Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Kentucky and Oregon: General Election Preview?

Just as I thought they would do, the major press is attempting to ignore Hillary Clinton's drubbing of Barack Obama in Kentucky by focusing entirely on Obama's victory in Oregon. First Read, for example, is attempting to play this as Obama having an Appalachian problem-he can't win working-class white voters in Appalachian States, they say. He does not have a problem with the same demographic in Oregon, so he must not have a problem. These folks (and nearly all national media outlets) are ignoring two key demographic realities. The first is that Oregon is a much more socially liberal State than Kentucky as a whole. It is a State that will likely go in Barack Obama's favor in the fall, while Kentucky likely will not.

The second factor that the press (who would like to believe that Barack Obama does not have a serious problem among working class whites) is what the map in Kentucky showed us last night. Yes, Hillary Clinton did extremely well in the Appalachian counties in Eastern Kentucky. She did equally as well, however, in the Blue Grass country of Central and West-Central Kentucky, and in the river bottoms of Western Kentucky. Obama could not even carry the college towns of Richmond in Eastern Kentucky and Bowling Green in the Central West, in what should have been strongholds for him. It wasn't just the Appalachian counties that rejected Obama, it was the entire Commonwealth-right across the board. Obama even did poorly in Kenton and Campbell Counties, which border Cincinnati, and which have a much higher African-American population than some of the other counties he lost.

The map of how the primaries turned out looked less like a Democratic Primary, and more like a General Election with a Democrat running against a Republican. Barack Obama carried Fayette County (Lexington) and Jefferson County (Louisville)-and neither by a wide margin, with Clinton literally carrying everything else by a huge margin, whether it was in Appalachia or not.

What the result in Kentucky and Oregon shows us is not that Obama will have an easy road, but that we are in for another tight Red and Blue election, one in which Obama will not be able to afford to write States off, because the small States he wants to avoid will break his campaign. He won a State he is supposed to win and lost a State that he will almost certainly lose in the fall. Unless Barack Obama has a serious change in strategy (which we know he can do), he is in for a hard ride in November.

Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton says she's staying the race at least until June. She says she can still be the Democratic nominee. Under ordinary circumstances, I'd have to ask what the woman is smoking, considering that her campaign debts keep piling on and she can't seem to catch Obama in the delegate count:

And in her victory speech in Louisville, Ky., on Tuesday night, Mrs. Clinton
made a pointed appeal, telling her supporters she would keep campaigning until
there was a Democratic nominee — “whoever she may be.”

There are strong indications that the DNC Rules Committee is going to come up with a compromise on seating Florida and Michigan delegates-which would change the "magic number" needed to win the nomination.

So what does Ms. Hillary know?

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At Wednesday, May 21, 2008 2:09:00 PM, Blogger GJG said...

Not being an expert on the ins and outs of politics, I can only observe the results of the various primaries, caucuses, etc----but what I kinda think I see, and nobody seems to have mention this aspect----is how much of Obama's popularity is based on those who just flat out can't stand Hillary?? so take out the anti hillary count from obama's score and where does that leave him? Your right its gonna be another red vs blue kinda election---with about the same result.


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