Monday, August 20, 2007

Obama's core constituency - not racial, not geographic, but generational.

Robert Novak, Captain Ed, and James Joyner overlook the key element Barack Obama brings to a Democratic ticket.

From Novak's column in the Sun-Times:
"Anticipating that Sen. Hillary Clinton will clinch the Democratic presidential nomination, some supporters are beginning to argue against her choosing her principal rival -- Sen. Barack Obama -- for vice president. They maintain Obama provides no general election help for Clinton. As an African-American from Illinois, he represents an ethnic group and a state already solidly in the Democratic column."
Obama's fundamental focus has not changed since he announced his candidacy last February, as we related in our post "Obama declares candidacy for Vice-President & launches pre-emptive strike on Boomers":
"Barack used the word "generation" at least 12 times in the 20 minute speech. Apparently he is building his campaign on on a foundation of Baby Boomicide. One has to ask - why the generational focus? I submit, that this is a realistic political calculation by a young, self-assured, very smart, very ambitious politician, who understands that his path to the presidency requires a stepping stone as Vice-President.
A key element in the selection of any Vice-Presidential candidate, is to identify what constituency they bring to a ticket. From a purely political perspective, it is interesting to ask: Exactly what constituency does Barack Obama bring to a Democratic ticket? It is not his home state. Illinois is already True Blue. It is not the black vote, Hillary Clinton outpolls Barack Obama among blacks. But if Barack can bring a generational constituency, if he can mobilize a demographic block that historically cannot even be bothered to vote, then Barack would be a formidable addition to any Democratic ticket. This is a campaign to capture that constituency and trade it for a spot on the ticket."
This constituency cuts across racial and geographic lines, and would benefit Clinton (or any Democratic nominee) in every state in the country. If he doesn't screw the pooch in the campaign, it's a done deal. I'll add this as a DWSUWF prediction (see previous post): Regardless of the Democratic candidate nominated to head the ticket, Barack Obama will be the Vice-President nominee.

Divided and Balanced.™ Now that is fair.


James said...

Regardless of the Democratic candidate nominated to head the ticket, Barack Obama will be the Vice-President nominee.

Unless, presumably, Obama himself is the nominee! One would think that he has the best chance of any non-HRC candidate to win, given his fundraising success and the enthusiasm of his base.

mw said...

It could happen, but I just don't see it. Demographically, at least one more Boomer President is in the cards. Even if he wins the nomination, he probably cannot win the general election. The Dems can capitalize on his fund raising success and co-opt his enthusiastic supporters by including him on the ticket as VP. After 4 or 8 years as VP, the nomination and probably the election is his by acclamation. I just think that is a far more likely scenario.

Anonymous said...

I don't think Obama wants to settle for VP but I'm certain that the DNC is going to strongly pressure him to accept it.

mw said...

dyre42 - Of course he does not want to settle for VP, but he is smart enough to realize he cannot overcome both the "experience issue" and latent racism in a general election. After four or eight years experience "a heartbeat away" the electorate will be accustomed to thinking of him in a Presidential role. Whether by election, resignation, or "other" - the VP role is the most predictable path to a parties nomination in recent US history: Johnson, Humphrey, Nixon, Ford, Mondale, Bush 41, Gore - all VP's before becoming the party standard bearer.

QoDys - Wonder what will be Hillary "cool" equivalent of Bill playing the sax on the tonight show? How about getting busted for driving the wrong way on a freeway while under the influence, checking into rehab, then a confessional appearance on Oprah?

Anonymous said...

Alright, I'm going to trust your power of prognostication on this one.

I hope you're right, kind of, although I'd rather see one of the nobody candidates win.