So how does Barack Obama respond to the clear challenge he has with white working class voters? He insults them and essentially writes them off. He tells them the Appalachian Trail is not his path to the White House. He tells his elite, wealthy financial supporters in San Francisco that such voters “cling” to guns and religion out of bitterness over their lack of economic prosperity. With statements reminiscent of Marx’s “opiate of the masses,” Mr. Obama suggests guns and religion are the emotional crutches blue-collar workers need to cope with reality.
Consequently, Mr. Obama failed to connect with West Virginia voters. He drove many of them straight into Mrs. Clinton’s waiting arms, and he seems to be executing the same strategy in the Bluegrass State of Kentucky. For him to lose these states by wide margins does not bode well for carrying them in the general election.
He has placed his electoral bet on other states and voter coalitions.
But this problem is larger than West Virginia and Kentucky. There are millions of similar voters in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, and other states without which Mr. Obama cannot win the White House. And Mrs. Clinton has beaten Mr. Obama in every single one, often by wide margins.
Liberals and the writers of Saturday Night Live may say these voters will shun Mr. Obama because he is black and they are racist. Nonsense.
Just like high-minded liberals, these voters vote their values and priorities. In West Virginia, they overwhelming chose Mrs. Clinton because she didn’t write them off.
While some of those voters might go for Mr. Obama in the fall, many will not. If Mr. McCain can maintain an authentic contrast on faith, guns and patriotism, he will get more of these Democrat voters than Mr. Obama would like.
So as Mr. Obama panders to elitists in his party, who attend high-ticket San Francisco fundraisers, he alienates millions of working class voters, particularly so-called Reagan Democrats.
In that sense, the way Mr. Obama lost the West Virginia primary could be a harbinger of a November defeat.