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Hillary Clinton Beats Barack Obama in Pennsylvania--Old Networks Beat New Networks in Politics.

Posted by: Bruce Nussbaum on April 23, 2008

Hillary Clinton’s win over Barack Obama last night reflects many things but the one that most intrigues me is that it was the triumph of traditional network politics over modern network politics. What do I mean? Pennsylvania remains an old-style Democratic machine state, with strong state and local organizations that turn out the vote. Independents are not part of these networks and can’t vote. These organizations are the networks of 19th and 20th century politics and they turned out the vote. They are also the networks of older, poorer, more culturally “traditional” people.

Contrast that with the web-centric networking of Obama, a very different form of 21st century networking. It is the network of the young, the rich, the independents and more culturally “modern” people. This network system turned out lots of money for Obama and the votes of the young, but it wasn’t sufficient to win in Pennsylvania.

Going forward, it the battle of the networks will determine who gets to run as Democratic President candidate. We have a classic culture war going on inside the Democratic Party, pitting young against old, web networking against institutional networking.

Wouldn’t it be ironic if Super-Delegates, people who are not supposed to be tied to any network, determine the winner?

Reader Comments


April 23, 2008 3:14 PM


This election may prove to be a pivotal time in politics. The web has created new connectivity that can affect our every day lives. Until now, I hadn't seen a cultural change through the technology. Obama has successfully utilized (innovated?) the web to propel viral awareness and branding. He promises many of the same attributes we target at emerging consumers; self awareness and self actualization. The availability of information to us and these forums exchanging opinion can, no will, change the world.

Would the results be ironic or a sign of deep cultural change created through technological innovation resulting in adaptation?

Now, this is where Design should be playing a role, creating the voter experience!


April 23, 2008 5:54 PM


It’s time for everyone to face the truth. Barack Obama has no real chance of winning the national election in November at this time. His crushing defeat in Pennsylvania makes that fact crystal clear. His best, and only real chance of winning in November is on a ticket with Hillary Clinton as her VP.

Hillary Clinton seemed almost somber at her victory speech. As if part of her was hoping Obama could have defeated her. And proved he had some chance of winning against the republican attack machine, and their unlimited money, and resources. In all honesty. I felt some of that too.

But it is absolutely essential that the democrats take back the Whitehouse in November. America, and the American people are in a very desperate condition now. And the whole World has been doing all that they can to help keep us propped up.

Hillary Clinton say’s that the heat, and decisions in the Whitehouse are much tougher than the ones on the campaign trail. But I think Mr. Obama faces a test of whether he has what it takes to be a commander and chief by facing the difficult facts, and the truth before him. And by doing what is best for the American people by dropping out of the race, and offering his whole hearted assistance to Hillary Clinton to help her take back the Whitehouse for the American people, and the World.

Mr. Obama is a great speaker. And I am confident he can explain to the American people the need, and wisdom of such a personal sacrifice for them. It should be clear to everyone by now that Hillary Clinton is fighting her heart out for the American people. She has known for a long time that Mr. Obama can not win this November. You have to remember that the Clinton’s have won the Whitehouse twice before. They know what it takes.

If Mr. Obama fails his test of commander and chief we can only hope that Hillary Clinton can continue her heroic fight for the American people. And that she prevails. She will need all the continual support and help we can give her. She may fight like a superhuman. But she is only human.


Jacksmith... Working Class :-)


April 23, 2008 6:53 PM

Hillary''s new slogan is " Why can''t he close the deal?" That would be because Obama is not a used car salesman like her. Keep counting those imaginary delegates from Michigan and Florida. If there is one thing that America stands for, is that We are a nation of Laws, and Michigan and Florida broke the Democratic laws. The Democratic Party is not going to show the rest of the country that they will break their own rules."If we had the same system as the Republicans, I would already be the nominee...." yet another Clinton scenario for winning the primary. Do you think that you can make any other points as to whether the superdelegates should back Hillary ? Why did the media fail to chastise Ed Rendell " There are some people in this State that will not vote for a black man" but they vote for someone who channels Truman and said " we can totally obliterate Iran" By the way that wasn''t McCain who made that statement... it was Hillary. I did not say Clinton, because you may have understood it to be Bill Clinton.


April 24, 2008 3:09 PM

Jack Smith -- funny, I've seen you post that exact reply on a few sites now, and it's a fairly flawed argument. First of all, a loss of 9.2% to another Dem is hardly "crushing defeat" as you'd like to claim.

Obama has not failed any imaginary test. He made improvement among many key demographics between OH and PA, showing his ability to gain support across all groups. He maintains his lead in national polls, which directly contradicts Hillary's false claim of buyer's remorse.

Obama has been easy on Hillary, out of respect for her as a fellow Democrat. If she were to do the unthinkable and get the nomination, despite being behind by every single measure -- the Republicans will not be so kind. They have 20+ years of shady business associates, questionable financial dealings, and Hillary has contradicted herself enough times in the last 5 months to turn her into 5 times the flip flopper John Kerry was.


April 24, 2008 3:25 PM

I was disgusted with Ed Rendell's statement but find it to be true. I live in small town Pa and can't believe the ignorance sometimes. On 4/22 I still heard people calling Obama a Muslim. I want to scream, "Even if he were a Muslim (which we all know he isn't), Muslim doesn't equal extremist any more than Christian equals Abortion clinic bomber!" My husband even had someone tell him that they just couldn't trust a "person of color" in that position (president). How politically correct, using the words "person of color" and yet so racist. These are generally nice people with "antipathy towards people who are not like them. Barack hit the nail on the head. I guess he needs to learn to lie better.


April 25, 2008 12:58 AM

Hey, all you Hillary and Obama supporters,
Stop fighting like my 2 kids!
I swear I've seen better cooperation in day cares and kindergartens! Y'all sound like it's a fight between 2 extreme ends of the spectrum. Well, I think you're nuts! They’re about as far apart as 2 peas in a pod. I like Obama BUT if Hillary wins then I'm voting for her.

The LAST thing we need is another Republican in the White House.

Hillary Supporters – If Obama is the nominee and you vote for McCain then you better not call yourselves democrats!

And all you Obama supporters – If Hillary is the nominee and you don’t vote for her then you’re a pack of 2-faced idiots and low-lifes!

After 7 1/2 years of Babbling Bush we need a president who is intelligent, articulate, cooperative, reasonable, tough, a fighter, and can read his/her own newspaper in the morning. Both our candidates can fit the bill. If they would stop fighting themselves then they could BOTH be on the ticket in November (at this point I don’t really care who’s on top)! But we’re not going to get there by fighting amongst ourselves. If anything we NEED to band together and cheer BOTH on to a victory against the Republican smear machine. Just like what they’re doing right now.

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Want to stop talking about innovation and learn how to make it work for you? Bruce Nussbaum takes you deep into the latest thinking about innovation and design with daily scoops, provocative perspectives and case studies. Nussbaum is at the center of a global conversation on the growing discipline of innovation and the deepening field of design thinking. Read him to discover what social networking works—and what doesn’t. Discover where service innovation is going and how experience design is shaping up. Learn which schools are graduating the most creative talent and which consulting firms are the hottest. And get his take on what the smartest companies are doing in the U.S., Asia and Europe, far ahead of the pack.

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