Sunday Read: On South Carolina

“The polls were all over the place, so I was prepared for anything,” the Santa Ana resident said, then noted neither of the two Democratic frontrunners has been able to pull ahead yet. “Voters everywhere — Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina … and soon, Florida and California … everybody is deciding for themselves. It’s not looking like a coronation. We’re in it for the long haul.”

Yeah, yeah, Martin Wisckol quoted me. But hold on, I wasn’t the only one that our fearless local political reporter extraordinaire spoke with to get some reaction to what happened in South Carolina yesterday for the fantastic All Things Presidential blog on Follow me after the flip for more on what local liberal politicos are thinking about Barack Obama’s big win in the Palmetto State.

Here’s the rest of what I had to say:

Like many others, [Andrew] Davey is looking forward to Feb. 5 for a major indication of what’s really going to happen.

So far, it looks pretty good for (Clinton) in California,” he said. “We’re seeing a lot of Latinos come in to the phone banks and making calls in Spanish, and people are coming and making calls in Vietnamese.”

And the odds of an open convention?

“I don’t like to make odds, but anything could happen.”

If you can’t really get what I’m saying, let me give you some context. I’m talking about our amazing group of Democratic activists for Hillary here in OC. We have such an amazingly diverse group of supporters, including Latinos, Asian-Americans, LGBT people, union workers, and so many more. Just come into one of our local offices some time, and you’ll see for yourself all the momentum we have here in Southern California.

But anyways, enough of me and my shameless Hill promotion… Let’s see what my colleague Chris Prevatt had to say about the South Carolina results:

“[…] The top two candidates have spent a fortune getting to this point. I’m not sure that there is much in the way of donors that are not tapped out to either campaign. The key for everyone in the Super Tuesday Primaries will be grass roots financial support. I find it interesting that with 0% of the precincts reporting Obama was projected as the winner with 70% of the vote by the major media outlets. They showed Clinton at 21% and Edwards at 9%.

“Now with 86% reporting we have Obama at 54% Clinton at 27%, and Edwards at 19%. What I think these numbers show that this is a three person race. With more than 60% of the turnout women, it looks to me like Clinton clearly does not have a lock on the “woman’s vote.” With none of the candidates having a clear majority of delegates, I think we’re looking at a brokered Democratic Convention.”

“The fact that the major media has failed to mention Edwards on a consistent basis (The Register to some level being an exception to that rule) people have been left with the impression that there are only two viable candidates. That simply is not true. The race for the Democratic nomination is a 50 state process. If no candidate emerges from that process as the clear choice with a clear majority of delegates under their control, the delegates may be forced to select a consensus nominee who may not be either of the front-runners. John Edwards is still in this race and absent a true front-runner, can still become the nominee. At a minimum he may be the deciding factor in who that nominee will be.”

OK, so Chris thinks Edwards still has a shot despite his loss yesterday. What does our fine Democratic Party Chair Frank Barbaro have to say?

“It’s definitely a confidence builder for Team Barack. It should carry some momentum with it, and it should help turnout for Obama on Super Tuesday,” said Frank Barbaro, chairman of the Democratic Party of Orange County. Barbaro has not publicly endorsed any candidate, and has helped raised money for the top three hopefuls.

Speaking of which, how much longer can John Edwards hang on?

“A lot of people are saying this is Edwards’ Waterloo, but others like Wylie (Aitken), say that things are getting divisive between Hillary and Obama, and he is going to stay in. He becomes the the compromise guy and a lot of people think he’s the most electable.”

OK, so it’s clear that all of us see something different out of what just happened in South Carolina. So which of us makes more sense to you? What are you thinking about the state of the Presidential Election now?

Do you think South Carolina just gave Obama all the momentum he needs to ultimately win the nomination? Or do you think Hillary still has enough of an advantage in enough of the states voting on February 5 and on later dates to come back and win? And what does Edwards do after losing his native state? Where does he go from here?

And more importantly, what are you thinking about beyond the simple horse race? What do you think of all the media coverage of the campaign in the last week? Have they been spending too much time on “the horse race” and not enough time on real issues? Have they been over hyping charges of “mudslinging” and “race baiting” while ignoring the real issues, like Iraq, health care, and the economy, that real voters actually care about?

