Politics as Basketball: Primary Analysis

The Lakers and the Celtics will play for the NBA Championship and I am actually looking forward to watching it. As the Democratic primaries come to an end (thank God), I think it is fitting to use a basketball analogy in my analysis of what occurred between Clinton and Obama.

Kobe Bryant in the greatest player in the game today, but he alone is not great enough to take a team the Finals. In recognizing this, Lakers management traded for Pau Gasol and brought in Derrick Fisher. They put together a decent bench and a solid team was formed. The Celtics did the same thing in bringing in Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen. The Celtics also changed their strategy to focus on defense knowing they had enough talent to score points.

We could consider Team Hillary as the Lakers. She had the best players in the world and really is the storied franchise of politics. Her team could score at will and had all the big stars in attendance to watch her take the championship. Her starters were the best and her basic strategy was to pound the opponent so by halftime, the game would be over. Team Obama came in as underdogs and put together a solid team and formed a strategy to play all four quarters and extend the rotation to utilize all of the players on the bench.

At tip-off, Team Hillary goes down early but is looking at the clock figuring that by halftime (Super Tuesday) they will be up far enough to rest the starters. Team Hillary ignores the pick-and-rolls (Hope and Change), solid defense (Internet donations) and the 10 man rotation (grass roots organizations) employed by Team Obama. As halftime nears (Super Tuesday), Team Hillary is exhausted (low on funds). As the horn ushers in the end of the first half, Team Hillary finds itself in a close game with Team Obama.

Team Hillary comes out the second half with a media blitz stating how their starters are outscoring Team Obama starters and how their organization has more season ticket holders (white working class). This, they claim, is the evidence of a true championship team. But Team Hillary has to rest its starters and finds that their bench, which they never figured on needing, isn’t prepared. Team Obama goes on a run (winning 11 contest in a row) and by the time the starters return (Pennsylvania & Ohio), she’s down and the Commission (Super Delegates) is ready to crown Barak and MVP of the finals.

In the end, Team Hillary starters outscored Team Obama’s starters. (that in primary states, Clinton won 1,557.5 delegates, 16 more delegates than Obama's 1,521.5.) But Team Obama’s bench outscored Team Hillary’s bench (In caucus states, Stewart found, Obama won 366 delegates, or 191 more than Clinton's 175.) Team Hillary paid little attention to their bench and though they may be the storied franchise; have the most season ticket holders; have the most banners hanging from the rafters; it is the final score that matters. It’s not about the team that wins the first and third quarter; or the team who starters scored the most points. It is about the final score. And Team Obama won in the category that matters the most – the delegate count.


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