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February 20, 2008
Obama Rolls in Wisconsin, Hawaii
Ten in a row. That's the tally in wins for Senator Barack Obama since Super Tuesday. And judging by the polls, it appears that the Democratic party may finally have settled on someone to be their nominee.
In Wisconsin, according to exit polls, Obama placed ahead of Clinton among those who make less than $50,000 a year and those with less than a college education. He has now won working-class white men in Wisconsin, Missouri, New Hampshire, California, Maryland, and Virginia. Obama also ate into Clinton's usual margin with white women voters. (Even if exit polls are tweaked in the coming hours and Clinton winds up with a narrow edge among these groups, Obama will still have won sizable support in areas where Clinton was supposed to be strongest.) And his double-digit victory came without the help of a sizable number of black votes, which Clinton allies had previously cited as a caveat to his victories in other states. And that's the long and short of it. The entire Democratic party is, to one degree or another, moving Obama's way. There just doesn't seem to be any ray of hope for Hillary Clinton in that she is losing to Obama in so many Democratic constituencies that it becomes impossible for her to cobble together enough votes to challenge Obama anywhere.
The blue-collar votes are important, because Clinton is banking on them for her comeback in the primaries of Ohio in early March and Pennsylvania in April. They also matter because as the two candidates make the pitch to superdelegates, who will determine the nominee, it becomes harder for Clinton to argue that Obama will have a tough general election because his reach is somehow limited. He is not just the boutique fascination of young people and wealthy elites. He has now won in every key geographical area and across racial and gender lines.
Despite her leads in the polls in Texas and Ohio, I would expect now that those states are up to bat and people start concentrating on the candidates, that Obama will catch up and surpass the New York senator in the two weeks before the primaries.
At that point, Clinton will have the toughest decision of her life to make. If she loses both Ohio and Texas, there will almost certainly be calls for Hillary to drop out and endorse Obama. She will probably resist those calls and go on but to what purpose? Only when her own Super Delegates start to desert her will the writing be on the wall. At that point, she will probably drink the hemloch and exit the stage.
I think the Republicans caught a break in running against Obama. Two weeks ago, I would have said he is unbeatable. But chinks in his armor are starting to show and I think John McCain, who virtually wrapped up the race last night with wins in Wisconsin and Washington state, can take good advantage of the weaknessses that Obama posseses.