Despite political pundits declaring Obama the presumptive nominee, West Virginia Democratic voters cast over three votes against Obama for every vote he received in Tuesday's West Virginia Democratic Primary. Voter turn-out was light for the Republican Primary. Of the 475,167 votes cast Tuesday (combined voters in all party primaries), Hillary Clinton was the resounding choice of West Virginia Voters.
Over four West Virginians voted against Barak Obama for every voter that selected him. John McCain trailed Barak Obama's numbers by 1,998 votes. No Democratic Presidential Candidate has won a general election since 1916 without carrying West Virginia.
West Virginia Primary May 13, 2008
Party Candidate Votes
DEM Hillary Rodham Clinton 239187
DEM Barack Hussein Obama 91663
DEM John Reid Edwards 26181
TOTAL VOTES CAST IN DEMOCRATIC PRIMARY 357,031
REP Willard Mitt Romney 5195
REP John Sidney McCain III 89654
REP Ronald Ernest Paul 6112
REP Rudolph William Giuliani 2839
REP Jerry Ralph Curry 728
REP Michael Dale Huckabee 12184
REP Alan L. Keyes 1424
TOTAL VOTES CAST IN REPUBLICAN PRIM 125,123
TOTAL VOTES CAST IN BOTH DEMOCRATIC AND REPUBLICAN PRIMARIES 475,167
SOURCE: West Virginia Secretary of State Election Division 100% of counties reporting
Clinton's victory inspired CNN's headline: "ANALYSIS: Clinton crushes Obama across the board".
By Alan Silverleib - CNN
(CNN) -- After enduring a week of political obituaries, Sen. Hillary Clinton's campaign proved Tuesday that it still has some life.
Clinton, as expected, trounced Democratic front-runner Sen. Barack Obama in the West Virginia primary. In the process, she underscored Obama's weakness with blue-collar, working-class white voters -- a segment of the electorate that may prove pivotal in November.
Buoyed by her landslide margin, Clinton vowed to continue what has become a longshot campaign, telling supporters at a Charleston rally that she is "more determined than ever to carry on this campaign until everyone has had a chance to make their voices heard."
Clinton's victory in West Virginia was decisive. She won men and women. She carried a majority of voters in every age group. She captured liberals, moderates, and conservatives. She took a majority in every income bracket.Clinton's largest margins, as expected, were registered among voters at the lower end of the socioeconomic ladder. Among white voters without a college degree, Clinton defeated Obama by 50 points. Among white voters making less than $30,000 a year, Clinton's margin of victory was more than 60 points.
Older voters and white women -- part of Clinton's core constituency -- also rallied strongly to her beleaguered campaign. Voters age 65 and older supported her by a 38-point margin. White women backed her by 51 points.
Clinton's proposal to suspend the 18.4-cent-per-gallon federal gasoline tax for the summer -- an idea belittled by most economists and rejected by Obama as a political gimmick -- proved to be a winner in West Virginia. Voters supported the gas tax suspension by an almost 2-to-1 margin. Those voters who supported suspending the gas tax broke for Clinton, 74 to 19 percent.
Read more on line at CNN
Evaluation: Obama's Lead in Delegates May Not Be a Good Thing
Obama campaign strategist identified weaknesses in the Democratic primary caucus system which discriminates against handicapped, the elderly and workers who cannot physically attend precinct caucuses. Many caucus states, such as Iowa and Texas, prohibit absentee or proxy voting in caucuses. No allowances are made for registered voters who are homebound, or frail, and unable to participate at nightime party caucuses. Some caucus states, such as Maine, allow certified by mail voters to register their presidential preference and their preference to be includes in the math to derive the distribution of delegates between presidential preferences. Most caucus states, unlike Maine, exclude all voters who cannot physically show up to their precinct party caucus from helping to select their party's nominee for President. Texas is the only state which has both a caucus and a primary. In Texas, significant differences emerged across the state in precincts between the percentages in the popular vote (primary voters) per candidate and causus registrants per candidate. Texas awards 25% of the delegates through party caucus's and 75% by primary voters (popular vote). The Texas system favors those who are healthier, able to drive after dark, not homebound, elderly or too frail to stay until late at night when the delegates were chosen in many precinct caucues. The presidential preference of workers who cannot get off work on caucus nights but in the primary, like their more frail elderly or handicapped neighbors, only count 75% of what their younger, healthier neighbors who were able to show up at the caucus after the polls closed on primary night. Chaos and non-compliance with Democratic Party Rules and Texas and Federal Election codes further pollulated the outcome of many precinct and senatorial Democratic Conventions.
