Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Clinton Wins West Virginia

The votes are not yet in but Clinton will certainly win the West Virginia Democratic Primary, throwing somewhat more uncertaintly into the complex and poorly constructed Democratic primary process. Although most pundits are exaggerating the demise of the Clinton dynasty West Virginia to some extent confounds the notion that "it's over", given that Clinton is likely to win by as much as 20% or more. Race appears to be a key factor in this victory, though it's simplistic to see race as a one way factor in an election where Obama consistently can count on some 80 or even 90% of the African American vote in most states.

Surprisingly few have challenged the incomprehensible system that almost all the candidates and parties signed on to over a year ago, but it's making it very hard for the Democrats to define their process clearly in the face of this close election.

If Clinton can leverage this victory into better treatment for the Florida and Michigan delegations which in turn might shift superdelegates to Clinton, the race would become even closer, and Obama's "frontrunner" lead could evaporate overnight. Is that likely? No, but neither was the GW Bush victory over Al Gore in 2000, and the Democratic process is looking more like it could hinge on defects in the process or on elitist insider plays rather than the popular vote.

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