THE BLOG

If Obama Loses

03/03/2008 10:39 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

As I was saying in this cyberspace the other day, it doesn't matter what happens on Tuesday in Ohio or Texas. Hillary could lose them both. Whatever the pundits are saying, she's not out until the last superdelegate refuses to cooperate or is found in the river or is indicted. We have to be realistic. The Clintonistas are not going to go down easily.

The second question in this civics course I am giving, based on the teachings of Prof. Harold Ickes and his "Practical Politics 101" playbooks: What happens if Obama really loses, despite the awesome string of state victories and his probable narrow lead at the convention this summer in Denver?

In two words: nothing good.

Obama has what George Bush the Father used to call "the vision thing." Obi has certainly elevated political discourse. The state of the stump speech in the Bushian Era has been as low as a TV station owner explaining why charging high prices for political spots is the best thing to happen to democracy since the invention of treating voters to free drinks on primary days.

Obama is the best public speaker the Democrats have had since Adlai Stevenson, who managed to lose in 1952 and 1956 against the nation's number one mumbler, the sainted Dwight Eisenhower, a master of inchoate inarticulateness.

Obi's calls for change are thrilling, even though it's never exactly clear what the changes will be. The French Revolution also promised change. The fear--as the French put it, at least those who hadn't lost their heads--always is "plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose." ("The more things change, the more they stay the same").

If this was a fair world, Obama deserves to win. But who said life is fair?

The party hacks that in the end will put Hillary over the top will argue that Obama can't win in a general election. Whatever they tell the pollsters, when they go into the privacy of the polling booth, the American people are not going to vote for a black man as President.

The pros will ignore the fact that Hillary as the nominee will bring out another form of bias: between the latent and overt hatred of the Clintons, you have a real cross section of the American electorate.

That said, Obama might offset the bigot vote with the young people vote as he did in Iowa.

Young people today are notorious idiots when it comes to politics. They have no idea about past history or how the political process works.

This is the Palm Generation. These are the people whose entire life is in the palm of their hands. Whether it's a Blackberry, a Chocolate, a Voyager or a pink Verizon Iphone, what they know or need to know or care about is on the mini-screen. It is their worldview. Keeping up with the hard news by snooping on their friends' Facebook pages, or texting the latest gossip, snapping pictures, listening to their music or watching snippets of favorite TV shows, minimization is their Vision Thing. Everything reduced to a sound bite is fun.

We have raised an entire generation that looks to their palms for answers. Truly a frightening thing.

Nevertheless, Obama has performed a public service getting the Palm Generation fired up enough to become active in politics, a form of entertainment usually considered borrrrrrrirrng.

It's a tradition of the two party system that it's okay to battle intensely for the nomination, but then we hold our noses and support the winning candidate.

The big question now is if the Clintons do steal the nomination, even though Obama is 100 votes or so ahead, what will the Obama groupies do? Will the Changesters rally around the party nominee, as good Democrats have always done? My party right or wrong and all that sort of rubbish.

My prediction: this will not be the case.

Barack supporters are not going to be too happy. All of those young people who waved the iPhones are going to feel betrayed. Cries of "We Wuz Robbed" will be heard from the fruited plains and cornfields of Iowa to the alabaster shining shores. We can expect a lot of grumblings and protests from the fired up Obi youth The Will of the People has been thwarted, they will argue, not realizing that only a deceptively small percentage of the electorate actually comes out for caucus or primaries, and their numbers are always magnified by cable network news organization hungry for a story to hype.

You can hear it coming: politics is corrupt. The system stinks. The Palm Generation, the Vision Thing People, the Changelings will go back to their Iphones. Wake us up when it's over. We're dropping out again.

The next unanswered question: do the Hillary people support Obi, if I am wrong about who wins, or do they spend the whole campaign undermining him, as they did on the road to Denver. Will Clintonistas work for Obama, or do they go to Camp Clinton somewhere and figure out how to lay down and how to hurt Obama. So they can run next time, after the Republicans win.

Either way, whoever wins or loses, the Democratic Party, despite its over-confidence that anybody can beat the Bush Legacy, is in a lot of trouble. Are they really about to snatch defeat out of the jaws of victory?