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I moved from Northern Virginia to Reno, Nevada almost one year ago and I was afraid that when I left the DC metro area, that I would be leaving the world of politics.  Of course, the Nevada Caucus has brought politics to my new home, and I have had the luxury to see the race close up.  All the Democrats have been to Reno multiple times.  I have had the opportunity to see three of them: Edwards, Kucinich, and Richardson.  

However, I have noticed, and definitely noticed on Caucus Day that Hillary has been running a very different campaign, and that has caused rifts between her and grassroots Democrats that is very troubling.

The activity of the campaigns in Reno
Several months ago, Richardson believed he would have a good shot in Nevada.  As a Western Governor, he believed he was in a good position to represent the interests of Western State Democrats.  However, after his inability to stay close in Iowa and New Hampshire, he really had no choice but to pull out.  

Kucinich won’t pull out for a long time, hoping to get his message out.  When Kucinich came to town last month, he was greeted by almost 300 people who came to hear him speak.  Many of them left very impressed, and committed to vote for him.  By Caucus day, however, they were nowhere to be found.  

Edwards seemed to be strong early on in the campaign.  In Reno, he had a large staff, active representation at Democratic events, and was strongly pushing his message of universal health care.  He appeared to have widespread support in this community prior to the Iowa Caucus.  After Iowa, Edwards seemed to disappear in Nevada.  He had few, if any, TV ads, and his voter turn-out effort was pitiful.

The Hillary folks seemed to be in the shadows.  I rarely saw them at Democratic events, where they seemed to keep a low profile.  It seemed like they were more interested with courting unions or certain interest groups, rather than Democratic voters.  

The Obama campaign consistently targeted young voters.  It seemed like a lot of the Obama efforts focused on the University of Nevada-Reno (the largest university in Nevada).  However, as the campaign reached its final weeks, the Obama campaign was much more active throughout the community.  They held many events and they had an excellent turn-out effort.  In addition, Obama was advertising heavily.  In my experience, there were more Obama commercials than Hillary commercials.

Caucus Day
On Caucus day, I headed down to the Huffaker School at 10:15am.  I was there to help the Obama campaign, but my role turned out to be more generalized.  I helped register voters and chatted with neighbors.  I didn’t put up any Obama signs or posters.

There were multiple precincts in the building; three in the gymnasium where my Caucus took place.  One of the precincts was very small, and I never caught the results.  The other two were much larger.  My precinct had 43 people, and 23 of us voted for Obama.  Before the first alignment was over, the two Kucinich supporters rushed over to Edwards, who was barely viable.  The final count was Obama 23, Hillary 12, and Edwards 8.  Obama received two delegates, and Hillary and Edwards tied with one.  The other large precinct in the gymnasium had 5 delegates up for grabs.  Obama received 3, and Hillary got 2.  

At the end of the day, Obama won 4 out of 5 counties in Northwestern Nevada (or the Reno-Carson City metro area) where 20% of the population lives. The rough numbers for these 5 Northwestern Nevada counties was Obama 49%, Clinton 40%, and Edwards 8%.

Obama won Elko, the only other populated area of the state, 58% to 28%.  Obama held a now famous rally in Elko during the spring of 2007, where nearly 2,000 people showed up.  Hillary killed Obama in Clark County (Las Vegas and its suburbs).  The damage here was 53% to 43%.  She also easily won Nye County, which is close to Las Vegas.  Edwards was crushed in Clark County, receiving just over 1.5%.   However, because of Obama’s strong performance in rural Nevada, he actually won 13 delegates to Hillary’s 12.  In fact, Obama won 11 of Nevada’s 17 counties and 6 out of the 9 largest Nevada counties.

Conclusion
From my experience, Hillary clearly sought the support of interest groups, rather than Democratic voters in Nevada.  She courted the Latino groups, the unions, and others who form any type of group. The Culinary Union leaders (who endorsed Obama and won a court case to allow their union members to vote at their place of business) were surprised to find that Bill and Hillary also courted this group, and had already neutralized their endorsement by Caucus day.  Hillary clearly used a strategy in Nevada which for years has been taken by Democrats and Republicans alike.  She focused on the group rather than the individual.  

