What Obama needs to do to win big next Tuesday

After a couple of games of Armchair Pundit, I now feel ready to play Armchair Strategist for the Obama campaign.

After a big victory in South Carolina, Barack Obama has the most delegates (63, vs. 48 for Hillary and 25 for Edwards). He also has a strong ground game in the February 5 states. But of course that's not enough.

In order to win big on Super Tuesday, Obama must:
  • Tout his record. Few people can say they have done in Illinois or US politics what Obama has done. Check out this bit from TIME regarding Obama's record in his first three years as a freshman Senator. In contrast, what has Hillary done in her seven years in the Senate? Or Edwards in his six years?
  • Go to town about his policy proposals - and why he offers them. This sarcastically titled article on Democratic Underground offers a complete look at where Obama stands on countless key issues.
  • Reach out to groups among which he is weakest. He needs to improve his standing among women, senior voters, unions, and, yes, white voters. How can he do that? In part by touting his endorsements. More on that below.
  • Attack the 'youth' and 'inexperience' factor. This is about the only 'advantage' Hillary has. Many of Hillary's supporters support her because they feel she is more ready for the job than the younger Obama. Well, fiurst of all, many Presidents - including Bill Clinton - took office at younger ages than Obama will be on 1/20/09 (he'll be about 47 1/2 years old). And second, experience doesn't matter as much as judgment and integrity. Even so, experience is not about how long you've held an office; it's about what you have done during your time in office. Incidentally, here's a good article on Obama's experience.
  • Milk his endorsements. Among many others, Obama is endorsed by Senators John Kerry, Ted Kennedy, Pat Leahy, Claire McCaskill, and Kent Conrad (ND); Caroline Kennedy; Governors Kathleen Sebelius (KS), Janet Napolitano (D-AZ) and , Deval Patrick (MA); Reps. Barbara Lee (CA) and Linda Sanchez (CA); and Mayor Shirley Franklin. The Arizona Republic, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Dallas Morning News, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, San Francisco Chronicle, San Jose Mercury News, Trenton Times, and Boston Globe have also decided to back him. They all believe that he is the most capable and most ready Democrat in this race.

    While it's great that he has these (and many more!) endorsements, let's be honest: How many people are going to be swayed by endorsements? Voters need to see why these people and papers are backing Obama. When an undecided voter sees an ad or a piece of literature that includes a key quote (or two or seven) from said endorser(s), the impact of these endorsements will go farther, helping him to improve his standing among demographics where he hasn't done as well. (For example, it would also help to feature labor leaders and experienced politicos in his campaign items, the former to get the union vote, and the latter to help quell concerns regarding Obama's experience.)
  • Have one hell of a showing in Thursday night's debate. Don't even let it look close.
I will say that a year ago I was not to keen on the idea of Obama running for President; now I believe no one else is as ready to take on the demands and rigor of the White House. If he can win me over, he can win over countless other Americans. I have outlined a few steps
Obama can take. This is not an exhaustive list; there are other things both he and his supporters need to do in order for him to win on Tuesday. But I believe that following these and other strategies will help his campaign greatly as we head into what just might (or might not) be the final few days of the primary election season.

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