First, the delegate counts:
On the Dem side, CNN is showing Hillary with 783 and Obama with 709. On the GOP side, McCain has 559, Romney 265, and Huck 169. The Dem totals don’t reflect New Mexico’s delegates, because that race is still too close to call, with 92% reporting and Obama with about a 600 vote lead. I don’t think any of the delegate totals reflect California yet, as their California page does have the delegate numbers attached to the candidates names – not only that, but there’s still about 5% of the California vote to count, and no one knows yet just how many delegates each candidate will get in that state, since it is not winner take all.
Fox News’ delegate count is showing Hillary with 845 and Obama with 765, McCain with 613, Romney with 269, and Huck with 190. Fox may already be dividing up California’s delegates – I don’t know at this point.
RCP’s totals are different as well. Bryan at HA has a color-coded map of who won what state. He’s showing NM in the Clinton column but as of this moment, that’s the only thing not accurate about the map (in fairness, it was probably called for Hillary by some of the nets last night at the time he made the map).
Team Obama is claiming a delegate lead, but it’s not clear this morning if that’s the case.
The delegate numbers may vary from site to site, but what’s crystal clear is that McCain can clearly be labelled the frontrunner now for the Republican nomination, while it’s still neck and neck between Hillary and Obama.
Here are some other things that I believe are very clear:
*Romney bombed badly in the South, and it wasn’t Mike Huckabee’s fault. Every contest last night in the South saw Romney finish a clear 3rd.
*Huckabee has no chance of winning the nomination, as he did extremely poorly everywhere but the South. Is he angling for a possible veep slot? If so, I’m with Mark Steyn – don’t think it’s going to happen.
*There is most definately an “enthusiasm gap” between the GOP and the Dems, and that is a huge problem. If national elections would have been held last night, the GOP would have lost and lost big. In nearly every contest, the turnout numbers were staggeringly higher for the Democrats that the Republicans, which is, I believe, an accurate reflection of the mood of the conservative electorate – which is to say, not good. John McCain is clearly winning the moderate to liberal wing of the Republican party, as well as a significant number of Independent voters in states with open primaries.
*On that same note, while the delegate count might be split right now between Hillary and Obama, it’s unquestionable that the Democratic party is an energized party hungry for a WH victory after 2006’s rout of the Republican majority. Whichever candidate wins the nomination on the Dem side will likely get the enthusiastic support of most of the supporters of the second place candidate. While McCain may wind up getting support from most of the people who dislike him now on the Republican side, that support will not be enthusiastic nor do I forsee large amounts of campaign cash coming McCain’s way from those reluctant supporters.
*And on that note, McCain’s got some big time sucking-up to do to conservatives if he wants to have any shot at a majority of their votes come election time. Mark Tapscott suggests some ideas for what McCain could do to make the base come around to supporting him. I’m not sure if it will be enough, as there is a deep-seated dislike for the Arizona Senator.
Anyone who may have forgotten why there is such a personal dislike for McCain has been reminded why over the last couple of weeks, from the debate in California where McCain repeatedly took cheap shots on Romney’s work in the private sector as well as lying about Romney’s Iraq timetables comment, to yesterday’s bogus Absolute Moral Authority Card he pulled on Romney over his criticism of Bob Dole’s email to Rush Limbaugh. McCain called on Romney to apologize for the remarks, noting that Romney “never served in the military, unlike Dole” (paraphrasing). Lost in all of that was that Romney’s actual comments, which could have been worded better, but even without that did not disparage Senator Dole’s military service one bit. This was McCain’s way of playing to the military vote, which wasn’t necessary considering he’s got a significant amount of support from the military already. Even if conservatives could move beyond their policy disagreements with McCain for the sake of winning this fall, his likability factor on a scale of 1-10 is like a negative 25, and I don’t see that changing much. He’s alienated a lot of people with his arrogant, you-owe-me attitude – including many of his Republican colleagues in the Senate.
So, as we celebrate Ronald Reagan’s birthday (born in 1911), Republicans have some soul-searching to do. And what with the enthusiasm gap I mentioned earlier, as well as the general distrust conservatives have with the guy who is in line to represent their party come election time, I’m too depressed at this point to try to persuade anybody to do anything one way or the other.
