[Marxism] Granma looks at "Obama's Plan to Win"

Walter Lippmann walterlx at earthlink.net
Tue Jul 8 08:57:19 MDT 2008

(While few politicians in the US and even less in the US media pay close
attention to Cuban politics, US politics are monitored very closely in
Cuba, since Washington's endless war against the Cuban Revolution is an
active factor in the island's life at all times. The author of this was
the head of the Cuban Interests Section in Washington from 1977-1989.)

July 8, 2008

Elections in the United States

Obama's Plan to Win


Most commentators and analysts coincide that following the process of
US primary elections, Barack Obama is the candidate to beat in the
November 4 elections. Signs supporting this observation are strong.
John McCain will have to carry out an uphill battle if he wants to
succeed George W. Bush at the White House beginning January 20, 2009.

Recent events and data help demonstrate Obama's strategy for winning
and the circumstances in which he should develop it.

Money is the essential factor for a candidate who aspires to win the
election in the United States. And we're talking about big money.
According to calculations, more than one billion dollars has already
been spent in the 2008 presidential elections and another billion
will probably be spent over the next five months. Here, an expression
attributed to Napoleon Bonaparte can be applied: "Money, money and
money are the three things I need to win the war."

That's the reason why, despite his promises of the opposite, Obama
announced as expected on June 19 that he would reject the option of
accepting the federal funds for the campaign and would resort to
collecting the money through his own means. It's hardly surprising
when you take into account that if he accepted the federal financing
he could have only spent some 85 millions beginning September
(complemented by another 85 million from his own sources), while it's
calculated that, upon rejecting federal funds, his campaign could
collect between 300 and 500 million dollars to be spent in the same
time period.

Added to that boost, is the support the campaign will receive from
the two largest labor organizations in the United States, the AFL-CIO
(56 trade unions with 9 million affiliates) and Change to Win (6
million affiliates). The first just decided to back Obama after
remaining neutral during the primary elections, and the latter 
had already thrown its support to Obama. All in all, the two
organizations have some 300 million dollars to spend of their own
during the campaign. As an example of what this support could
represent, the American Federation of County, State and Municipal
Employees (AFCSME) which groups non-federal public employees, joined
the liberal organization MoveOn.org and invested 543,000 dollars in
one week of advertisements broadcast by CNN and MSNBC, aimed at
attacking McCain's political positions, especially in the neighboring
states of Ohio, Michigan, and Wisconsin.

In this way, Obama will have funds to have some type of organization
and presence in all fifty US states. This is an essential element to
project his strategy in the 15 "red" states (that traditionally vote
Republican) and "purple" swing states he hopes to win, in all of
which he will maintain professional teams and invest funds in ad
campaigns in the mass media. He will also have at his disposal enough
money to work on the "blue" (traditionally Democratic Party) states
and particularly in those he considers necessary to defend from
McCain's attempts to snatch them from him. A total of 10,000
volunteers have already been sent to these states to work.

In the 14 states won by Bush and that Obama hopes to capture in these
elections, there are four that will receive maximum attention: Iowa,
New Mexico, Ohio and Nevada (All of them are "purple" swing states
that together contribute 37 electoral votes). Half of the other ten
are also "purple" (Colorado, Florida, Missouri, Montana y Georgia -
65 electoral votes) and the other five are "red" (Virginia, North
Carolina, North Dakota, Indiana and Alaska - 45 electoral votes).

Obama's campaign aims at maintaining a "purple" state that was won by
John Kerry in 2004: New Hampshire, with four electoral votes. That's
why it wasn't by sheer chance that Obama and Clinton made their first
joint appearance in the electoral campaign on June 27 in the small
town of Unity, New Hampshire. It was a good opportunity for the two
of them to speak during their 70 minutes of flight and 60 minutes by
road between Washington DC and Unity. (Despite representing few
electoral votes, it's a state where McCain has a strong base).

Additionally, in Nebraska, a "red" state, Obama's objective is to 
win the second congressional district (the city of Omaha and its
surroundings) where the Republican incumbent will not compete for the
seat and a strong Democrat candidate is presented. The reason for
this is that, unlike what happens in other states, Nebraska's five
electoral votes are won according to the presidential candidate that
obtains the majority of votes in a given district. To win district
two would mean an electoral vote for Obama, which could be decisive
in a tough election.

Lastly, Obama's strategy includes the defense of the "blue" states of
Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin (48 electoral votes) which
McCain's campaign is working to win in November.

If Obama achieved all those objectives, absolutely a "mission
impossible" he would mean win the election by a landslide. The way
things are at the moment, there are signs that Obama is ahead of
McCain and that's expressed in some recent surveys, although there
are substantial differences with respect to the magnitude of this
lead. In two national surveys taken in June, the results of
presidential preference varied from 47% for Obama and 42% for McCain
by Reuters/Zogby, to another showing 51% for Obama and 36% for

Obama's main disadvantages in terms of electoral preference lie in
being seen as inexperienced in governmental management, or for his
"weird" name, or lack of confidence due to his "background." 
The ethnic aspect is an issue that raises the sensitivity of a
substantial part of voters, but the effect it has on the decision of
black and white people at the time of voting doesn't reveal,
according to surveys, a great difference in the way they previously
voted for Democrat presidential candidates.

An important element for Obama's hopes is the development of the
fusion of his campaign organization with Hillary Clinton's, so he can
win the vote of those who supported her in the primaries. The most
recent surveys indicate that 53% of them would vote for Obama and
more than 20% for McCain.

A renowned lawyer from Washington, Robert Barnett -who has negotiated
contracts worth millions of dollars for the publication of books on
the Clinton's and of Obama- is acting as an intermediary between the
two groups to define crucial issues such as how to pay off Hillary's
campaign debt; the role William Clinton will play; the way Hillary
and her delegates will participate in the National Democrat
Convention: if Hillary's name is written even symbolically as an
aspirant to the nomination, how would delegates favoring Hillary
feel, and other logistic aspects.

A campaign baptized as "United for Change" has been launched to
stress the need of unity between the two groups. In that direction
some 3,000 meetings have been scheduled in homes in the 50 states.

*The author is a specialist in International Relations and was the
head of the Cuban Interest Section in the United States from
September, 1977 to April, 1989.

     Los Angeles, California
     Editor-in-Chief, CubaNews
     "Cuba - Un Paraíso bajo el bloqueo"

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