Caucus goers go to extremes

Salena Zito:

For Barack Obama, closing the deal with Democrat voters has become like herding cats: He just can’t get them all lined up and coordinated on his side.

This nation has a history of looking closely at its candidates and taking their measure before they vote for them. It is a process that Obama shuns and rival Hillary Clinton thrives on -- and therein lies the problem for Democrats.

Obama, who leads both in pledged delegates and in the popular vote, cannot close the gap with lunch-pail Democrats, older voters and (for lack of a better term) white people.

Consequently, Clinton has been able to widen Obama's weaknesses with each passing primary contest.

Yes, Obama won lunch-pail Democrat votes in caucuses, but remember: Caucus participants, for the most part, are party activists who cling to the farthest-left end of the platform; they are not Middle America.

So why the disconnect with the Democrats’ core constituency?

The appearance is that Obama does not understand them; they are outside the realm of his “change” message. His original “change” agenda did not force him to relate with Middle America in order to win.

Wisely, Hillary’s did. Remember her “Listening Tour”? Of course, no one at the time was paying attention to Clinton because no one did “it” better than Obama. Then came the setbacks to Obama’s inevitability -- the Rev. Wright caused people to pause, and the “bitter” comment caused them to look elsewhere.

Here is part of the problem: Obama thought he could win the nomination by being against the war and not being George Bush. He did not realize, nor did he foresee, today’s economic problems. Jobs, jobs and jobs are what voters want a candidate to talk about; they want reinforcement that jobs will be available, that those will pay a living wage and will not be outsourced to foreign soil. Those voters are looking for a fighter.


When Democrats look at all that has gone wrong in the nomination process, they should consider doing away with caucuses because they tend to select candidates who are unelectable. they should also do away with the "Super Delegates." The latter are suppose to either ratify the popular vote or the delegate winners according to most commentators so what is the point of having them and giving them a vote. The selection process would also be clarified with winner take all format in the primaries.

One positive to come out of the current selection process is that it has nullified the advantages of the early states in the selection process. Because of the closeness of the race each of the later states becomes more important than the earlier ones. that appears to be the only advantage of the proportional distribution of delegates in the Democrat primary. Unfortunately, for the later states, the Democrats act like this is bad for them.


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