Failure to Uncommit

Uncommitted ran a good race in Michigan, but came up short.

Uncommitted seems to have kept the Michigan race close, beating HRC decisively among black voters and keeping her margin to about 15 points overall. In accord with gender stereotypes, male voters were much more prepared to Uncommit, while female voters preferred commitment, even to an obviously unsuitable object. Naturally, better-educated voters were more willing to withhold judgment than were less-educated voters.

Had Uncommitted launched an all-out attack &#8212 asking, for example, what Mark Penn and Robert Johnson were preparing HRC to be ready to do on Day One &#8212 the forces of skepticism might have overcome the forces of ill-considered certainty. Unsurprisingly, though, Uncommitted turned out to be indecisive, reflecting that fatal lack of “fire in the belly” so hated by reporters. Let this be a warning to others running against the Clinton Borg.

Still, even in defeat, Uncommitted did nothing his supporters need be ashamed of. Can the other side claim as much?

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: