Tuesday, May 13, 2008

The Real Political Victor Tonight: Travis Childers

Yes, Hillary Clinton won a blowout victory in West Virginia tonight Yawn. Next week, in Oregon, Barack Obama will wrap up a majority of pledged delegates, and having recently taken the lead in Super Delegates, the race is in all but name, over. While Hillary will now try to get Michigan and Florida seated (despite herself saying in October that Michigan was "not going to count for anything") and while Hillary Clinton now saying that one needs 2209 delegates to win (despite herself saying the number was 2,025, the delegates without Florida and Michigan, as recently as last month) Michigan and Florida will not be seated fully, that we know for a fact. Even if they were, she'd still be down almost 100 total delegates (assuming, of course, the "uncommitted" delegates are apportioned to Obama) so then the popular vote matters. Except, if Florida and Michigan are seated at half-strength, delegate wise, how can Hillary claim a full popular vote from those states, especially when she gives Obama zero votes from Michigan because he wasn't on the ballot? So, rant over, it's over, and in early June, Hillary needs to bow out gracefully, and allow the Democrats to rally around our nominee.

The real winner tonight though, was not Hillary Clinton, but the Democratic Party and Travis Childers. Who is Travis Childers you ask? He's the newest member of Congress, the third Democrat to be elected in a Special Election this year, and the third in an overwhelmingly Republican district in an overwhelmingly Republican state, Mississippi. President Bush won Childers' district with over 60% of the vote, the seat was in Republican hands since 1994, and the Republicans did everything they could to hold on to that seat, a seat they had no business losing. They had Dick Cheney come out to the District, they spent millions of dollars, and they ran television advertisements tying Childers to Barack Obama and Rev. Wright. And yet, they still lost. If the Republicans cannot win in the First Congressional District of Mississippi, where on earth can Republicans win this fall? They can't win their own seats, much less swing districts, or poaching Democratic seats. MSNBC described the win as seismic, and the fact that Barack Obama was not a drag on Childers in the reddest of red-state America shows what a force he will be on the top of the Democratic ticket. And it shows how strong a position the Democrats will be in this fall, assuming of course, Hillary Clinton doesn't sink the party by fighting all the way to the convention in Denver.

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