Friedman Units, Election-Style

by dday

Rachel Maddow basically just namechecked Atrios on MSNBC and called the race a series of Friedman Units, where pundits and media types say "the next primary will be over!" and then nothing happens. This was the ultimate inconclusive result, in Pennsylvania, 30-40 million to get a 10-point win with probably around ten delegates in Clinton's favor. The media has a real desire to keep this thing going and hype up the "this is it!" nature of the next primary, and then nothing happens. I'm with Matt Yglesias - this kind of has to end. There really isn't a whole lot more information that superdelegates are going to get. There's a saturation level that has been reached. We know the strengths and weaknesses of these candidates. We know what demographics they win against one another and what demos they lose. About half the Democrats in the country like Clinton and about half like Obama. She's from the Northeast and he's from the Midwest, and they get a tilt in their favor in each of those regions. He can't knock her out because she's really good at campaigning, and she was swamped by him early because he's really good at campaigning. The level of competition is far higher here than it will be in the fall against John McCain, actually. So the superdelegates can make their choice. They could make it today.

And I agree with Stoller, we're going to be fine. Democrats forced a runoff, and came within a hair's breadth of winning, in a seat in the middle of Mississippi (MS-01) tonight, an R+10 seat. The "Clinton/Obama voters will vote for McCain if their guy doesn't win" polling is about as relevant in the middle of a hotly contested primary as a national Paul-Richardson head-to-head (You might have noticed that Ron Paul got 16% of the vote in the GOP primary in PA tonight, and Huckabee 21% 11%. Does that mean core Republicans won't vote McCain? Uh, no). There were high numbers for disafffected McCain supporters voting for Gore over Bush in 2000. This is essentially a Parliamentary country among core party members, the kind who vote in primaries.

Obama lost the plot in the last several weeks, and Clinton capitalized with a faintly divisive, but strong campaign. Obama needs to get back on his feet in two favorable states. He has not lost a single state that shares a border with his home state of Illinois (Iowa, Wisconsin, Missouri). His speech tonight was pretty much a replay of his 2004 DNC keynote, and he's trying to return to the themes on which he won early. If he wins those two states it will be very significant. But the superdelegates need to come out from under the rocks where they're hiding and end this.