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Why did Hillary win?

BY Liza Sabater | Wednesday, January 9 2008

[Cross-posted from culturekitchen.]

I believe that Hillary Clinton won for 4 very important reasons :

1. The campaign was able to get as many registered Democrats to vote for her as possible.

2. Since most registered Democrats who came to vote were women, the "tear heard around the world" was successful in getting her the last minute sympathy vote from people who ...

3. would have otherwise voted for John Edwards.

I think it is clear that for Hillary Clinton to stay in the race she needs to beat John Edwards, not Barack Obama. Edwards ran a remarkable game in Iowa. Had he had as much money as Clinton, he probably would have beaten her by more than just 1%. I am not sure though that under the voting trends of Iowa, he would have been able to beat Barack Obama.

4. The Obama campaign has insisted in equating their "I am not a black candidate" campaign with a complete disregard for the colored blogosphere. Yesterday was the day that it showed how much that has cost them.

So let's look at the numbers, courtesy of :

1. A lot of white women were fed up with the mainstream media's bashing of Hillary Clinton :

Total Voters by :
Female 57%
Male 43%

White 95%
Black 1%
Latino 1%
Asian 1%
Other 1%

Total Women by Candidates
Hillary Clinton 46%
Barack Obama 34%

2. Less voters from the "Hip Hop" generation voted:

Total 11%
Hillary 22%
Obama 60%

Total 7%
Hillary 37%
Obama 35%

Total 15%
Hillary 36%
Obama 36%

Total 23%
Hillary 44%
Obama 33%

Total 31%
Hillary 39%
Obama 30%

Total 13%
Hillary 48%
Obama 32%


I did say "Hip Hop" generation. Let me explain :

Hip Hop is not just a musical style. Hip Hop is a lifestyle, a way of being, and a way of consuming. Hip hop is marketed as a global urban culture that goes beyond class, ethnicity and obviously race.

This is important to keep in mind because it explains why in the United States the majority of consumers of hip hop are white and under 45 (although I could be talked into extending the trend back to people under 50).

The "under 45s" are from a generation exposed to multiculturalism in schools, in politics but more importantly, in popular culture. For good or bad, Hip Hop went from the Afrocentric rage of Public Enemy's "Fear of a Black Planet" to the middle-class iPod-wearing contentment of The Black Eyed Peas "Elephunk". Negritude as tool of protest has become with Hip Hop an expression of urbanism, cosmopolitanism and cool that is devoured by white hipsters, emos and young republicans alike.

Call it the "Bill Cosby-Will Smith-Sean Combs continuum".

Voters in Iowa by Age group
Total 17%
Hillary 10%
Obama 57%

Total 6%
Hillary 15%
Obama 57%

Total 18%
Hillary 36%
Obama 42%

Total 29%
Hillary 26%
Obama 29%

Total 9%
Hillary 34%
Obama 21%

Total 22%
Hillary 45%
Obama 18%

So even though I do agree that The Bradley Effect may have had a hand at the New Hampshire elections, I do believe that Iowans,

a. Voted for Obama not because they were afraid to be called a racist but because they are used to seeing black men in positions of power,

b. They recognize the transnational urbanism of Obama that will not make them feel "left behind" exactly because he has not chosen to run as a "black" President.

3. If you look at the New Hampshire numbers, more "party loyal" people voted for Hillary than Obama :

a. 52% of registered Democrats went to the polls. Of those 52%, 43% voted for Hillary compared to 34% for Obama.

b. On the other hand, 42% of voters were Independents. A sizable 40% voted for Obama whereas only a 34% voted for Hillary Clinton.

These numbers are extremely significant for the next 3 questions :

Regardless of how you voted today, which one of these candidates do you think would be most likely to beat the Republican presidential nominee in November?

Barack Obama 44%
Hillary Clinton 35%

Regardless of how you voted today, which one of these candidates do you think is the strongest leader?

Hillary Clinton 38%
Barack Obama 35%

Regardless of how you voted today, which one of these candidates would be most likely to unite the country if elected president?

Hillary Clinton 28%
Barack Obama 55%

More people think Obama can beat a Republican and unite the country even though they all see Hillary Clinton as the strongest leader. This is significant and I believe it does point to the fact that the Clintons were successful at neutralizing the independent grassroots vote by getting more registered Democrats to the polls.

Here's my two last proofs of the pudding.

4. John Edwards distant third proves that for Hillary Clinton to beat Barack Obama, she has to actually 'triangulate' the Edwards vote.

The "tear heard around the world" was received with a no-comment from Obama after it happened. Yet Edwards made a huge mistake by not showing any sympathy. It cost him.

White women went out in droves and gave Hillary the sympathy vote. Call New Hampshire's results "The Vagina Dialogues".

5. Last but not least, the Obama campaign has failed to recognize colored voters as the real swing voters in this election.

If MSNBC's exit polls are correct, not a significant number of colored people voted in New Hampshire. This is huge and problematic.

If we look at the numbers in Iowa, 7% of colored voters went out to play at the caucuses. A whopping 72% of Black and a 49% of "Other" voters went for Obama.

On the other hand, there are no numbers for colored voters in New Hampshire. Could this be a flaw of the polling? Are we to believe the pollsters didn't find any black or latino people to interview outside polling places?

Hillary Clinton won by less than 8,000 votes. I believe that if the exit polls are correct, then it shows that had Obama's campaign focused as hard on colored voters as they have with young white voters, Barack would have been the winner.

The truth is different, at least as it has been played out in the blogosphere.

The Obama campaign has refused forcefully to reach out to bloggers during the whole campaign process. I can understand Barack's reticence with the netroots after the infamous "Tone" post at Daily Kos and have said so in "The Audacity of Biracial Hope".

Yet the last year has seen an explosion of incredibly engaged and effective colored activists taking to the blogosphere. The proof is in the Jena Six, Don Imus and Fox News campaign waged by a growing "Afrosphere" of relatively unknown but incredibly well connected activists from across the country.

I have asked many of these bloggers if the Obama campaign has done any attempts to reach out the them and many have said no. And if they have done little to reach out to top Black bloggers in the country, they have done nothing to reach the already established Latino, Asian and Native American bloggers.

It is a tactical decision that is going to cost Barack Obama dearly. "The long tail" of the blogosphere is populated by most of the top colored blogs and bloggers in this country. And these are some of the most "on the gound" active bloggers in the United States.

In other words, they're the real grassroots.

Even if they had hit at entertainment and lifestyle blogs like Crunk and Disorderly, Vivir Latino and Sepia Mutiny, they would have reached hundreds of thousands of politically engaged colored people who are not at all participants of the netroots crowd.

And there, of course, is Perez Hilton. Never underestimate the power of a shout out by Mario. Had I been on the Obama online outreach team, I would have hit Mario hard because more than anybody he reaches out the 2 core constituencies that Obama needs in order to succeed.

But I can comfortably say that the Obama campaign has done relatively nothing to reach out to us colored bloggers as the links to the swing votes they will need to win the primaries.

Well, that tactical error is costing them dearly.

Not getting out the colored vote was all the Clintonites needed to happen in order to make their candidate win.