James Leroy Wilson's blog

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Decided in 2002

As everyone knows by now, Hillary Clinton's chances of winning the Democratic nomination for President are increasingly remote. As this AP story says, her campaign survived this long "largely because of her 60% to 36% edge over Obama among white women voters in the primaries to date. Among college-educated women - presumably, those more likely to call themselves feminist - the gap narrows to 54% to 43%.

Imagine if the situation in 2002 was reversed. Obama is in the Senate and votes for the Iraq war resolution. Clinton is not yet the Senate but vocally opposes it at the time. Probably,

a) the feminist vote would be more solidly behind Hillary;
b) Obama, who had far from a conventional African-American upbringing, would have a harder time winning black voters who had been loyal to the Clintons. That's because he'd have a harder time proving he's "one of them" and that he's carrying on the legacy of people like Martin Luther King.

I don't have the numbers, but this primary race has been close enough that I suspect if Clinton did 10% better among feminists and Obama did 10% worse among African-Americans, we'd have a different presumptive nominee.

And I think this is more than fair. It's hard to sympathize with feminists who believe the symbolic value of a woman President and issues such as the wage gap are bigger priorities than an unprovoked, unnecessary war. Equality is artificial and meaningless. Enough Democratic voters were aware of this to give Obama the edge.

No comments:

Post a Comment