On a day when the political sob stories ought to focus on Dick Lugar, whom Indiana Republicans voted out after 36 years in the U.S. Senate, the bulk of the bad news from yesterday’s primaries instead concerns President Obama:
1. North Carolina is a swing state. Four years ago, Obama won the state by 14,177 votes out of more than 4.2 million cast. Last night, almost 200,000 voters in the state’s Democratic primary voted against him, even though no one else was even on the ballot. A constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, publicly opposed by Obama despite the mixed signals from his administration on the issue, passed easily, 61 percent to 39 percent.
2. Wisconsin is generally not considered a swing state — it’s typically been safe territory for Democrats. But 2010 saw the election of Republicans to a majority of the state’s legislative seats and the governor’s mansion. That GOP governor, Scott Walker, currently faces a recall election fueled by labor unions still steamed about his reforms of public-sector unions. In yesterday’s primaries for the recall, Walker, who faced only token opposition in the GOP primary, won almost as many votes as all five Democrats combined. What’s more, the preferred candidate of the fired-up unions finished second in the Democratic primary. The recall is considered a bellwether for partisan enthusiasm, both within the state and nationally given the large outside interest in the battle between Walker and the unions, and turnout yesterday does not bode terribly well for Democrats in the state. Nor does Walker’s $25 million war chest. If Walker wins, it just might be a springboard to making Wisconsin competitive in November.
3. West Virginia is not a swing state. Despite its track record of electing Democrats to the U.S. Senate — no Republican has won a Senate race there since 1956 — it has delivered its presidential electors to the GOP candidate in three straight contests and is a cinch to do so again this year. Still, the most embarrassing result from yesterday’s primaries is that a man who is slated to spend Inauguration Day in a federal prison in Texas won 41 percent against the Obama — a.k.a. the President of the United States — in the state’s Democratic primary.
No wonder famed Democratic strategist James Carville is telling his own side to “wake the you-kn0w-what up.”
– By Kyle Wingfield