Scott Galindez: Democrats Win Big in Iowa
Democrats Win Big in Iowa
By Scott Galindez
t r u t h o u t | Perspective
Saturday 05 January 2008
When John Edwards took the stage to concede to defeat in Iowa, he declared victory for change and defeat for the status quo. He was right. Sixty-eight percent of the participants in the Democratic Caucus voted for a candidate running on a theme of change. Only 32 percent voted for candidates claiming they were the "experienced" candidates. Now Hillary Clinton and Mitt Romney are trying to define themselves as the "change candidate." In Romney's case he might have a point, he changes his positions on the issues every week.
Earlier in the week I asked if this was Obama's moment, and the answer was clearly "yes." But it was more than Obama's moment - it was America's moment. Barack Obama's win in a state that is over 90 percent white is historic.
If the entrance polls are accurate Barack Obama could be rewriting the political map. Years from now we may be watching the GOP fighting to get back the Obama Republicans.
Look at how the caucus-goers defined themselves in the entrance polls. Among the Democrats: very liberal, 18 percent; somewhat liberal, 36 percent; moderate, 40 percent; conservative, 6 percent. The moderate number is the key. Such a large amount of people who believe they are moderate joining the Democrats on caucus night is a good sign for the party.
Looking at the Republicans: very conservative, 45 percent; somewhat conservative, 43 percent; moderate, 11 percent; liberal, 1 percent. These numbers indicate that the party has become very right-wing.
The days of the Reagan Democrats are gone, and the Republican Party had abandoned the center and is moving to the right.
Obama, on the other hand, is appealing to progressives and moderates, and even some conservatives - many of whom are comparing Obama to Bobby Kennedy. Let's hope that the Iowa results indicate that our country is ready, and there won't be an extremist who will prevent us from unifying our country.
The turnout numbers were also fascinating. 239,000 Democrats turned out, double the turnout of four years ago, while the Republicans drew only 108,000. Obama alone drew 90,581 supporters to the polls, while Mike Huckabee only drew 40,841.
Democratic Party Chairman Howard Dean wrote the following in a fundraising letter sent out on Friday:
"For three years I've asked you to help me build a party that could compete in every state and take back the White House from George W. Bush and his Republican cronies. The excitement we saw from Iowa Democrats, and the total lack of enthusiasm from Iowa Republicans, says a lot about how far we've come."
Indeed, if turnout in Iowa is indicative of what will happen around the country in November, we could be looking at a landslide. Voter registration in Iowa is fifty/fifty between the two parties.
So, now it is on to New Hampshire where there are already strong signals that the Democrats will outdraw the Republicans. Absentee ballot requests are heavily in the Democrats favor. College students are fueling the advantage, and it is a result of a strong outreach to universities by the Obama campaign.
Independents make up 40 percent of New Hampshire's voters and can vote in the primary of their choice. We will know on Wednesday if the trend of Independents supporting Democrats that began in Iowa will continue: a trend that could spell doom for the Republicans. Many criticize the races in Iowa and New Hampshire for their lack of diversity. The one thing they do provide, however, is an indication of where Independent voters are lining up. In Iowa, they went to Obama; if the same thing happens in New Hampshire he - and the Democratic Party - will be very hard to beat for a long time to come.
Scott Galindez is Truthout's Washington,