Election Process Discriminates
Although the Help Americans Vote Act stipulates how Americans with disabilities are to be accommodated at polling places, guidelines for accommodations at party precinct and senatorial conventions are vague. Disabled supporters of both leading presidential candidates will join forces this year for the first time in Austin at State Convention in a new issues caucus. Democrats with Disabilities is the first disability caucus in the Texas Democratic Party. It will meet from 11 A.M. to 12:30 P.M. Friday, June 6th at the 2008 Texas Democratic Party State Convention. Founding members are split between presidential preferences but agree that the current process discriminates against persons with disabilities and needs to be corrected.
Non ADA Compliance in Senatorial District Conventions to be Reviewed by the Credentials Committee at State Convention
In Tarrant County, Harriet Varnum Irby, former SDEC Committee Woman from Senatorial 10, objected to the choice of the antiquated Will Rogers Colesium as the Senatorial 10 Convention site when it was chosen. Irby says she went to Tarrant County Party Headquarters when she learned that Will Rogers was the proposed site and told them that it was unsuitable because it is not ADA compliant. A landmark built before ADA laws were passed by Congress, the arena is exempt from having to eliminate many of the barriers required in newer buildings. Tarrant County Democratic Party Executive Director Keith Annis announced to the members of the Senatorial 10 Nominations Committee that "we got numerous calls from people who said they were delegates but could not attend if the convention was at Will Rogers because they were handicapped." Fort Worth attorney Jason Smith filed a challenge to the distribution of delegates per presidential preference at the Senatorial 10 Convention at Will Rogers to the State Democratic Party's Credentials Committee based on non-ADA compliance at the Senatorial Convention which discriminated against the elderly, frail and handicapped.
In neighboring East Tarrant County, at the Tarrant County Community College East Campus in Arlington, the Senatorial 9 Tarrant County Democratic Convention also failed to accommodate the handicapped. Although the college meets architecture requirements for ADA, campus security blockaded the drive restricting handicapped persons from utilizing parking near the entrance of the main building where the convention was held. Instead of being allowed to drive up to the building where handitran buses usually pick-up and discharge passengers, blockades were positioned at the entrance of the main drive, about the distance of a a city block from the main building. The Main ballrooom, where over half of the delegates were seated, was on one level and provided few barriers for the mobility challenged. However, many delegates and all alternates and guests were seated in the Theatre which has at least 8 steep steps at the entrance and 18 steps inside the theatre. The college accommodates persons in wheelchairs in the front row of the theatre and allows them entrance through a side door which has not steps. On Convention day, the side entrance was closed and all delegates and alternates were forced to enter and exit using the front steps. At County Senatorial 9 Convention at TCCC.
It is ironic that some view the nomination of Barak Obama, an African-American, as rectification of some of the discrimination in America, while others say that the campaign strategy of the Obama which has given him a lead in the delegate count (acquired mainly through his lead in caucus states) exploits flaws in the Democratic process which discriminates against registered voters who are handicapped, frail, elderly, transportation restricted or forced to work on the night of their party caucus. Even if Obama strategists did not purposely set out to discriminate against the handicapped, their emphasis on caucus states which do not allow absentee or proxy voting by certified mail registered voters, has resulted in greater discrimination against elderly and handicapped voters than occurs in states where delegates are awarded by popular vote in primaries or at caucuses which allow proxy or absentee/ by mail voting to distribute delegates between presidential preferences.
Examination of the profiles of each candidates voters this year shows that the average age of Obama's voter and caucus supporter is younger than that of Senator Clinton. Although she draws voters from all age groups, her strongest segment is among women over 50 years of age. Although both have drawn out first-time voters of all ages, a significant number of Senator Obama's supporters are young people who have registered to vote for the first time. Senator Clinton consistently surpasses Senator Obama in attracting voters who have voted in more than one Democratic Primary. Some precinct chairs were concerned to note than many of their double and triple D's (persons who have voted in 2 or 3 Democratic Primaries) were not participants at their Democratic Precinct Caucuses. Although they are faithful to vote, frequently at early voting during the day or by mail, their vote only counted 1/4 of first time voters who were able to attend the precinct caucuses.