Go ahead and check out what Martin Wisckol has up at the All Things Presidential blog, then go ahead and come back so we can discuss what just happened in South Carolina. What really happened? And where do we go from here?

Let’s talk about it. 🙂


  1. Lovable Curmudgeon-

    Read this…

    I hope that explains for you why I made the change. As much as I find Obama to be a charismatic speaker and a great organizer, I’ve truly become inspired by Hillary’s message of real change. It’s been fantastic to see all these supporters from all walks of life come into our offices to help out, and I just feel compelled to be a part of making history with someone who’s truly ready to work with us to make this nation a better place for everyone.

    Despite what happened yesterday, we’re still working hard to ensure victory next week in California and in the numerous other states voting on Feb. 5. We clearly have the people power. Now we just need to finish getting out the vote, and then you’ll start to see some great things happening in the months to come. 🙂

  2. Billary got seriously spanked in South Carolina, the fact of which is obscured in this post. This wasn’t a 3- or 5-point victory. Billary got beat two to one. That’s huge.

    Interesting numbers, and not mere election day trivia. In 2004, some 293,000 Democrats voted in South Carolina’s primary. Saturday, Obama alone got that many votes. In Greenville County, with a population that is 78% White, Obama bested Billary by 22%. Unlike New Hampshire, he also won among voters with incomes below $50.000. True, he did not win in all demographics.

    Saturday, the volunteers working for an Obama victory in California made nearly 200,000 phone calls to prospective voters. Next weekend is a state-wide canvass. We are building on the momentum of a year of effort in Orange County and California.

    How any of this will play come Tsunami Tuesday is anyone’s guess. And based on the performance of the pollsters and pundits to date, no honest person knows. Anyone who says otherwise is working an agenda, or is lying or delusional.

    No matter what happens down the line, I will think kindly of South Carolina – and not only for spawning Steven Colbert. – for such a sweet victory.

  3. Bill-

    “Billary”? “Spanked”?

    Someone sounds like a “sore winner” this morning. Methinks you need to tone down the rhetoric a bit. Just because Obama’s people are worrying about Super Duper Tuesday doesn’t mean they need to lash out at all the rest of us.

    While I can’t give any details of what’s going on in Hill’s campaign, I can say that everything’s working out as planned… And I think great things will happen come Super Duper Tuesday. 😉

  4. Yes, Andrew. Billary. There are two Clintons running in the primary. On Saturday, Bill was the first to appear on TV. He weeks ago moved beyond supportive spouse to candidate. When trying to prevent Ted Kennedy from endorsing Obama, it wasn’t Hillary who called Kennedy, it was Bill. The list goes on. Ah, and Toni Morrison has set the record straight. With her endorsement today of Obama, she has effectively revoked Bill’s charter membership in the Black Presidents Club.

    If you have a quarrel with spanked, what then, would you call getting beat two to one. Whipped? Landslide? Home Run? Mandate? You tell me. Hillary’s margins of popular votes in New Hampshire and Nevada were each less than 10 points. She lost by 28% in South Carolina. Maybe you would call it narrow?

    As to the details of Hillary’s campaign, we all know she’s targeting specific CD’s in delegate-rich states. There’s no secret. We also know she’s basically ignoring the caucus states. Again no secret.

    Billary (again, because there are two Clintons running) will do well on Tsunami Tuesday. So will Obama. Who does how well and what that will look like is, right now, anybody’s guess. A week is an eternity in an election.

    So we’ll all do our work, each of us for our candidate, and then we find out what will have happened.

  5. Bill-

    Wow. For all the talk of Obama running a “different kind of campaign”, all I see is the same ol’ Chicago Machine style nastiness. Our signs have removed from our offices… Unless they just get spraypainted. Many of our voters in Nevada got intimidated by the Culinary Union leadership… And thank goodness they stood strong and didn’t allow Culinary leadership to force them to caucus for someone other than their true choice! Here in California, a major 527 is doing GOTV for Obama DESPITE his decrying of Hillary and Edwards getting any help from 527s.

    Oh my, and looky here…,0,2320595.story

    Obama’s BFF just got arrested. Crap, that must be why the Obama campaign is trying its hardest to keep media focus on South Carolina! They must know that with the Rezko arrest happening and Florida voting tomorrow, they’re in for a REALLY tough week.

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