The Pennsylvania Democratic primaries are approaching with three and a half weeks remaining to make any difference in Barack Obama’s and Hillary Clinton’s campaigns. This northeast state is considered a Clinton’s territory when it comes to the question who is going to win it. What is important, however, is what percentage of the 158 delegates at stake goes to the two presidential hopefuls. Right now Clinton is trailing Obama with more than 100 delegates and it undoubtedly matters how many more delegates than Obama she will get from this state.
Of course, in order for a candidate to win a state in the primaries, endorsements are extremely important if not the most important. Hillary Clinton already has the endorsement of Governor Edward Rendell, while Barack Obama has recently received a key endorsement – that of senator Robert Casey Junior. Contrary to his intentions not to endorse any of the two Democratic hopefuls until right before the primaries, Senator Casey decided to do that. In a news conference after his public announcement, he explained why he had decided to endorse Obama saying the following: “For a long, long time I was not only neutral but an undecided voter. That changed recently. I believe in this guy like I have never believed in a candidate in my life except my father.” Those are strong words. Not only are they strong, but one should be rather naive in order to fully believe the Pennsylvania senator. How come somebody, let alone a U.S. senator, be an undecided voter and then all of a sudden starts to believe the person they are going to vote for so immensely that they compare the latter to their father? Actually, it is possible for an undecided voter to make their decision as a final one but I do not believe that the person they are going to vote for turns out to be so trustworthy to them that the only person they believe is more trustworthy is their father. What I mean is, you cannot be undecided yesterday and today be more decided than most of the decided voters. At least that is how I feel about it.
Some say that the reason why senator Casey decided to endorse Mr. Obama instead of Mrs. Clinton is that in the 1992 Democratic National Convention, when Bill Clinton won the Democratic nomination, his father Robert Casey Sr., who was then governor of Pennsylvania, was denied a prime-time speaking position which outraged many of the state’s conservative Democrats (governor Casey was a pro-life Democrat and supportive of gun rights).
It makes sense but I doubt that it was decisive. In politics people do not always make decisions because of past facts. Sometimes there are more significant reasons such as better relations and more benefit. Who knows what Barack Obama promised to give Senator Casey in return – endorsements are not always issued because of what the endorsers say in front of the people! Senator Casey is popular among Catholic voters, people who usually vote for Hillary Clinton. This is not the first time that Barack Obama has tried to steal part of her electorate. Days before Super Tuesday, February 5, he received the endorsement of a white woman such as Kansas governor Kathleen Sebelius. White women are another group that prefers Senator Clinton to Senator Obama. With her endorsement, he most likely sought more women to become part of his electorate.
In my opinion, the Democratic race resembles a mess. None of the two candidates has locked up his or her nomination and, except for the Black voters who mostly vote for Barack Obama and the Latino voters who mostly back Hillary Clinton, in every other group of voters it is not very clear which of the two is more popular.
Meanwhile, Senator Clinton recently said that even pledged delegates can switch votes at the National Convention. That is true but she should not rely on it. Honestly, I doubt that she really relies on it. Instead, she is trying to convince people that the race is not over yet and her chances to win the nomination are as good as those of Senator Obama. Some might say that if some of the delegates switch votes at the National Convention and thus elect the candidate with fewer delegates won, then this is not democratic. I rather disagree with such claim. First of all, it is the American people that founded this system of delegates. Second of all, primaries are between members of a party, that is, primaries do not elect an official but a party’s candidate. And finally, if not only superdelegates but also delegates having switched their vote are decisive in electing the less popular candidate, if in such a close race we assume that there is a less popular candidate, it will be very likely that this candidate will later lose the general elections because of the party’s loyal electorate being in disgust as a result of the events at the National Convention. I strongly doubt that the Democrats will risk losing the presidential race for a third consecutive time. That is why I believe that Hillary Clinton’s words must not be taken seriously. Instead, they are just one of her attempts to narrow Obama’s lead in delegates by making people believe that voting for her will not be a pointless vote.
However interesting the Democratic race is, Republicans find more benefits in it. Senator John McCain has already started his campaign for the general elections with an ad that can be seen on his website. Some people may argue whether ads are really important in this presidential race. I must say that they are very important because if you go to the CNN website and look more thoroughly at the primaries and caucuses results, you will see that senator Obama’s voters see importance of campaign ads to be very big. Perhaps that made them vote for him and if this hypothesis turns out to be correct, then in the general elections ads may turn out to be decisive as well and senator McCain is already ahead in this aspect. Could this mean that the next president will again be a Republican? We are about to see this in November.