One of Hillary Clinton's and her supporters mistakes in the primary was their focus on electability. Hillary probably would have only done slightly better than Obama in the general election and it was never a very good argument to make in 2008.
Today, Project Vote released What Happened to Hope and Change? A Poll of 2008 Voters, a new report summarizing the results of a telephone survey of 1,947 Americans who voted in 2008, analyzing their views on the role of the government, government spending, and the budget. This unique poll not only surveys the historic 2008 electorate, but also includes special samples of black, low-income, and youth voters, and compares these groups both to a national sample and to self-identified “Tea Party” sympathizers.
“We wanted to learn more about the views of the black, youth, and low-income voters who overwhelmingly participated in 2008 election,” said Lorraine C. Minnite, director of research for Project Vote. “These voters represent roughly a third of the electorate, they will play an increasingly important role in American politics, and they fundamentally believe in a government that doesmore, not less. Yet their voices are largely ignored, and their views are not being represented.”
At age 85, Phyllis Schafly is still kicking and now drawing fire for remarks made at a fundraiser for Andrew “Rocky” Raczkowski, a conservative vying in a four-way GOP primary in Michigan's Ninth Congressional District.
"Unmarried women, 70% of unmarried women, voted for Obama, and this is because when you kick your husband out, you've got to have big brother government to be your provider," said Schlafly, president of the ultra right wing Eagle Forum and doyenne of the American conservative movement. She went to accuse the Obama administration of trying to win support by providing government relief to various groups, such as unmarried women.
On Thursday, in an interview with Talking Points Memo, Schlafly repeated her link of single women, Obama and welfare, and added "Yes, I said that. It's true too. All welfare goes to unmarried moms. They are trying to line up their constituency for Obama and Democrats against Republican candidates."
Schlafly went on to tell TPM's Christina Bellantoni that she doesn't care if Republicans are targeted over her comments since she thinks they are truthful.
Well, Schlafly is correct that 70 percent of single women did vote for the Democratic ticket but that demographic has been trending Democratic for some time now. In 2004, 62 percent of single women supported Democrat John Kerry, while 37 percent voted to re-elect President Bush. Clinton, in contrast, only received 53 percent of the single women vote in 1992.
According to the most recent Census data, 22 percent of the voting-age public are never-married women and as voting bloc, never-married women have been gaining in clout. Once deemed to be a politically inconsequential voting block—marriage has always been a top social factor that controls voting—single women are slowly starting to become an important voting block. In the 2000 general election, the number of unmarried women voting was 19 percent with that number jumping to 22.4 percent in 2004. In 2008, single women represented 24 percent of the electorate and according to Greenberg, Quinlan Rosner 70 percent of unmarried women with and without children did support Obama.
The share of unmarried voters, male and female, in 2008 was 34 percent down from 37 percent in 2004. In 2008, married voters went for McCain by 5 and unmarried voters for Obama by 32 - a difference of 37 points but this is largely a factor that Obama carried 66 percent of the 29 and under age demographic.
And while three in four families on welfare are headed by unmarried women, the number of families on welfare had been falling steadily since peaking in 1995. Nine months into the Great Recession, the number of American families receiving cash assistance stood at just 1.6 million in September 2008, the most recent date for which national tallies are available. Furthermore the New York Times reported that amidst soaring unemployment and the worst economic crisis in decades, 18 states cut their welfare rolls in 2008, and nationally the number of people receiving cash assistance remained at or near the lowest in more than 40 years. While welfare rolls rose in 2009 for the first time in 15 years, the 5 percent increase was dwarfed by spikes in the number of people receiving food stamps and unemployment insurance.
The cash-assistance program that once helped more than 14 million people served an average of 4 million in the 2009 fiscal year, up from 3.8 million in fiscal 2008. By comparison, there were more than 37 million people receiving food stamps in September, an increase of 18 percent from the year before. The number receiving unemployment benefits more than doubled, to about 9.1 million. To suggest that unmarried women voted for Obama because they were looking to go on welfare is beyond the pale and speaks to the vile callousness of Phyllis Schlafly.
