Is West Virginia Irrelevant?
There are only two questions about today's West Virginia primary: how many people will turn out, and what will be the meaning of Hillary Clinton's probably enormous margin of victory? If turnout is huge, Clinton could make up the popular vote margin she lost in North Carolina, but that's not likely. Halving it seems more probable. The percentages will be striking, and it will be interesting to watch which the Hillary Hating corporate media will emphasize- the numbers or the percentages. Certainly, the main story line will be that it's too little, too late. Obama has been anointed, the superdelegates and even at least one pledged delegate are moving into his camp, and despite the months of caterwauling from the shrillosphere about Democratic insiders deciding the race, they and the corporate media pretty much have. And despite the months of shrill caterwauling from the shrillosphere about the Clinton team's obvious political ploy of downplaying the importance of states she lost, the states and territory she wins will be marginalized as irrelevant. Anyone who ever believed irony was dead need only tune in to this year's campaign to know that it is doing pretty damn well.
The meaning of today's results will be spun in the obvious ways by the obvious people. That white working class voters will once again favor Clinton by a huge margin will be, by many, written off as attributable to racism. That Obama wins African American voters by absolutely staggering margins never is. And some will once again ignore the possibility that Clinton is dominating the demographic that dominates the West Virginia electorate because she speaks better to their issues. It's easier for some to denigrate certain demographics than to admit that maybe their candidate just isn't closing the deal on that demographic's meat-and-potatoes issues, while the wonkier Clinton is. And the obvious people who have been making obvious demands that Clinton get out of the race will once again ignore the obvious: if he is going to beat McCain, Obama is going to have to find a way to reach the demographics he is not now reaching. Don Frederick and Andrew Malcolm, of the L.A. Times, were right: by staying in until the end, Clinton is actually helping Obama, whose probably enourmous losses in West Virginia, Kentucky, and Puerto Rico would be all the more glaring, were those losses to a candidate no longer in the race; but that still fails to address the continuing problem. Even with the media having buried her. Even with the shrillosphere having buried her. Even with a cacophony of haka having declared her a traitor to all that is right and good in the Universe, hundreds of thousands of people in a small state are today turning out to vote for Hillary Clinton over Barack Obama. Some will disparage them. Some will ignore them. Some will pretend that their demographic will still do the right thing, come November. But anyone who is serious of both mind and purpose will take today's result as but yet another measure of the difficult and uncertain task that lies ahead.