Wednesday, May 7, 2008

The Long and Winding Delegate Road

Two more primaries down—and the race for the democratic nomination carries on. After claiming a decisive victory in North Carolina yesterday, Barack Obama maintains his lead in pledge delegates, and is less than 200 delegates short of reaching the 2,025 he needs to secure the nomination. But Hillary Clinton made it clear in her Indiana victory speech last night that she’s not out of the race yet. "Tonight, we've come from behind," she told supporters. "We've broken the tide, and thanks to you it's full speed onto the White House."

The fight over these two states—one a Southern state with a significant number of black voters, the other a mid-Western state with a significant number of white rural voters—dramatized the demographic polarities of the Democratic party, and indeed took several dramatic turns on YouTube.

The first was a TV ad released by the North Carolina GOP, which used a clip from one of Jeremiah Wright’s sermons to portray Obama as an extremist. Many Republicans, including John McCain, condemned the ad and requested it be taken off the air.

Next, Jeremiah Wright returned to the scene, making a series of public appearance and statements that prompted Obama to issue the strongest condemnation of his former pastor yet.

Most recently, the political debate turned to gas prices. In the week leading up to the primaries, Clinton, following McCain, came out in support of a “gas tax holiday,” arguing that it would offer temporary relief to ordinary Americans. Obama, following many leading economists, opposed the gas tax holiday, arguing that it would cost Americans more than it would save.

In the end, Obama’s message resonated with North Carolinians, while Clinton’s narrowly resonated with Indiana voters. So whose message will most resonate with super delegates? That question still remains to be seen.


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