Another day older and deeper in debt. There were no surprises in Coal Country tonight and, as expected, Obama got trounced old-school in West Virginia. And the Clintons are, still, both broke and going for broke. Hillary came out just like Bill did in New Hampshire in 1992, like she was Buster Douglas and just clobbered Mike Tyson, even though the Mike Tyson in this equation lost at most just 1/123 of a 15-round bout, and Buster is leading among the judges and is all but guaranteed to pummel her next week in Oregon, and is already waging a general-election appearance in Missouri, who had their primary months ago. But as Team Hillary is so fond of saying, “A win is a win!”
Hillary rocked the Mountain State tonight, just as everyone expected, and just as everyone expected, she’s not going anywhere except Kentucky and Puerto Rico. Just as it stands every day in the Clinton campaign, this Tuesday isn’t last Tuesday and yesterday isn’t today, and tomorrow won’t be either, unless it really is today again, in which case they’ll ride the West Virginia landslide until it’s out of gas and they’ve flattened all four tires, and then they’ll keep going on the rims.
Last Wednesday, with Indiana tightening and North Carolina widening into a Barack shellacking of Senator Clinton, Hillary cancelled all Wednesday morning TV appearances at the last minute. Tonight, with Obama being roundly thrashed in West Virginia, Hillary is going to be more ubiquitous than the weather report on tomorrow morning’s news shows.
I had heard on MSNBC last week of a Clinton meeting with her major fundraisers scheduled for the day after the West Virginia primary, but there isn’t word one of that tonight. That’s not that telling, given that she’s been all but guaranteed a Reginald Denney-style whooping of Obama that has only grown larger in the last week, and why invite rain on her parade after she had such a fabulous fund-raising bonanza after Pennsylvania?
It’s impossible not to be elitist in noting that 65% of West Virginia voters are white with less than four years of college, and 63% believe that the holiday gas tax is a good idea. That’s because this state is dirt-poor and 88% of their voters say that the recession that many are still denying that we’re in is having a huge impact on their lives. That’s a real concern that needs to be respected. Obama was a bit arrogant in leaving West Virginia off his primary schedule. Hillary is correct in that the Democratic nominee does need to be a competitor in West Virginia. Obama is currently getting walloped by 122,000 votes with 82% of the precincts reporting, and this is a state the Bill Clinton won in 1992 and 1996. The Illinois Senator is being a bit presumptive in ignoring West Virginia in the primary, especially with his commanding lead in Oregon. He’s got legs for 23-hour days. He should have devoted a little more time to the Mountain State, like it or not. A 41% pummeling isn’t going to affect his bid for the nomination, but it’s no small thing. He has to find an in with impoverished white voters very much sooner than later, and with the boot of a recession pressing down on the neck of the Americans who don’t have pundit gigs on CNN and FOX News and MSNBC, this seems like a pretty good time to make your case.
This all comes back to the weird populist gap that Obama seems to have. He gives speeches that fill arenas, he’s arguably been the catalyst for the huge surge in voter registration, and he’s made further voter registration his mission for the coming months. Yet, that doesn’t translate into lunch bucket votes. I guess that’s what many people would call racism. I just think he hasn’t had a good eight minutes with the voters in these states that are stampeding for Hillary. Bear in mind that they’re doing so because Bill Clinton did spend the time there in the 1990s, and talked to them, and that’s why they trust Hillary. Barack is getting it slowly, but he hasn’t gotten there yet. When he’s face-to-face with the white poor of this country, and lathers, rinses, and repeats, then he is suddenly not the unelectable, untrusted black man. If you think that seems silly, bear in mind in considering Hillary’s support that there was a time not too long ago in America when a female Presidential candidate would have been categorically rejected by the same demographic that Barack Obama is losing among right now.
In any case, Hillary has won West Virginia, and Obama is still ahead in pledged delegates, superdelegates, states won, and the popular vote, and tomorrow is going to be different than today was yesterday. Advantage Hillary. We’ll see who wins tomorrow’s news cycle.