Hil’s Back!

The “News du jour” is that Hillary climbed the ranks to wind up toppling Obama in the New Hampshire primary!

With more than 90 per cent of the vote counted, Ms. Clinton held a narrow but significant two-percentage-point lead, 39-36, in the critical New Hampshire primary, a contest that carries significance far beyond this small and unrepresentative state.

Meanwhile, in the Republican race, Senator John McCain triumphed, dealing Mitt Romney a second defeat in less than a week and keeping the Republican race wide open.

Ms. Clinton’s comeback after being badly beaten in Iowa last week and with election-eve polls showing her trailing Mr. Obama by a double-digit margin clearly recast the Democrat race.

Mr. Obama admitted his campaign fell short of its hoped-for second consecutive victory. “I want to congratulate Senator Clinton on a hard-fought victory here in New Hampshire,” Mr. Obama said in a concession speech after both campaigns had waited late into the evening as the nail-biting count of a record turnout dragged on.

These ongoing record turnouts are intriguing. It’s one of the most “pressing” issues in political spheres today — how to get voters to show up for the election! The fact that there was a record turnout suggests to me that the people voting really wanted the result, and were likely motivated by the polls a day previous. It goes to show that the best way to get voters to participate is to give them a real choice… not just two clones debating it out amongst one another!

Of course, it helps that both Obama and Clinton have their respective niches. The article points out that Hillary’s swing is largely due to the women who voted at the polls. Since Obama is dominating the young voters in every region, it was up to the women — presumably primarily older ones — to turn around these results. Since both youth and women are traditionally less-tapped resources, one must assume that a large reason for the voter turnout was the involvement of less active demographics.

Still, a major factor here seems to be that Clinton is pulling away from her husband’s legacy, ever so slightly. In her victory speech, she makes a point of drawing upon the fact that she has listened to her critics and found her own voice. Though there have been few opportunities for her to make a major splash, presumably she is referring to those critics who accused her of being less open than Obama, and less trustworthy. Though some moments have been less-than-pretty (like Bill Clinton taking shots at Obama), even people who fear Clinton, such as Andrew Sullivan, admit that she has been a bit more “human” of late.

So, though I personally may pull for Obama, I must appreciate that Clinton managed to pull this one off, if only because it’s having excellent effects on the public. Any time you can encourage the vast majority of a population to pay heed to politics, the potential for change is enormous. And if anything, change seems to be a-comin’ to the United Sates!

Man, am I jealous!


3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Stephen
    Jan 09, 2008 @ 18:15:37

    Both races are extremely close. Two major results, two different winners in each party. In fact, the Republican race still probably has at least three candidates with a real prospect of winning: Huckabee, McCain, and Romney. Some wouldn’t count Giuliani out, either, but I think (and pray) he’s done.

    The weird thing about the Democratic result is that the polls showed Obama with a ten to fifteen point lead. Even more bizarrely, the exit polls (of people who had just cast their votes) still said he was going to win by something like ten percent.

    I think some of the Independents in N.H. decided Obama had a lock on it and voted for McCain instead, as their preferred Republican candidate.

    And reading various articles today, I realized there were three things that suddenly caused women to stand up in solidarity with Hillary:

    (1) Hillary had a moment of vulnerability — the so-called Diner Sob. I thought it was a big so-what, but apparently women found it sympathetic.
    (2) John Edwards made the strategic error of overreacting to her display of emotion, suggesting that Hillary wasn’t strong enough to be President. What women evidently heard was, “Women are hysterical and unfit for office.”
    (3) Meanwhile, Hillary was visited by hecklers who called out, “Iron my shirt“.

    I think those three things, taken together, are enough to account for a pro-Hillary swing in the last 24 hours before the primary.


  2. Stephen
    Jan 10, 2008 @ 09:40:51

    A p.s. to the above comment: here’s an example of a scathing reaction to John Edwards’s remarks about Hillary’s Diner Sob.


  3. Random
    Jan 11, 2008 @ 03:27:02

    “Some wouldn’t count Giuliani out, either, but I think (and pray) he’s done.”

    I’m genuinely puzzled as to why you’re so down on Giuliani. Yes, his private life is a mess but he’s probably the most liberal of the major Republican candidates – certainly on gay rights and abortion (probably a trifle too liberal on that for my taste). And I don’t think there’s any argument that he played a critical part in changing New York City from a disfunctional mess into an attractive and safe place to live, an issue of key importance to poor and underprivileged citizens in particular (rich people can move out or hire private security after all, the poor need an efficient and effective police force and legal system).


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