Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Can Obama Win?

Suddenly, all of the polls are in Obama's favor. It is the economic meltdown and the Palin come-down as well as Obama's performance in the debates that have swung the polls clearly in his favor nationally and state by state. But, a serious question remains - can the Democrats win a head to head election against the Rethuglicans. Common wisdom regarded Hillary Clinton as the candidate to beat the Republicans because the Clintons have shown they can beat them. This is simply not true.

The democrats have not won a head to head general election against the Republicans since 1976 when Jimmy Carter defeated President Gerald Ford in the wake of the Watergate scandal. A time that is not unlike the time we see here today, a confluence of events that is in the democrats favor. Carter won only 296 electoral votes, a close national election and won just over the 50 percent margin against Ford. Obama is now polling at 50 percent, a place he needs to maintain if he is to win.

President Clinton, the last democratic president did not win head to head against the Republicans, but was helped by the magnanimous Ross Perot who actually received 19 percent of the vote, but did not win a state. This has to be said for two reasons: 1) Without Perot he would have lost in a big way; and 2) Democrats need to stop picking on Ralph Nader because if it were not for Perot there would have never been a Clinton Presidency. Clinton only garnered 43 percent of the vote and never won a majority in both elections. He did however, win 370 electoral votes. Nader gained a dismal 2.7% of the vote and less than than 2% in Florida. So, please can we stop picking on the brilliant Nader. Third parties are historically good for the contender that is the way it works.

If we are to win we cannot rest on our laurels or become complacent because Obama is ahead in the polls. Nothing is guaranteed especially taking into account the vote caging and vote stealing that has been going on since the 2000 election of which the GOP is becoming more sophisticated. The Brennan Center just released a report on voter purging that indicates 13 million voters have been purged since 2004 and 2006. Putting aside the gross violation of our civil rights this presents a significant problem for democrats. Get out and vote, tell your friends to vote, door knock, phone bank and become a poll worker. It could not be more important.

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