So, who won? On the Democratic side, the Obama campaign says they have the most delegates coming out of yesterday’s primaries and caucuses. The Clinton campaign says they won. For the GOP, John McCain pulled out some big wins, Mike Huckabee won most of the southern states, and Mitt Romney got pretty much smoked except in his “home” state of Massachusetts and in Utah, where the Mormon church is based. Mr. Romney tried to put a brave front on it, but the numbers don’t lie and he got his butt kicked. Let the right-wing teeth gnashing begin.
While John McCain is certainly in the lead in the GOP race, there’s a powerful backlash against him in the party base of conservatives and evangelicals. As noted below, some of the biggest mouths on the right are saying they would rather vote for Hillary Clinton than for John McCain. And while their bark may be worse than their bite, may I remind you that it was Rush Limbaugh and James Dobson who claim that they are responsible for delivering the Republican majorities in 1994 and the Bush presidency in 2000 and his re-election in 2004. They won’t go away quietly, either.
The Clinton and Obama camps may go back and forth to claim the bragging rights, but one thing is clear: at this stage the Democrats have the upper hand in this election. They have two very strong candidates with appeal that cuts across gender and ethnic lines (the New York Times editorial page notwithstanding), and regardless of who ends up as the nominee in Denver this summer, the party will emerge as far more unified than they have been in a long time. I have yet to hear anyone of substance in the Democratic base say that they would rather vote for John McCain if Barack Obama is the party’s nominee, and Michael Moore hasn’t announced that he will boycott the election if Hillary Clinton gets the nod.
Not to worry, say the Republicans; they will all unite behind their nominee and do everything they can to trash whomever the Democrats pick, including putting out crap like Michael Savage and the never-ceasing e-mail urban legends. No doubt; that’s all they’ve got. But it’s very hard to overlook the massive turnout in a lot of the states; in some cases people waited hours to get to vote. That’s good for both the Democrats and, as Melissa notes, for the country; the more people participate, the better for everyone. People are fired up to get someone else in the White House, and chances are they’re not going to settle for yet another Republican administration. History has proved that when the electorate is motivated to vote and change the course of the country — 1932 and 1980 being recent examples — they don’t re-hire the same crowd as before.