Super Tuesday Analysis Take 2
I took the 15 states where there were primaries (ignoring the caucuses, with their atypical voter turnouts) and where both major parties participated. I added up all the votes received by the Democratic contenders in 1 column and all the votes received by the Republican contenders in another column. Then I compared each of them to what Kerry and Bush got in the presidential election of 2004. (The full table is at end of this commentary).
The main finding? Democrats are running 10 percentage points ahead of last time (62% of 2008 primary voters vs. 52% of 2004 presidential voters in these 15 states).
They turned out more voters than the Republicans in 12 of the 15 states up for grabs. The exceptions were Alabama (just under half, at 49%), McCain’s home state of Arizona (46%), and Romney’s Mormon base in Utah (30%).
Is this a fair comparison? I contend that it is. Both parties are locked in well publicized, hard-fought, spirited contests. This means that:
(1) there’s a powerful motivation for that party’s voters to turn out in the primaries, and
(2) there’s essentially zero incentive to cross over and vote in the other party’s primary in the states where that’s even possible.
The turnout figures bear this out, with about half as many participants in a PRIMARY (where there’s seldom anything else on the ballot as an added lure) as in the last ACTUAL election (which always produces the highest level of voter participation). This is an unprecedented showing of interest.
And it’s likely to get better for the Democrats and worse for the Republicans because of the way their party rules work. Take Missouri, the quintessential bellwether state, which has voted for the winning presidential candidate in all but 1 presidential election since 1900.
Clinton and Obama split the show-me state down the middle. Each will get about half the state’s delegates. So, regardless of which candidate ends up with the nomination, Dems on the other side will have been active participants in the process right up to the final gavel at the convention in Denver. They’ll have had their shot and think they’ve gotten a fair shake.
On the GOP side, it was again almost a dead-even split, except 3 ways instead of 2. But ALL of Missouri’s Republican delegates will be going to John McCain (33%) and NONE to Mike Huckabee (32%) or Mitt Romney (29%). What kind of message does that send to supporters of the latter 2? “Thanks for dropping by, sorry about all your wasted work, see ya again sometime. Oh, yeah, can you spare a couple of bucks?”
In football, even if you don’t score on a given possession, it means something if you can advance the ball 40 yards before punting. You get some reward for your effort, some benefit for being partially successful. Not with the Republicans, tho. It’s either a touchdown or back to your own 20-yard line.
Lat night the punditocracy spent a lot of time working over the identity politics for the Democrats. Asians went huge for Clinton, blacks big time for Obama. Hillary pulled in a large share of white women, Barack most of the black women. Latinos tilted toward Clinton.
You didn’t get any of that on the Republican side, because there was no minority vote worth mentioning, and the little ladies, bless their hearts, will just do as they’re told, same as always.
What we DID see on the Republican side was the overt dismantling of the Frankenstein monster that was the Reagan Coalition. Each component now has a face of its own:
• John McCain, the face of the tactics-of-fear, bomb-everybody, warmonger wing of the party
• Mitt Romney, the face of the rich-white-guy, business-uber-alles, no-taxes-for-us, checkbook wing
• Mike Huckabee, the face of the know-nothing, redneck, pseudo-scientific, evangelical wing
• Ron Paul, the face of the sell-the-interstates, dismantle-the-schools, every-man-for-himself wing
• Tom Tancredo, the face of the they’re-a-comin’-fer-yer-dotters xenophobic wing
Tancredo, of course, has dropped out, and Paul has been marginalized, but the Republicans in general can no longer pretend that they care about their constituencies.
Which brings us to the night’s biggest loser, George W. Bush. As I noted in my instant spot analysis before hitting the sack last night, he’s so radioactive that even the Republicans never mention him. Hell, there were people in Romney’s audience who were holding up pre-printed posters that said “CHANGE”.
But give the guy credit where it’s due. For the last 8 years, he was able to successfully wear ALL of the above masks. He WAS the face of the checkbook Republicans, the warmongers, the religious nuts. And he managed to keep them in line and acquiescent while he and Cheney looted the federal treasury.
That’s why the strategy is clear for whoever wins the Democratic nomination: Point to whoever wins the Republican nomination and say “different face, same policies” (a variant on the old worker’s motto, DDSS). Hang Bush around the guy’s neck like a millstone at every opportunity. There’s gotta be a grin-and-grip image of every one of the likely GOP nominees standing next to Bush. Haul those puppies out and spread ’em all over the country. Paper every lamppost with them. It’s the most effective tactic imaginable.
Hell, do that, and the Dems won’t even have to come up with any ideas of their own.
A strategy which, regrettably, seems to suit them just fine.
Here are those numbers, padded out with zeroes to make ’em line up nicely:
St. EV Dem. 2008 % Kerry 2004 % Rep. 2008 % Bush 2004 %
AL 09 0,533,521 49% 0,693,933 37% 0,550,573 51% 1,176,394 63%
AZ 10 0,368,828 46% 0,893,524 45% 0,439,347 54% 1,104,294 55%
AR 06 0,279,650 58% 0,469,953 45% 0,203,259 42% 0,572,898 55%
CA 55 3,918,333 64% 6,745,485 55% 2,189,399 36% 5,509,826 45%
CT 07 0,350,595 70% 0,857,488 55% 0,150,159 30% 0,693,826 45%
DE 03 0,095,979 66% 0,200,152 54% 0,050,062 34% 0,171,660 46%
GA 15 1,041,203 52% 1,366,149 42% 0,952,651 48% 1,914,254 58%
IL 21 1,937,730 69% 2,891,550 55% 0,873,572 31% 2,345,946 45%
MA 12 1,244,131 71% 1,803,800 63% 0,496,171 29% 1,071,109 37%
MO 11 0,820,453 58% 1,259,171 46% 0,584,617 42% 1,455,713 54%
NJ 15 1,104,101 67% 1,911,430 53% 0,554,894 33% 1,670,003 47%
NY 31 1,720,218 74% 4,314,280 59% 0,602,133 26% 2,962,567 41%
OK 07 0,401,230 55% 0,503,966 34% 0,329,843 45% 0,959,792 66%
TN 11 0,616,122 53% 1,036,477 43% 0,553,763 47% 1,384,375 57%
UT 05 0,122,617 30% 0,241,199 27% 0,283,759 70% 0,663,742 73%
Tot. 218 14,554,711 62% 25,188,557 52% 8,814,202 38% 23,656,399 48%