Super Tuesday wrap-up: some primary winners and losers
By now you know most of the "who won, who lost" as far as the candidates are concerned in the mega-round of primaries held in 11 states this Tuesday. But what we're more interested in is the bigger picture. Who are the big "winners and losers" based on how things turned out?
Sarah Palin: Palin had a really good night. In South Carolina's GOP gubernatorial primary, the candidate she backed, three-term state representative Nikki Haley came from fourth place to first (and within one point of winning a four-way primary without a runoff) in the little more than two weeks since Palin's endorsement. And in Nevada, Palin endorsed another state representative Sharon Angle...who was also in last place...and also went on to finish first. She also backed Carly Fiorina in California who won that state GOP's senate nomination.
The Tea Party movement: Although Democrats and pundits have belittled it, the Tea Party movement is now proving it can deliver the goods. See previous notes on South Carolina and Nevada. In South Carolina's GOP primary, 39% of voters self-identified with the Tea Party movement. Add to that Rand Paul's recent win in Kentucky and you can't really draw any conclusion other than the coordinated backing of Tea Party activists matters. Time will tell if it translates into real change in government, but in the meantime, the movement has to be taken seriously.
Women: Remember how the media made a big deal about the rash of female candidates running for state and national office back in 1992? They called it "The Year of the Woman". In reality, it was more like the year of the "liberal" woman, but that's probably why they were so quick to promote it. But now we have another year with a large crop of female candidates - and this time a lot of them are conservatives. See previous notes on Nikki Haley in SC, Sharon Angle in Nevada, Carly Fiorina in California (and Meg Whitman), just to name a few. All of which makes one wonder if they'll trouble with promoting another "year of the woman".
Bill Clinton: Yes, Clinton wasn't on the ballot, but endangered Arkansas Senate Democrat Blanche Lincoln was. Clinton waded in to this contest a few weeks ago and put his name on the line for her and she won a race she was supposed to lose. And this was despite the overwhelming opposition of the more liberal wing of the party, not to mention over ten million dollars spent by the labor unions trying to defeat her. Of course, if he was going to risk his reputation anywhere, Arkansas would be the place.
Liberals: Although they were feeling pretty high after taking a scalp (Arlen Specter) in the Pennsylvania Democrat primary a few weeks ago, even in the face of (half-hearted) opposition from the White House, they propelled Sestak to their party's nomination. But this time, not so much. They decided to throw down the gauntlet in the runoff for Blanche Lincoln's Arkansas Senate seat due to her opposition to the "public option" in ObamaCare, as well as union pet project "card check". Daily Kos, Move On and others made her defeat a project, so to speak. Despite their momentum, they came up short.
Unions: The unions were big losers for the same reason "liberals" were...only worse, they blew through over ten million dollars trying to defeat Lincoln, and have nothing to show for it - other than a White House and Democrat National Committee that's upset with them for blowing through ten million dollars that could have been spent targeting Republicans.
Pundits: OK, not all pundits are losers. But for over a year we've been hearing from many of them (of both the liberal and conservative variety) that the Tea Party movement was just a bunch of disorganized rabble who were good at making noise, but probably wouldn't be able to influence the outcome of an election. Now that we've seen the results in Virginia, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Kentucky, South Carolina, Nevada, etc., they have some crow to eat.