Clinton’s Advantages over Obama

On Jan 8th, Hilary Clinton won New Hampshire with the help of her infrequent tears; Then on Feb 5th, Super Tuesday, she again captured populous California and New York although Obama won most states;

The 3rd “Marvelous Victory” came on March 4th for this “Comeback Gal”. She unbelievably won Ohio and Texas primaries after straight losses within a month – and so the Democratic primaries continue with suspense.

Magic Ohio:

After assuring her victories on Tuesday, Hilary Clinton confidently said to her constituents during the celebration, “You know what they say, as Ohio goes, so goes the nation!”

These words certainly have a basis. In the history of the United States, never did a presidential candidate, Democratic or Republican, , win the White House without winning Ohio in the primary.

Ohio, which has 20 electoral votes, always plays a crucial role. In the 2000 election, Bush won over Gore only by 50% to 46% (Nader from the Green Party won 3%) and took all of Ohio’s 20 electoral votes. When it came to 2004, Kerry narrowed the margin from 4% to 2%. If in 2008, one Democrat wins Ohio by 2%, the entire Republican win by 286 to 251 from 2004 will be overturned.

Two weaknesses of Obama:

Although Barak Obama has approximately 100 votes more than Hilary Clinton, he has two weaknesses that may eventually cause him to lose the presidential election when he meets the Republican candidate.

First, of the seven “big states” which have the most electoral votes, six have finished their Democratic primaries. Hilary Clinton won four of them but Obama won only one. Clinton also won Florida whose votes were considered invalid due to an unauthorized early primary. For Obama, not winning the majority of the big states will not suffice.

Second, and most significantly, there is this “Swing States” problem. A “winner-takes-all system” is adopted in the US Presidential Election. In other words, even if you have only one more popular vote in California, you can take all 55 electoral votes. President Bush took this advantage eight years ago in Florida. He only won several hundred more popular votes than Gore, but he was able to take over all 25 electoral votes and eventually become the president.

Therefore, it is extremely crucial to capture the states in which the two parties are separated by a narrow margin. If the candidate wins a primary by ten thousand votes, he/she may win his/her Party tens of electoral votes.

According to the 2004 US Presidential election results, “Swing States” are defined as those in which the two Parties’s votes differ by less than 5%. We find 12 States that fit into this category.

Clinton leads in Swing States:

Of the 12 Swing States, ten have already finished their primaries. Clinton won four of them. You may say they are well-matched in strength after just a glance. But a deeper look will reveal that Clinton also won Florida and Michigan where their primaries were considered invalid. Including these two, Clinton actually won 78 electoral votes out of the ten “Swing States”, while Obama won only 35.

Once again, one cannot win the eventual presidential election just because he/she receives more popular votes across the nation. Victory usually comes from victory in the “Swing States”. At this point, Clinton obviously has more advantages.

Obama, from this point of view, may win the Democratic Primary under this particular system and particular rules. However, he may lose the other battle for the Presidency under a completely different system and completely different rules.

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