Roland S. Martin
www.rolandsmartin.comLet's get this out now before the spin doctors for Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama go at it: if all goes according to plan on Tuesday, both candidates will be able to claim victory.
It has been fascinating to see as both campaigns have tried to twist and turn everything, from endorsements to who is leading in the popular vote to the importance of delegates and who can best beat Sen. John McCain in November.
Forget white voters, rural voters, midwestern voters, southern voters, black voters, women voters and men voters, the only thing that really matters on Tuesday are the delegates.
In Indiana, 72 are at stake. In North Carolina, it's 115.
For all the talk about Obama's problem with white working class voters, Clinton has an equally difficult time with black voters. For all the talk about Clinton's problem with young voters, Obama has an issue with older voters. These are just too damn fine candidates who have a lock on their core constituencies.
If Clinton is able to score a win in Indiana AND North Carolina on Tuesday, this race gets absolutely turned upside down, and the Obama camp will be fending off all kinds of attacks that they are in deep doo-doo. If Clinton loses both states, the clamoring for her to jump out now will grow so loud they'll be complaining about noise pollution in China.
CLINTON SPIN IF SHE WINS INDIANA – She is able to capture the midwestern, rust belt vote, and Dems need the largely white working class voters in states such as Indiana to win in November.
OBAMA SPIN IF HE WINS NORTH CAROLINA – He does better at attracting independents in a red state, and could potentially put this southern state in play come November, especially if there is a huge black turnout.
But the real issue comes down to delegates. Clinton needs decisive wins to cut into Obama's lead, and she will also need lots more folks to vote for her to cut that popular vote lead (She knows that Florida and Michigan don't count, so trying to lump them into her vote total is a joke. And this also prevents the Obama folks from trying to count all the caucus voters, which aren't reflective in who actually won the states).
If this game comes down to delegates, North Carolina is the big enchilada. With 43 more delegates than Indiana, it is simply the bigger prize. My media colleagues can try to twist it anyway possible, but if the person who wins captures more delegates – 2,025 to be exact – then North Carolina has to mean more. That favors Obama, who is up in the polls, but Clinton has closed the gap.
For Clinton, an Indiana win is more psychological, and she's up slightly in the state.
Now, what will both states mean for the Democrats in November? Not a thing. President George W. Bush beat Sen. John Kerry by 510,000 votes in Indiana, and beat him by 435,000 votes in North Carolina.
Unless Democrats cause a major flip in the state, these two won't be in play, anyway, unlike Iowa, Ohio, New Mexico, Arizona, Arkansas and West Virginia and others.
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