Hillary Clinton experienced a better than expected election result in West Virginia last night. Most polling sources and pundits expected a 25-30 point victory in West Virginia, along with a pickup of around 100,000 popular votes. At the end of the night, however, Clinton won in resounding fashion picking up well over 140,000 popular votes in a 41 point victory.
More importantly, however, is a number the Obama campaign and many media outlets haven’t discussed: Clinton has now won the popular vote in 195 US Congressional Districts. That number is important because of the relative equality of each congressional district. This number is important because too date Barack Obama has only won the popular vote in 187 congressional districts. If you include Florida & Michigan’s 2.3 million voters who showed up in record numbers on Election Day despite being disenfranchised, the congressional district victories look like this:
Clinton – 227 Congressional Districts
Obama – 195 Congressional Districts
Throughout March and April we heard DNC leadership tell the superdelegates that they should follow the wish of the voters. However, since Obama’s North Carolina victory superdelegates have flocked to Obama, increased pressure on Clinton to stop her campaign, and in an increasing number of congressional districts ignored the direct vote of their constituents. As if the Democratic Delegate Distribution process was not flawed enough, now many House members have directly placed party politics above the wishes of the very people they represent.
West Virginia should also highlight a disturbing problem the Obama campaign has. West Virginia is a state made up of primarily white middle class and lower-middle class voters, the heart of the Democratic coalition. Obama, at a time that most media outlets have called the race over, actually performed worse than expected among these groups. Perhaps more disturbing is the fact that Obama chose to ignore West Virginia, a clear message that he is not reaching out to this constituency.
No Democrat has won the Presidency without carrying West Virginia since 1916; and now it looks as though Obama has no chance of carrying the state in a general election. Why??? Only 36% of Clinton voters said that they would vote for Obama in a general election (his worst showing yet), and nearly 8% of WV voters cast ballots for John Edwards (a clear protest and message that they would not vote for Obama).
We can mull this over for hours, but I will leave my readers with just two thoughts:
In 1972, George McGovern built a coalition that was made up of African-American voters and Upper Class Democrats (today’s latte democrat). The Democratic leadership of the day expected the party to coalesce around McGovern in an election that they expected to win. I wonder how that turned out?
Since March 4th, Hillary Clinton has won Ohio, Rhode Island, Texas (I refuse to acknowledge the ridiculously disenfranchising caucus results), Pennsylvania, Indiana, and West Virginia. Obama has won Wyoming, Vermont, & North Carolina.
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