Tuesday, May 06, 2008

"The Primary Day Ritual: Open Thread" (with video)

Al Giordano, with video 04:15):
Today marks the 47th and 48th primaries or caucuses for the Democratic presidential nomination. More than 90 percent of the delegates will have been chosen by tonight. By now, we all ought to know the drill.
The day begins with the Clinton campaign “leaking” something to the Drudge Report to set expectations for the day. That then gets repeated on political blogs and cable news, where Clinton surrogate Terry McAuliffe elaborates. Today’s “expectation”: That the Clinton campaign expects a “15 point” defeat in North Carolina. Clinton’s yapping puppies in the news media repeat the manufactured expectation all day long, in which the bar is supposedly now that if Clinton comes within 15 points in that state that she has somehow “won” with a 14 point (or 6 point) defeat.

Around 4 p.m. rumors of exit polls begin circulating on the Internet. Around 5:30 p.m. AP and other news organizations leak minor data from the exit polls that explains almost nothing of value. Sometime after 6 p.m. Drudge posts raw numbers from exit polls that - if past is prologue - show Obama doing an average of seven percentage points better than he actually does.

Obama supporters then get prematurely jubilant and after polls close (tonight at 7 p.m. ET in Indiana and 7:30 p.m. ET in North Carolina) the real results start to come in and reveal Clinton then doing “better than expected” (at least better than the new expectations promoted during the day).

The media talking heads then ask aloud why Obama can’t “close the deal” (in Clinton’s own words) and what is numerically a defeat for Clinton (because the results, even in her recent wins, bring her objectively farther from the nomination in the context of the smaller number of delegates then available) gets spun as a Clinton victory.

Clinton takes to the stage, claims “unexpected” victory, gives out her web site address and pleads for elder women on fixed incomes to send more money to the $109 millionaire. The following day they claim that $10 million rolled in, only to be disproved more than a month later when the actual FEC filing is due. Obama’s FEC filing simultaneously reveals that he raised much, much more, from more small donors, and the Clinton campaign plays the victim card over being outspent.

The Chicken Littles among Obama supporters then proceed to agonize across the Internet for days on end, seemingly oblivious to the fact that their candidate has just moved closer to the nomination, and Clinton was pushed farther away from it.

Most undeclared superdelegates duck behind all the media-generated confusion to continue to keep quiet, although a few courageous ones a day come dribbling out, more for Obama than for Clinton, also moving Obama closer to the nomination and Clinton farther away.

Meanwhile, the media then looks to the next state - this time it will be West Virginia, the best state demographically for Clinton, who is 30 points ahead there - and proclaims that it’s “do or die” and begin anew with the spin cycle about white Appalachian voters being the only voters that matter.

Around that point in the process, the Clinton campaign holds a conference call to move the goalposts again, as Keith Olbermann so masterfully explained last night:

Consider this an open thread. We all want to hear especially from folks on the ground in North Carolina and Indiana today about what you’re seeing and hearing.

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