THE GROFF/ELLISON POLITICAL REPORT

NC/IN post-mortem …

Posted in Uncategorized by groffellison on May 8, 2008
North Carolina is a rather significant and loud win for Sen. Obama, particularly in the wake of damaging weeks where so much focus was placed on the Rev. Wright issue.  In a way, his performance suggests that the Wright controversy didn’t resonate as much as expected with voters, particularly White voters.   On another note, White southern voters are more familiar with the Black church tradition, anyway, since they are in intimate proximity to Black population centers.  Hence, many White southern voters have sense enough not to vote on that issue alone. 
Any doubt over Obama’s ability to handle the Wright controversy has been erased, with the super delegates on the sidelines possibly impressed and stunned by this candidate’s ability to take a beating of campaign-ending proprtions.  Tonight’s strong showing by Obama greatly dimnishes her Pennsylvania surge and it also shows that he was able to deflect Sen. Clinton’s economic policy “gas tax” gimmick.

What’s now difficult for Sen. Clinton is trying to move forward with a rationale that suggests she is the alternative candidate to an embattled and unraveled Sen. Obama. 

In terms of the North Carolina win, he also proves his ability to master a big, swing state.  More importantly, experts shouldn’t so easily dismiss his performance in Southern and Western states – these are the regions where Democrats really need someone who is competitive in the general.  They know they’ll get the Northern states as usual, but Obama is showing consistent strenghts in red Southern and Western states.  His problem is that although he is consistently drawing solid enough numbers of White voters – especially younger White voters – he is not grabbing any additional share of that electorate.

Which means he’s favored to do well in states like Oregon and South Dakota.  He could also do well in Kentucky, a Southern state.

It will be very difficult, in the days and weeks ahead, for Sen. Clinton to paint her Indiana victory as just that: a victory.  She was supposed to have carried a strong lead in Indiana, not a handful of votes, in the wake of Sen. Obama’s most bruising set of weeks ever.  And, who knows, once we later assess the impact of Indiana’s voter ID law on Black and young adult votes, combined with an even nominal impact from Republican-staged “Operation Chaos” votes, one could make the argument that last night would have seen a close Obama win. 
 
Even the energy of her campaign and its advisors is rather muted since the margin was too slim, too close – the only option, based on post-spin, is seating Florida and Michigan delegates. That’s neither a fresh or solid argument to stand on when your campaign is in serious debt and needs to raise a sufficient amount of cash to move forward.  What we’ve been seeing is Clinton’s attempt to move in a “paycheck-to-paycheck” fashion into each state, frantically raising just enough money to get by.  Sen. Obama appears more than happy to oblige with a responding game of attrition and an endless funnel of cash.  Her viability in this race will rest on how much money she has left.  Associated Press is already reporting that she recently loaned herself $6.4 million, obviously carrying her halfway through Pennsylvania and the rest through Indiana.
 
Based on last night’s speech, Obama is already beginning the race against Sen. McCain, characterizing McCain as a “third term of George Bush.” It’s very telling the way he is couching his remarks.  It’s also telling that we’re seeing a steady stream of superdelegates moving into the Obama camp, a sort of slow, painful torture for Sen. Clinton.     
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