Is There a Downside to the Obama Campaign Strategy?

The WaPo takes a look at the possible downside to the Obama campaign strategy today of winning in small states but racking up losses, yes losses, in the bigger states like Ohio, Texas, New Jersey, New York and California. In a nutshell: “Losses in Big States Spur General-Election Fears.”

Among the arguments against Obama’s strategy is the notion that “winning over affluent, educated white voters in small Democratic enclaves, such as Boise, Idaho, and Salt Lake City, and running up the score with African Americans in the Republican South exaggerate his strengths in states that will not vote Democratic in the fall.”

If Obama becomes the Democratic nominee but cannot win support from working-class whites and Hispanics, they argue, then Democrats will not retake the White House in November.

I don’t think any of us want to see that happen. Yet, Obama’s campaign and his supporters seem oblivious to the implications.

A Clinton campaign memo on Wednesday noted that of the 11 core Republican states that have held primaries or caucuses, Obama has won 10: Utah, Idaho, Nebraska, North Dakota, Alabama, Alaska, Kansas, South Carolina, Georgia and Louisiana. In 2004, Sen. John F. Kerry (Mass.), the Democratic nominee, lost each of these states by 15 points or more.

Obama aides still insist that it is a strategy that will work. Even after Tuesday, when he lost three out of four contests, Obama maintained his delegate lead. Indeed, his strength in the parallel caucuses in Texas may have actually given him more delegates than Clinton, even though she won the popular vote by 51 percent to 47 percent. But his campaign faces a legitimacy test that is beginning to resonate throughout the Democratic establishment: Can Obama win the big prizes?

Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. of New Jersey nailed it: “A lot of the states he’s winning are states that we’re not going to win in November. It’s not a strategy that bodes well, in my opinion.” It’s not a strategy that bodes well in my opinion either.

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3 Responses to Is There a Downside to the Obama Campaign Strategy?

  1. In Utah the only Mormon candidate outscored everyone else, on both sides, put together. If Obama converts, he’ll take it here. If not, he won’t.

    On the toher hand I don’t see either of them being unable to win in November, so I see this as basically a non-issue. When we to November people will look back at March and wish that the economy then could be like it is now.

    Done deal!

  2. bjerryberg says:

    No doubt about it that Sen. Obama is the perfect candidate.

    He is the perfect candidate to run against in November if you are Wall Street’s Bloomberg and/or McCain.

    Given that ‘Chicago stuff’ relating to Illinois politics and Sen. Obama, about to be aired in the expected-to-be-months-long Rezko corruption trial, it is virtually impossible that Sen. Obama will be much of a factor in November–should Dems be foolish enough to make the ‘politically correct, guilty liberal’ choice their nominee.

  3. Red says:

    Primaries and general elections are different things. The idea that Obama has a problem because he lost the big states in the primaries is flawed. Its promoters seem to say “what good does it do if he wins some small conservative state, the Republicans will carry it anyway”. But by same token Hillary Clinton won some large states that the Democrats would carry anyway.

    Furthermore, if the primaries were any good indication of the general election potential then we should only look at the swing states. In some, such as Missouri, Nevada, or New Mexico, Clinton and Obama were close each other. To her credit, Hillary Clinton proved to be popular in Ohio. If she were the nominee she could also win Arkansas which would be a long shot for Obama. But Obama did very well in Iowa and Colorado. He also extremely well in good size states that cannot be taken for granted, like Minnesota, Wisconsin, or Washington and he may pull a surprise victory in Virginia if he were the nominee in the general election.

    Red