Despite the impressive victory manufactured by Hillary Clinton and her campaign, the outcome raises more questions about the general election dynamics more so than it does in regard to who is going to win the Democratic nomination. I am referring to the statistical struggles that Senator Obama has had among white, working class voters whether they be male or female.
Now let’s have a little objective analysis here and admit the truth that a Democrat has not carried West Virginia since the 1992 and 1996 campaigns of Bill Clinton, as noted by Dave Leip’s Election Atlas.
Even before that, the illustrious campaign of Governor Michael Dukakis in 1988, I assume that was either a lot of Lloyd Bentsen’s part as well in sweeping victory of the Mountaineer State. Or the Democrats could have run nearly anyone that year and won. You can draw your own conclusions, but the fact of the matter is that the Democratic pedigree of West Virginia could hold its own against any other state in the union. It was rare for a socially conservative state such as West Virginia to hold on for as long as it did for the Dems in many cases.
With the endorsement of the state’s junior senator John Rockefeller along with the endorsement of current Congressman Nick Rahall, as noted by the WSAZ Charleston News, those two gentlemen will appear to have a little political egg on their face at least for tonight. The question of elitism and a certain uncomfortable nature that many voters have with the statements in regards to guns and faith will make their way back to the surface once again. West Virginia is a state that strongly supports the 2nd Amendment and is also a state which had to turn to their faith to get through a crisis like the Sago mine disaster as noted by the Charleston Gazette so that may be where some of the hostility comes from towards Senator Obama.
Potentially the question of OSHA, one of the major federal entities, came into the mind of Democratic Primary voters and potentially they were satisfied with the rules and regulations of Bill Clinton’s Administration on that matter. West Virginians serve in the Armed Forces at a greater per capita rate then any other state in the union, maybe they were looking for a tougher stance in the War on Terror then Barack Obama was offering. Economic welfare as a hit on before in a sense with OSHA above was big in this race it appears. According to the exit polls conducted by CNN Senator Clinton won those voters who said the recession had affected them a great deal by a clip of 76 percent. CNN’s Donna Brazile mentioned the sociological factor of now how 6 out of every 10 West Virginians is on food stamps. This is a frightening stat, although not that all surprising with the struggles that Appalachia has been going through for decades.
As we look forward to Kentucky Barack Obama again has a portion of the Democratic establishment backing him in that state. Congressman, former Attorney General and former nominee for Governor Ben Chandler has already endorsed the Senator from Illinois. Chandler has received many a critical phone call to his office for the decision to do so as noted by The Lexington Herald and Kentucky.com. Frankly, the overall margin of victory is superfluous in my eyes because Obama already knows that there is a problem there and he even expects to lose in Kentucky. This is why I mention Kentucky because the demographic similarities between Kentucky and West Virginia, although it can be predicted that Obama will do better because of both a larger college educated and African American base to work from particularly in the Louisville area. John Yarmuth, the Congressman from Louisville has also endorsed Obama as noted by the Kentucky Democrat.
Dave Leip. “1992 Presidential Election Results in West Virginia.” Dave Leip’s Election Atlas.
Scott Saxton “WV Congressman Rahall Endorses Obama.” WSAZ.com
Charleston Gazette Staff. “Confused treatment: What happened?” Charleston Gazette.
Ryan Alessi. “Chandler endorses Obama; Clinton supporters fire back.” Kentucy.com.
Kentucky Democrat. “John Yarmuth endorses Barack Obama.” The Kentucky Democrat.