Clintons: More Divisive or Less Divisive From Here on Out?

Mary Katharine Ham
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Posted: Jan 26, 2008 8:00 PM
The consensus from analysts is that they should indeed "chill" as one Clinton critic advised; that all those late-breaking voters who went Edwards and Obama did it because they were unhappy with the Clinton's tactics.

As a firm believer in the Clintons' determination to do whatever it takes to win regardless of its effect on the American culture, their party or their politics, I'm not sure they will tone it down. Let's tease this out.

Obama won big with black voters in South Carolina. Early results are showing 80 percent voted for him, and eight in 10 voted for him in Nevada. Bad news for Clinton, no doubt, and a result of the race-tinged politics the Clintons were playing for a couple weeks pre-Nevada.

But there's bad news for Obama, too, and that's that Clinton outdid him big-time with white Democrats in South Carolina even with John Edwards pulling a decent chunk of them away from her.

Moving forward, what if John Edwards drops out? Assuming he doesn't endorse Obama (which, let's face it, he's too ambitious and vain to endorse and possibly ruin his non-existent chances at a veep slot, right?), does a decent chunk of those blue-collar white guys move toward Hillary?

And, if the Clintons calculate that they'll pick up some white Dems from Edwards' possible withdrawal, mightn't they stick with the racially tinged campaigning, foisting it off on surrogates of course, counting on the fact that it won't tick off anyone other than black voters enough to vote against the vaunted Clintons? And, even if it ticks all the black voters off on Super Tuesday, and they go 100 percent for Obama, there's only one Super Tuesday state with a percentage of black citizens equal to South Carolina's-- Georgia, with 29.9 percent (103 delegates). The second and third, respectively, are Alabama with 26.3 percent (60 delegates) and Delaware with 20.9 percent (23 delegates).

After that, it's down to 15 percent for a couple states, 6 and 7 percent for a few others, and a lot of 3 and 4 percents. The combination of the rest of those states would outdo the three with large black populations, easily. It's do-or-die time for the Clinton legacy, here. I don't think the calculation would be good for America or the Democratic Party, but their own hubris might convince them they can take black voters for granted like never before and count on them to come back and heal the party by next November (with Obama's help, of course, after they've beaten him).

Hmmm, are they really that bad?