If delegates awarded in caucues properly reflected the demographics of registered voters who participated in the primaries, the distribution of delegates at caucuses between candidates would mirror the popular vote in primary states. However, in Texas, (the only state which has both primary popular votes and percinct caucuses) the distribution of delegates between presidential preferences at precinct caucuses differed significantly from the percentages of votes per candidate at the same precinct primary elections. This discrepancy further highlights the difference between the distribution of delegates between candidates and the preferences of voters on election day.
Some Question if Obama's Lead in Delegates May Result in a Democratic Losses in November
Delegate counts which do not mirror the opinions of registered voters who habitually cast votes in Presidential elections can give a false reading. In West Virginia, despite Obama outspending Clinton by 3 to 1, she beat him in every county. He was stuck in the low 20's while she whopping 67% of the votes cast. Senator John Edwards, who has withdrawn from the race, received 26,181 votes (17%); Senator Barak Obama received 91,663 votes (26%). Senator Clinton got 269,187 votes (67%). She lead Obama by by a 41 points by defeating him by drawing more support from every age group, socio-economic level and category of voter.
West Virginia is an important state for Democratic Presidential candidates. No Democratic Presidential candidate has won a general election without winning West Virginia since 1916.
Super Delegate Delimma
As Obama swept through caucus states and surged ahead in the delegate count, Super Delegates who are supposed to be a party check and balance which helps the party select the strongest candidate to win against the Republicans in the General Election, added to his delegate total. Clinton continues to add key swing state victories. Crucial to any presidential win for any party, white working class voters continue to vote more heavily for Senator Hillary Clinton than for either McCain or Obama in most presidential primaries. Many question whether Senator Obama will be able to defeat McCain in the fall. Most feel that without Hillary Clinton, the Democratic Party's surge in voter turn-out will be diminished by another Republican win.
The level of disgust expressed by thousands of citizens through on-line petitions shows that many Democratic voters will not fall in line and vote for the "other candidate" if their candidate is not the Presidential nominee or at least on the ticket as VP. Over 5000 citizens have signed and commented on a petition to the Super Delegates urging them to select Senator Clinton as the nominee. In a few days over 800 citizens signed the "Quiet Riot" petition which says that Clinton's supporters will not "fall in line" and support Barak Obama. These petitions can be read and signed at http://ipetitions.com/'petition/quietriot/ and at http:/www.ipetitions.com/petitions/supportinghillary/
Grassroots Rallies for Hillary Across the Nation
While Senator Clinton and Senator Obama campaign in Missouri, Kentucky, Oregon, Puerto Rico, Montana and South Dakota, Clinton supporters are rallying in states which have already voted to show solidarity with Hillary and to raise money for her campaign. From the grassroots rallies are being organized by supporters. In Pantego (between Arlington and Fort Worth) a rally called "STAND WTH HILLARY" Saturday, May 17th (1-4 p.m.) at Pantego Bi-Centennial Park (3200 Smith Barry Road, Pantego, TX 76013) will feature speeches by VIPs and grassroots activists such as Teresa Meza, President of the Lulac Council and Clinton Texas State Convention Delegate. There will be laptops with internet access where people can sign three on-line petitions urging superdelegates to vote for Hillary and the DNC to honor the vote of citizens in the Florida and Michigan primaries. A similar event will be hosted by grassroots Clinton supporters Saturday in Longview at Teague Park.
For months political reporters have reported the delegate count without clarifying for the public that until the national convention delegates are elected at state party conventions, and those electors show up at the Democratic National Convention and sign-in for their candidates, all so-called "pledged delegate counts" are speculative. Endorsements from superdelegates are even more speculative than pledged delegates. Superdelegates endorsments will not necessarily reflect the way they will actually vote at the National Democratic Convention. Superdelegates habitually switch sides as the prevailing wind blows. They are charged with deciding for the candidate who has the best chance of beating the Republican candidate for President in November. If Senator Obama continues to show that he cannot win key swing states or the vital block of white working class voters, it is probable that we will see some of his current super delegate endorsements shift to Senator Clinton before the National Convention.
Citizen outrage, expressed by registered Democratic voters from all states, expressed in petitions, against the exclusion of delegates from Florida and Michigan may result in a further erosion of Senator Obama's lead in the delegate count. If only half (142) of Obama's current Super Delegates (284) switched to Senator Clinton, she would lead him today without inclusion of Florida or Michigan delegates or delegates from the remaining primaries in Montana, Kentucky, Puerto Rico, Missouri or Oregon.