May 6, 2008


A Decisive Moment or Status Quo? (Reid Wilson, 5/06/08, Real Clear Politics)

If Clinton wins both Indiana and North Carolina, and Indiana by a wide enough margin to take a serious majority of the state's 72 available delegates, she can effectively stem the tide of super delegates who have begun the exodus toward Obama in the past several weeks. To do so, Clinton will have to rack up big margins in rural parts of both states; most of her events in both states have been held in small towns, stretching from Appalachia to the coast.

Bill Clinton, the self-styled ambassador to rural America, has been the key to his wife's outreach to small-town voters. During a grueling nine stops on Monday, the former president stopped in three towns with populations under 10,000. Aside from Raleigh, the second-largest city in the state, only Jacksonville, a city of nearly 70,000, has a significant population. In both states, according to an NBC News analysis, Bill Clinton has visited at least twenty counties that have never hosted a current or former president.

By running up big margins in those areas and blunting Obama's own expected heavy margins in Indianapolis and the Chicago suburbs, in Indiana, and in the Research Triangle, in North Carolina, Clinton has a chance at a major victory. But it remains, as it has for the last several contests, an outside chance, without which the Clinton campaign will have wasted yet another opportunity to claw back to a competitive plateau.

An equally unlikely scenario is a knockout punch from the Obama campaign. As in Pennsylvania, Ohio and Texas, Obama once again has the ability to effectively seal the nomination by winning Indiana and North Carolina. Though parts of Indiana are in the Chicago media market, a win there would give the media an excuse to write stories declaring that Obama had weathered the storm surrounding Jeremiah Wright, and that he can win among working class whites, with whom he has had pronounced trouble connecting.

A win in North Carolina would probably be caused by larger than normal turnout among African American and younger voters. That's something super delegates want to see, given that Obama's electability argument hinges less on the ability to turn out the standard Democratic constituency and more on the ability to expand the base and turn out first-time voters.

If Obama wins both states, and by convincing margins, the Clinton campaign's first reaction will be to look ahead to coming contests in Kentucky and West Virginia, where she is likely to do well.

...where an increase in black votes would have saved them?

Posted by Orrin Judd at May 6, 2008 7:01 AM
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