Friday, May 09, 2008

Here's why Hillary lost the race for the nomination

Karen Tumulty of Time describes how Hillary lost the Democratic nomination. She describes five major problems.
  1. In a cycle that has been all about change, Clinton chose an incumbent's strategy, running on experience, preparedness, inevitability — and the power of the strongest brand name in Democratic politics.
  2. Clinton picked people for her team primarily for their loyalty to her, instead of their mastery of the game.
  3. Clinton based her strategy on the big contests, [and] she seemed to virtually overlook states like Minnesota, Nebraska and Kansas, which choose their delegates through caucuses.
  4. For a decade or more, the Clintons set the standard for political fund raising in the Democratic Party, and nearly all Bill's old donors had re-upped for Hillary's bid. ... But something had happened to fund raising that Team Clinton didn't fully grasp: the Internet.
  5. Clinton's strategy had been premised on delivering a knockout blow early. ... She fought him to a tie in the Feb. 5 Super Tuesday contests but didn't have any troops in place for the states that followed.
This may not be the only major mistakes Clinton made, but they were enough to allow Obama to win the nomination.

I think there was at least one other major problem with Hillary's campaign, and that was her vote for the war in Iraq. Her vote to give Bush approval to invade Iraq, combined with her refusal to admit that was an error and somehow deal with it, created an opening for an opponent in the Democratic primaries. Obama is a brilliant politician and stepped in to take advantage of that opening.

Then the campaign for the Primary itself has demonstrated how effectively Obama has organized to win. Hillary was not allowed to make mistakes in her campaign. Obama also demonstrated that he can recognize and quickly deal with problems where Hillary has clearly demonstrated that she cannot do so.

This isn't the final word on what has happened in the Democratic primaries, but it is a good start.

And yes, this is a postmortem of the Democratic campaign for the nomination for President. The campaign is over, Barack is the presumptive nominee, and now we will watch the Democrats work to unify the party.

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