While Hillary Clinton was giving her “victory” speech last night in Indiana her winning margin was shrinking. By the time all the votes are counted it could be as little as 10,000 votes. Compare this to Barack Obama’s margin in North Carolina of over 200,000. Clinton claimed the Hoosier state was a tiebreaker, in reality it was a tie.
So the questions on everyone’s mind this morning are: Who is going to tell her to drop out and how much damage has been done? Most Democrats seem willing to allow Hillary the time and space to play out the last few primaries, provided she refrains from more attacks on Obama, but there are concerns that unifying the party after such a long and bitter fight won’t be easy.
Thanks to the bizarre rules the Democratic Party devised for their primary, the unique candidates involved, and the identity politics the party has embraced a hard fought contest that has resulted in polarization and bitterness on a grand scale.
The campaign has become racially polarized. Obama depends on winning over 90% of the African American vote to achieve his large margins. Hillary meanwhile garners 60% of the white vote even in states where she loses. Democrats have been playing identity politics for years and it looks like their voters have embraced that perspective with gusto.
This has led to a high level of bitterness. African Americans are convinced that the Clintons “played the race card” against Obama while white working class voters are deeply suspicious of Obama’s faith and patriotism. Nearly sixty percent of both Obama and Hillary supporters say they will be upset should the other candidate be the nominee. Two thirds of Democratic primary voters in Indiana and North Carolina said they are likely to be disappointed with their party’s eventual candidate!
In order to keep alive her slim chances of winning, Hillary has had to drive this wedge as hard as she possibly can. Her entire strategy is based on convincing voters and superdelegates that Obama can’t win. She has portrayed him as an out of touch elitist that won’t fight for the working man whose pastor says outrageous and offensive things. Her campaign has all but questioned his manhood.
The harder she has pushed herself as the candidate of the white working class the more the African American community has resented her and her husband. The more Hillary attacked Obama the more the liberal media elite and angry netroots derided her for her “Republican tactics” and using the “Right Wing playbook.”