Sunday, February 10, 2008

More Numbers From Yesterday's Obama Sweep

The on-going story of voter turnout is alive and well. C&L has the raw numbers again, and, again, the Democrats pulled out a larger number of voters than the Republicans. Louisiana saw more the twice as many Democrats go to the polls as Republicans. Washington had two and a half times as many. Now, one could say that, with McCain having wrapped up the nomination, this story is no longer a real story. Except, of course, Huckabee won in Louisiana, and came within two percentage points of McCain in DC, so voters turned out to vote against the presumptive nominee, or at least for his opponent.

Part of what is driving this phenomenon is something that hasn't happened in Democratic circles in a long time. Democratic voters are quite happy with their candidates, would be content with either one on top of the ticket (none of that fence-mending necessary here), and see themselves as rolling on to victory whoever wins the nomination. Republican voters, on the other hand, are angry, not happy with their choices, and conservatives (at least the most vocal and connected ones) distrust and even loathe him. By winning without hard-right voters, especially religious conservatives, McCain is showing what a paper tiger these folks really are. Unfortunately, without a base of support, he has no where to put his feet come the general election, unlike either Democratic candidate, so that will make his job much more difficult.

I am quite sure we can expect "fence-mending" stories in the press once either Obama or Clinton win the nomination, even though the empirical evidence, via polls, shows this won't be necessary. Like the slogan on this blog says, brace yourself for a bunch of stupid, folks.

This is an historic primary season, defying all the rules and precedents. It is quite exciting, really, to have been and be a part of something like this. Regardless of who wins (OK, I said it), we are witnessing all the old assumptions about how these things work disappear. Candidates who tear each other down hurt themselves in the long run. A longer primary fight leads to bad blood and party disunity. These two verities, once confirmed by social science data, are showing themselves to be epiphenomena of one historic period in American history, rather than trends in American politics to watch out for.

By the way - Yes we can (h/t, ER)

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