On Super-Typhoon Tuesday, Kansans overwhelmingly supported Barack Obama for President. This was gratifying, but a muted victory given the overwhelming number of Kansans who aren’t Democrats (yet).
But today, in the Republican caucuses, the people spoke again. They rejected nutbar militarist John McCain, and overwhelmingly casting a protest vote for flab-busting Arkansan Mike Huckabee. In short, the state has now rejected the Republican nominee and voted for the (knock wood) Democratic nominee.
Meanwhile, Washingtonians, Louisianans and Nebraskans all backed Barack Obama today. Hopefully Mainers will do the same tomorrow.
If so, it will severely weaken the Clinton campaign, and probably cause some of her backers to start wheeling and dealing. Either way, the campaign will continue, on to Ohio, Texas, and, eventually, Florida. As they say, that rules. Both candidates now have well-established activist networks in many states, and by the convention, will have run a competitive campaign and GOTV in key swing states (and note that most of the swing states to vote thus far have preferred Obama to Hillary).
Obama and Clinton are both stronger for having been forced to run a national campaign in the primary, since one of them will get to do the same thing in the fall, and then will have to run the country, which won’t allow a lot of time for retail politics. Having a few early primaries, where a candidate could shake the hand of every eligible voter, was nice. Following that with a national primary was nice, and the continuing pace of the primaries will test these candidates’ abilities in informative ways.
We learned a lot about Obama and Hillary in the run-up to Feb. 5, about how they’d govern and how they’d run their general election campaigns (we probably learned about the Republican candidates, too, but I haven’t been hanging on the minutiae of that race).
Obama ran the sort of national campaign that many of us hoped to see Dean run a few years back. He took his experience organizing on Chicago’s South Side, and put together a national community organizing campaign. And it worked. He nearly overcame the Clinton machines in Southern California using an army of thousands of volunteers and an open attitude toward new technology. He ran serious campaigns in states candidates usually ignore in the primaries and the general election. That tells us a lot about how Obama would govern, and it puts John McCain on notice that he’ll have to defend himself in every state, not just a handful of swing states.
Even in Kansas, a new day is coming, and we are the change we’ve been waiting for.