Every now and again, a blog reader, a friend or a family member puts forward a political theory that tantalizes, but, well, you just don’t believe. A few days ago, one such individual offered that Democrats were working behind the scenes to put Hillary Clinton on the ticket. No, not to replace Joe Biden (as some have advocated), but to replace Barack Obama.
My interlocutor looked the then-upcoming Arkansas primary and wondered about the background of John Wolfe Jr. who was then nipping at Obama’s heels in the polls. Was he connected to the Clintons? Well, Mr. Wolfe didn’t defeat the president in Bill Clinton’s home state, but he did give him a run for his money, carrying a number of counties (those shaded blue below):
The Natural State is not the only one where a no-name opponent has garnered over 40% of the vote. Heck, yesterday in Kentucky, uncommitted won 42.15% of the vote. In the counties colored with the lighter shade of green, more Democrats preferred no candidate at all to the incumbent President of the United States:
“So far,” writes John Hinderaker surveying last night’s results
Obama has had weak showings in Louisiana (76-24) and North Carolina (79-21), and squeakers in Oklahoma (57-43), West Virginia (59-41), Arkansas (59-41) and Kentucky (58-42). And Barack Obama had no credible opposition in any of these races. In some instances, his only opponent was an incarcerated felon! It appears obvious that many Democrats are trying to convey a message that the liberal media is unwilling to hear. In 1968, when Senator Eugene McCarthy won 42% of the vote in the New Hampshire primary against Lyndon Johnson’s 49%, it was enough to force Johnson out of the presidency. Moreover, McCarthy was a credible candidate–a sitting U.S. Senator who was the subject of a nationwide movement to put “Clean Gene” in the White House. How can Obama’s struggles in this year’s primaries not be a news story of at least equal magnitude to the New Hampshire primary that drove Lyndon Johnson from the presidency?
He wonders, as did my interlocutor, if Democrats are ready to dump Obama.
No, I think they’re going to keep him even as Democrats in a good number of states would prefer even no names to the incumbent president. There is likely no organized movement afoot to replace Obama as the Democratic standard bearer, but there sure is sentiment among Southern Democrats for a non-Obama.