May 11, 2008

Barack Obama a sure thing ?

Many in the media have been claiming that the race for the Democratic nomination is over. It likely may be, but it could be far closer than is currently believed. It could still turn the in favor of Hillary Clinton.

Realclearpolitics makes the scenario where Hillary makes the race far closer with wins in West Virginia, Kentucky and Puerto Rico.

Here is how the numbers could play out.

Many factors favor a democrat for president in 2008. Unpopular Republican president. Bad economy. Unpopular war.

Intrade 2008 US president prediction market has it 57% Obama, 38% McCain.

Detailed electoral vote projections have a very close race between Democrats and Republican.

This article points out how the Democrats often find a way to lose the presidential election.

The first Republican to win a presidential election was Abraham Lincoln. Since that initial success, the GOP has won 23 presidential elections compared to just 14 for the Democrats.

Since the Civil War only four Democrats -- Jimmy Carter, Lyndon Johnson, Franklin Roosevelt and Samuel Tilden -- have won a majority of the popular vote. (Tilden in 1876, lost the Electoral College vote and never became president.)

It has been 32 years since a Democrat won a majority of the popular vote. The last to do so was Carter, who won a whopping 50.1 percent of the votes in 1976. He defeated Republican incumbent Gerald Ford, the man who pardoned Richard Nixon and carried the burden of Watergate and the Vietnam War into the election.

Obviously, 1976 was not a good year to be a Republican. Nixon's disgraceful resignation and reputation for deceit and corruption fatally wounded the Republican presidential ticket. But even with such enormous advantages on his side, Carter barely eked out a majority. Carter's once sizeable lead in the polls dwindled as election day drew near, so much so that some observers believe that had the election taken place a couple of weeks later, Ford might have prevailed.

Another article making the case that the Democrat path to the presidency is not assured

What does seem certain is a Democratic House and Senate.
So a McCain presidency would have to work with a Democratic House and Senate, which would force more moderation from McCain to get things passed.
Obama and Clinton's stated policies are very similar. A question would be how effective Obama would be in getting real policy enacted.

I do not believe the US government (regardless of who wins) can be counted upon to start generating appropriate far sighted policy. Relatively neutral and non-damaging policy would be the hope.

I think the choices around Iraq will be less important in 2009. What will be more significant will be the future choices around Iran, Pakistan, Syria and North Korea and technology policy choices.


Matthew Fuller said...

Much more often than not, I agree with you. Whether it's about politics or technology, you are mostly on the mark.

But that's boring.

How about something controversial?

I know, speculation (I mean extremem speculation) is bad.

What about Ben Goertzel's opinion of Rupert Sheldrake and PSI.

It's fun to use the heuristic, "Person X is very smart, but that doesn't make him right".

Don't have to reply as this is off topic, just a suggestion.

al fin said...

Obama is a custom fit to the celebrity culture. Think of it as the "American Idol" approach to politics. It's a popularity contest to see who can be the most "cool." It is not just the younger voters looking at it that way either.

McCain would have no difficulty working with a Democratic Congress, since that is basically what he has always done.

In the age of billion channel television, sound bite "image is everything" politics is what most people will get, if that much. Expect perhaps 10% of voters to have a grasp on the issues, if you are lucky.

Jonathan said...

"Since the Civil War only four Democrats -- Jimmy Carter, Lyndon Johnson, Franklin Roosevelt and Samuel Tilden -- have won a majority of the popular vote. (Tilden in 1876, lost the Electoral College vote and never became president.)"

I thought Al Gore won the popular vote and never became president..

bw said...

Gore had more popular votes than Bush but neither had a majority. They were at 48%. Nader had close to 3 million, Buccanan has some etc...,_2000

bw said...

Reagan in (1984, 1988) had over 50% of the popular vote. Barely in 1984 50.7% and then 58% in the whooping of Mondale.

Bush I in 1992 had 53%.

non-dem, no-rep candidates took away votes in other elections.

Perot in the years Clinton won. If Perot is out it would likely have been Republican victory in 1992 but not 1996.

Anderson in 1980 took 5 million votes, but adding him and Carter votes together is still less than Reagan's total

tarpon said...

Obama could use a tad bit of gravitas. I can't think of one thing important Obambi did that would qualify him to be President, except attend Wright's church and indoctrinate himself in Black Liberation Theology -- Which sounds a lot like Marxism. Come to think of it, a whole lot of Obama speeches sounds like Marxism, and some just good old communism.