Meanwhile the Democrats are jumping on Schlafly's remarks targeting GOP candidates endorsed by her Eagle Forum. From TPM:
Democrats plan to jump on the 75 Republican candidates for federal office that Schlafly's Eagle Forum has endorsed and donated to -- a list that includes Todd Tiahrt in the Kansas Republican primary for Senate, Ken Buck in the Colorado Republican primary for Senate, Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) and his Senate Conservatives Fund and Sen. David Vitter. Already, reporters in Vitter's home state of Louisiana are getting releases from the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee pressing them to ask Vitter if he agrees with Schlafly. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is doing the same thing to Eagle Forum-endorsed House candidates, painting Republicans on dozens of ballots -- including Rep. Michele Bachmann and Scott Rigell in the competitive VA-02 race -- as "extreme" and saying the candidate should refuse Schlafly's endorsement.
This is the first part of an analysis of the swing state Ohio. The second part can be found here.
Is Ohio a liberal place? Or is it a conservative place?
I suspect far more people would say the latter rather than the former.
In many respects, Ohio is politically similar to Florida. Both are well-known swing states that hold a bountiful electoral prize. Both lean Republican. Both have large cites that function as pools of Democratic votes. Both also have considerable rural, Republican regions.
But in other ways they could not be more different. Sunny Florida is diverse, growing, and service-oriented. While Florida often votes Republican, it is not exactly conservative. Cold, northern Ohio is a rust-belt giant. It is not very diverse. It is definitely not growing. Florida is new. Ohio is old and conservative.
For the moment Ohio is a bit more conservative than the country at large. For the past eight out of nine presidential elections, it has been a bit redder than the nation. Not much redder, but enough to be noticeable.
I do not think that the future looks bright for the Democratic Party in Ohio. The two are moving in opposite directions. Demographically, Ohio is staying static while the country at large changes. And there are not many truly liberal spots in Ohio - places like Boulder, CO or Seattle. There never were.
Ohio has a lot of unionized, working-class folk who are still voting against Herbert Hoover; they are a core part of its Democratic base. I am not sure how long they will continue to support a party that is becoming, quite frankly, fairly upper-class in ethos. People in West Virginia certainly don't anymore.
Not that Ohio is doomed to become a Republican stronghold. Places like Columbus are rapidly turning blue, perhaps fast enough to offset losses in working-class counties. And it isn't inevitable that those counties will start voting Republican. If West Virginia is a prime example of working-class voters who deserted the Democratic Party, Michigan is a prime example of working-class voters that still support it. Barack Obama won a landslide in that state.
Nevertheless, my gut still tells me that Ohio and the Democratic Party are shifting farther and farther away from each other. These things can reveal themselves very quickly in politics. In 1988, California was a red state that had voted Republican for six elections in a row. Then one day it was won by Bill Clinton - and it has never gone back since then. In 1996 West Virginia had gone blue for five out of the past six elections. Then George Bush won the state - and now we consider it a rock-hard Republican state.
I continue to be amazed at how oblivious Obama/Axlerod/Gibbs etc are to the rise of populism and how they have positioned Democrats on the wrong side:
I was startled last week when Mr. Obama, in an interview with Bloomberg News, questioned the case for limiting financial-sector pay: "Why is it," he asked, "that we're going to cap executive compensation for Wall Street bankers but not Silicon Valley entrepreneurs or N.F.L. football players?"
That's an astonishing remark -- and not just because the National Football League does, in fact, have pay caps. Tech firms don't crash the whole world's operating system when they go bankrupt; quarterbacks who make too many risky passes don't have to be rescued with hundred-billion-dollar bailouts. Banking is a special case -- and the president is surely smart enough to know that.
All I can think is that this was another example of something we've seen before: Mr. Obama's visceral reluctance to engage in anything that resembles populist rhetoric. And that's something he needs to get over.
It's not just that taking a populist stance on bankers' pay is good politics -- although it is: the administration has suffered more than it seems to realize from the perception that it's giving taxpayers' hard-earned money away to Wall Street, and it should welcome the chance to portray the G.O.P. as the party of obscene bonuses.
Equally important, in this case populism is good economics. Indeed, you can make the case that reforming bankers' compensation is the single best thing we can do to prevent another financial crisis a few years down the road.
It's time for the president to realize that sometimes populism, especially populism that makes bankers angry, is exactly what the economy needs.
Now, saying "the wrong side" may need some explanation. One of the election periods I've read a few books on is the 1888-1900 period. It's a fascinating period of political swings that makes one want to view it alongside similarities with this current twelve-year era (2000-2012).
McKinley won alongside the banks.
Obama has always been "the financials" darling. iirc, it was this segment that was his single biggest campaign contributor. His economic team is is heavily weighted to Wall Street, especially GS.
Now, Democrats and Republicans heavily backed the Fed handing over free money to the banks.