What Went Wrong with the
With the demotion of Mark Penn, it is appropriate to take stock of the
There is no doubt that it has been a poorly run campaign. But what has been so bad about it? We could point to a lackluster message, or Bill's various gaffes over the last three months, or the staff that couldn't stop watching soap operas long enough to pay the bills. There's something to all of these things, but I think they are symptoms of an underlying malady.
As you well know, Obama has a huge lead in pledged delegates. But you might not know that nearly 90% of this lead comes from caucuses. Obama has netted 147 delegates via the caucuses alone.
It need not have been this way. Caucuses have exceedingly low turnout - and so victory depends upon organizational prowess.
Even more amazingly, Obama crushed her in states where
This is an organizational failure of monumental proportions. There is no other way to put it. The question is why did it happen?
There is no great skill that the Obama campaign possesses that the
The only reason it would choose not to organize is if it did not think it was worth the cost. More than 400 pledged delegates have been allocated through caucuses. So, it wasn't worth it because it was insignificant. Then why didn't her campaign organize? I believe it is because it never thought Obama would mount this kind of challenge. It never thought it would have to scrap for every spare delegate. Instead, it thought the race would be over before Super Tuesday.
In other words, the
Of course, much of the
First and foremost, Obama raised a gazillion dollars last year, none of which came from PACs. This was an early warning of many things. First, his campaign operation was going to be awesome. It could basically match
The media wrongly turned the race for money into a proxy for the race for votes. But the
Her campaign also overestimated its own position. Once again, the media did this, too. Journalists looked at the summer and fall polls and bought into the inevitability argument. Again, this is par for the course - many journalists do not know the difference between good polling data and bad. Candidates should know the difference. The
Why did it make these mistakes? Is it because it doesn't understand electoral politics? Unlikely. After all, Bill won two national campaigns.
I think its mistake was its starting point. It bought the same inevitability line it sold to the press. It began with the assumption that
What we are talking about here is plain old arrogance. I think this is the central mistake of the
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