Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Momentum?

Yesterday marked the latest rounds of Presidential primaries for both the Republican and Democratic parties, with results so closely following the script that they barely seem to qualify as news. As such, in case you haven’t heard about it, McCain beat Huckabee 55% to 37% in the Wisconsin primary, and reportedly also has a big lead in whatever the hell they think they’re doing in Washington state. Since the Republicans do winner-take-all, McCain is just plowing ahead. It’s garbage time. We should be rooting to see if McCain can dunk.

Over on the other side, Obama pulled off another substantial primary victory over Clinton, beating her 58% to 41% in Wisconsin. In Hawaii, he pulled off a superficially-impressive 76%-to-24% win, but as these are caucus results for fractions of state delegates they don’t mean the same thing. Despite the sweep, Obama only picked up 18 more national delegates than Clinton, thanks to the proportional allocation the Democrats favor. That proportional allocation is exactly what ensures that this primary still has a long, long, way to go.

Or does it? Proportional allocation means that it takes a lot of victories to build a lead, but it also means it takes a long time to come back from a deficit. Procedurally, Obama only gained a little yesterday. But the perception is a string of solid wins, and by the time the next primaries roll around on March 4, Clinton won’t have won a thing in a month. Does the perception of momentum coupled with the difficulty of gaining ground and the long cycles between primary events translate into actual momentum – even though Clinton has never been further back in delegates than right on Obama’s heels?

The driving issue for primary voters is electability, or at least the polls claim so. Both candidates are from groups previously deemed unelectable, so cynically speaking perhaps we should have expected this issue to be the big one. Obama certainly looks to be leading on this ‘issue.’ Does it mean we hold our sexism more dearly than our racism? There have also been arguments that Obama is not really black – he was raised by his white mother, he’s African-American by virtue of his father actually being from African, not at all the same cultural background as Nth generation Americans descended from slaves. But those arguments came from his opponents, not from Obama. Clinton even went so far as to claim she represented the latter group’s interests better, which, well, kinda didn’t work out so well. So far nobody’s tried to claim that Clinton isn’t a woman; the closest I’ve seen is the allegation that her husband would be be the power behind the throne.

Anyway. Care about actual issues, not the horse race or electabiilty? I found an interesting page today on which Physics Today attempts to asses the positions of the remaining candidates on issues related to science. I may review it later.

-- Satan

Ask Satan will be back tomorrow, to be continued irregularly per questions received. Have a question for Satan? Email it to Satan or post it in the comments.

4 comments:

Ɯbermilf said...

"asses the position" sounds dirty.

CTK said...

So does "behind the throne".

Kinda.

Distributorcap said...

asses the position......hmmmmm

Satan said...

Read some of the positions, "asses" will make perfect sense.

-- Satan