Obama Wins South Carolina

News flash, Barack Obama is the projected winner of South Carolina based upon exit polls.  Okay, that’s not really news.  Even if you’ve been following the polls on a casual basis, Barack Obama’s win in South Carolina is about as predictable as it gets.  And, apparently, there’s a meme running around out here that it’s not really a win unless it’s a BIG win, which we’ve yet to know, and really, how big is big enough?

Okay, now it’s time for the breakdown.

Yeah, Obama needs to come up with a win, and a huge one, that’s a  no brainer, but the real thing to think about is: why?  The thing is, Florida is next, and the last state to go before Super Tuesday which means that a bulk of the headlines prior to the day when so many states go to pick a nominee will be about the winner there, and right now, it’s looking as though Hillary is going to take the state by twenty points.

That’s a whole lotta mo.

Barring something unexpected from the Edwards camp, there are only a few ways that the O can overcome the mo.

The first is by chopping down that Hillary lead by a very large amount.  We’re talking about getting within 5 points of Hillary.  That’s probably one of the only upsides to being at such a disadvantage in the polls; you don’t actually have to win to win.  But you do have to make it a closer race than anyone is expecting, and that’s where the size of the South Carolina win will make a difference.  If Obama wins South Carolina by about fifteen points, that might be enough to start the wave in the right direction.

Still, it’s going to take a significant amount of ground game to get it done, and still there’s no guarantee it’ll come off especially as I expect the contest to get even nastier.  Now, I’m not psychic, but I wouldn’t be surprised if there were some voices that continued to make South Carolina about race (double point multiplier if those voices come from low level Clinton supporters).

The other option open to Obama is to play the game of lower expectations in Florida.  In other words, through any means possible, his team has to make the Clinton win in Florida so expected that people just don’t care about it.  Problem is, it’s already pretty well known that Clinton is going to Florida, and it’s likely to be by a margin so large that the enormity alone is enough to make headlines.

So, the play at this point is to play low expectations in Florida while Obama pulls out as much groundwork as is humanly possible to make headway in Super Tuesday states.  You focus on those states where Hillary has less than a five point lead,and you work themto the ground, and try to put as many of them in your column as you can before February 5th.  And maybe, just maybe, the momentum following Florida just might be mitigated.

Which brings us to Super Tuesday and beyond.  Super Tuesday is about when the nation wide polling numbers start to mean something, and right now the gap between Clinton and Obama is closing, but still there, and right now I think Clinton is poised to have the nomination sewn up come the morning of February 6th.  That being said Obama needs just about one thing; to keep her from reaching the magic delegatenumber on Super Tuesday.

If we come out of Super Tuesday without a clear nominee, that’s going to play heavily in Obama’s favor, and give him a significant advantage for the final states, or, possibly, even a brokered convention-a subject we’ll discuss at length in the days to come.

As for now, if you’re an Obama supporter, relish tonight’s win, and I’ll catch you Monday.

5 Responses to “Obama Wins South Carolina”

  1. Macswain says:

    Did Bill’s bullying backfire?

  2. libhomo says:

    Obama’s wins in Iowa and South Carolina are giving people hope that we can have the first real Democrat in the White House since 1980. I don’t know how much of a bounce Obama will get in Florida, but I think he will some help from his huge victory in South Carolina.

  3. I just finished watching Obama’s victory speech. For all the talk about Obama as a new Democrat, with a vision for a rejuvenated 21st-century politics, his speech offered a tremendously class-driven, populist appeal, likely to divide the country more than unite it. He called for the immediate end to the war in Iraq – coded antiwar language for an immediate troop withdrawal, precisely when military and political developments are at their best since March 2003.

    His supporters, I must say, seemed to rock the decibel-meter more so than any victory speech I’ve seen this year. Maybe I just have the volume set a bit high. It sure seemed that the energy was just pumping out of the auditorium.

    Obama gained what he needed most going forward: momentum. He’ll see a surge in contributions next week, and a priceless rush of earned media, as his visage’s further splashed acrossed newspapers, magazines, and TV news shows around the country following this Palmetto State breakthrough.

  4. Mark says:

    This victory has helped redeem some of the hopelessness I’ve been feeling since Hillary’s cynical wins in NH and Nevada. Still, Obama has a tough road to hoe, and I think Hillary is still the real favorite.

  5. Mac: Yes (see my more recent post “Bill Clinon: Go The Fuck Home! (part II)

    Libhomo: Only time will tell, but as I say, the big thing to keep fingers crossed for is for Obama to make up about fifteen points before Florida. He does that, and he’s going to go into Super Tuesday with some massive momentum.

    Americanneocon: I’m not sure I agree with… well… a lot of what you say. On your speech analysis, I didn’t see it as a populist message so much, and in fact, in the primary theme of his victory speech, unity and people of all demographics coming together under a common effort for change, he did in fact even include the rich. Yes, he did focus on the problems of the poor and downtrodden more, however, unlike the much more blatantly populist Edwards, he didn’t frame these things in the terms of corparatist enemies. In fact, one thing that struck me about his speech was that the only enemies he really pointed to in his speech were the current administration, lobbyists, and status quo politics. It was well framed and characteristic of a campaign that focuses more on fixing the problems as opposed to making political hay off of what popular usual suspects caused them.

    As for the second half of your comment, I don’t necessarily disagree, but I’m not hopeful enough to agree. I would really love it if what you say will happen actually does, but I’m going to hold off to see how things develop over the next few days.

    Mark: AGREED! Only, at this point, I don’t like getting too hopeful, and as I told Mike, whom I was chatting with during the speech, I had to leave the computer before I got into the, “We’re going to win this thing” mode that only leads to depression when HIllary inevitably wins the next primary.

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