On the other hand, big-time Romney supporter Hugh Hewitt, who is no doubt disappointed about how things turned out last night, tries to get the base energized this morning with “seven reasons to support the GOP nominee.” Good luck with that, Hugh. Mark Hemingway weighs in with some related thoughts about last night as well.
PM Update – 1:50 PM: Here are some sobering numbers, via Time’s Swampland blog:
TOTAL VOTES CAST
Clinton: 50.2% (7,347,971)
Obama: 49.8% (7,294,851)
Total votes cast in 21 GOP contests yesterday among McCain, Romney and Huckabee:
McCain: 43.1% (3,611,459)
Romney: 35.4% (2,961,834)
Huckabee: 21.5% (1,796,729)
For grand totals, vastly more Democrats than Republicans voted yesterday;
Democratic votes for Clinton and Obama: 14,622,822 (63.6%)
Republican votes for McCain, Romney and Huckabee: 8,370,022 (36.4%)
Put another way, the Clinton/Obama race drew 76% more voters than the McCain/Romney/Huckabee race.
Here are the numbers just for the 19 states where both parties had elections yesterday
Obama/Clinton voters: 14,460,149
McCain/Romney/Huckabee voters: 8,367,694
Or, 73% more Democratic voters than republican voters.
Ya’ll know I’m not a proponent of staying home this November, and neither is Stanley Kurtz. He makes an important point here by stressing that even if you don’t plan on voting in the presidential election, you should still go to the polls to vote in your Congressionial elections:
[…] If a Democrat wins the presidency and carries a substantial majority of congress to boot, there will be sweeping changes that conservatives may never be able to turn back. For one thing, several Supreme Court justices will quickly retire, to receive the most liberal replacements conceivable.
If, on the other hand, McCain wins the presidency, conservatives have every reason to want as large a GOP presence as possible in Congress — to help McCain confirm conservative justices (and encourage him to nominate them), and to constrain McCain on issues like immigration. (There’s a slogan for you: “Constrain McCain: GOP Congress in 2008”) It seems to me that it’s in the interests of McCain’s die-hard opponents to call just an enthusiastically for conservatives to vote for a GOP congress as they are calling for opposition to McCain. If conservatives react to the anti-McCain message by staying home, rather than voting for a GOP congress, then we truly will have shot ourselves in the foot.
Ordinarily the presidential race sucks up nearly all the air in political campaigns. That’s because the nominee usually serves as standard-bearer for the party as a whole. This year should be different. Maybe we need to start thinking of the last immigration battle as a positive model for the future, rather than an intolerable strain on the party. Maybe we need to get used to the idea that the GOP congress is there to give a President McCain help when he’s right and keep him in check when he’s wrong. If we could actually turn the anger at McCain into positive enthusiasm for a GOP congressional campaign, conservatism might just be able to save itself from the deluge we face. Again, personally, I would happily vote for McCain over Hillary or Barack. I think we need a GOP president and congress working together (and in tension, when necessary).
But if some folks absolutely refuse to consider voting for McCain, they have all the more reason to put major efforts into calling for a GOP congress. So find out who the GOP candidate is in your district. Find out their positions on immigration, campaign finance, Guantanamo, court appointments, etc. If you think they’d help a President McCain when he’s right and check him when he’s wrong, put some effort and enthusiasm into that campaign.
I understand that the GOP congressional races look bad. Many Republican incumbents are retiring, and the country wants change. Yet this situation is clearly salvageable. The Democratic congress has pathetically low public ratings. Renewed attention to the GOP congress by the disgruntled conservative base could kick-start our stalled campaign. If the big conservative voices criticizing McCain made a point of turning this dissatisfaction into agitation for a GOP congress, it could save conservatism from what might otherwise be disaster. Even if Republicans can’t get an outright majority in the next congress, just staying about even with where they are now would make a huge difference. But a Democratic blowout in congress along with a Democratic president would mean the end of conservatism for the foreseeable future (maybe longer). We can prevent that, just by not staying home.
In short, if the anti-McCain base won’t go to the polls even to vote for a Republican congress, all is lost. But if we direct our disappointment over McCain into positive enthusiasm for a GOP congress, to help him when he’s right and block him when he’s wrong, we can turn this crisis around. Staying home is not an option.
Still more on voter turnout: Via CNN: “Democrats shatter turnout primary season records.”