Wednesday, May 07, 2008
It's over: Obama closes the deal in Indiana and North Carolina!
WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) - Sen. Barack Obama has won the Democratic presidential nomination with his convincing win in the North Carolina primary.
The primary election that Sen. Hillary Clinton said would be a "game changer" has become a "game ender."
While Obama hasn't completely put to rest the concerns raised by Clinton about his ability to woo white working-class voters, his strong showing on Tuesday in North Carolina and, to a lesser extent in Indiana, will likely push even more Democratic super delegates into his camp.
Soon, in a few weeks or early next month, Obama will have the endorsements of a majority of Democrats to the Denver convention. And then it will be time for Clinton to step aside and step behind the man who has beat her under every conceivable standard: most delegates, most votes and most states.
It's no secret that Obama has had a very tough couple of weeks, as he's been dogged by intemperate statements made by the candidate and by his former pastor.
But his victory in North Carolina shows that he's survived the worst, perhaps, that can be thrown at him. If she is a fighter, then what is he?
A respected member of his own party has essentially campaigned against him as a Republican would -- questioning his patriotism, his aloofness, his manhood, and his judgment - and has failed in a key, big, swing state.
North Carolina proves that Obama isn't a loser, that he can still connect with a majority of Democrats, and that he can win a big state.
Clinton campaigned as the economic populist, but Obama won a majority of the votes in North Carolina cast by those most concerned about the economy, according to exit polls for the networks. He won a majority of voters with less than a high school education, and won among all white voters under 65.
The economy is becoming a bigger issue as winter turns to spring. At the beginning of the race in January and February, Obama scored big wins by appealing to voters who believed ending the war was the biggest issue. Clinton came back by emphasizing the economy as the calendar turned to Ohio and Pennsylvania.
But North Carolina also shows that Obama can appeal on pocketbook issues too. Those voters who see the economy as the biggest issue - two-thirds in North Carolina -- are highly likely to stick with the Democrat in November in the race that matters against McCain.
Clinton, of the hundred-million-dollar income and the Ivy League education, put on a corn-pone accent and accused Obama of being one of the "elite." But strong majorities in both North Carolina and Indiana said they believed Obama reflected their values and cared for them.
In his victory speech, Obama directly addressed the fire that nearly engulfed him, saying that ending the old politics of exploiting fears and the fake controversies was the very reason he was running.
"The other side can label and name-call all they want, but I trust the American people," Obama said.
And for their part, the Tuesday vote show that enough Democrats trust Obama to beat McCain in the fall.