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Obama's Conundrum

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Senator Obama, not unlike Senator McCain, has a problem:

A poll released Friday by CNN and Opinion Research Corp. found that nearly a third of those who voted for Sen. Clinton in the primaries said they would stay home in November rather than vote for Sen. Obama. A similar poll taken by the two organizations in early June found only 22% expressing that sentiment. In the latest poll, only 54% of Clinton voters said they were planning to back Sen. Obama.

You may be wondering how this will impact the electoral landscape. If you’re not, go away.

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The Independent provides a good outline of the grievances some former Clinton supporters have with the Obama camp.

Many disaffected Clinton supporters and fundraisers believe Mr Obama did not do enough during the primary contest to end what they believe was a sneering campaign in the media. They are still angry at the way pundits referred to Mrs Clinton’s laugh as a “cackle.”

There is also anger at the way the mainstream media picked up on the comedian Chris Rock’s comparison of Mrs Clinton to the knife- wielding madwoman in the movie Fatal Attraction.

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Some of Mrs Clinton’s fundraisers are pressuring the Democratic nominee to give her a prominent role in the general election campaign and in a future Obama administration.

That disaffection has led Obama into a situation which, though reminiscent of McCain’s problem with evangelicals, is fundamentally quite different. By and large, the disaffection with Obama in the Democratic Party isn’t motivated by policy differences, as it is with McCain. The Nobama Network, for example, has this to say:

Americans are feeling angry, appalled, defeated, and invisible. Often we hear our neighbors and friends remark they are not going to vote because their vote does not count. If you are feeling disenfranchised by your party, the DNC, or by the news media it is time for you to take a stand. On this site you will find numerous Grass Root Movements of people like yourself fighting for change. Find one that speaks to you, spend some time posting to Blogs, and talk to your neighbors and friends. Every vote counts and each voice will be heard. Get involved America. No one has the right to tell you what candidate to support or how to vote.

This tends to be the common theme amongst anti-Obama Democrats — disenfranchisement. Pat at the Clinton Dems writes this:

We need to stay alive in the news and get this Joker Obama out of our Election. The elections belong to the people. Make and act on your vote for Hillary now and take action.

Joe Gandelman at The Moderate Voice sums up well:

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American political history is dotted by instances of parties that lost because the candidates that emerged simply couldn’t bring the party together over divisive policy issues.

Could this be the first election where the media making fun of a laugh that pundits described as a “cackle” helped cause partisans of a party to sit on their hands and watch the defeat of their party’s candidate (and perhaps their own hopes to change the direction of the Supreme Court) in a general election?

If that happens, then the REAL “cackle” will come from John McCain.

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