Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Primary Thoughts

1. Kenneth Baer is completely wrong when he describes last night as great for Hillary Clinton. For evidence, he cites pundits talking bad about her, which of course means nothing. Looks like he wrote a little too early since he credits her with winning Missouri. Whoops! It wasn't a terrible night for Clinton since she won California, but I'm not sure how you can make the argument that it was good. She held her own against a rising Obama, but Obama's momentum is likely to continue. It seems that the Maryland-DC-Virginia primaries will be very favorable for Obama. Texas will be quite interesting too, considering it has both large Latino and black populations. Who knew my vote would count this year? Last night was basically a dead heat on delegates and a win on states for Obama. Advantage: Barack.

2. Voter turnout continued to be quite high. Yglesias notes that 800,000 Democrats voted in Missouri compared to 552,000 Republicans. Philip Martin shows that both Clinton and Obama received well over 5 million votes each nationwide. McCain barely cleared 3 million. The media treats these two contests as if they are equal. In a sense that's right, but the whole nation is trending Democratic and that is great for November.

3. Obama still seems to struggle among Latino voters. I have to wonder what the Latino split would be in an Obama-McCain election. This is a real problem. There are a lot of racist Latinos out there. They just don't want to vote for a black person. This is hard to overcome. I think Obama has to seriously consider a Latino VP candidate if he wins. Richardson would make a lot of sense. Los Angeles mayor Antonio Villaraigosa also could be considered. These are the two top Latino politicians in the U.S. They are both more or less in the Clinton camp, especially Villaraigosa, but that's a good thing in a VP choice. Obama has shown that he can win in red states so I don't think we need a white guy in the VP slot. If he can't get either of these, Arizona governor Janet Napolitano would make a lot of sense because of her connections with the Latino community.

4. God, the Republican field is pathetic. I still feel the way I did in December--what a bunch of losers. McCain is hated within his own party but Huckabee and Romney are pathetic challengers. Romney is done. McCain is clearly the nominee, even if he hardly dominated last night. But regardless of who the nominee for the Democrats is, I feel really good going into the general election.

5. The Netroots had been working its collective butt off to knock out corrupt Illinois congressman Dan Lipinski in the primary. Tons of online fundraising and workers on the ground. Didn't make a damn bit of difference. Lipinski won in a landslide over Mark Pera. I think this shows the relatively small power of the Netroots in Democratic politics still. I'm not sure how to counteract this. Somehow more connections need to be made between activist Democrats and Democrats on the ground who aren't political junkies. It's tough. It's also incredibly tough to knock out incumbents in the primary. Ned Lamont beating Joe Lieberman in 2006 gave everyone hope, but it was also an extreme example of collective disgust over his policies.