It's official now, Barack Obama is the Democratic Candidate for the 2008 presidential election!
Despite this, it seems that there are still some Hillary Clinton supporters that claim they won't vote for Barack Obama for a variety of reasons and there still seems to be many misconceptions about the primary campaigns, most of these being misconceptions that were intentionally fostered by the Clinton campaign.
The first issue to address is the issue of Obama and women's issues. Since Obama was running against a female that many women wanted to be the first president of the United States, some of these women have taken to seeing Barack Obama as the antithesis of feminism and as now the most hated man in politics who will never get their vote. These women have often claimed that they will vote for John McCain in November either out of spite for Obama or in some cases they claim that he's "less misogynist" than Obama.
This is quite amazing because in realty Barack Obama is one of the most pro-women's issues members of the Senate, ranking right up there with women like Diane Feinstein, Barbara Boxer, and Hillary Clinton in his support for women's issues. In my examination of the voting records the only male Senator with a voting records supporting women's issues comparable to Barack Obama's was Ted Kennedy. If you look at support for women's issues in the Senate the highest ranking senators on this are all women and Ted Kennedy and Barack Obama. Arguably, Barack Obama is currently the most pro-women's agenda candidates ever to be in the final running for the office of the presidency.
Below is a review of the recent voting records on women's issues comparing the records of Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and John McCain.
2007 In 2007 NARAL Pro-Choice America gave Senator Clinton a grade of 100.
2006 Senator Clinton supported the interests of the NARAL Pro-Choice America 100 percent.
2006 Senator Clinton supported the interests of the Planned Parenthood 100.
2005-2006 Senator Clinton supported the interests of the National Family Planning & Reproductive Health Association 93 percent.
2005-2006 Senator Clinton supported the interests of the National Right to Life Committee 0 percent.
2005 Senator Clinton supported the interests of the NARAL Pro-Choice America 100 percent.
2005-2006 Senator Clinton supported the interests of the American Association of University Women 100 percent.
2005-2006 Senator Clinton supported the interests of the Business and Professional Women USA 83 percent.
2005-2006 Senator Clinton supported the interests of the Federally Employed Women 90 percent.
2005-2006 Senator Clinton supported the interests of the National Organization for Women 96.
2005 Senator Clinton supported the interests of the American Association of University Women 100 percent.
2005 Senator Clinton supported the interests of the National Organization for Women 100 percent.
2007 In 2007 NARAL Pro-Choice America gave Senator Obama a grade of 100.
2006 Senator Obama supported the interests of the NARAL Pro-Choice America 100 percent.
2006 Senator Obama supported the interests of the Planned Parenthood 100 percent.
2005-2006 Senator Obama supported the interests of the National Family Planning & Reproductive Health Association 100 percent.
2005-2006 Senator Obama supported the interests of the National Right to Life Committee 0 percent.
2005 Senator Obama supported the interests of the NARAL Pro-Choice America 100 percent.
2005-2006 Senator Obama supported the interests of the American Association of University Women 90 percent.
2005-2006 Senator Obama supported the interests of the Business and Professional Women USA 100 percent.
2005-2006 Senator Obama supported the interests of the Federally Employed Women 100 percent.
2005-2006 Senator Obama supported the interests of the National Organization for Women 91 percent in 2005-2006.
2005 Senator Obama supported the interests of the American Association of University Women 83 percent.
2005 Senator Obama supported the interests of the National Organization for Women 100 percent.
2007 In 2007 NARAL Pro-Choice America gave Senator McCain a grade of 0.
2006 Senator McCain supported the interests of the NARAL Pro-Choice America 0 percent.
2006 Senator McCain supported the interests of the Planned Parenthood 0 percent.
2005-2006 Senator McCain supported the interests of the National Family Planning & Reproductive Health Association 0 percent.
2005-2006 Senator McCain supported the interests of the National Right to Life Committee 75 percent.
2005 Senator McCain supported the interests of the NARAL Pro-Choice America 0 percent.
2005-2006 Senator McCain supported the interests of the American Association of University Women 20 percent.
2005-2006 Senator McCain supported the interests of the Business and Professional Women USA 33 percent.
2005-2006 Senator McCain supported the interests of the Federally Employed Women 30 percent.
2005-2006 Senator McCain supported the interests of the National Organization for Women 13 percent.