As I mentioned above, the Hillary campaign has been an outsider to the Democratic Party in Northern Nevada, and perhaps in Southern Nevada as well.  This is a very dangerous tactic, because she is turning off much of the Democratic base.  For all you Hillary supporters out there in Virginia, rest assured that I plan to support Hillary if she is the candidate in the General Election.  However, she needs to think long and hard about what she is doing to the Democratic base.  She has turned off a lot of progressive, grassroots Democrats by ignoring us, and by slamming Edwards and Obama.  Bill Clinton has been ruthless in his criticism of Obama, which has clearly been turning off Democrats in my community and elsewhere.  Few Democrats I know like her very much.  Most of them would be happy to volunteer for Edwards or Obama in the General Election, but most of them will pack it in if she is the nominee.  As for the general public out here, even people who can’t stand Bush say that they dislike Hillary.  Conversely, most people seem to have a favorable opinion of Obama.  

It wasn’t until the last few weeks that I understood that this race is truly about change.  The American people are tired of Bush and tired of Clinton.  They want to start fresh.  They want to be united.  Even though Hillary won the popular vote in Nevada, she clearly does not have the momentum people think she has.  If she thinks the way she is currently running her campaign is working, she is wrong.  She may squeak by Obama on Super Tuesday, and win the nomination, but she may be heading for a serious beating on Super Tuesday when Edwards supporters switch to Obama, just to beat Hillary.  All in all, I think Hillary needs to come back to the Democrats and their volunteer base and convince us that she cares about us as individuals, and that she is one of us.  If she doesn’t, she may enter the General Election with an unmotivated Democratic base, and a cadre of right-wing muckrakers ready to finish her off.  

Nevada Results: http://www.nvdems08.com

Originally posted to DanfromRaisingKaine on Sun Jan 20, 2008 at 03:48 PM PST.

Poll

Is Hillary too tough on Barack Obama?

49%30 votes
50%31 votes

| 61 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  Erm (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Jim J, luckylizard

    she may be heading for a serious beating on Super Tuesday when Edwards supporters switch to Obama, just to beat Hillary.

    The Edwards people on here have been saying insistently that they will stick with their man, and in the event that they shift, it will be to Clinton.

    But then blogs don't usually reflect reality on the ground.

  •  It's not that she's too tough on him, it's ... (5+ / 0-)

    that she's dishonest.  She seems to have figured out that she can't win without distorting his record, and so that's what she's been doing.

    "Those who would sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither liberty nor security." -Ben Franklin

    by leevank on Sun Jan 20, 2008 at 03:54:17 PM PST

  •  Hillary turning off the Democratic base? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Jim J, dhonig

    Umm, no.. but Obama is starting to. He's losing working class voters because he's more rhetoric oriented which appeals to affluent voters who have the luxury of thinking about reforming the nation's politics, but for the rest, it's more about bread and butter issues. It also appears that a majority of female and Latino voters are energized and solidifying behind Hillary since her Iowa loss. Put it all together and that's formidible competition for a man whose speeches, while edifying, aren't enough to maintain momentum. Case in point - He has led consistently among younger voters, but has seen their numbers at the polls decline. In Iowa, those under 29 made up 22% of the vote. In New Hampshire, that number was down to 18%. Here in Nevada, just 13% of the electorate was under 29. He's currently losing support in almost every demographic save one - African Americans where his support is up substantially.

    •  Good point...but (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Theghostofkarlafayetucker

      the problem is that Hillary is turning off many of the affluent, and many of the young voters, who are critical to volunteering for her in the General.  I think she will have trouble getting strong volunteer support in the General, and will lose grassroots volunteers needed to neutralize the Republican slime machine.

