Following the two primary races yesterday in Indiana and North Carolina, it's clearly the beginning of the end for Clinton's "comeback kid" primary run. She needed both states. The "solidly in the tank for Obama" media covered the races yesterday with the irrational exuberance that we've all come to expect of them.
CNN reported on their front page today that "Obama sweeps N.C.; Clinton ekes out Indiana," when in reality the percentage difference between the two races was five percentage points (Indiana: 51% to 49%, North Carolina: 56% to 42%). Considering that Obama won primarily because of upscale and black voters in NC, while Clinton dominated in the rural areas, taking 42% of the total vote, it's hard to understand how CNN could use the term "sweep." Add to that the expectation that he would potentially win both states (Indiana by his own reckoning, was the tie-breaker), and was originally supposed to win by double digit percentage in North Carolina, a lead that wound up actually only being 6%, this is hardly the showing that his campaign really expected, and well short of a sweep. That said, regardless of how the win was colored by the media, barring any additional drama, Obama is now well on his way to face McCain in the General.
While the race with Clinton is all but over at this point, it's left the Democratic party with a candidate who is badly beaten and bruised. Many Democrats are questioning the wisdom of the vote results. Many feel that while Obama has rallied Democratic primary voters, he's also irreparably damaged his candidacy in the general. Moreover, it's the divisive way that Obama won that generates concern among general election voters.
Obama, the trans-racial and post-partisan candidate, took fully 91% of the African American vote in North Carolina. His only chance of winning Indiana was by sweeping Gary, a heavily African American city. Pro-Obama pundits (are there any other kind?) were quick to explain away this clear voting along racial lines, suggesting that blacks did vote for Clinton until she offended them with a string of possibly racial comments made by her husband, as well as with some of the negative attacks made by her campaign. Back here in reality land, the true story is quite the opposite. Blacks didn't respect Obama, didn't think he could win. In fact, they even questioned his "blackness." Once the media got the word out that whites could take Obama seriously, that he could win the primary, and after getting a taste of Obamamania, African Americans all got in line behind him and started voting.