Super Tuesday Unsettled Democrats

Sunday’s NFL Superbowl was exciting but yesterday was the “Super” that mattered most.  On the Democrat side, both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton stepped closer to the nomination but not any further from one another. The latest reports have Obama leading the delegate count with 845 to Clinton’s 836, bringing Clinton’s total lead closer to Obama’s. It will take 2025 delegates to clinch the Democrat nomination.

The results for Super Duper Tuesday — when 24 states held primaries or caucuses for Republican and Democrat presidential nominees — didn’t settle the question of who will win the nominations. Clinton — who was once considered inevitable — won most of the big states including California but Obama claimed many smaller states. Party rules don’t allow all the delegates to be counted so the race stayed competitive throughout the night.

Clinton’s lead is important but she still has less than half of the necessary delegates to win the nomination so nothing is secure until the final count at the Democratic National Convention in August. Because Obama’s wins were more widespread, and because he is winning disproportionately among certain demographics — blacks and young people — he has a real edge.

Republican Strategist Mary Matalin told us in an interview this morning that Obama and Clinton are in “purgatory between change…[and] experience” and for now “there is no way to know” who will win the nomination.

“There is no difference between their ideas and there are no big, new ideas anyway, it’s the same old liberal stuff,” Matalin told HUMAN EVENTS. “They can’t inspire anyone on anything other than their identity politics.” 

She said Democrats are “scared,” seeing the election only as “who can go best up against us and now who is best for the country.” 

Clinton secured victories in Arkansas, Arizona, California, Massachussetts, New York, New Jersey, Oklahoma and Tennessee. Obama prevailed in Alaska, Alabama, Connecticut, Colorado, Delaware, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota and Utah. Both took their home states and Clinton captured the Arkansas vote, where her husband, former President Bill Clinton, was once governor.

According to a CNN exit poll, Obama overwhelmingly lead the black vote with 8 in 10 and Clinton took a little over half of the white vote. Collectively, Obama led among men and Clinton led among women. Identity politics were certainly at work, stirring a re-invigorated excitement about the election process and drawing a record number of voters.

Matalin said Clinton has the advantage because she unites the base but Obama attracts independents — though each candidate is “equally vulnerable.”

If anyone but Clinton wins the general election, it will be the first time for those under the age of 27 that a Bush or Clinton has not been in the White House — a prospect that engages the youth — and those angry at Washington.

National polls prior to the Tuesday vote appeared to be on shaky ground, given the upset in New Hampshire when Clinton easily won though polls predicted Obama would take the state.  Fox News reported that many voters made up their mind at the last minute, causing pundits to suspend any solid predictions before results landed.

But morning most of the nation was equally stumped on the likely Democratic nominee. Now, Clinton and Obama will focus on campaigning in the next primary states. On Saturday, Louisiana, Kansas, Nebraska and Washington state hold their contests and Tuesday includes Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia.

Clinton has led throughout the race but Obama has gained ground slowly and steadily. His ability to reach out to new voters, secure endorsements from key Democrat leaders such as Teddy Kennedy and John Kerry, as well as muster comparisons to JFK and Martin Luther King, Jr. have shaded his youthful inexperience and elevated his rhetoric.

People are drawn to Obama, Matalin said, “because everybody wants to be inspired and everybody likes change…until they actually have to face what kind of change.”

“In the cold light of day… change is what the elections are about — but change to what?” she asked.

The Clinton war room now will have to get tougher with Obama, and it will.

In the latest Democrat debates, earlier this week, Obama and Clinton remained cordial and complimentary — conceding that one of them would take the presidency in November. There has been talk of a Clinton-Obama or Obama-Clinton ticket, but Matalin said that would be a “real sign of weakness for the party.” She said a better choice for either candidate would be Mark Warner or another “reasonable Democrat from a Red state.”