Friday, January 04, 2008

Barack Obama

Maybe there's something to the hope thing, after all. The New York Times reports that Barack Obama won in Iowa by attracting new voters:
A record number of Democrats turned out to caucus — more than 239,000, compared with fewer than 125,0000 in 2004 — producing scenes of overcrowded firehouses and schools and long lines of people waiting to register their preferences.
The images stood as evidence of the success of Mr. Obama’s effort to reach out to thousands of first-time caucusgoers, including many independent voters and younger voters. The huge turn-out — by contrast, 108,000 Republicans caucused on Thursday — demonstrated the extent to which opposition to President Bush has energized Democrats, and served as another warning to Republicans about the problems they face this November in swing states like this.
According to an entrance poll, 57 percent of those attending the Democratic caucus did so for the first time. Obama won 41 percent of these votes.
As for race:
For Mr. Obama, especially, the ratification of his candidacy by Democrats and independents in a predominantly white and rural state suggests that he may be able to build a broad and multiracial coalition in his bid for the White House.
Writing in Open Left, Chris Bowers sums up Obama's accomplishment:
Tonight, Obama won because he did something many campaigns have claimed they would do in the past, but never until now had never actually accomplished: he turned out young voters and new voters in record-smashing numbers. This has long been the holy grail of progressive politics, and until now no one had been able to pull it off. Well, Obama pulled it off.
The entrance poll cited above shows that Obama won 57 percent of voters 29 and younger. If he can get young voters to show up throughout the year, pollsters will have to recalibrate their models.
As for our own Joe Biden, we can be proud of the way he conducted his campaign, which gave us the most memorable put-down of Rudy Giuliani: "a noun, a verb, and 9/11." More significantly, Joe Biden demonstrated that the place to go for grownup discussions about the mess in Iraq is the Democratic Party.

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