03 May

Candidates split 4 delegates in Guam

This close Democratic race may have produced the closest primary contest today in Guam, as Obama won by just 7 votes out of about 4500 cast. CNN reports:

With all 21 precincts reporting, Obama finished with 2,264 votes, or 50.1 percent. Sen. Hillary Clinton got 2,257 votes, or 49.9 percent.

Indiana and North Carolina are up on Tuesday.

28 Apr

Hillary’s Pennsylvania win and exit polls

Hillary won Pennsylvania last week by nearly 10 points and with a record 2.3 million Democratic voter turnout. While it was enough to come within striking distance on the national popular vote totals, it brought just a 10 delegate bump and renewed speculation about how the Democratic nominee will be chosen.

Exit polling from Pennsylvania does nothing to change concern for how many Hillary or Obama supporters will back McCain in November. From the CNN Political Ticker blog:

Only 50 percent of Clinton voters in Pennsylvania said they would support Obama if he is the nominee. Twenty-six percent said they would back McCain over Obama, and 19 percent said they would not vote at all.

Among Obama’s Pennsylvania voters, 67 percent said they would support Clinton if she is the party’s nomine. Seventeen percent said they would back McCain instead, and 12 percent said they would stay home.”

And at Politico:

Exit polls revealed another reason for Democrats to worry: They suggested that Obama would only hold the support of 72 percent of the core Democratic voters who participated in the Pennsylvania primary. Clinton, the poll suggested, would hold just 80 percent.

I first touched on this issue back in early March. There is a very real risk of not just discouraging Democratic turnout in November, but of alienating the most passionate voters we have this year. By stressing a combined Democratic ticket, we can focus on our shared values and keep as many Democrats as possible involved in the general election.

18 Apr

Targeted contributions

I’ve written before about how contributions from everyday Americans are powering the Democratic campaigns. Hillary’s campaign recently launched a new donation page that takes this one step further by letting supporters choose exactly where their money will go: from television ads to radio airtime to yard signs and more.

This does two positive things for our democratic process. It continues to put the voter in control of campaigns and where money is spent, while at the same time educating us on how expensive markets like television are. For the 5 segments that the Hillary Clinton campaign breaks donations into, over 50% is for television alone.

17 Apr

Pennsylvania debate

Reaction to the Democratic debate last night was mixed. According to most reports, Hillary had the strongest showing, but supporters on both sides criticized the lack of substance in the first half of the debate. If the prolonged primary season is a good opportunity to raise awareness of Democratic issues critical to winning in November, last night was a missed opportunity due to the focus by moderators on the latest Wright or Bosnia “controversy”.

The good news is that most of the differences between the candidates were pointed out respectfully, with an overall positive tone that was missing from the last debate in Texas over a month ago.

When asked about a joint ticket, the candidates were momentarily speechless. Afterwards Obama reiterated that it was “premature”, and both candidates pledged to unite behind the nominee. Hillary continued:

I think it’s absolutely imperative that our entire party close ranks, that we become unified. I will do everything I can do make sure the people who supported me, support our nominee. I will go anywhere in the country to make the case. And I know that Barack feels the same way.

You can watch video for most of the debate online at ABCNews.com.

25 Mar

KUT interview

Today I was interviewed by local Austin public radio station KUT for a feature on the KUT Elections site. This was the first interview I’ve done for Unite the Party, and while I hope I covered the basics there is certainly a lot of depth to this election process that could only be glossed over or which I forgot to mention.

If this is the first time you are visiting the site, here are a few posts you may find interesting:

Comments are not enabled yet, but I welcome your questions or suggestions at feedback@unitetheparty.com. I’m also interested in hearing from people who support both candidates and who would like to cover the campaign or write essays about the candidates on this site.

24 Mar

Hillary stresses party unity

CNN.com reports on comments Hillary made in Pennsylvania today when she responded to a question about whether Democrats can come together after the primaries. She said:

I think we will have a unified Democratic party once we have a nominee, we will go into fall election very committed to taking back the White House. None of the things I talk about will happen if Sen. McCain is elected.

I think that people that who would have voted for either me or Sen. Obama are going to ask themselves, “Wait a minute, there are really big differences between the Democrats and the Republicans.” And let’s have a unified party and elect a Democratic president.

This is not the first time she or Barack Obama have been asked this question, and the answer is always the same. We will be united one way or another, because we have to win. The only question is whether we take the easy way — which is to bring both candidates together, let them lead by example with a joint ticket and let their supporters follow — or whether we risk discouraging half the party and will need to work to rebuild that trust after the nominee is chosen.

21 Mar

Richardson endorses

Governor Bill Richardson of New Mexico endorsed Obama today, over 2 months after dropping out of the Democratic race. Although previously conflicted about who to endorse, Richardson still had praise for both candidates, saying that while his “affection for Hillary Clinton and President Bill Clinton will never waver”, it was time for a new generation. Most importantly, he underscore that we must “stop fighting amongst ourselves” and prepare for the tough fight against McCain.

