Obama needs to convey the impression that his campaign is still on the offensive and that the loss hasn’t stalled his momentum at all. The willingness of a big name in the Democratic Party to embrace him two days after New Hampshire caters to this mperative, giving Obama a favorable headline that helps put the New Hampshire mess in the rearview mirror.
More important to South Carolian, the NYT reports that Rep. Jim Clyburn is reconsidering his earlier commitment to remain neutral: “But he said recent remarks by the Clintons that he saw as distorting civil rights history could change his mind.” Oops, indeed.
More on endorsements in the Hotline, WSJ and the Swamp. And the Las Vegas Sun’s J. Patrick Coolican has reveals that caucus rules allow for “at-large” sites that could make the Culinary Workers’ endorsement even more vital:
Although the union is coy about how many of its members are registered to vote, the endorsement is expected to give Obama at least 10,000 supporters in the caucus, in a contest whose turnout estimates have ranged from 28,000 to 100,000.
In a caucus, supporters of a candidate literally stand together on one side of the room, demonstrating to everyone who is supporting whom. Many Strip shift workers, Culinary workers, will be voting at so-called “at-large” caucus sites on the Strip. This means Culinary members, for whom unity is a creed, will be able to enforce discipline. Clinton can no longer expect to win many delegates at those at-large sites.
The infusion of locked-down voters is only the most obvious benefit, however.
The caucus process requires participants to show up at 11:30 on the appointed morning and at the correct precinct location, which means organizations must identify supporters and ensure they show up. The Culinary is known as the most politically active and organized union in the state and one of the most active in the country. Political observers in Nevada have long assumed the union would provide the kind of organization that could deliver victory.
The Obama campaign, which has been working to win Latino voters with a sophisticated effort to woo them in their workplaces, can now do so with Culinary support and encouragement. A significant though ultimately unknown portion of Culinary membership is Latino, and the endorsement could have a prairie fire effect, spreading from workplaces to Latino homes and communities.
Finally, Culinary leadership, including Secretary-Treasurer D. Taylor and political director Pilar Weiss, are two of the most politically savvy — and feared — players in Nevada Democratic politics. State legislators and others are wary of crossing them.
A final thought, not directed at Coolican: political pundits seems to imply that endorsements carry more weight with African American and Latino voters than it does with white folk. If true, is that perception accurate? Certainly, one can imagine, and see historically, that first time voters and new citizens may be more inclined to look to community leaders for guidance. Still, something rankles about the notion that in order to sway “minorities” (Blacks could be the majority in the South Carolina ballot), all one need to do is get their leaders on board, like Machine politics at it worst.