The Real Divisive PartyEven though Barack Obama finally "denounced" Jeremiah Wright, the Wright controversy and the baggage that goes with it have already dug deep into the public perception of Obama. If Obama shows any signs of weakness in the forthcoming Indiana and North Carolina primaries, his campaign then becomes a question of what-ifs:
The perception is that Obama is bleeding. But this COULD be a good thing for Obama, relatively speaking, of course. Clinton won the expectations game in those past three contests, primarily because it seemed like Obama had all the Mo’. But now that Mo’ is on Clinton’s side. What happens if Obama is still able to defeat Clinton by double digits in North Carolina and essentially split the delegates in Indiana? Of course, the bigger question for his campaign might be: What if he doesn’t? And what if those exit poll cross-tabs in North Carolina and Indiana show white voters abandoning Obama in greater numbers than in Ohio and Pennsylvania?
It is highly possible at this point in the race that Barack Obama will not do nearly as well in North Carolina or Indiana as his campaign people had previously been projecting. If that happens, then what does Obama do? He can't exactly pull out of the race, since he leads in pledged delegates and will have even more after those two contests even if he should lose. If Obama does lose, however, it will send him to the Democratic Convention a wounded and limping candidate.
Further, even if Hillary Clinton does lose both of the forthcoming primaries, if the race is close enough it will both cast doubt on Obama's ability to win and guarantee the brokered convention that the Democrats are desperately trying to avoid. The ultimate beneficiaries of all of this are Republicans, who could emerge as the party of consensus-even with a presidential nominee that few of us are collectively fond of. The Democratic Party is quickly becoming the party of the politically divisive, something that could hurt them in a year when the public focus is far from the Democrats' internal problems.