Archive for the ‘Karl Howe’ Category

US Elections Update

1 Bealtaine, 2008
Author: Karl Howe
Issue: 25 – May 2008

US Elections Update
The U.S. primary election cycle continues going into May for the Democrats. That being the case, though, there is a winner: Hillary Clinton.

Clinton has regained momentum after her 10 percentage point win over Obama in Pennsylvania on April 22. This win in Pennsylvania adds to Clintons streak of winning the big, Democrat states that are essential for a Democrat to win in November. notes that Clinton has also gained a lead in the overall popular vote with 15.1 Million votes to Obamas 14.9 Million votes when counting her Michigan and Florida totals.

Ah, Michigan and Florida. Expect to hear more about these states as we inch closer to the Democratic National convention in late August. As it sits now, the delegates from both states forfeited their say at the conventions by moving their primaries into January to make a larger impact on the momentum of the primary race. With neither delegate slate allowed to have seats at the convention Obama opted to not compete in either state, even going so far as to not have his name on the ballot in Michigan (a state tin which he would have expected to do reasonably well given the 81% black population in Detroit). Clinton won both primaries by substantial margins and gained the lions share of the ghost delegates. In a normal election year, when the nominee would have been decided by March at the latest, the consequences of not having a states delegation vote at the convention would be minimal. This year, it will be critical.
How will this be resolved? The possibility was explored that both states might run a do-over primary but it proved too expensive and too cumbersome to facilitate. The question remains: will the Democrats allow Michigans and Floridas delegates to vote or will they be shut out of the convention? If they are shut out, as it stands now, they will be abiding by the deal they entered into but will be negating the outcome of the free and fair elections in both states. This would certainly favor Obama at the convention but how democratic is the outcome when two populous states votes are not counted? If they are counted (advantage Clinton), does that mean that the rules do not have to be followed? Didnt the state Democrats in both instances sign up to not have their votes counted how can they change the rules now?

The situation from the Republican standpoint is rich with irony after the Election in 2000 where they felt the Democrats did not like the outcome so they worked to change the rules in order that all the votes would be counted. There is a sense of smugness now that a similar situation has the Democrats fighting each other about the same issues in an election year that should have been more of a coronation than an election.

With that backdrop, the overarching themes of race and gender and the coarsening tone from both camps continue to create deep and personal fissures within the Democratic Party. For those who have waited for either a black presidential candidate or a woman presidential candidate: this is their year! The activists who have been working and waiting since 1968 for their President can not be denied but, in this election, one group is headed for disappointment. As the months roll on and the rhetoric gets hotter and hotter there is a sense that while this has moved from coronation to election, it may continue to degenerate from election to street fights to all-out riots.

Denver has made preparations to import police from other Colorado cities to help manage the situation and maintain order while protestors plan their descent on the city. Former Presidential candidate and Obama supporter Al Sharpton has stated that if Clinton was selected in some backroom deal over Obama that you not only would see people like me demonstrating, you may see us talking about whether or not we can support that ticket. While Sharpton implies his will be peaceful demonstrations, other groups have begun invoking the notorious 1968 Democratic convention in Chicago, where clashes between protestors and police took center stage, as the guide for what awaits Denver.

One such group, the Re-create 68 Alliance (Website: suggests that Denver could face a dangerous situation. An organizer for the group, Glenn Spagnuolo, stated after not receiving a city permit to protest the convention that when things blow up because the police have to enforce a permit that the Democrats got, dont blame us for that. Blame the Democrats for trying to silence dissent in the city of Denver.
In the meantime, the next primaries in North Carolina, Indiana, and West Virginia are expected to be split with neither candidate able to proclaim victory for too long knowing that nothing will be settled for some time. We will have to see how the campaign continues but the intense circumstances may well lead one to believe that it will only continue to get more heated.



1 Aibreán, 2008
Author: Karl Howe
Issue: 24 – April 2008

The U.S. primary election cycle continues going into April � for the Democrats. That being the case, though, there is a winner: Barack Obama.

As the final ten states prepare for their primary elections, Barack Obama has developed such a lead that Hillary Clinton can not possibly catch up. However, she can work to make sure that Senator Obama does not gain enough votes to receive a majority of delegates to the party convention and secure the nomination in late August even though Obama will have a plurality of delegates at the convention and a significant lead over Clinton.

What happens then? As they say: �all bets are off�.

The resolution and nomination will be decided when the so-called �super delegates� take the reigns and steer the party to nominate the candidate they feel is more likely to defeat Senator McCain. These �super delegates� are nothing more than party big-wigs and elected officials who automatically get a spot at the convention and do not have to pledge their nominating vote to any candidate. It is these officials that will decide the Democratic candidate for 2008 where all the arguments to persuade will be focused.

Obama will enter with that clear lead in elected delegate count from the primary process and will make the argument that the will of the Democratic voters be upheld by having the �super delegates� ratify his nomination. He will also argue that his candidacy offers the best chance of winning the election as the candidate who can unify the country, clean up the messes of George W. Bush, repudiate and end the Iraq War (which Mrs. Clinton voted in favour of), and rebuild America�s standing in the world by demonstrating its willingness to elect a candidate that can rise above the stereotypes of American prejudice and racial conflict.

Clinton will show a strong surge in delegates in the final state elections. While not enough to pass Obama�s lead, she will demonstrate her toughness and determination to fight to the end. She will also argue that she will be the candidate who can win in contrast to the fading Obama. Another argument for Clinton will be that she won the big, important states that the Democrats will win in November�s general election (such as New York and California). And, while Obama won more states and has more delegates, that won�t matter come November as the states Obama won (such as Louisiana and Georgia) will go to McCain.

The overall problem for both candidates will continue to be gender and race. As the Democratic Party has worked tirelessly to attract women and minorities to their party, they have always chosen the traditional white, middle-aged male as the standard bearer. This year will be different. This year will be the year when one of the constituent factions of the Party will lead the ticket and that is weighing heavily on the individual voters and will be eventually shouldered by the party insiders at the convention.

As the race enters April, the infighting and rhetoric continues to heat up. On March 21st, Democratic Governor Bill Richardson of New Mexico endorsed and pledged his �super delegate� vote to Barack Obama to the cries of �traitor� and �Judas� from the Clinton camp. An unknown Congressman only nine years ago, Richardson was appointed UN Ambassador and Energy Secretary under Bill Clinton before winning his position as governor on New Mexico. To say he owes the Clintons his political career would not be an understatement � is it any wonder that they are calling him a traitor? On the other side, black elected officials who support Clinton have endured the taunts that they are betraying their race by not endorsing the only black candidate in history who has the chance of winning.

With the Republican nomination sown up, John McCain has begun the general election cycle by touring the Middle East and Europe to appear Presidential and demonstrate that the U.S. is set for a seamless transition of power. This display of statesmanship also puts the Republican nominee in stark contrast to the Democrats as their race gets more vicious. It will be a long grind until August.