Americans pick up on.

  15. Al, what was his famous quote about fool me once, you cant get fooled agin or some such, I guess that kinda applies to Fox’s question, que.

  16. Ahhh, I knew I’d find it:
    “There’s an old saying in Tennessee — I know it’s in Texas, probably in Tennessee — that says, fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can’t get fooled again.”

  17. Obama says it all about Hillary (and no nasties either, zoom)

    She’s a smart person, she’s a capable person, she would be a vast improvement over the incumbent,” he said in response to a question at a rally with 3,000 people, with 1,200 more listening in an overflow room. “What is also true is, I think it’s very hard for Senator Clinton to break out of the politics of the last 15 years.”

  18. The pattern appears to continue as on Super Tuesday, with Obama winning (with varying degrees of convincingness) many States, and Clinton thrashing him in the larger States (Ohio, Texas, etc.). Quite frankly, it would be suicidal for the Dems to refuse to seat the delegates from Florida (4th-largest state in USA) and Michigan (8th-largest). Both States could vote Republican this election if spurned by the Democrats.

    This leaves two options:

    1. Hold a re-vote and seat the subsequently elected delegates. This would spark resentment among the voters, and those of us who remember the Lindsay re-poll in 1996 should remember how the electorate rewards being forced to the polls again – with a more convincing performance in the same direction (in these cases, a strong Clinton win, at least in Florida – Michigan would be more problematic).

    2. Seat the current delegates. This would cause strife within the Democrat camp, as Clinton critics would accuse her of gaining an unfair advantage (mostly over her alleged campaigning in Florida – it appears to have just been a few fundraiser events), and it would cast doubt on the legitimacy of the process if these votes made the difference between Clinton gaining or losing the nomination (as they may very well do).

    Overall, the best of two bad options (there is NO good choice here) is to hold a revote. This would remove the ambiguity from these two very important States, and clear up questions within the nomination.

  19. Mathew Cole at 24

    The pattern has only continued up to the part where Obama has been winning smaller states. Whilst undoubtedly favourite in Ohio and Texas, I highly doubt that Clinton will thrash Obama in those states.

    I agree there needs to be a revote in Florida and Michigan presuming matters are not decided before then.

  20. Rain #2
    Perhaps if there was no big O and the contest was Clinton vs McCain ,
    what would blogers say ?

    I’d be saying I’m with Clinton particularly universal healthcare principle but disagree on her initial Iraq & Guantanamo support , her over zealous Israel support vs Palstinians , her flip flop re Immigration licences , some questions on economics
    and my perception Hillay’s political expediency is stronger than her policy purity

    Obama I feel is stronger than Hillay on ALL of the above except economically where I reserve……now do you have any spare ice mate

  21. 18
    Diogenes Says:

    True as he’s from a Purple State, nevertheless, McCain needs someone young but also conservative he may go with Tim Pawlenty but he could choose, Bobby Jindal the Indian-American Louisiana Governor, Charlie Crist the Floridian Governor, Congressman Paul Ryan a 38 year old from Wisconsin or Mike Pence from Indiana.

    McCain will have a lot of choices as he could go for Rice or Powell if he wanted to and perhaps should if Obama wins the Democratic nomination. But what he needs is a darling of the conservatives, who’s younger than 71 and someone who wont scare off independents which counts our Huckleberry or Romoromon.

  22. Ron –
    if it was down to Clinton vs McCain: no contest. Democrat over Repug all the way.
    However, right now we (they, but it impacts on us all) get to choose.
    So aim high.

    If the conservative, parochial US can elect a black president who rejects the currrent warmongering approach to global politics then something big is happening.
    Even if he does do the Ra-Ra rally crap, which I really don’t like.

  23. Quite frankly, it would be suicidal for the Dems to refuse to seat the delegates from Florida (4th-largest state in USA) and Michigan (8th-largest). Both States could vote Republican this election if spurned by the Democrats.

    No offence, but absolute nonsense. It would be highly, highly problematic to give any credibility to any ‘result’ in those states at present – this would favour Clinton, and would thus be tainted given that she breached the spirit of the ‘no campaigning’ deal.

    I tend to agree with whoever said that it would not be surprising to see the superdelegates vote for whoever had the bare majority on the non-superdelegate count. Although on the other hand I read an article today suggesting that Clinton has about twice as many superdelegates who have committed to vote for her as Obama does.

