Winning Presents Problems

The most skilled and smart politicians I have observed and known generally follow an election result by asking one of two questions: If they won, they want to figure out any tactics or words they used in the campaign that might that cause them problems down the line. “What wounds did I inflict to win that I now have to heal?”If they lost, they want to figure out every opportunity that the loss might have created any new doors that might have been opened when the others closed. “Is there something new I can try?”

So if Hillary wins any combination of primaries and ultimately the nomination, she’ll have to assess the damage done by the negative campaigning that exit polls show many people resented. Hillary will ask: “Who did I alienate and how do I fix that? How do I get Obama supporters?

If Obama wins, he’ll need to come to terms with how and why his strategy did well with white males and African Americans, yet was largely unable to attract older white women, a fairly large demographic group. Barack will ask: “Did sexism drive the votes of some of my supporters and what do I have to do about that? How do I get Clinton supporters?

McCain, now the nominee, has to come to terms with the extent to which his courting of the extreme right might have alienated centrists and how much his courting of the centrists might have alienated conservatives. McCain will ask: How do I move back toward the center without alienating people.

Winning a nomination creates as many problems as it solves.

5 thoughts on “Winning Presents Problems

  1. What happens now, since Hillary did win these last major primaries? How will this affect Obama and what about McCain? As a democrat, I am concerned about other Democrats who’s votes will now go to McCain instead of a fellow Democrat, out of despite, and for not liking the voted nominee (Obama or Hillary). Is there any way of creating a unified Democratic party,which brushes these differences aside? I mean, I sincerely do not want another Republican in office until Bush’s mess is totally cleaned up and we have a new understanding and relationship with the world which we have neglected for so long!

    As for problems solved, Obama really needs to become more specific about his agenda than he has been in the past now that Hillary is beginning to become a serious threat to the Obama campaign. On the other hand, Hillary must not allow these wins to soften her stance. The game is on; this is the time for ugly politics to show its face!

  2. You really hit the nail on the head. With all this up in the air, you have a slew of voters who didnt get what they want. Unhappy campers whose candidate still hasn’t sealed the deal.

    And that’s what will make the next few weeks so interesting and excruciating: What are these unhappy people going to do? Will they desert? Will they desert and come back? Will they switch? Any chance they will completely tune out?

    Each candidate has two main goals: 1) Hold current supporters and 2) convert some people who don’t support you. All in the middle of this anger and uncertainty.

    This could get messy!

    So here’s my question, Ursula: How do YOU think it will turn out?

  3. What will be of the utmost importance to maintaining a unified Democratic front is less how the winning candidate won, than how the losing candidate loses. How well will Hillary or Obama take losing? Both will need to show grace and generosity in defeat. They’ll need to show respect for the other candidate and they’ll need to PROVE that respect by campaigning vigorously on the other’s behalf in the general election. The voters do indeed love their candidates and they’ll follow their lead. Let’s hope they lead their constituents toward unity. If either one pouts and pulls out, well… it could very well be Prez McCain.

    Great blog, by the way Steve.

  4. Mick:

    Thanks. Today was not encouraging for those who want unity. The “circular firing squad” continued with more attackins on all sides, and a slew of comments by Hillary Clinton about how great McCain is. Whatever she intends by these comments, they will be like manna from heaven for McCain if Obama gets the nomination. I can just see the ads: “You don’t need a Republican to tell you about John McCain the leader and the man. Listen to this Democrat.”

  5. And I can see the ads: “You don’t need a Democrat to tell you about John McCain the leader and the man. Listen to these Republicans.” There are plenty of GOPers who’ll tell you how much they despise him.

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