News from the Votemaster
Well, it's all over but the countin'. First the data, then the analysis (quite a bit today, below). Here is a list of who won which states.Clinton: Arkansas, Arizona, California, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, Tennessee
Obama: Alaska , Alabama, Colorado, Conn., Delaware, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, N. Dakota, Utah
McCain: Arizona, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma
Romney: Arkansas, Colorado , Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Dakota, Utah
Huckabee: Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Tennessee, West Virginia
The popular vote totals are mostly in.
Here they are as of 9 a.m. EST based on the
NY Times reports.
Most of the press is presenting the results alphabetical by state. Sorting by percentage gives a different view, namely of who did well where. Hillary Clinton did well in Arkansas (Bill was governor after all), and in New York, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and California, as expected. Oklahoma we'll come to in a minute.
Obama did especially well in Idaho, Kansas, and Alaska. Whut? Yes, Idaho, Kansas, and Alaska. One of the big questions of this election has been the role of identity politics. Would white people vote for a black man, for example. Well, Idaho, Kansas, and Alaska are full of white people. In fact, they have very few minorities of any kind (except the Eskimos in Alaska). What gives?
The secret is in the asterisk. Notice the little asterisks in Obama's top five states. An asterisk today denotes a caucus state. Obama did extremely well in caucus states and Clinton did very badly in them. How come? Turnout in caucus states is always low, usually about 10-20% of the electorate. Only highly motivated people bother to show up, especially the Democratic caucuses, which go on for hours and people have to publicly defend their choice. Obama has a smaller, but extremely active and loyal following, especially among younger voters. These are precisely the people who can swing a caucus state by showing up in droves and working hard to convince the other voters that Obama would make a great President. In primary states, the media, especially TV ads have a much bigger influence. Now it becomes clear why Obama won North Dakota but Clinton won Oklahoma, a demographically similar state in the same part of the country: North Dakota had a caucus and Oklahoma had a primary.
As to the racial issue, now that Obama has won Iowa, Idaho, Kansas, Alaska, North Dakota, and Utah, there seems little doubt that white people will vote for him. His background may make a difference. During the 1950s and 1960s, it sometimes happened that an African President (or king or dictator) was visiting the U.S. and wanted to see the South. Despite the segregation and Jim Crow laws of the time, African Presidents and kings were generally treated with respect that local blacks did not get. After all, they weren't bootblacks who were the grandsons of slaves. Obama benefits from this effect, too. His father was a Kenyan and his mother was a white woman. No one in his family was ever a slave, and Obama himself is a graduate of Columbia University and Harvard law school. He doesn't fit the pattern of the kind of person who has traditionally been the target of prejudice: lower class grandsons or great grandsons (or daughters) of former slaves.
The Democratic race will continue for some time, maybe until August, at which time the Democrats could have a food fight in the credentials committee as we discussed Jan. 24.
This is likely to be a good week for Obama, as there are caucuses this weekend in Washington state, Nebraska and Maine and as we have seen, Obama has done very well in caucuses, even in conservative states (and Washington and Maine are anything but conservative). There is also a primary in Louisiana, which has a large black population. It is likely that Obama will win all four contests, giving him momentum going into the D.C caucus and Maryland and Virginia primaries next Tuesday. A week from today, he might lead in delegates.
On the Republican side, we also have some interesting results. John McCain achieved a majority of the votes in only three states: New Jersey, Connecticut, and New York, none of which he has a prayer of winning in November, no matter who the Democrat is. So although he may yet get the nomination, he will be largely campaigning in states where the Republicans actually wanted somebody else. When faced with a concrete choice of McCain vs. Clinton or McCain vs. Obama, some of them may hold their noses and vote for him, but it is not a good start.
West Virginia is an interesting case. McCain got only 1% of the vote there. Did he take a stand against moonshine and outhouses? No. West Virginia had a convention, which is like a caucus except that only party leaders get to go. On the first round, Romney came in first so the McCain and Huckabee people got together and decide to all vote for Huckabee on round 2 to deny Romney a victory.
Why would the McCain and Huckabee people cooperate? After all, their candidates are competing for the same prize. Most likely, Huckabee realizes that while he won five states yesterday, he is not going to get the nomination. But his presence in the race hurts Romney badly and helps McCain. McCain is a smart guy and fully understands that he needs Huckabee to split the conservative vote (see above about McCain not getting 50% except in northeastern states with few conservatives). So what's going on? Huckabee wants to be McCain's Veep and by working with him to defeat Romney, he improves his chances. On the campaign trail he attacks Romney all the time as a Johnny-come-lately to conservatism, but Huckabee never has a bad word about McCain.
But a McCain/Huckabee ticket is not without its problems. It will unify the Republican party to a large extent. Huckabee is a young guy (52) and his supporters are only months away from working on their "Huckabee in '16" signs. But Huckabee is not popular at all with independents and Democrats. When the mud begins to fly, and it will, expect the following. "McCain is an old guy who has had malignant melanona repeatedly. He's going to die in office and then you get President Huckabee? You want President Huckabee?" Of course the candidate would never say anything like that, but outside (527) groups will have no hesitation at all in saying that. So McCain has to think carefully about a Veep more popular than himself within his own party but not at all popular outside it.
Another interesting item from yesterday's results is what happened in Utah. Romney got 90% of the vote, the most of any candidate in any election this year so far. And Romney did not govern Utah, was not born there and has lived there only sporadically (while in college at BYU and when he was CEO of the 2002 olympics). However, Utah has a large Mormon population. It is not known how often Romney goes to church, but Mike Huckabee, who is very religious (and an ordained minister) got 1% of the Republican vote in Utah. Translated into English, the score there was: Mormons 90, Baptists 1. Identity politics is alive and well this year (as we saw in South Carolina recently). [If you were looking for a politically correct Website, you are probably in the wrong place, sorry.]
Finally, the delegate totals. These are not final, but give an indication. CNN is keeping track of the delegates for the Democrats and for the Republicans. Note that other sources may differ because CNN is trying to count the PLEOs (Party Leaders and Elected Officials) and other unpledged delegates. When different reporters call a PLEO and hear "Well, I like Hillary, but Barack has his charms too" they may score it differently. Here is CNN's count:
NBC is reporting that Clinton now has about 1145 delegates all told vs. 1075 for Obama. Given that the next two weeks favor Obama, but the end of February he may have a small lead. However, exact vote totals won't be available until all the absentee ballots have been counted and the provisional ballots have been adjudicated. Only then will the exact number of pledged delegates be known. Suffice it to say, that for all practical purposes, the two are tied and will remain essentially tied for weeks to come.
Political Wire is reporting that Romney is trying to pry delegates away from the other candidates. Some of these delegates are legally bound to one candidate or another, but others are legally free to jump ship, just as people elected to Congress in one party sometimes switch parties during their term of office.
-- The Votemaster