      For Virginia blog news, check out: http://www.raisingkaine.com

      by DanfromRaisingKaine on Sun Jan 20, 2008 at 04:00:50 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  You underestimate her ground game (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Jim J, rigso

        and the ability of determined women when they unite ;)

        •  You may be right (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          phoenixdreamz

          You know what they say about women scorned...  ;)

          For Virginia blog news, check out: http://www.raisingkaine.com

          by DanfromRaisingKaine on Sun Jan 20, 2008 at 04:06:53 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  When they unite behind killing children (0+ / 0-)

          and families in Iraq ?  Huh. Women unite to support an invasion and the slaughter in Iraq, enabled by a woman who voted to let it happen?  Wow. I saw a modern day feminist all dressed up wearing a tight shirt and a bra with all sorts of wires to make her breasts outstanding--high and round. She posed for a picture at a luncheon with Bill Clinton, supervised by Peter Daou who did all the invitations.
          '
          Err  when did the bra burning feminists in days of yore, turn into wearing wire  bras that enhance their sexual qualities according to what men are attracted to?

          I thought feminists believed they did not have to dress according to what men found attractive but according to what was comfortable for them as real women.

          The feminist movement behind Hillary Clinton, a woman who has relied and increasing relies upon her famous husband to propell her into office, like a true feminist, is really old old and more old.  Feminists such as the old and fading Erica Jong, somwhere around sixty six years old, whose picture published on the Huff Post is one of a woman who looks twenty five or thirty, really appear desperate and hypicritical. They seek a comeback to their famous feminist years when they were fully behind the bra burning and the like and now think that by making themself appear younger by whatever means photoshop or botox, or surgery can transform their old faces, it will bring success. LOL

          The abortion issue is old also. Women have made up their own minds as to how to control their own families. It is no longer an issue.

          Feminists need to regroup because they no longer seem to be feminists. Bo tox, that will make them seem younger. Hair dye, that will make them seem younger and we all know, younger looking women appeal to men or even women who fear the natural progression to old age and the emergence of the more appealing younger woman is a threat to them. As always.
          \
          Sorry you feminists. You have sold out to a candidate in Hillary Clinton who relies,  all things considered, upon her  famous husband to get her where she wants to go. Same as Laura Bush, eh?

  •  Primaries are different from caucuses (0+ / 0-)

    In the case of Edwards, his supporters were berated by both Clinton and Obama supporters, as reported on Edwards' blog yesterday.  One supporter reported that Edwards wasn't viable and to go home.

    For the record, Edwards ran no radio or TV ads.  Obama spent nearly a million and I don't know how much Unite-here spent on Obama's behalf and Clinton spent $700 in ads, with a union chipping in around $100K additionally.  

    I don't expect the Edwards will run to Obama necessarily anymore than they would to Clinton since it is one person, one vote.  

    And some Kucinich supporters will root for Dennis no matter what.

    •  Clarify (0+ / 0-)

      One Edwards supporter showed up to the caucus, only to be told "Edwards wasn't viable" and to go home.  

      Money makes politics ugly and dirty.  

    •  Edwards (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      redding888

      My precinct was ready to throw the Edwards folks out because they had 1 vote under viable in the first re-alignment.  However, the Kucinich folks realized this, and ran over to Edwards.  We had a dilemma.  I realized that we hadn't closed the first realignment yet, so I intervened.  As an Obama supporter, I actually enabled Edwards to get a delegate he wouldn't have.  I thought that was the fair thing to do.  

      For Virginia blog news, check out: http://www.raisingkaine.com

      by DanfromRaisingKaine on Sun Jan 20, 2008 at 04:06:00 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Not appealing to Demcrats? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Jim J, dhonig, phoenixdreamz

    When did union members, older women and Hisanics stop being part of the Democratic base?  Boy, the elitism of some Obama supporters - and their total lack of awareness of their eltism - is almost breathtaking.

