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Story Archives: Has Obama bounced back?
|Has Obama bounced back?|
If there were any tears this time from Hillary, we never saw them.
But you can believe (that is if you can believe anything from the Clinton campaign) those tears were there.
This past Saturday in South Carolina's Democratic Primary, Barack Obama doubled his closest rival Hillary and almost tripled the votes of native-son Edwards. As an interesting side note, Bill Clinton won South Carolina handily in 1992. John Edwards carried the state in 2004.
Obama's victory must be put into some context.
And before you ask, my answer is, "No…I am not sorry for boring the readers with statistics!"
That Barack carried 80 of African-American voters was somewhat expected and to a certain rather neutralized before now. In fact, the Clinton tom-toms had beaten that message out for their apologists to repeat in the media several days before the voters made their selections.
Still, Barack carried every age group except the 65 and older. He also carried male and female (that is not a misprint, sorry Hillary) voters by almost a two-to-one advantage over his rivals. Really, the only "downside" to the demographics was where Hillary picked up 42 percent of the "non-black, 65 and older" voters.
Obama won 82 percent of the "black, 34 year olds," which is roughly equal in total number to Hillary's only demographic bright spot. In fact, it was Edwards that scored better among whites over 30 years old than anyone.
So what does this mean?
Is Obama back? Will Hillary have to cry some more? Can anyone keep Bill from showing his indignation? Was Hillary's Florida win actually mean anything? And, who is Mike Gravel?
The trouble for Obama is that Super Tuesday is Feb. 5. Regardless of how well he does leading up to and on Super Tuesday, the New York senator could get the lion(ess) share of the super-delegates and all of this will be over.
By the way…super delegates are elected officials and party leaders that account for 796 of the more than 4,000 delegates for the Democrats. You would have to think that the super delegates are decidedly in the Clinton camp. Also, those super delegates represent almost forty-percent of the delegates needed to secure the nomination. That does not leave too much room for error for Obama.
At least one more major point about South Carolina needs to be made. Obama broke out of a racial box that the Clintons (and their co-conspirators in the media and Democratic Party) tried for two weeks to put him in. They tried (and failed) to belittle Obama as a one-race candidate. Even ABC News Nightline did their best by featuring his white family side. But Obama can ill-afford to not use his race.
On Super Tuesday, African-American voters in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia and Tennessee (and Virginia?) will go to the polls where they comprise significant numbers. Obama should do very well in all of those states. In point of fact, he should carry all of them. The big prize of California with almost 10 percent of the total delegates will doubtless get split. That is unless the Hispanic voters flock to Hillary which is possible. And then she could wrap up the nomination. I actually think that is one of the least reported election year stories. Who will Hispanic voters support?
Anyway…a mixed return on Super Tuesday puts the emphasis back on those elusive super delegates. And, again, this means Hillary gets the proverbial nod and nomination.
Iowa demonstrated that Obama could win among whites and the young. Maybe South Carolina verified that he could expand that base. But, can he carry Hispanic voters? If not, California, the super delegates and then the nomination will be just beyond his reach. He would have to score big in Illinois, Massachusetts, and New York to remain viable.
Sure, Edwards could have helped Obama by immediately endorsing him when he dropped out. And, yeah, Al Gore could throw his green hat into the ring (assuming that he could find a carbon neutral method to run a national campaign) and further confuse the picture.
Unfortunately for Obama, the old adage applies: even a dead cat will bounce. In South Carolina he bounced. But I think its over for him unless he keeps his losses to single-digits in the delegate rich states next week. All the Kennedy-endorsements in the world cannot fix this.
And by the way…Republicans (i.e., McCain and Romney)…you had better get ready…Hillary and Bill will be tough to beat.
So far, the GOP is 0-2 against the Clintons.
John Sutherlin, PhD, is an assistant professor of political science at the University of Louisiana-Monroe. He may be reached by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.