Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Edwards Endorsement = White/Working-Class/Rural Vote? Or Something Else?

With former U.S. Senator and Vice Presidential candidate John Edwards' endorsement, what exactly does this bring to Sen. Obama's campaign?

  1. Someone who can speak the language of a group Obama is desperate for: working-class and rural white voters. While much can be made of the fact that Edwards couldn't bring his own state of North Carolina into the blue column in 2004 as vice-president (Bush won the state by 13 points), there is something to be said for being able to "bridge the divide" between the "gutter-ball elitism" that has been tarred to Obama and the southern-drawl, good-ole-boy (even though he lives in a multi-million dollar mansion) Edwards. One true test of how much this endorsement may help (or hurt) will be the upcoming Kentucky primary. But probably more important than attempting to bridge the working-class white vote is...
  2. The fact that Edwards is a critical superdelegate who can signal to others, "now is the time." Having the former vice presidential candidate and competitor sign on to your campaign plays a critical signal to other superdelegates that the water is fine, jump on in. While Sen. Obama has had a steady flow of superdelegates coming to him since NC & Indiana, I think this endorsement is designed more for the other 197 supers to begin to make their calls.

While Sen. Clinton publicly assured her supporters of going all the way, this endorsement may mean that her "it ain't over till it's over" will be over quicker than she realizes.