    •  I mean Democratic volunteers (0+ / 0-)

      Good point.  I realize that those groups represent a faction in the Democratic party, but I am talking about  Washoe County, and the fact that I just haven't seen much of Hillary dealing with the Democratic Party.  She seems to be reaching out to the unions themselves, rather than the Party and the grassroots.  There is a difference.  If she is the nominee, I want her to win, so this is an opinion on where she is lacking.  You can tell me that if I don't like it, I can stick it, but that doesn't change the fact that the Hillary campaign can improve in some areas.  Hillary, Obama, or Edwards must win in 2008.  We cannot affort a Republican, not even McCain to keep us in Iraq forever, and continue down the road that America is on.  I believe that Hillary would be a solid President, and change the trajectory.  But, I worry about her ability to unite the country.  I respect your opinion, no matter its bluntness.

      For Virginia blog news, check out: http://www.raisingkaine.com

      by DanfromRaisingKaine on Sun Jan 20, 2008 at 04:19:40 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Bingo.. and explains why Obama & his supporters (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Jim J

      are missing the point. But, let them have it their way ;)

    •  That was clearly not what he/she meant (0+ / 0-)

      And you know it.

      •  In terms of Democratic bread & butter voters (0+ / 0-)

        who determine elections, he's correct. Obama isn't conecting with them.

        •  Thanks (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          phoenixdreamz

          I stll don't get this idea that union members are not part of the grassroots. I'm from NH, and Hillary's supporters were very much from the grassroots - teachers, nurses, union members, veterans, people from all walks of live. I even met a couple of retired nuns. Grassroots is not defined as "I support Obama".
          However, if the campaign ceded a part of Nevada, that was unfortunate, since it would not have been too hard to pick up another delegate with a few more people turning out at a caucus in Reno.

        •  Maybe there just aren't enough Bread and Butter (0+ / 0-)

          Voters to get the job done.  The unions have been losing membership for a long time.  There are a lot more people that are self employed and that are not even interested in going back to work at the mill.  They are NOT big business and they are hardly even busisness.  The group called the real working people (the producing class) certainly includes the union people, but they are not the force they once were. They will never be the force they once were and we must find ways to support the producing people without rebuilding the unions.  We NEED universal health care and that hurts the unions as it makes their appeal less.  We need minimum wage and that hurts union mambership,  We need more OSHA type stuff and the like and that hurts union membership.  Unions simply are not the right solution.  That does not mean that we abandon support for the producing class.  It means we must expand it.

          "I know no safe depository for the ultimate power of society but the people themselves" -- Jefferson

          by TheTrucker on Sun Jan 20, 2008 at 05:10:07 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Why would we want to run anyone other than (0+ / 0-)

    Obama?  The article says that most people have a favorable opinion of Obama and they want to turn the page and get on down the road.  That spells landslide victory and a lot of coat tails and a lot of good solid Democrats in the Senate and the House.  If Obama is the best bet to make this happen then what is all the rukus about?  Let's get on with it and quit dragging the Clintons through the mud, shooting ourselves in the foot.

    Or maybe all you people are lying to me.  Maybe Obama doesn't really have this massive appeal.  Or maybe he needs the exposure of the rest of the cycle to absolutely crush the Repukes in November.

    This is where the brain gets confused by what I know about the TwoParty.  They want it to stay close at all times so they cannot be held accountable for anything. If the Democrats took the (P)residency with large majorities in both Houses then they will be held accountable for what happens.  That is NOT what The Party wants.  The Party is in control and The Party is going to stay in control. And they do that by being able to blame the other party for all the problems.

    "I know no safe depository for the ultimate power of society but the people themselves" -- Jefferson

    by TheTrucker on Sun Jan 20, 2008 at 04:58:56 PM PST

  •  Only one Democratic candidate (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    phoenixdreamz

    has been running to the right and away from the Democratic base, and it isn't Hillary  (hint- or Edwards).

    Punch up your blogs and publications with cartoons from independent lefty artists.

    by dhonig on Sun Jan 20, 2008 at 05:20:22 PM PST

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