I have a simple question: why is it that the Democratic nomination was decided tonight? What happened tonight that hadn't happened before? Here are some possibilities:
- Hillary Clinton still won the Indiana popular vote tonight. Why is it a big deal that she didn't win by a larger amount? Winning by 4% more would have only resulted in about three more delegates for her campaign. In a campaign of over 4,000 delegates, were those three delegates somehow decisive?
- Barack Obama won the pledged delegates in North Carolina 63-52, even though two weeks ago polls projected he would win more like 65-50 or 66-49. This also happened in Ohio, Texas and Pennsylvania, only in reverse, where Obama made up big ground over the final two weeks but it didn't matter in terms of "expectations." Why does beating the final polls matter, but making up serious ground over the course of several weeks not matter at all? Who determines which expectations matter?
- Barack Obama will net about 215,000 votes tonight, which is almost exactly the same amount Clinton won by in Pennsylvania. If the popular vote didn't change, then why is Obama's lead good enough now, when it wasn't good enough before Pennsylvania? At what point did Obama's pre-Pennsylvania popular vote lead become good enough? And why wasn't it good enough during the six weeks between Mississippi and Pennsylvania?
- Obama will net either seven or nine delegates tonight. Were those seven or nine delegates decisive? Wasn't he already ahead by an insurmountable amount? Was he only seven net delegates away from clinching? And if he was, why didn't anyone tell us he was so close to clinching?
Fundamentally, nothing changed in the campaign tonight. The popular vote and delegate margin are basically the same as they were before Pennsylvania. If you were following the campaign closely, you knew it wouldn't change, and that all but a handful of delegates are up for grabs before any given primary night. Obama was always going to win at least 61 delegates in North Carolina, and at least 32 in Indiana. The only question was whether he would win two or three more in each state. And yet, somehow, it is over because Obama did about 4-5% better than expected in both Indiana and North Carolina, and picked up those two or three delegates in each of those states. And all this in a campaign where over 4,000 delegates are at stake.
So, please correct me if I am missing something, but if a shift of 4-5% and two or three delegates in Indiana and North Carolina is enough to end the Democratic nomination, then why didn't anyone frakking tell us that the campaign was so close to ending? Why was there this massive kabuki theater pretending that it was still a close campaign where Clinton had a legitimate chance at winning? Why were Clinton's attacks on Obama repeated again, and again, and again, without anyone mentioning that Clinton was a desperate candidate hanging by a thread who would probably say anything in order to stay afloat?
The reason is simple: the established media was never covering the Democratic nomination campaign. They were, instead, covering some form of kabuki theater where reality is ignored and liberals are ritually gutted on the public stage for the pleasure of elite, rich, white, male pundits who like to pretend they know what is in the mind of the "common man" or some other formulation that is equally rustic, offensive and laughable. That is all that we have been watching since the Wisconsin primary, since the delegates have not improved for Clinton since the Wisconsin primary (and have actually gotten much worse, if you include the supers). If we had been watching something else, then tonight would not be the end of the campaign, because nothing really changed tonight. If this is the end, then the last two and a half months have been a Clinton-fueled fairy tale, which is basically a white-hot lie about the nomination campaign. Puns intended in the previous sentence.
Update: Final Indiana delegate count is Clinton 38, Obama 34. The polls projected 38-34.
Final North Carolina delegate count is Obama 63, Clinton 52. The polls projected 62-53.
Awesome. A shift of one delegate in Obama's direction. If that is decisive, why didn't anyone tell us this thing was so close to being decided? And if I sound bitter toward the coverage of this campaign, it is because I am. Learn how to count delegates, all of you mooncalfs on national television who are not named Chuck Todd.