    As for the “why do people hate Hillary” thing – some observations/opinions:

    – hard right wingers hate how “non-traditional” a woman she is and are automatically repelled by the notion of a powerful yet compassionate woman

    – the right also hate her for trying to introduce socialised healthcare and thereby bring the US up to date with the rest of the civilised world

    – she is emblematic of the perceived problems of the Clinton Administration, including supposed moral weakness (“moral” in the Bible bashing sense)

    – some people honestly believe that women lack the capacity to rule

    – on the left, many see her as hawkish (which she certainly is) on foreign policy and regard this as inconsistent with her supposed liberalism

    – on the left there is also a perception that she and Bill are ruthless and prepared to trample all who get in their way. Her machine has a way of creating that air too – just look at how every single thing Obama does carries an echo from the Clinton machine talking it down or criticising it or calling him a hypocrite as appropriate

    – Clinton takes a great deal of money from certain industries (e.g. big drug companies) which is entirely at odds with her supposed centre left values (Obama is no angel in this regard either).

  24. “But what he needs is a darling of the conservatives, who’s younger than 71 and someone who wont scare off independents which counts our Huckleberry or Romoromon.”
    Maybe he should try Hugh Grant.

  25. Also, it will be very interesting to see the next few primaries – I have a feeling Obama will romp them in.

    My reasoning: previously, there was an underlying assumption that, although Obama was interesting to Democrat voters, he would ultimately be wiped out on Super Tuesday. As such he was never considered a ‘real’ candidate.

    Now, however, there is a realisation that he could actually win the candidacy, with a secondary realisation that he is more than capable of taking on the Republicans, whoever they should nominate.

    As such I think a number of people who would have voted for Clinton as the inevitable choice will now reconsider and may well vote for Obama as both a realistic but idealistic choice.

  26. But what he needs is a darling of the conservatives, who’s younger than 71 and someone who wont scare off independents which counts our Huckleberry or Romoromon.

    But that’s just it – the Republicans have completely forgotten what “conservative” means. The only type of candidate who would meet the above description would be an old school Reaganite conservative, i.e., someone who believes that the government’s role in the lives of citizens should be minimised.

    The problem is, the Republicans at the moment only believe in small government when it comes to the rich paying taxes, but when it comes to the PATRIOT Act mandating brain implants to monitor citizens they’re all for it. Likewise they believe that religion should be freely expressed, but simultaneously accept that fundamentalist Christianity should be rammed down everybody’s throats. And on and on – position after position that is in theory broadly conservative but in practice little more than invasive social engineering. As such, they scare the absolute s##t out of moderates and progressives.

    I guess what I’m saying is – they have forgotten their all-important libertarian streak, just like the Liberal Party in Australia. They need to rediscover the message that a strong country comes from the government just getting out of your face and letting you live your life with genuine freedom.

    The only candidate who is even close to that is Ron Paul, and they would never in a million years let him become the VP candidate.

  27. Krugman’s article in the NY Times picks up on some of the points that Rain makes.
    The cult of personality and unfair rhetoric aimed at RHC is pervasive. Obama would be a fine POTUS, but so would RHC. I see her in the Kevin Rudd mould, a capable administrator and manager, and like her husband able to grasp the detail in complex policies. Obama seems more in the Reagan mould, the great communicator who delegates everything.

  28. PB #29,

    Had you bothered to read my whole post, you would have noted that I advocated a re-vote rather than simply seating the current delegates. Quite frankly, if you want to make yourself look stupid by asserting that Florida (for example) could never vote Republican even if the Democrats insult them as well as by ignoring half of my post when replying to it, go ahead and be my guest – it should be amusing.

  29. Mathew, my apologies – I didn’t read your whole post.

    I do, however, disagree. The only way that the issue will become problematic is if the Clintons are allowed to revive it at the time of the caucus proper.

    There is no way (IMHO) that Democrats and independents in those states will vote Republican just because they have been denied the chance to select the Democrat candidate.

  30. One reason people oppose Hillary is the dynasty thing. They’ve had nearly twenty years of Bushes and Clintons, and are looking for a change.

    Good point, and that leads to a perception of an air of entitlement in the Clinton camp – like the nomination is theirs and Obama is trying to steal it from them.

