Obama and Huckabee Win Much-Ignored Primaries
Yesterday, Barack Obama and Mike Huckabee won some contests the media weren’t covering.
Sen. Barack Obama swept the Louisiana primary and caucuses in Nebraska and Washington state Saturday night, slicing into Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton’s slender delegate lead in their historic race for the Democratic presidential nomination. The Illinois senator also won caucuses in the Virgin Islands, completing his best night of the campaign.
McCain flunked his first ballot tests since becoming the Republican nominee-in-waiting. He lost Kansas caucuses to Mike Huckabee, gaining less than 24 percent of the vote. Huckabee, the former Arkansas governor, got nearly 60 percent of the vote a few hours after saying, “I majored in miracles, and I still believe in them.” He won all 36 delegates at stake. Huckabee also won the Louisiana primary, but fell short of 50 percent, the threshold necessary to pocket the 20 delegates that were available. Instead, they will be awarded at a state convention next weekend. McCain won the third Republican race of the night, Washington’s caucuses. None of the state’s delegates will be awarded until next week.
If this was Obama’s “best night,” he’s in trouble. The bottom line is that few were paying attention to these contests.
Like it or not, the media narrative of the race matters greatly. The script goes like this: Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, Florida, Super Tuesday, Beltway Three (Virginia, DC, Maryland). Everything that goes on outside that framework is treated as subplot.
Just ask Mitt Romney. He was leading the delegate race after South Carolina because he ran virtually unopposed in Wyoming and Nevada and he also beat McCain head-to-head in Michigan in a competitive race. But he’d failed to win any of the “real” primaries and McCain took three of the four going into Super Tuesday.
Last night’s wins give Obama a teeny bit of momentum and help feed the notion that Clinton is in trouble. But the impact will be negligible, indeed, compared to a good showing next Tuesday.