20 Mar

Grassroots

Earlier this month I wrote about the record donations and turnout during this primary season. Paul Krugman of the New York Times has also pointed to the strong grassroots support of both candidates:

Thanks to Tuesday’s results, the nomination fight will go on to Pennsylvania in April, and probably beyond — and rightly so. It’s now clear that Mrs. Clinton, like Mr. Obama, has strong grass-roots support that cannot be simply brushed aside without alienating voters that the party will badly need in November. So the Democratic National Committee had better get moving on plans to do Michigan and Florida over, to give the eventual nominee the legitimacy he or she needs.

While the news media is generally more interested in things they can quantify, like how large a crowd was for a speech or how much money was given in a month, there are hundreds and thousands of people whose impact is less easy to measure. They take time out of their day to put up signs, call undecided voters, or even travel to another state where they hope to make a difference for their candidate. This is an incredible power and we will want these supporters on our side past the nomination process. With a united Democratic ticket we can keep many of the most passionate volunteers engaged and organized until November.

19 Mar

Florida poll on counting votes

The Miami Herald covers a new Florida poll which shows that voters strongly feel that their votes should count, with 89% wanting delegates at the convention. But while such passion for being part of history is good for the party (1.7 million Democrats voted in Florida), the poll also warns that we must resolve the situation or risk alienating more voters.

Twenty-four percent of Florida Democrats said that if the state doesn’t have a say, they would be less likely to support the Democratic nominee.

The good news is that there is a clear way forward: seat the delegates, either using the existing vote or with a new primary, and unify the ticket with both candidates to ensure that no group of supporters feels cheated by this process.

Exactly half the voters said both candidates should be on the ticket in November, with the loser of the primary as the vice presidential candidate.

18 Mar

Racism and sexism

A month ago, when it became clear that the Democratic nominee and likely next president would be a woman or an African-American, the party was proud and excited about making history. This is what the Democratic Party is about, we told ourselves. Not only would we turn the page on a Republican president bad for this country, we would break down racial and gender barriers as well.

Somehow in the last few weeks, that pride has crumbled, and now we face a conversation in the party that is depressing and distracting. When we should be talking about healthcare, we talk about racism. When we should be talking about the economy, we talk about sexism.

Geraldine Ferraro resigned in anger after making racist comments which Hillary distanced herself from. In a passionate television opinion piece, “Keith Olbermann of MSNBC slammed Hillary”:http://youtube.com/watch?v=qXBXD2zizIY for even letting herself be associated with Ferraro’s comments. He was right that we can’t stand for it if we are to respect our own debate and come together when the primaries are over.

Sadly these divisive comments don’t come from the top, they come from supporters, they come from us. Likewise on the other side, there is an undercurrent of sexism that we shouldn’t be afraid to call out and move beyond. CNN was one of the first news organizations to “cover this issue in a discussion”:http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/02/15/kaye.ohioracegender/ with voters.

There’s something pretty common in the Democratic primary this year that I like to call the stay-at-home mom syndrome. In truth, it’s sexism, but we are so used to it that it sometimes doesn’t even register as such. Here’s how the argument goes:

“Just because she lived in the White House doesn’t mean Hillary can take credit for the economic successes under Bill Clinton.”

Tracy Jordan, is his own Saturday Night Live response to Tina Fey, fell for this same trap using essentially the same words. It’s disarming because it does two things simultaneously:

* Relegates women to second place.
* Ignores Hillary’s own real accomplishments.

It’s as if you said stay-at-home moms don’t matter because they don’t get paid — as if raising children and taking care of the house or finances is not also real experience to be proud of. To cut to the truth, you have to strip away the accusations and sexist jokes and look at what Hillary has actually taken credit for. Things that she led while First Lady, like pushing for a universal healthcare system, or working with the senate on the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, or talking with world leaders about opening borders and pressing for human rights.

This site isn’t about whether one candidate is better than another; it’s about praising both. Together we are strong, but to get there we have to leave the racism and sexism by the side and _encourage a campaign of ideas again_.

Obama gave a “major speech today on race”:http://my.barackobama.com/page/content/hisownwords, at the same time both acknowledging our differences and urging that we move beyond them:

“We can play Reverend Wright’s sermons on every channel, every day and talk about them from now until the election, and make the only question in this campaign whether or not the American people think that I somehow believe or sympathize with his most offensive words. We can pounce on some gaffe by a Hillary supporter as evidence that she’s playing the race card, or we can speculate on whether white men will all flock to John McCain in the general election regardless of his policies. We can do that.

“But if we do, I can tell you that in the next election, we’ll be talking about some other distraction. And then another one. And then another one. And nothing will change.

“That is one option. Or, at this moment, in this election, we can come together and say, ‘Not this time.'”

The Democratic Party can make history without tearing anyone down. If you see someone using race or gender as a wedge to divide us, call them on it. Let’s discuss the issues that matter in a productive way, because in 4 years or 8 years or 16 years we want to look back and be proud that we came together when America was weak and made a positive difference.