Barack Obama, on the verge of his own premature victory celebration, had time to visit Michigan this week -- a state where he voluntarily removed his name from the ballot for political gain in Iowa, then subsequently blocked a re-vote. But apparently he couldn't squeeze in even one visit to the Bluegrass State in advance of its primary this Tuesday. Not to worry, though, Obama assured the people of Kentucky from afar that he'd be back before November to win them over.
In lieu of visiting Kentucky to ask voters personally for their support, Obama has spent a fortune in television and radio ads, plus handbills, that play up his Christianity. He's also found the time to blame a bunch of people, including FOX News and political opponents, for his impending double-digit loss there. Arriving on the heels of a humiliating 41-point defeat in neighboring West Virginia (where he spent a few hours campaigning), it would be understandable if Obama was feeling a little down about now.
Appalachia, a region rich in battleground electoral votes, is most definitely Clinton Country. A set of maps courtesy of Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections illustrates Hillary's overwhelming Appalachian advantage. In case the legend is hard to read, dark blue in the top map shows counties Clinton has won (light blue is Obama). In the bottom map, pink represents Republican-won counties in the general elections of both 2000 and 2004; dark blue is for counties won by Democrats in both years; and those won by Democrats in only one of the two years are light blue.
The Democratic Party should study this data carefully. Hillary Clinton has the same populist appeal in the region as her husband, who won more than half of these states in 1992 and 1996. Remarkably, even as the mainstream media writes her obituary, in general-election surveys Clinton still out-polls"presumptive nominee" Barack Obama in Pennsylvania and Ohio. And, based on her strong primary performances, Hillary gives the Democrats tangible hope in West Virginia, Kentucky, and Tennessee for the first time since 1996.
So...while Barack Obama writes off another swing state, Hillary Clinton continues to solidify her popularity with the people of Appalachia, working like a die-hard Democrat should to build the party's base, going door-to-door stumping for votes in Kentucky.
And the people of Kentucky, like their neighbors in West Virginia, will come out in full force this Tuesday -- ignoring all the grand displays of victory by Obama -- to tell America that they want Hillary Clinton for President.
Word from the Clinton campaign is that Kentuckians are warm and hospitable hosts. I sure hope Barack Obama has the opportunity in his lifetime to spend a bit of time in Bluegrass Country getting to know them.
Cross posted at texasdarlin and Taylor Marsh
TexasDarlin, all rights reserved
Not affiliated with the Hillary Clinton campaign