And what about those women Hilary supporters who threaten to vote for McCain

Big deal!

So says John Dickerson on this morning, anyway.

In this article Dickerson wonders: “Do these political snipes have as much influence over the presidential race as all the fuss suggests?”

Dickerson is of course skeptical, but he’s also on the attack.

According to snipe is a  kind of bird that presumable one can hunt, but that is not the only definition. Snipe is also defined as:

to shoot at individuals as opportunity offers from a concealed or distant position: The enemy was sniping from the roofs.


to attack a person or a person’s work with petulant or snide criticism, esp. anonymously or from a safe distance.

Of course, Dickerson is working all of these definitions.

I’m not giving him shit for doing so. In fact, I’m impressed by his boldness, not only likening these women to birds that one can hunt, track down and shoot with a gun (you just know he’s going to catch some serious shit for that, it being not only sexist but violent in a stereotypically male way or whatever) but calling them out for slinging political threats at Barack from the removed saftey of wherever their computer happens to sit. We all know how effective angry email can be. Send! Take that!

I agree with Dickerson, and I’m glad someone is finally writing about this facet of the election from this particular angle.

We get it — women that supported Hilary with their whole heart and sould and spirit and whatever blah blah blah are disappointed. But hey, life’s disappointing, especially in politics, at least as far as I can tell. Get over it. Move on. Only some of these woman don’t seem to want to get over it, and have no intention of moving on. They’re bitter and fully intend to stay that way. Okay. Fine. What do you want us to say?

How about: Big deal!

But wait. What if it is a big deal? What if they mobilize. Apparently these bitter birds have their own web site. Oh no! Not a web site. What if this catches on? What if their numbers swell? Well, Dickerson argues that their numbers aren’t really that big to begin with, which is why he laments the fact that so much is being made of their griping. They’re really a pretty small constituency, and will likely stay that way.

But don’t tell that to some of them that. Some like “Irma, a 51-year-old Hispanic research scientist, sent a note soon after the Democratic Rules and Bylaws Committee came up with a solution for seating the Florida and Michigan delegations:”

The Democratic party no longer respects the right of the voter to cast a vote. I know that there are thousands if not millions of people who feel just like me. We will not be forced to cast a vote for Barak Obama. I got through the Reagan and the Bush years—I can stomach 4 years of a McCain Presidency.

Oh really, Irma. Thousands if not millions. Wow. That’s a lot of people. It’s difficult to imagine any individual on the face of the planet that has actually come in contact with “thousands if not millions of people” much less knows them and their political leanings. I certainly hope Irma exercise more exacting honesty in her scientific research than she does in assessing the poltical landscape.

Speaking of being more exacting let’s gander at Dickerson’s breakdown of some numbers:

Let’s start with the math. Clinton says 18 million people voted for her. That’s about 13 percent of the electorate. Obama wins about 80 percent of the Clinton supporters in a recent poll, which means that the coveted Clinton-for-McCain voters represent about 2.6 percent of the electorate. These voters matter only if they live in one of the 20 or so swing states—they’re not going to win Massachusetts for McCain. This means the total number of voters he needs to convince and hold onto is small. But Irma isn’t one of them; as it turns out, she doesn’t live in a swing state.

How sad for you, Irma. Well, at least you have your bitterness, and I assume a number of cats and perhaps even a pet wombat, to comfort you.

The point is this:

As my colleague Emily Bazelon has pointed out, if you’re a voter who cares about the issues Hillary Clinton championed, Barack Obama is your candidate. Now that he’s the only Democrat in the race, when he talks about the policy positions women care about, his is the only voice they hear. And he knows exactly where his target audience lives, which is the first key to convincing them. The Obama campaign has a list of the swing-state women who supported Hillary (either from their own canvassing during the primaries or because Clinton will hand over her list). They’ll be able to target them directly.


There’s already some polling that suggests that Obama is improving his standing with women. According to the latest Gallup poll, in a head-to-head matchup with McCain, Obama is now matching Clinton’s performance among women, with a 13-point lead among female voters. In the NBC/Wall Street Journal poll, Obama also leads McCain by seven points among white women. This is perhaps the most crucial swing portion of the electorate as a whole. George Bush won white women by 11 points in 2004. Not all white women were Clinton supporters, of course, so these polls aren’t a precise measure of Obama’s inroads into the camp of Hillary defectors. But Obama couldn’t have improved his standing with women as much has he has since clinching the nomination without a big boost from those who once supported his Democratic rival.

In the end these Hilary supporters, or No Obama Mamas as Dickerson snarkily suggests labeling them, can sqwak all they like, and of course vote for whom the chose. As Americans that is their right. But ultimately it will amount to no big deal.



3 responses to “And what about those women Hilary supporters who threaten to vote for McCain

  1. John,

    I am a boomer lady who did support Hilary. I think that most of us will support and vote for Obama.

    It was a hard fought race and he won!!!! Are we going to be poor sports and give the victory to McCain? NO WAY!!!!!! The party will come together and stand by Obama. I can’t even fathom the thought that Hilary’s supporters would ever vote for John McCain.

  2. I certainly hope that bares out, Chris. Recent indicators tend to point in that direction. Still, the level of bitterness displayed by some women immediately after the Democratic Primary was called for Obama seemed unprecedented, to me anyway, and I worry that enough Hilary supports will either vote for McCain or simply stay home to make this race far too close for comfort. It is going to be close anyway. I’d like to be more optimistic than that, I really would, but ater 2000 and 2004 I’m not inclined to let my pessimism guard down too much and allow my optimism to become artificially inflated.

    Today things look competively promising for an Obama victory in November, but there is still plenty of time between now and then. And I would not put anything past the Republicans, and for all John McCain’s maverick talk he’s clearly shilled himself to get this far and will do what he has to try and win the White House.

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