Category Archives: Jeremy Barr

The Superdelegate Shuffle

By Jeremy Barr

In every election cycle, it seems that one or two previously unimportant procedural terms enter the popular lexicon. In 2000, it was “hanging chad” and “butterfly ballot.” In 2008, “superdelegates” have become one of the most talked about factors in the contest for the Democratic presidential nomination.

Because neither Hillary Clinton nor Barack Obama can mathematically win the Democratic nomination with purely pledged delegates, the 795 unpledged party officials and representatives known as superdelegates will make the difference.

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A Party Divided

By Jeremy Barr

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In addition to independent voters, swing states, a slam-dunk in the general election, and relationships between political operatives, one of the biggest casualties of the Democratic primary contest has been substance.

Although Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton differ only narrowly on policy, there was a time when nuances in health care and the economy were the focus of the campaign. Now, with a few months and many miles left to go before we might finally have our nominee, the contest has turned into just that, a contest.

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The Road Ahead

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By Jeremy Barr

With students now back from spring break, we can re-focus our attention back onto the campaign for the presidency. But first off, what was accomplished last week besides the consumption of large amounts of mixed drinks? Short of a few small scandals and one big one involving a certain governor from a certain Northeastern state, not too much.

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Clinton Sailing Happily on Sinking Ship

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By Jeremy Barr

This morning, the Clinton campaign came out with their most ridiculous line of reasoning yet. The campaign released a memo saying that Barack Obama should sweep the March 4th primary states (Ohio, Texas, Rhode Island, Vermont), and if he doesn’t, “there’s a problem.” Thus the Clinton team has begun their next, and perhaps last, political strategy: raising expectations for their rival campaign to unreachable heights.

Although Obama holds a lead in the polls in Texas and Vermont, Ohio will be much tougher for the Senator. One should remember that Clinton held huge leads in states like Texas and Wisconsin (which recently went for Obama by 17%) until recently, and the fact that Obama is within 10 points in Ohio, a state which matches up very well for the Clintons, is a testament to the strength of his campaign.

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When is it time?

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By Jeremy Barr

With Senator Barack Obama being called the “Democratic front-runner” more and more frequently these days, the question now turns to when he will be able to call himself the Democratic nominee. March 4th’s contests in Ohio and Texas may help to edge Obama closer to the title, as anything short of a resounding victory would essentially be a loss for Senator Hillary Clinton.

If Clinton doesn’t make a stand in Ohio and Texas, I think that she should consider bowing out of the race. Increasingly it seems that the Democratic Party is uniting behind Barack Obama in the form of 26 states, 1,202 elected delegates, the endorsement of key party officials, and the support of the country’s biggest labor organizations.

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Gone’ Negative

By Jeremy Barr

On the eve of the Wisconsin Democratic primary (and with Ohio and Texas in the near future), the leading Democratic candidates for president have begun to hit each other hard. One of the biggest debates this cycle has been about the difference between “going negative” and simply differentiating the records of the two candidates.

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The Spin Contest

By Jeremy Barr

In presidential primary politics, almost equally important as actually winning primary contests is spinning the results to look like you have won. If you didn’t win the contest, it’s because the other side was forced to put more time and money into it.

Another trick of the trade is lowering expectations before a primary contest. If you win, it’s a huge victory. If you lose, it’s what you expected and had prepared for.

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