  31. PB #36,

    They don’t have to vote Republican for (especially) Florida to fall. They just have to not vote, which is far more likely if they feel disgusted with the whole shebang than if their voice is acknowledged. The Republican voters will do the rest.

  32. True, but on the other hand – the ones who would be put off would have voted for the unsuccessful primary candidate anyway.

    So for instance, is a Clinton fan who never got to vote in a primary less likely to vote for Obama than a Clinton fan who did get to vote in a primary and lost (overall)?

  33. A valid point PB, but people will be feeling bitter more over not having their voices heard than over the fact that the other candidate got up for the nomination. A lot of people out there would consider it to be a matter of principle, and react accordingly.

  34. Or alternatively, will Floridians recognise that their voice was diminished by the (Florida) Republican Party introducing legislation bringing forward their primary day in contravention of both Republican and Democratic Party rules and retaliate against the party that caused the problem in the first place?

    I still think that if Clinton seriously pushes to get the Florida’s and Michigan’s delegates seated (which the latter being completely ridiculous with Michigan’s ballot paper having no Edwards, Richardson, Biden or Obama), it will hurt her with superdelegates; possibly with extra emphasis in the traditionally early states, such as Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina.

  35. Glen- I’ve looked a bit more at Tim Pawlenty and he’s very impressive. I note the Repug National Conference is being held in his home town, St Pauls. Also, something amazing has happened in Minnesota. In 1984 it was the ONLY state not to vote Reagan and now it’s on the red side of purple. He has some valuable attributes to Macca:
    1. Young
    2. Very popular amongst Conservatives
    3. Good speaker
    4. Purple state
    5. Expertise in health care (I saw Sicko last night, boy do they need that!)
    6. Interested in climate change (not sure how the US views this issue)
    7. Keen on trade with China
    8. Retired a deficit without raising taxes

    Looks like he might fit your description of “what he needs is a darling of the conservatives, who’s younger than 71 and someone who wont scare off independents”.

  36. While we are on Veeps, it would seem that Richardson could be a good combination with Obama, would help to build the Latino vote.

  37. That’s it! Obama is stuffed! Completely ruined, hexed, jinxed, or however you want to say it:

    William Kristol has written an Op Ed in the NYTimes which says Obama is the likely winner!


    William Kristol has NEVER been right in his entire life!

    oh, the tragedy, oh the humanity!!!

    So close, so close, so close we could smell the victory rising up on wings of hope, but alas, the curse of William Kristol has struck down Obama in his prime!

    William Kristol, what have you done???????????

  38. Zedder @ 34 – Thnx for that link, it largely echoes my concerns, especially the line:
    “I won’t try for fake evenhandedness here: most of the venom I see is coming from supporters of Mr. Obama, who want their hero or nobody.”
    Rightly or wrongly, thats been my perception too. Its also not whether either is a sore loser, but whether their voter supporters are. Clinton voters will likely continue to vote for Obama in the Big One in November, despite their disappointment – but I dont see that in the reverse scenario, the Obama supporters have been somewhat feral, (eg the ‘South Park’ attacks have been extroardinarily over-the-top vicious, but have left Repubs alone?) and the Obama camp might force the nomination on grounds of threatening to be very sore losers, far more than Clinton’s.
    As for numbers of delegates and states won, Its all in the swing-states – with large solid red and blue states, doesn’t matter much whether Clinton or Obama wins X more or less candidacy Delegates in those states, no matter how *big* they are, or how popular the vote was. Its which candidate can win the key swing-states, and thats where unpledged super-delegates come in to play I guess – which is interesting – two of the largest swing-states are Florida and Michigan.
    Except all those wins (no matter how useless or meaningless they are in reality) boosts morale and momentum in the remaining states.
    Which sounds politically very fishy to me. Thats maybe why they weren’t allowed to go to primaries early in the first place (despite giving plenty of advance notice), Florida/Michigan delegates can’t be allowed to be seated, the only option is to re-poll. So clinton is damned if she does, damned if she doesn’t – either way, she’s toast, and perhaps that was designed that way by all the Dems who hate her. But they can’t have her burned at the stake, (she’s still a high-profile Dem, after all) so they’ll make it look like she only lost by a little bit.

  39. This leaves two options:

    The third option, which is overwhelmingly most likely to happen is that the delegates will be seated by a motion from the floor of the convention after the nomination is settled.

Comments are closed.

Comments Page 1 of 26
1 2 26