Democratic Primary Predictions For Texas and Ohio, And Some Additional Musings

Updated Correction

I was wrong when I wrote that the actual primary in Texas will not provide delegates to the candidates.  The New York Times reports the following.  I am sorry for any confusion.

In Texas, Mr. Obama’s campaign began the final part of its Caucus Education Program to make certain its supporters understood the state’s complicated voting procedure: a primary, in which two-thirds of the delegates are chosen, is followed by a caucus, which determines the remaining delegates. Volunteers went door-to-door leaving pamphlets that explained what the campaign had come to call the Texas Two Step, to remind Obama supporters that they had to vote twice.


What will happen the morning after the Texas and Ohio Democratic presidential primaries?  That is as intriguing a question as what the voters will say in Texas and Ohio on March 4th, 2008.  Will Hillary Clinton win two decisive and needed victories, or will Barack Obama capture one or both of the major states that day and make the entire Democratic machinery utterly convinced that his candidacy is indeed unique and powerful?

The trend lines in the polling are not favorable for the Clinton campaign in Texas, and only marginally better in Ohio.  To see how the double-digit leads have evaporated over the past weeks for Hillary Clinton in both of these key states is a powerful sign about the Illinois juggernaut, better known as Barack Obama.

In Texas there is the most convoluted mess for winning delegates as one can imagine.  While the primary itself has no clout for securing delegates, the caucuses will produce 127 delegates that will split between Clinton and Obama.  If one should win the primary in a huge way, but win a minority of the delegates, it might make for interesting sound bites, but will mean little.  Yet one can see how one campaign might feel that this is grist for the mill.

So on election night, long before the caucus numbers are made known, there will be the powerful headline grabbing popular vote returns that in essence mean nothing.  One has to wonder why it was ever designed in this fashion.  To be honest, I have been too busy to Google and find an answer.  (Weigh in with a comment if you know.)

The split in the Hispanic vote will be very important if Obama is to win in Texas.  Younger and better-educated Hispanics will need to vote in larger numbers for Obama to offset the traditional Hispanic vote that seems more secure for Clinton.  It will be interesting to see if the sons and daughters from proud Hispanic families can sway the older voters to cast a ballot for change.

In Ohio the demographics work better for Clinton in a blue-collar state with many female voters over 65, and more whites than non-whites.  But even here I wonder if her last days of struggle and intensified advertising can undo the magic touch that Obama can produce with powerful rallies and media mastery.  He has been absolutely brilliant in not allowing any sunshine between an attack from Clinton or GOP presumptive nominee John McCain, and his tough and measured responses.  Any Democrat wondering if he is ready for the fall campaign only need to have been watching this past week.  It is powerful and prefect on Obama’s part, as he allows no attack to go unmet.

By most estimates Clinton would need to win roughly 57% of the remaining delegates in the states yet to vote in order to be the nominee.  While that seems implausible given her poor performances in the past 11 primaries, she can always count on the superdelegates for her victory.  Right?  Wrong. 

In the past weeks her support from these powerful Democrats has slipped from nearly 100 committed, to now only about 60.  The fact is that the most influential and well connected party members now understand Barack Obama has the best chance to bring the White House back under the control of the party of the people, the Democratic Party.  In addition there was never a love affair between the regular party apparatus and the Clinton’s, and so now that there is a chance that Hillary Clinton will not be the powerful person that some hoped, or feared, they have departed from her side.  Politics can be rough.  But it should be recalled that the Clinton’s also played a very muscular form of politics for many years.  Still it must sting for her to see the vision for the White House collapse so quickly and thoroughly.  (I really do feel for her in spite of some serious political differences.)

Even if there is a split in the outcome on March 4th with Texas going to Obama by 7 percentage points, and Ohio going to Clinton by four percentage points, as I predict will happen, there will be nowhere Clinton can go but back to the Senate.  I base this on what I suspect will be a lack of a serious rationale for Hillary Clinton to continue to pursue the nomination.  Without winning both states, and doing very well in all demographic groups, she is no more than a wounded candidate limping into Pennsylvania.  Surely the Clinton team understands they have more to lose from this prolonged fight than just the nomination.  They have, as some say the “Clinton name” and future clout in the party to worry about. 

The votes will soon be counted in Iowa and Texas, but the real test of political acumen will come on March 6th when Hillary Clinton proves to the nation she is a smooth politician even in defeat.

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3 thoughts on “Democratic Primary Predictions For Texas and Ohio, And Some Additional Musings

  1. ANthony

    Hmmm… boy were YOU wrong. She won both Ohio AND Texas. Read it and weep baby.

    I love holier than thou writers who claim to know it all… so judgemental and so sure of yourselves. I don’t care either way wether Clinton or Obama win the elections…. But seriously, stop being so sure of yourself and be neutral. Otherwise you come out looking like an ass.

  2. Anthony, my man, slow down and take a deep breath.

    Predictions are fun to make. I do so often here on this blog. And if you are a reader here, you already know that. As for being neutral, I think you might want to read a newspaper for that type of writing, unless you are seeking out the op/ed pages of a paper. It is that sort of writing you find here on this blog. And yes, I make judgements about politics and issues that provoke thinking.

    Cream of wheat blogging is not my style.

  3. Elaine

    Actually Anthony, you look like an ass, because guess what Clinton didn’t win Texas after all. After the primary AND caucus votes were counted, she lost. That is why now, she only wants to know why Obama can’t win large states like California & New York, but not California, New York & Texas! What I want to know is how did she lose Texas with all the Hispanic vote & her supposedly strong ties to Texas? Lastly, what I want to know is how can any candidate lose 13 or more primaries in a row, lose a stronghold state like Texas & still think she has a chance a the nomination? Looking forward to her lying, 2-faced, petty ass dropping out!

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