The Obama Wave

I had a chance to see the surge in support for Barack Obama for president this weekend. Although I have never declared a party, I was asked to run the precinct caucus for my precinct in WA state for the Democratic party, which I agreed to do.

Readers of this blog already know my feelings on all of the candidates, though their number is dwindling quickly. Even so, it is worth saying that this surge for Obama is surprising, and large. I was surprised, just in the few weeks it seems to have been building, that so many of our islanders had moved into his camp (or been there all along). Although the state went 2/1 for Obama, our island went about 5/1.

The island population tends to be either older, and or wealthy, and or the working people of the trades, from construction to tourism. They are almost all white. There are relatively few young adults, for lack of good jobs. Doesn’t sound like a “typical” Obama demographic, if there is such a thing.

Is there such a thing? With lily-white states like Idaho (home of the most famous of racist movements) and Nebraska and Minnesota going for Obama, and with places like South Carolina going 25% white and 80% black, there seems to be at least two patterns or three:

1. White states with no black population are voting “color blind” for Obama, the person, where he does very well;

2. Southern states may be splitting along racial lines;

3. Latinos seem to be splitting 2/1 against Obama;

4. Obama’s strongest support is found with the well-educated and well-off, at least in the North; and, overwhelmingly, among the young – perhaps so young as not to remember the Clinton Era.

He now seems within a stone’s throw of Hillary, with more money coming in nightly. I don’t doubt that Hillary might rebound as the next slew of states come in, but there definitely appears to be a wave of support buidling behind Obama which may be almost unbeatable. The people who came to the caucus this weekend were of all stripes, but shared an amazing passion for their candidate, one I’m not sure I’ve seen in decades.