May 14th, 2008
09:41 AM ET

Was West Virginia a side show, or a warning?

Barclay Palmer
360° Senior Producer

Ok, West Virginia was a nice side show on our way to the big tent, and we'll have a few more of those. But let's look ahead for a moment to the human cannonball act: Is this the year Dems rocket back into the White House, fueled by discontent over gas prices, the economy and the war? Or will they have a candidate so battered by the lion taming act that a Republican packagable as moderate and will capture Reagan Democrats and the political center, and win the brass ring for the Republicans yet again?

Mississippi might offer a better clue to this riddle than West Virginia. Democrat Travis Childers won the race in Mississippi's first congressional district, held by Republicans have held since 1994. This is the second time in two weeks that a Democrat has defeated a Republican in an open Congressional seat in the south. On May 3rd, Democrat Don Cazayoux won a special election in Louisiana.

But that supposed side show in West Virginia last night might offer the more telling clue. Exit polls show that one out of five white voters said race was an important factor in their votes. And more than four out of five white voters who said race factored in their decision pulled the lever for Clinton. That's a far higher percentage than in most previous primaries, and a worrisome sign for Obama. Can he win over Clinton's supporters among women and white working class voters? Or, as Hillary Clinton has suggested, is the Republican moderate better positioned to do that in key swing states?

What do you think? Please send us your thoughts. Thank you!

Filed under: Barack Obama • Barclay Palmer • Hillary Clinton • Raw Politics
soundoff (54 Responses)
  1. Chevy

    Texas is proof of what is wrong with the democratic party right now. You had Hillary winning the voteing states and Obama winning the caucuses.

    If Texas is used as the measuring stick then would Obama have won all those caucus states if they held an election? In truth I don't think he would have. The DNC needs to look at the caucus as a tradition and award 1 delegate to each state who holds a caucus Most of middle America works and can't vote with a 2 hour window to do so. So you have a group of elites who can rearranged thier work schedules in order to stand up at a caucus or you have the youth vote and the votes of those who are retired lol and I think the people who are retired are to old and tired to go traipsing room to room for 3 or 4 hours while someone counts them. How ridiculous and unfair and undemocratic. Throw out the caucus states or call them a draw because they are unfair to working american's (Hillary's supporters) and you are left with Hillary carrying the biggest states with the most delegates in the general election. I laugh every time I think about Obama "the change candidate who wants to get rid of the old washington guard" uniting that same washington guard to get anything done. It don't make sense and the reason it don't make sense is that its all talk and no substance. Its a gimmick. It sounds good but its not realistic and right now with the country at war and the economy in the tank and with jobs leaving the country as quick as illegal aliens are coming in, we don't need a talker we need a doer in the White House. I'm voting for Hillary if she runs and McCain if she doesn't.

    May 15, 2008 at 4:02 am |
  2. Mike

    CNN...The Clinton News Network...I'm NOT suprised at the electronic sniping the white media has directed toward Senator Obama. Gloria Borger's mentioning of Rev. Wright.

    I suppose if you keep reporting that Sen. Obama has a problem attracting hard working middle class white voters, it will actually come true. It's ashame that CNN stoops to such depth. No mention of the values that hard working middle class black voters posess or their issues.

    Allow me to say this since we are talking politics, If you continue the one-sided, narrow-minded coverage of this election process, John F. Kennedy will be RE-ELECTED President of the United States, BEFORE I will ever watch your network again.

    May 15, 2008 at 3:24 am |
  3. Steve from New york

    I predict that if Obama wins the candidancy there will be a lot of whie-male baby boomers will vote for McCain or if there are voters even a little left of center go all the way left and go for RALPH NADER; it will be a show of force for a LEGITTIMATE THIRD-PARTY this country desperately needs. Both candidates have done nothing more than be general, light, and inconclusive about how our will regain itself as a leading nation. Plans and not rhetoric is what I want to hear: who will be there cabinet memebers and what kind of administration; however, John Edwards seem to have a real legtimate claim to go after these most unpatriotic corporations which is all around us today. We need education and heath-care and Edwards seem to talk only of that so Hilary will be a lite-weight and Obama–fuggedabutit!–TOTAL RHETORIC!–a leader must be more than a good speaker. Beside he really does not relate to being an american and how we grew up in the 60's 70's and 80's. I'm sorry. Obama will be a puppet of someone and maybe not dick cheney but WHO.

    May 15, 2008 at 2:36 am |
  4. I am a West Virginian

    West virginia is a disfunctional state that is 40 years behind the times. Its so slow that majority of the residents in West Virginia do not have cabel and city water. Percentage of educated west virginians is way below national average, think how that adds up. I am a "black" west virginian and IT IS all about RACE. Im not just saying this because am an Obama supporter, but because it is true. Im a 25 year old male living in a well below average intellectual state. Do not, I repeat, DO NOT hold this win as an turning point for Mrs. Clinton.

    May 15, 2008 at 2:06 am |
1 2