Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Obama's Campaign Problem

First Read is predicting Kentucky and Oregon in advance of the final results in either State:

Much like a children’s soccer or Tee Ball game, tonight’s contests in Kentucky (which Clinton is expected to win big) and Oregon (ditto for Obama) are going to allow everyone to walk out a winner. And that’s especially good news for Obama, because the party’s presumptive nominee is going to lose a race by 20-plus points for a second-straight week.

Nearly all of the networks, of course, will attempt to spin tonight's results as a victory for Obama in spite of the drubbing he is about to take in Kentucky. The press is attempting to avoid anything resembling an August fight in Denver because the Democratic National Committee has decided to arbitrarily swing the superdelegates in Obama's direction. That is fine from an internal perspective-the Democratic Party can solve its internal melee however it chooses, and that is an affair for Democrats to decide upon among themselves.

The problem is that Barack Obama has simply refused to campaign in Kentucky, just as he did not campaign in West Virginia. Further, he (or his campaign staff) have essentially admitted that they are writing off these States in the fall. The people of States like Kentucky and West Virginia will remember that Obama has written them off, and if there is one thing the last two election cycles should have taught the Democrats, it is that Middle America really does matter, and no State should be written off.

If Obama was smart, he would campaign well in the States that he is the least likely to win (like Tennessee), otherwise, if he were to be elected he will inherit a nation that is extremely divided and half of which have opinions of Obama that range from strong dislike to outright hatred. That is dangerous for his administration because it could mean negative results for him in mid-term elections. If Obama is serious about winning in November, he needs to act like someone who is ready to unite the country behind him. That is something the Democrats have yet to figure out how to do.

Early (and thus changeable) prediction: John McCain wins in November, but Democrats pick up more Congressional seats.

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