Is Hillary Clinton’s Pennsylvania win and its accompanying exit polls representative of a strong social disparity that has long existed in America or a social divide on its course to healing that the Clintons have succeeded in subverting with “low information signaling”?
Exit polls following the Pennsylvania primaries indicated a worrying point. Votes mostly cast on the basis of race, religion and social belonging. Senator Obama certainly won the hearts of many white voters but the question is why earlier polls had failed to indicate the bias. Admitting voting for a candidate based on facts that could be deemed unethical is surely uncomfortable. In 1982, Tom Bradley, a black Los Angeles Mayor lost to his white rival during the California elections for a governor, although exit polls had shown he was ahead.
Obama’s wins and increasing popularity have been applauded by lots of Americans, — white, black, hispanic, asians — who hope that Obama would represent a modern America built on merit and a racially diverse culture. His speech on race sought to bridge the racial and social divide. However, the brilliance of his speech which reminded people of his own racial make up triggered a certain interest in him that indicated doom for the Clinton campaign. Hence, their decision to throw the “kitchen sink” as her campaign amply described it, while Bill Clinton reminded Americans that black is certainly not white, when he refered to Barack Obama as his wife’s black opponent, qualifying him, thus, as nothing else but black.
This classification in no doubt fueled strong racial sentiments among a fickle Pennsylvania electorate. The result of these attacks have raised questions about what would happen should Obama meet McCain in states with the same demographics. It has doubtlessly given the McCain campaign a new oppositon tool against Obama even before the presidential elections, knowing that a younger Obama with a better knowledge in economics and an iraq war argument that stands to woo Americans is potential danger for McCain.
For now, Mrs. Clinton, it seems, represents no clear danger to McCain, although both democratic candidates are ahead of him in the polls. There is more than enough sound bytes of the Bosnia sniper stories to show as well as the forerunners of her campaign’s involvement on FTAs against her rather shady objection. Not forgetting the comfortable number (60%) of Americans who believe she can not be trusted.
All said, Samuel Hopkins author of “The Reasoning Voter”, 1991, gives element to the Clinton tactic, as he claims that the general electorate’s determination of a candidate’s electability is, more often than not, based on “low information signaling” rather than what really matters. So did Obama’s inability to whip up matching low gossip information mean that he could have done much better — than the ten points he bit away from Hillary’s original points — if he had? But that would not be in line with Obama’s belief that it is all part of some tired old washington political gimmicks.
On the other hand, it is a sinful act to reduce the democratic party’s chances of winning the presidential race and Obama realising that this is only the primaries does not have to resort to “low information” which could portray an unhealthy relationship among the democrats. His reason for not hitting back hardly enough has also attracted questions about his toughness. Hillary has forgotten that some level of credibility and self esteem is needed for the presedential race, and that her rival could be doing both of them a favour by not switching to democratic self destruction mode.
Another fact worth noting is how well Obama did in Pennsylvania, even if he lost. Earlier polls had indicated that he was at about 20 points behind Mrs Clinton and though the scientifically proven Samuel Hopkins “low information signaling” worked wonders for Clinton, she still lost ten points from what she had from the start. Mrs. Clinton knows that the
Obama charm is far from ended. The “kitchen sink” is about to shift into “destructive mode”.