2005 Senator McCain supported the interests of the American Association of University Women 17 percent.
2005 Senator McCain supported the interests of the National Organization for Women 0 percent.
As you can see Obama's voting record is nearly identical to that of Hillary's, and in stark contrast to that of John McCain's. How could someone who was supporting Hillary as a feminist on the basis of women's issues now vote for John McCain, quite possibly one of the most anti-feminist members of the Senate and most anti-women's agenda presidential candidates of the past 30 years. Not only is John McCain's one of the least supportive of women's issues of any member of the Senate, but John McCain divorced his disabled wife to go after Cindy Hensley after a short romance between the two while John was still married to his first wife. When John McCain met Cindy he was 43 and she was 25. She was a cheerleader and wealthy heiress, soon to be his trophy wife. This is not to mention the well known incident of him calling Cindy a "cunt" in public while they were married. John McCain is quite far from Barack Obama, who married an accomplished strong woman, both in terms of policy and character when it comes to women's issues.
What about the campaign itself? Hillary Clinton and her supporters have made repeated statements throughout the campaign that the media was against her, that she was being treated unfairly due to sexism, that Barack Obama was attacking her, that she had won the most popular votes, etc. None of these things were ever true, yet many of her supporters still repeat these same false statements today, which have only served to divide the party and unfairly damage Barack Obama.
While I have frequently heard Hillary and her supporters claim that the media was biased against her, or that sexism in the media undermined her campaign, I have not seen any person making this claim provide one single example, because none exist. I have seen examples of specific issues on the campaign trail where people shouted sexist comments or things of this nature, but that has basically no impact on the race and has nothing to do with the media.
A study of media coverage of the candidates during the election showed that the positive coverage of Hillary and Barack was nearly identical early in the campaign for both candidates, with Barack receiving 69% positive coverage and Hillary receiving 67% positive coverage, while Obama received much more negative coverage once the Reverend Wright issues began getting news.
Overall Barack Obama received far more scrutiny in the press than Hillary did, and much more race related scrutiny at that. The issues that Obama faced were the pictures given to the press of him wearing traditional Muslim garb during a visit to Africa (Hillary and Laura Bush have both also worn traditional Muslim garb on diplomatic visits, those these were not shown in the media), questions about his religious faith (whether he was a Muslim), criticism over the comments made by Reverend Wright, questions about his supposed "connections" with Bill Ayers, questions about his connections with Tony Rezko, questions about his patriotism, questions about his experience and readiness, negative coverage of his his "bitter" remarks (launched by a Clinton supporter), and absurd charges of "elitism".
On top of all of that, Hillary Clinton exploited each of these issues and in fact launched some of them, even when they weren't legitimate, such as the Bill Ayers issue.
The only really negative issue that Hillary had to deal with was her Bosnian sniper comments, which were totally self inflicted. But look at what Hillary was never questioned on. There was scant coverage of her financial dealings with Peter Paul, which were far more damning than the relationship between Rezko and Obama. While it is true the Clintons were not found guilty of any criminal wrongdoing with Paul, in terms of questions about one's "judgment" the dealings between the Clintons and Paul are quite troublesome. There was no media coverage of Hillary's "God bless the rich" comments, even though they came only a short time after the fuss made over Obama's "bitter" remarks. There was also basically no coverage questioning the complicated matter of having a former president back in the White House as the spouse of a sitting president, which is something that has obviously never happened before and hasn't really been anticipated by the laws. She was never forced to deal with this issue and to explain how she would handle the situation or what potential problems it could cause.
For the most part, when Hillary's campaign made false statements or piled on Obama her claims or lines of attack most just passed on by the press without scrutiny. Hillary repeatedly attacked Obama personally while Obama never attacked her personally. When asked if she believed that Obama was a Muslim she said that he wasn't, "as far as I know". When George Stephanopoulos, the former Clinton aid, asked Obama about his "relationship" with Bill Ayers in the ABC debate Hillary piled on, criticizing Obama for his relations to Ayers (which were basically nothing) while in fact she had far more direct relations to the Weathermen and even worked herself for a pro-Communist legal firm in the 1960s. Her campaign is the one that launched the Obama in Muslim garb picture. Hillary stated that Barack Obama didn't meet the "Commander in Chief" test, though she and Republican opponent John McCain did. Bill Clinton of course implied that Obama's win in South Carolina was not a big deal because "Jessie Jackson won there too".
The personal attacks levied by the Clinton campaign against Obama are numerous, while Obama never launched personal attacks against Hillary, and yet somehow Hillary and her supporters have been able to convince some people that she was the victim in this campaign.
