Wednesday, January 23, 2008

By Staying in the Campaign, Edwards Helps Obama

Although John Edwards is quickly losing his status as one of the front runners in the campaign, he is still vital in keeping Hillary Clinton from winning, according to a recent article on Alternet.org. Although a lot of Edwards supporters would likely switch their votes to Obama, he is still important for this reason: Obama still keeps most of the southern Black vote, but Edwards splits the southern White vote (in which Obama is trailing) with Clinton, preventing her from breaking even with him. Were Edwards to drop out, Clinton would quickly be even with- or even surpass- Obama in states where he currently has a lead.

This article says that Obama currently isn't strong enough, especially among many White voters, to hold his own against Clinton in the election, but if he stays strong and has a good showing on Super-Duper Tuesday, he should have a decent chance of getting the Democratic nomination. But up until then, Edwards is a vital part of ensuring his success.

Obama Campaign Says Nevada Caucus Disenfranchised Voters

Several days ago, after the recent Nevada caucuses, the Barack Obama campaign called for an investigation into what happened at some of the caucus locations throughout the state. According to a press conference held by the Obama campaign, “an indeterminate number of caucus locations” stopped allowing new voters in at 11:30am, half an hour before the caucuses were actually supposed to start at 12:00pm. This is allegedly because of incorrect information provided by the Clinton campaign in their manuals.

The Obama campaign is not going to challenge the outcome of the vote, even though Clinton got more delegates than Obama.

According to a statement sent out by the Obama campaign to its volunteers, there were over 200 incidents at caucus sites. Although they didn't blame these on the Clinton campaign, they did mention that they had extra impact because of and with “an entire week’s worth of false, divisive, attacks designed to mislead caucus-goers and discredit the caucus itself” from the Clinton campaign.

Other caucus sites ran out of paper ballots, registration forms, and other things, and apparently there were some ballots that had been pre-marked for Clinton.

Obama Volunteer Work

The longest and most strenuous (but also most enjoyable) day of my Iowa trip was definitely the day that I spent volunteering for Sen. Barack Obama’s campaign. The other Obama supporters on the trip and I all arrived at the campaign headquarters around 9:00 that morning. Soon after our arrival, we were given clipboards with maps and a list of potential (and verified) Obama supporters and we went off to a residential area of Ames to knock on doors and leave literature about the caucuses. Since we were walking around on a Wednesday morning, many people were at work, so I ended up leaving a lot of door hangers. After several hours of canvassing, we returned to the Obama headquarters. Everybody else left to see Bill Clinton speak in Des Moines, but I stayed at the office to help more. Over the next nine hours, I made over three hundred phone calls to potential and verified Obama supporters, reminding them of their caucus location, answering any questions they may have had about Senator Obama or the caucuses, and occasionally getting hung up on, sworn at, or told that they had changed their political affiliation- including one person who had supported Obama, but now favors Ron Paul.

For me, volunteering for Senator Obama’s campaign was a really valuable experience, and I would definitely like to do campaign work in the future, either paid or volunteer. It enabled me to see how a campaign works on the inside, and also gave me insight into and respect for all of the work and personpower that go into retail politics as they're practiced in Iowa. Although I don't want to run for public office, nor would I want to do something as big as manage an entire campaign, I definitely hope that campaign work can be a part of my life for quite some time.

John Edwards

I’ve seen John Edwards twice, and both times, what he said was very similar… in fact, it was almost identical each time. This surprised me, especially because of the difference in audience and location of the two times we saw him. The first time was in Algona, a town of about 6000 people in northern Iowa, and there were around 200 people in attendance. The speech he gave there talked a lot about farmers and workers, and I thought it was generally well-suited to the mostly-rural, casually dressed, small-town Iowa constituents who attended, although I thought that the way he dressed (a blue suit with a white dress shirt and tie… and brown Timberland boots) didn’t entirely “match” his audience.

The next day, we saw him in Ames at Iowa State University. I had figured that his speech would be different, since he was speaking in a university town of just over 50000 residents. His speech, however, was almost exactly the same as the one he had given the day before in Algona- but his dress was different. He was wearing the same boots and jacket, but he was wearing jeans and a white button down… in other words, the clothes that I would have said were more appropriate for the Algona crowd of farmers and small-town folk, not the university-town dwellers.

In general, though, I liked John Edwards’ message. He spoke about returning power to the American people, and also about the importance of family and the legacy of those who came before. I also support his healthcare plan and his plan for rebuilding in Iraq.