Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Inventory of the Goodies

Friday night Sophia went trick-or-treating for the first time, it was great to see her carefully sorting through her bag of goodies like I remember doing as a kid. Last night lifelong liberal Democrats like me got a treat, not a trick, for once and I've done a little sorting today myself.
State by state, the news is better than I thought it was last night. All three contested Rocky Mountain states, Colorado, New Mexico and Nevada, went for Obama. New Mexico was expected, Colorado was in play the whole campaign, Nevada is striking and reflects demographic changes in the region. One of the McCain campaign's scenarios was to flip the Rocky Mountain states, didn't happen. That's a new map, I voted for Jerry Brown in 1992 in the Colorado caucus when Gov. Moonbeam won it, 16 years later we've got a growing, politically fascinating region that the Democrats should fight for. Indiana is maybe the single biggest win for the Democrats, a true upset and Obama did it with increased turnout by urban African-American voters combined with white working class support: it wasn't suburban liberals, it was a brilliant campaign by Obama and the 50-state strategy of the grossly underestimated Howard Dean. Obama won in Florida and Virginia, and appears to have won North Carolina by a slim, 5-digit margin. As recently as August the pundits were out there saying that the Democrats had no chance in Florida. Three big southern states for the black Democrat and his Yankee running mate.
Which brings me to the big picture. This time around, the Democrats won California, New York, Illinois, as usual. They also took Florida. If they can build on the win in Florida, the Republicans are left with: Texas. One big state. And that's not enough. Not only that, but Latino voters went big for Obama. That was a real unknown (like so many things that we could only know by actually having a black candidate for President). There were real indications that Latino voters wouldn't go for a black candidate, that the two ethnic identities could be played against each other (by the Republican Party: who else?). Well no: Latinos went for Obama by 73 percent in Colorado, 76 percent in Nevada, 69 percent in New Mexico, 57 percent in Florida. And have you heard? There are lots of Latinos living in Texas! I've heard it on good authority!

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