Hillary and her supporters not only attack Barack Obama, but also major segments of the Democratic Party itself by calling supporters of Obama out of touch elitists, cult followers and people who are delusional. I mean to have major leaders in the Democratic Party basically coming out and calling half of the Democratic electorate "delusional idiots" is quite extraordinary, yet this is exactly what Hillary and her supporters did. Nothing comparable to this came out of the Obama campaign until the votes in West Virginia and Kentucky, after which some of Obama's supports called the voters of those specific states racists, however this appears to actually be supported by the real facts, with a large number of Hillary supporters in the exit polls saying that race played a major factor in their voting decision and from many interviews with people in those states making blatantly racist remarks about Obama. Not to mention that Hillary played to these voters by touting her credentials among "hard working whites".
When it all came down to the wire Hillary and her supporters blamed her loss on sexism, both in the media and in general. Yet the facts of American politics paint quite a different picture.
There have been 29 female governors in America, while there have only been four African-American governors. The first African-American to be elected governor is Douglas Wilder who was elected governor of Virginia in 1990. Incidentally, Douglas Wilder looks white. One of the four governors was P. B. S. Pinchback (also looked white), who was governor of Louisiana in 1872 but only for a period of 35 days on appointment. To date only two African-Americans have actually been elected as governors, Wilder and Deval Patrick. The first female elected governor was elected in 1925.
Today there are sixteen women in the United States Senate. There have only been five African-American Senators in all of US history. Two of the African-American senators were elected during Reconstruction, in the 1870s. Both of them were partly white and both looked white. Barack Obama himself is partly white. So, of all of the "African-Americans" elected to high offices, two governors and five senators, over half of have been of "mixed race" and have looked mostly white.
On this record, of many more women having been elected to high public offices than blacks and women having more positions of power in government than blacks, I find the argument that the American political system is more sexist than it is racist quite ridiculous. Women in America clearly have more political power than racial minorities, particularly blacks. Hillary Clinton did not lose because of sexism, she lost because she's Hillary Clinton and because people were inspired by Barack Obama. Indeed I think its safe to say that being a woman helped Hillary far more than it hurt her, and to be fair the same can possibly be said of Obama, though I think he faced much more clear cut racism than Hillary did sexism.
Finally we come to the issue of Hillary's so-called support during the final contests. If you examine the exit polls you find that a significant portion of the people who voted for Hillary Clinton during the final five or six contests intended to vote for John McCain in November. These people included both cross over Republicans and conservative Democrats. In fact the percentage of people who voted for Hillary but said in exit polls that they intended to vote for McCain in the fall was a determining factor in the Indiana election. She would have lost that election if not for people who voted for her despite intending to vote McCain in the general.
In Indiana Democratic primary exit polls, when asked if they would vote for Hillary, McCain, or No One in November, 16% of the voters in the Democratic primary said they would vote for John McCain and 41% of those voters voted for Hillary Clinton. This means that 41% of that 16% voted for Hillary with every intention of voting for John McCain in November. If you extrapolate those results out it means that 83,639 people voted for Hillary who intended to vote for John MCain in the fall. Hillary won Indiana by only 14,195 votes, so she won Indiana because of voters which intended not to vote for her in November. The situation was similar in Pennsylvania, though it wasn't quite enough to change the outcome.
In West Virgina when asked who they would vote for in November if it were between Hillary, McCain, or No One, 18% of the voters said they would vote for McCain, and of those 38% voted for Hillary. Again this means that a significant number of Hillary voters never intended to vote for her in the general. This trend was never shown among Obama voters.
So, the reality is that Hillary Clinton lost because of Hillary Clinton, not because of sexism and not because the vote was stolen from her or because the media was against her. In fact the contest was closer than it should have been due to crossover McCain voters who were voting for Hillary for whatever reason. This crossover effect was enough to have at the very least swung the Indiana contest to her that she wouldn't have otherwise won and to run up numbers in other contests.
Despite the Clinton campaign's claims, Hillary Clinton did not win the popular vote. Her claim to the popular vote rests on not counting all of the caucus states and on counting both Florida and Michigan while giving Obama zero votes from Michigan. This obviously isn't legitimate. Despite this, even after her "concession speech" today, Hillary and her supporters continue to claim that she won the popular vote. This continued deception flies in the face of her claim that she is doing all that she can to unite the party. Despite claiming to back Obama, she and her supporters are still giving credence to the idea that she should have been the winner, that it was stolen from her, and that she was treated unfairly by the media and the party, when in fact nothing is farther from the truth.