Friday, October 17, 2008

Emboldened Obama to push into firmly Republican states.

Having won the third and final debate with ease, Obama is now pushing into states which were once considered bedrock states for the Republicans in the election of George Bush.

Although he warned his supporters at a fundraising breakfast in New York against becoming too cocky, the Democratic candidate is pursuing a strategy that could see him take states that George Bush won with ease in 2000 and 2004.

Obama's chief strategist, David Axelrod, said after the debate in Hempstead that Obama and his running mate, Joe Biden, were now considering visits to states such as Montana and North Dakota, once considered beyond reach. "I think it is fair to say that we are thinking of going into states we were not sure of at all earlier," said Axelrod. "Some things are opening up for us here that no one fully anticipated."

Other states coming into play include West Virginia, Kentucky and Georgia. Obama's campaign team said yesterday it would begin to broadcast new ads in these states. Even if they prove to be beyond Obama's reach, his campaigning will force the cash-strapped Republicans to spend money and effort defending states they once took for granted.

This was one of the strategies that Obama used against Hillary. Once a state comes into play, even if it is a state that he is unlikely to win, he starts to spend money in that state on advertising, forcing his opponent to respond.

In the battle for his party's nomination, this was most noticeable in Pennsylvania when Hillary boasted about winning the state by a nine point lead, despite Obama having outspent her by 3-1 in that state. Hillary originally led that state by a 25 point lead but Obama ploughed resources and money into Pennsylvania, forcing Hillary to spend to avoid a humiliating loss.

As I said at the time:
Obama knew that Hillary had to win here or it was all over. He also knew that every time he threw money at Pennsylvania that Hillary would have to respond. So he deliberately threw a lot of money at a state which he could not win in order to bankrupt her campaign. And he has done so.

When Pennsylvania went to the polls Hillary's camp had $9 million in the bank and a debt of $10 million. We are told that overnight she has raised a further $3 million. She still faces an Obama team which has $42 million in the bank. It is for this reason that the Hillary team constantly referred to Obama's spending as "obscene". They knew exactly what he was doing and they were powerless to stop him.

She has almost no money left now as she staggers into the last stage of this race. That was the real story of what happened in Pennsylvania.
Obama employed this tactic to bankrupt Hillary. And now he is doing the exact same thing to McCain. By forcing McCain to spend money in states like Montana and North Dakota, Obama is reducing the amount of money McCain has to spend attacking him in his strongholds. Obama now forces McCain to play defence, and reduces the chances of McCain making any ground in states in which Obama holds the lead.

The McCain campaign are boasting that they will respond:

But the push will not go unchallenged, said a McCain adviser, Charlie Black. He said McCain was expecting a new infusion of revenue to buy up ads in the remaining days. "I think maybe the advertising discrepancy will be getting a little better this week," he said.

Montana and North Dakota account for only six electoral college votes and yet the McCain team are now boasting that they intend to correct the advertising discrepancy there. This is exactly what Obama wants them to do. He wants to force them to spend their money holding on to what should be Republican strongholds, reducing the amount of money they have to attack him in the states that he needs to win this thing.

One thing is clear, McCain is not in charge here, he is being forced to respond to an agenda which is being set by Obama. That can't be good news for the McCain team.

Click title for full article.


S said...

The real issue is not how well Obama or McCain might do state-by-state, but that we shouldn't have battleground states and spectator states in the first place. Every vote in every state should be politically relevant in a presidential election. And, every vote should be equal. We should have a national popular vote for President in which the White House goes to the candidate who gets the most popular votes in all 50 states.

The National Popular Vote bill would guarantee the Presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC). The bill would take effect only when enacted, in identical form, by states possessing a majority of the electoral vote -- that is, enough electoral votes to elect a President (270 of 538). When the bill comes into effect, all the electoral votes from those states would be awarded to the presidential candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC).

Because of state-by-state enacted rules for winner-take-all awarding of their electoral votes, recent candidates with limited funds have concentrated their attention on a handful of closely divided "battleground" states. In 2004 two-thirds of the visits and money were focused in just six states; 88% on 9 states, and 99% of the money went to just 16 states. Two-thirds of the states and people have been merely spectators to the presidential election.

Another shortcoming of the current system is that a candidate can win the Presidency without winning the most popular votes nationwide.

The National Popular Vote bill has passed 21 state legislative chambers, including one house in Arkansas, Colorado, Maine, North Carolina, and Washington, and both houses in California, Hawaii, Illinois, New Jersey, Maryland, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Vermont. The bill has been enacted by Hawaii, Illinois, New Jersey, and Maryland. These four states possess 50 electoral votes-- 19% of the 270 necessary to bring the law into effect.



Kel said...

Thanks for that Susan, it's fascinating stuff.

And it is really odd that a President can be elected without winning the popular vote. Strange form of democracy isn't it?