Saturday, February 09, 2008

Democratic Race could be Photo Finish

The February 9th Louisiana primary and caucuses in Nebraska and Washington, and Virgin Islands, could edge Obama closer in delegates to Clinton. There are 158 delegates up for grabs here, and the demographic of two states involved, Louisiana and Washington, make for a promising outcome for him - a 31.7% black population in the former, and 27% with a Bachelor's degree or higher in the latter - the national average is 24%.

Obama has done very well with black voters, and college students and white males. While white women gravitate more to Hillary, white dudes could be the group to finally determine the nomination outcome. According to this article,

"If you look at the demographics state by state, you can see that, right now, Obama's being kept alive by white guys," said Richard Parker, a Harvard lecturer and co-founder of Mother Jones magazine. "It's the one group which is not voting identity politics because they don't have a candidate."

It's expected that today's caucus results will tighten the gap between the Democratic rivals. The momentum, the near equality in the delegate numbers, the realism of a black underdog being more accepted as potential U.S. President, must be making the Clintons a little more nervous. Hillary Clinton does represent more political experience, but one expert analyst suggested that Obama is a certified outsider, and that is his appeal. Mike Murphy on Meet the Press said Obama's power is not just a message of change.

What he's really talking about is rejection of what people perceive to be the broken status quo of politics.

The young voters who are factoring big in Obama's success thus far, could be thinking that way - that "we've seen the old guard at work, let's really mean change, with conviction." Obama has spoken often about unity not just in his own party but between both major parties. That message is applicable to all demographic groups.

There may be another underlying factor in his growing popularity as well. Pride. Not just among African Americans, but among white voters, who may feel in a personal way, a sense of absolution.

This Democratic nomination process could very go on till the August convention. Even if Obama does not win the nomination, to come this far, with so much multi-racial support, it stands as a positive societal step in race perception and relations, and a heightened sense of pride among African Americans.

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