Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Winners and Losers of Super Tuesday

Winner: John McCain. He jumped from a slight lead to a massive lead in the delegate counts. Between both parties, McCain is the one certain frontrunner. Momentum is his, the aura of inevitable victory is his. He is now bound to get more party support, more voters flocking to his banner. And the early math regarding the remaining states suggests he has smooth sailing from here on in. What really clinched his victory, nicely enough, was an early loss on the day: West Virginia. In that state, they hold a convention rather than a primary, and the first round of convention voting went 40 percent Romney, 31 percent Huckabee, 10 percent McCain, and laughable for Ron Paul. A supposed (rumor alert) quick round of phone calls later, and nearly all of McCain's votes went to Huckabee, giving him enough votes to beat Romney. As a calculated move, it was brilliant: it kept Romney, McCain's major rival, from winning a solidly conservative state that could have improved Mitt's "Conservative" appearance, while giving a real Conservative Huckabee a victory in a state that didn't have many delegates riding on it. No wonder it left Romney's people sputtering and screaming conspiracy: it hurt them more than it hurt McCain.

Loser: Mitt Romney. Yes, he won states. But he won the states he was expected to win (Utah, Mass., even Colorado). And he lost the states he needed (California, Cali, Hollywoodland, the Big One). What really hurt him was that he lost big in the solidly Red States, ahem, the big Southeast states. He didn't even place second in Alabama or Georgia or Tennessee. Having already lost South Carolina and Florida, Romney is not impressing anyone where the Republicans maintain their voting base. And this is despite nearly all of the major "conservative" pundits like Limbaugh and Coulter trying to prop Romney up (or to tear McCain down). There are a lot of GOP voters who aren't buying what Romney is selling.

Winner: The Democratic Party. Okay, the general election isn't even here yet. There's 5-6 more months to go before the convention. There's still two heavy-hitting candidates punching each other for the title belt in a fight that's gotten messy and could get worse. But the good news is that the voters are turning out in droves for the Democrats. If you look from state to state that had shared Primaries between the D and the R, there was double the turnout for the Dems than for the Reps. And the Republicans have more at stake than the Democrats: The Republicans still have 3 major choices to choose from (let's face it, Ron Paul is one step away from calling up Ross Perot about borrowing the Reform Party for a few months). You'd think with the Dems' choices down to two, there would be fewer voters taking a stake: You'd think with the Republicans still campaigning hard with three choices there'd be more voters wanting to have their say. But this is in conjunction with the census numbers of registered voters showing a 50-35 Democrat-to-Republican body count: there are simply now more registered Dems than Republicans. And the Democrats are more enthused with their choices: most voters don't have a problem with their opposite candidate winning (71 percent of Obama's will vote for Hillary if they must; 72 percent of Hillary's will voter for Obama if he wins). Compare that with the Republicans, who are splitting rather nastily between McCain and Romney and Huckabee.

Loser: Obama's Momentum. Statistically, it was a draw between Hillary and Obama last night. They mostly split the states down the middle, almost Solomon-like. Hillary could claim victory because she won more of the larger states (Cali, Mass) and got more delegates. And Obama could claim victory for winning in states he wasn't polling in two weeks earlier, as well as winning in states where Hillary's chances are not that good (the South outside of Arkansas and Florida). However, Obama did poorly in California, and worse yet did poorly in Massachusetts. The entire Kennedy clan was backing him, fer crissakes: when was the last time that state didn't answer fawningly to the Kennedys' whims? As for the Big Mo, Clinton still looks formidable, and while Obama's caught up to her in the polling numbers she still gathered more numbers to herself (taking more of Edwards' lost support than Obama has). Obama still has a major obstacle (or twelve) to overcome. It's now down to Ohio and Texas, and who can win those states...

Loser: The Kennedys and their home state. My God. Massachusetts voted for Clinton. What the hell is wrong with that state?!?!

Loser: the Conservative Mainstream Media Elites. They don't like McCain. It's that obvious. They also can't understand why most Republican voters are backing McCain, which is risky (for them and their wallets). Ann Coulter's always been more on the fringe, having alienated a few too many fellow Conservatives, but Rush Limbaugh is starting to look waaaay out-of-touch with the average Republican. What do you think could happen if the voters keep siding with McCain come November? Will the talking heads swallow their pride and calmly back the party's candidate, or will they continue to blast him and end up alienating their own audiences?

Loser: the people who want a One Day Primary. Dammit! Are we the only ones who notice how convoluted and inconsistent the whole damn mess is?!?!

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