Now, if I were a Clinton supporter, this would make me nervous. She won Michigan, an essentially uncontested and meaningless primary due, with 55%. 40% of those who voted, did so for...Uncommitted. That's 328,151 votes for Clinton and 236,723 votes for uncommitted. (For the record, and in more good news for a Democratic turnout in November, Uncommitted received more votes than Mike Huckabee and only 20,000 fewer votes than McCain.)
Now, there was a concerted effort to get out the Uncommitted Vote. But it DID come out. A pure protest vote. The New York Times Caucus Blog actually notes that Uncommitted beat Senator Clinton in certain areas.
Certainly, this could mean very little in the long run. It could simply be the product of disenfranchised Michigan voters protesting their Party. Or it could be, as is noted in the Times Blog, a protest vote against Clinton herself.
I watched the MSNBC debate last night and I felt that all the candidates performed strongly. I completely disagree with the punditry saying that Clinton won the debate last night. I don't know what debate they were watching, but Obama had his strongest debate, responded to her criticism and was detailed in his positions (especially about schools and taxes and education.) He also got more than his share of laughs from an otherwise silent crowd.
Clinton is, of course, brilliant and she showed it in the debate. Obama and Edwards, even when they're looking good, never appear to have her mastery of the facts about policy. But she never roused the crowd, and even came off, as she is wont to, a bit cold.
There's no law that the President must not be cold. The truth is, though, that many, many people in the country simply will not vote for her. I think, as a Democratic voter, it's idiotic to think that if she's the Democratic Nominee, she won't inspire months of vitriol and spark new resistance to her candidacy within conservative circles. If she can only win an uncontested primary 55% to 40% in her own party... it means she is actually vulnerable in the general election. That she could (gasp!) lose to a Republican.
Not likely of course. Even with her as the Nominee, Democratic voters are simply far more engaged than their Republican counterparts, and she's an incredibly capable and smart candidate. She's more likely to win than not and it's foolish, at this point, to think otherwise. I just think Michigan is one more sign that she's far riskier than the other two.
Think Clinton versus McCain. I don't like the sound of it.
- Matthew Freeman is a Brooklyn based playwright with a BFA from Emerson College. His plays include THE DEATH OF KING ARTHUR, REASONS FOR MOVING, THE GREAT ESCAPE, THE AMERICANS, THE WHITE SWALLOW, AN INTERVIEW WITH THE AUTHOR, THE MOST WONDERFUL LOVE, WHEN IS A CLOCK, GLEE CLUB, THAT OLD SOFT SHOE and BRANDYWINE DISTILLERY FIRE. He served as Assistant Producer and Senior Writer for the live webcast from Times Square on New Year's Eve 2010-2012. As a freelance writer, he has contributed to Gamespy, Premiere, Complex Magazine, Maxim Online, and MTV Magazine. His plays have been published by Playscripts, Inc., New York Theatre Experience, and Samuel French.