Last night I went to bed a little sad. Woke up today feeling the same way. And a lot tired. I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t feel bad, though. IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve survived seven years of King George 43rd. I can survive losing California.
ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s been an amazing journey since joining the Obama campaign last July. There are plenty of people who worked harder than I. Obama had 499 precinct captains just in Orange County! They smiled and dialed. They walked until their feet hurt. I wonder if theyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re feeling a little empty today, too. Because the campaignÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s moved on, now, to Louisiana and Washington and Nebraska and wherever. Most of what we can do is phone bank for other states and no doubt many will do that.
Also contributing to my outlook today was the easing of Santa Ana term limits. What had started out as an attempt to put term limits on the mayor morphed into lengthening the time members of the council may serve and being completely mute on the mayor. It was billed as enabling the city to free itself of developer influence and yet took $80,000 from mostly developers to promote it. This topic is ripe for another discussion later Ã¢â‚¬â€œ and indeed occurs elsewhere on this site.
Anyone who gets involved in elections has to understand that there is always the possibility of losing. Death and taxes being the only sure things, they say. So IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve been walking around last night and today feeling as if thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s what happened to the Obama campaign. But it isnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t. ThatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s not at all what happened. To be sure, Obama lost California. By nine points. A month ago, he was behind by nearly 30. All summer long, he had been trailing everywhere by significant margins. Two weeks before New Hampshire, he was 20 points behind and lost by three. Nevada, he was down by 20 and lost the popular vote by six but won more delegates. By the time of Super Tuesday, he was supposed fish wrap Ã¢â‚¬â€œ yesterdayÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s news. Tossed out and forgotten. A footnote in the campaign. This was supposed to be a Clinton coronation. But it isnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t. Obama won Iowa by a vote count larger than BushÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s 2004 victory over Kerry, enough to put the state in play for 2008. In South Carolina, Obama beat Clinton by slightly better than two to one. Apparently, by design or luck, the Obama campaign has managed to walk away from Super Tuesday with a pledged delegate count nearly equal to ClintonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s (look here and here). I didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t know that last night or when I woke up today. Yesterday, the Obama campaign said that they wanted today to be within 100 delegates and apparently they (we?) are.
And I learned something else this morning. When I looked at CaliforniaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s statewide results, I saw Obama actually won several in several areas, including Alameda, San Francisco, Marin, Mendocino, Humboldt, and some other counties. I was quite surprised.
A funny thing happened on the way to Super Tuesday. Without any major directed effort, Obama raised $32 million in January. Clinton raised $13.5. Apparently, that also includes $5 million she loaned herself. I heard reports last night she wants to debate Obama once a week for some period of time. Hmmm, free media. Could Clinton be in a recession?
A co-worker today, undecided about whom to support, used that word, recession, but in a slightly different context. He made the following comparison. He said there are economists and other s saying the nation is headed into a recession. There are others who say weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re already in one and we just donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t recognize it yet. Similarly, he went on, one could assert that the Clinton campaign is headed to a loss. Or maybe itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s already lost and we just donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t recognize it yet. See, that fits entirely with what I understand the Obama strategy to be. Pace the campaign for a marathon. Each state is a milepost on a 50 mile race. Slow and steady. Pace yourself for the long-haul. DonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t peak too early and thus run out of energy. Save up for a sprint at the end, if needed.
ObamaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s going to the convention in a strong position. ThatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s the worst that will happen. The chat among various of the Obama groups is that large numbers of people from Super Tuesday states are already phone banking for this weekendÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s elections Ã¢â‚¬â€œ without travelling from home. Last night when there were problems in Alameda county with polling places running out of ballots, being restocked, and staying open until 10 pm, there were people at the Orange County Obama office making GOTV calls to Alameda. At 9:30 pm there were 28 eager people on the phone. It was electric. We missed ObamaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s speech because we were on the phone.
This morning I read somewhere, and IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve lost track of where, that going into Super Tuesday, Clinton and Obama were essentially tied in the national polls and coming out of Super Tuesday, were still essentially tied.
The Obama campaign has accomplished a great deal. Coming from nowhere a year ago to a virtual tie (be it delegates or national polls) at this point is huge. The people who are running ObamaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s campaign are either very smart or really, really lucky. Maybe a bit of both? I think theyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve still got a few tricks up their sleeve like the one they pulled at the UCLA rally on Sunday. ThereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s no way to count Obama out now. HeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s definitely going to the convention. You know, he just might go as the nominee.
All in all, Obama’s in good shape. So thereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s no reason to feel sad. No reason to feel bad. Well OK, tired, yes. But thereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s no shame in anything thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s happened. Barack Obama and all the people who have worked for his campaign have every reason to be pleased with where the campaign is right now. The race for the Democratic nomination is not won. Neither is it lost. No one has it sewn up.
In the words of another volunteer, We’ve got the MO….We’ve got the DOUGH…and to the nomination, WE SHALL GO!!!!!