Monday, June 2, 2008

Dream Ticket? - NOT!

I keep hearing noise about whether the Democrats might manage to field a 'Dream Ticket' for the Presidential election. This is presumed to be either an Obama/Clinton or a Clinton/Obama combo, depending on your favorite choice.

Somehow I can't help but see this as a Nightmare Ticket for the Democrats.

I obviously don't think like the average voter, since my favorite candidates never make it anywhere past the starting line, but I feel like I've got a clue about the level of support that each of these candidates can likely achieve. I have the impression that for both of these candidates it isn't about the positives, but about the negatives. Each candidate possesses a certain liability that will prevent a sizable number of people from voting for them. This means that rather than the team being worth the sum of its assets, it is more of a case that the team is hurt by the sum of its liabilities.

I think that there is some sizable percentage of folks who will not vote for a black person (let's be honest and call them racists). There is also a sizable percentage of folks who will not vote for a woman (we'll refer to this group as sexists - and not all of them are men). Finally, there is one more cohort who dislike Hillary specifically, and therefore will not vote for her. I believe that all of these groups would vote for McCain rather than compromise their misguided 'principles'. That means that you can add together all of these groups as negatives - votes specifically against the 'Dream Ticket'.

Just to demonstrate the point, let's make up some numbers. Say for starters that 60% of voters would likely vote Democratic this election (that is already possibly a bit generous, given how evenly divided our country has been recently). Now, of those likely Democrats, let's assume that 25% would fall into the racist category defined above, and another 25% fall into the sexist group, with a final 5% who just don't like Hillary. If we assume that all of these groups do not overlap at all (which is probably not true - I believe there is some overlap), then that 60% of possible Democrats gets reduced to a paltry 27% of the total votes. Even if we assume a lot of overlap (the whole 5% who dislike Hillary are part of the sexist group, and that group and the racist group overlap enough that the total 'no' voters amount to only 40% of the possible voters), that still brings the 60% overall total down to 36%, which will be tough to win an election with.

Granted, with these fake numbers either candidate alone winds up with only 45% of the possible Democrat vote, but other guesses can produce different results (20% rather than 25% results in 52% for either one alone, yet could still drop the pair down well below 45%, depending on the overlap). Still, I am fairly certain that there are sizable percentages of folks who just will not vote for one candidate or the other, and that the sum of these groups is even larger, and would vote against a 'Dream Ticket'. Either Obama or Clinton alone may be able to pull some voters from the other party that may not be included in that original 60%, but I wouldn't expect much of this to happen.

I suspect that there may be significant pressure on whoever finally emerges as the Democrats' candidate to consider the other as a VP candidate, but I think both of them really ought to be very wary of the other. Either one needs to avoid collecting more negatives if at all possible, and try to get someone who at least will not reduce their chances of winning in the end. The other way to negate this effect is for McCain to select a running mate who is either a woman or black, and therefore give the racists and sexists nobody else to vote for, but I haven't heard of anyone like this being mentioned as a possibility so far.


Fusion said...

They way they have picked at each other, I don't see it happening. Worse case would be if one went independant, and caused a three way race, but thats not very likely either. Obama or Clinton will pick a white male running mate because of the reasons you've listed here.

wunelle said...

I think their acrimony doesn't amount to much in the end. Political races are always thorny like this, and it all leaks away when it's expedient to have it so.

Your numbers, smartly I think, assign to each group only a minority portion of total voters. So I suppose it's not significant that I don't find myself in any of the groups--I might emphatically not be the typical Democratic voter. (I would not avoid voting for Clinton because of some generic hatred or dislike, but I don't get a particularly good vibe from her. That's the closest I get to any group.)

But I think there are a lot of people like me who would not be unhappy with either candidate. I lean toward Obama, but I think Clinton is a good and qualified candidate, and I think it would represent a great and long-overdue step for our country to put a woman in the top spot.

But I think Fusion is right (for reasons your analysis points to): either candidate would do better, I think, with John Edwards as the running mate than with each other.

Malaise Inc said...

While I agree with most of what was said, I am not sure Edwards is the right choice either. A little too rich and too pretty (not that I am jealous or anything. Nu-uh!). What I have seen floated that makes alot of sense for a running mate for Obama is a governor from a traditionally conservative state. As a Blue Dog Democrat myself, I think this is a great strategy. Kansas governor Kathleen Sebelius is mentioned, as is Janet Napolitano from Arizona, Tom Vilsack from Iowa and Ted Strickland of Ohio.