Wednesday, May 07, 2008


There's good news and better news. The good news: after a huge win in North Carolina and a hairsbreadth loss in Indiana, Barack Obama is the presumptive Democratic nominee, and can finally turn his attention to November's general election. The better news: John McCain, who has had the Republican nomination sewn up for weeks now, failed to manage 80% support in either state primary, which means that almost two hundred thousand Republicans went to the polls simply to cast a protest vote against him:
In Indiana, McCain earned the backing of 78 percent of Republican primary voters, with exited candidates Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney gaining 10 percent and five percent respectively. Congressman Ron Paul, who is still in the race, has received seven percent of the vote.

The numbers were even worse in North Carolina, where McCain won 74 percent of the vote, with Huckabee earning 12 percent, Paul earning seven percent, and four percent of Republican primary goers simply voting "no preference."

None of these totals, to be sure, will affect the Arizona Republican's almost certain path to the nomination. But it has been more than two months now since McCain became the presumptive GOP candidate, and in each state election since he achieved that measure he has continued to lose a relatively substantial chunk of Republican support. In Pennsylvania, for example, McCain won 73 percent of the vote, with Paul pulling in 16 and Huckabee 11.

The troubling figures, however, may be the popular vote totals - individuals who McCain will theoretically have to woo back into his good graces. In North Carolina more than 105,000 Republicans did not vote for McCain. And in Indiana, 85,000 voters - whether they were Republican, Democrat or Independent - cast their ballots for someone other than the Arizona Republican.
UPDATE: Zemblans of a certain age may recall the 1976 presidential debate in which Gerald Ford made a complete fool of himself by asserting that Poland was "independent and autonomous" from the USSR. When pressed on the point, instead of relenting, he insisted that there was "no Soviet domination of Eastern Europe" -- an astonishing brainfart from which his campaign never recovered.

And McCain? Well, let's put it this way: he ain't gonna get any less senile.

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