Hillary wins Meaningless Michigan Primary

The real news last night for the Democrats was coming out of Nevada where the contenders sat down for the most sickeningly sweet debate in major party history.

But there was a primary for Michigan Democrats - even though Hillary Clinton was the only major candidate on the ballot. Clinton took 55% of the vote with "Uncommitted" coming in second with 40%.

A "death penalty" handed down by the Democratic National Committee in November that took all of Michigan's delegates to the convention away and even forebade Democratic candidates from putting their names on the ballot or campaigning in the state made the primary an exercise in futility - maybe.

The fact is, no one knows if the DNC is going to go through with their plan to deny Michigan and Florida any delegate representation to the convention because they defied the rules and held their primary before February 5. Can the party afford to alienate voters in 2 of the 10 largest states in the union? Many think not which is why the primary went ahead with Hillary's major challenger being "uncomitted."

The uncommited vote was the brainchild of Representative John Conyers (D-MI) and his wife who is a Detroit City Councilwoman. Both are Obama supporters and they thought by getting enough uncommitted delegates, that if the DNC reinstated Michigan's convention privileges, Obama wouldn't be shut out.

Indeed, African Americans voted in overwhelming numbers for "uncommitted:"

Even so, roughly 70 percent of Michigan’s African-American voters — a group that makes up a quarter of Michigan’s Democratic electorate — did not cast their votes for Clinton, choosing the “uncommitted” option instead.

Yet these voters weren’t uncommitted at all: in fact, according to CNN exit polls, they overwhelmingly favored Barack Obama, whose name did not appear on the ballot. Had Obama’s name been on the Michigan ballot, CNN exit polls show that he would have won an overwhelming 73 percent of the African-American vote, in contrast to 22 percent who say they would have voted for Clinton under those circumstances.

If South Carolina’s large African-American community votes as Michigan’s, Hillary may not be feeling much ‘southern hospitality’ in that state.
Can Hillary win without the black vote? The way she has energized the women's vote may offset some of that loss in the African American community. But it is hard to see her carrying many of the big states without  big city African American support.

The Nevada Caucuses will reveal which candidate has organizational strength. But it will be the South Carolina Democratic primary on January 26 that will tell the tale of which candidate can maximize their appeal to their own constituencies.