To any incumbent President a less than 65% showing in a primary is a sign of trouble, for it suggests that a substantial portion of the base has deserted the plantation.
For President Bush 41 the warning came courtesy of Pat Buchanan, who won 38% of the vote in the 1992 New Hampshire primary.
The first ominous signs for Carter in 1980 came courtesy of Ted Kennedy who held Carter to less than 60% in the Iowa caucuses and won nearly 40% in the New Hampshire primary. Kennedy was an icon and household name.
The ominous signs for Obama? A prison inmate won more than 40% of the vote against Obama in West Virginia’s democratic primary. A no-name won 42% in Arkansas. Forty-Two percent (42%) cast their votes for uncommitted in Kentucky’s democratic primary. Forty-three (43%) casts their ballots for someone other than Obama in Oklahoma’s democratic primary.
While no one is going to pretend that Obama has any chance of carrying any of the aforementioned states in the general election, it does suggest that Obama has a problem with white working class voters that vote in Democratic primaries, which also suggests he has an even more serious problem with white working class voters in states he has to carry—like Ohio, Virginia, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin to name a few.
Late November NYT reporter Thomas Edsall penned a piece…”All pretense of trying to win a majority of the white working class has been effectively jettisoned in favor of cementing a center-left coalition made up of… professors, artists, designers, editors, human resources managers, lawyers, librarians, social workers, teachers and therapists — and a second, substantial constituency of lower-income voters who are disproportionately African-American and Hispanic.”
At the time Obama’s operatives vigorously denied writing off the votes of working class white voters. Denials notwithstanding, it looks like they’ve already begun to flee Obama’s plantation.
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