Monday, August 13, 2007

Do Democrats really want to win the White House in November 2008?

by Paul Burke, 08/13/07
Co-Chair, Sacramento for Edwards Grassroots

Dear Friends,

Do Democrats really want to win the White House in November 2008?

This sounds like a stupid question, doesn't it? Of course Democratic voters want to win... don't we? After six long years of suffering under the humanitarian disaster know as the Bush/Cheney Administration, one would think that Democrats would be willing to do just about anything to put a Democrat in the White House... wouldn't we?

Well, you might think so, but the national polling data suggests a different story. It's been clear for several months now that the most electable Democrats are John Edwards and Barack Obama, in that order (see Rasmussen Reports or the blog entry below for details). Hillary Clinton is running a distant third in the crucial electabilty contest. She also has the lowest favorable ratings and highest unfavorable ratings among the leading Democratic contenders. What makes matters worse for Sen. Clinton, and for Democrats if we choose to nominate her, is that Sen. Clinton has been a national figure for more than fifteen years and is far and away the best known candidate in either party. The chances of her l owering her unfavorable ratings -- currently an eye-popping 48% -- are somewhere between slim and none... and no one has seen slim around for a while.

Among Democratic primary voters, however, Clinton is ahead in all the national polls and her lead over Sen. Edwards and Sen. Obama is growing. In addition, Hillary is ahead in four of the five early primary states (New Hampshire, South Carolina, Nevada, and Florida) and has pulled into a virtual tie with Edwards in the fifth, Iowa (see Real Clear Politics for details). In other words, the corporate media and the pollsters have already annointed our least electable candidate as the "inevitable" nominee, and not a single Democrat will cast a vote for another five months! How's that for democracy?

Worse still from a progressive perspective, Sen. Clinton is not only the least competitive of the first tier Democratic candidates, she's also the most conservative. In fact, Clinton is arguably the most conservative of any of the eight Democratic presidential hopefuls (with the possible exception of the ultra-hawkish Joe Biden). Yes, it will be a great historical moment for our nation when we elect the first woman Presdent, and as a proud feminist I look forward to celebrating that moment with tens of millions of American women and enlightened men. But is throwing our support behind a centrist, pro-war, corporate Democrat with poor general election prospects the best way for progressives to demonstrate our commitment to women's rights? Certainly Republican strategists and corporate elites are hoping that we make that choice. In fact, the nomination of a candidate as polarizing as Hillary Clinton is probably the GOP's only chance to wage a competitive presidential campaign in the immediate aftermath of the disastrous Bush/Cheney debacle and the virtual implosion of the Republican party. Besides, corporate elites are well aware that if they can't have their first choice in the White House (i.e., any Republican), they know that anyone named Clinton is a perfectly accecptable alternative to serve their corporate interests. If that sounds like a controversial statement, then you may not have been paying close enough attention during the 1990's.

On the other hand, as Democratic voters we do have another option. We can choose to nominate the Democratic contender who is both the most electable and the most progressive... Sen. John Edwards. As you can see from the polling data below, Edwards has consistently outperformed both Clinton and Obama against every Republican candidate in the field, and his favorable/unfavorable ratings among American voters are the best of any Democrat (including Al Gore). Better still, he's running by far the most progressive campaign of any major Democratic candidate (yes, I love Dennis Kucinich, but those of us on the left must accept the reality that, although his campaign serves an important ideological and educational role, Kucinich is not a contender). This sounds like a pretty easy choice, and it certainly is for me. In fact, I haven't been inspired to work for any Presidential candidate since serving as a student leader for Rev. Jesse Jackson's historic "rainbow coalition" campaign back in 1988. But John Edwards represents our best chance to elect a progressive populist President in my lifetime, which is why I volunteered to serve as a Co-Chair of Sacramento for Edwards. Win or lose, we're incredibly proud to serve on behalf of the only candidate in American history who has pledged to end poverty in a generation.

We'd rather win. Regardless of what the spin doctors and corporate media pundits try to tell us, it is far from inevitable that the Democrats are going to nominate our most conservative, least electable candidate. Do you remember a couple years ago when it seemed live everyone you knew supported George Bush and everyone you knew supported the war? Do you remember feeling like an alien in your own home town because all of a sudden it seem liked many of your neighbors, co-workers, and classmates had lost their collective minds and turned into xenophobic, blindly "patriotic" warmongers and Bush clones? Those folks are whistling a very different tune these days, huh? Isn't it amazing how quickly things can turn around?

It can happen again. Not a single primary vote will be cast until next year, and it's still summer. John Edwards can win the Democratic nomination, and we can put a progressive in the White House in 2008. But in all honesty, we need your help to make it happen. The other candidates, both Democrat and Republican alike, are the darlings of the corporate elite. John Edwards is campaigning on a platform of economic justice platform, which makes the folks at Walmart and Exxon very uncomfortable. Like Rev. Jackson a generation ago (who came much closer to winning the nomination that most people today remember), Sen. Edwards is counting on the good will of regular folks like us to get involved and take back our democracy from the corporate CEO's. We can win, but only with an inspired, grassroots effort.

If you'd like to end poverty in our nation, bring our troops home from Iraq, and guarantee quality, affordable health care to every American, you have the power to do so. If you'd like to get inolved, or just learn more about our progressive grassroots campaign, please sign up for our new Sacramento for Edwards Google Group and check out our new Sacramento for Edwards blog.

Tomorrow Begins Today!
Paul B
Co-Chair, Sacramento for Edwards

Rasmussen Reports Show Consistent Pattern
rmcveigh in Diaries 8/10/2007 at 11:41 PM EST

The most recent Rasmussen Report shows a consistent pattern in presidential match ups between Democrats and Republicans.

Back at the beginning of April I looked at favorables/unfavorables and match-ups between candidates.

The most recent Rasmussen Report shows little has changed since then. John Edwards currently has the highest favorable ratings at 54% among all the presidential candidates both Democrat and Republican. John also has among the lowest unfavorable ratings. [lowest of the first tier Democrats]. Conversely Senator Clinton has the highest unfavorable rating at 48%.
John does well in match-ups against Republican presidential candidates. He beats all of them.

Let's look at match-ups with Giuliani:
Edwards 49%Giuliani 42%
Clinton 45%Giuliani 46%
Obama 44%Giuliani 43%

Since April, Clinton has closed the gap with Giuliani, but Edwards has went from seven points down to being seven points up.

Another name often mentioned is Fred Thompson. How do Clinton, Obama, and Edwards do against Thompson?
Edwards 50%Thompson 39%
Clinton 45%Thompson 46%
Obama 46%Thompson 39%

Edwards beats Thompson by the greatest margin, while Clinton loses to Thompson.
How about match-ups with McCain?
Edwards 45%McCain 38%
Clinton 45%McCain 43%
Obama 46%McCain 40%

Edwards beats McCain by the largest margin, while Clinton bets McCain by a mere two percentage points.

Lastly, let's look at match-ups against Romney:
Edwards 52%Romney 36%
Clinton 46%Romney 42%
Obama 47%Romney 38%

Again, Edwards beats Romney by the biggest margin, while Clinton wins by only four percentage points.

To compare current match-ups with the percentages in April, go to /4/04240/87008.

So the question for Democrats is simple. Do we make our nominee a person who is now in tight races with the Republican presidential candidates, or do we nominee a person who has the biggest margin of victory against Republican presidential candidates? Do we roll the dice, or do we nominee a winner that will beat the Republican presidential candidate in November 2008?

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