Ever the cautious candidate, Barack Obama warned his supporters at a fundraising breakfast today not to get too cocky about their lead over John McCain, but due to his lead, Obama does have a chance to extend his campaign into more red states, to potentially give himself a mandate and extend the Democratic congressional majority.
According to The Caucus, Obama said, “For those of you who are feeling giddy or cocky or think this is all set, I just have two words for you: New Hampshire. I’ve been in these positions before when we were favored, and the press starts getting carried away and we end up getting spanked. That’s another good lesson that Hillary Clinton taught me, so we want to make sure that we are closing strong, running through the tape.”
Here is why people who think that the Obama campaign is going to get complacent and set on their lead are wrong. Unlike in the primaries, there are no super delegates that Obama can count on to put him over the top in the general election. The strategy for closing a fall campaign is different from that of a Democratic primary. In the primaries, the campaign knew before the public did, how many uncommitted super delegates that they had waiting in the wings. They have no such luxury or cushion in this election, so they must keep running hard.
The bigger concern from the campaign is that if Obama’s lead continues to grow, some of his supporters might assume that he has this locked up, and that they don’t need his vote. As the race stands today, the only way that McCain can win is if the Obama people don’t vote, but from what I have observed over almost two years, Obama supporters are a different breed. They are passionate and dedicated to Obama to a degree that hasn’t been seen in this party since both the Kennedy brothers in the 1960s.
Since Obama has the lead, it is possible for him to get more aggressive and extend his campaign into red states like West Virginia, and Georgia, because McCain doesn’t have the resources to defend all of the states that President Bush carried in 2004. Every additional dime that McCain has to spend in a West Virginia, Georgia, or Kentucky is less money that he can spend in Ohio, Florida, and Virginia. Obama has a chance to capture a mandate, and have some big coattails for his fellow Democratic candidates. His campaign would be foolish to pass up this opportunity.