Last night was Hillary's night with wins in Texas, Ohio and Rhode Island. She won Ohio by 14 points, and took Rhode Island by 18. She had a narrow 3-point victory in Texas, but a win is a win. The big news is Obama's momentum was stopped cold. After 12 straight wins in which he consistently out-performed the polls, he hit a great big wall last night and came away with only a victory in Vermont and 3 big losses. He had pulled even with Hillary in the Texas polling and many pundits expected him to hold her off here, but, to coin a phrase, Hillary found her voice. On today's morning shows, I thought Obama seemed off his game and unimpressive. He's in a new position now, facing a different kind of adversity. It'll be interesting to see how he does.
Hillary's victory here was in the Texas primary, but the results of the caucuses, held last night, won't be known for a few days. I went to my caucus at Sunset High School in the Dallas neighborhood of Oak Cliff and I've got to hand it to the precinct captain and her other volunteers. They did a terrific job of keeping things orderly and moving. Other precincts weren't so lucky as there were many complaints of missing voter rolls and other alleged misconduct. The caucus was a new experience for me and for many others. We showed up as the polls closed and we were told to sit Hillary on the right and Obama on the left. After everything was explained to us, we all lined up to literally sign-in for either Hillary or Obama. Once that was done, we could leave.
I'd guess about 1200-1500 people showed up, although this is pure swag on my part. My neighborhood is a typical gentrifying older urban neighborhood, and by that I mean it's Latino and gay. There are a growing number of yuppie straight whites who've discovered how cute the gays have made things (and will stay until their rug-rats are school-age when they'll dash to the 'burbs), some older white folks who missed the 70s white-flight, and a smallish African-American population. At the caucus, the Latinos and the gays went strongly for Hillary. The yuppie whites were split and the African-Americans were strong Obama supporters. Once we lined up by candidate, the Hillary line was up the aisle, out the door, and down the hall. The Obama line ended about 2/3 up the aisle. Clearly, my precinct is Hillary country.
Texas' strange primary/caucus system has proven to be an unnecessarily complicated embarrassment and there was much talk last night of scrapping it. In past years, only party regulars and die-hards showed up and I believe the system was in place to make sure power remained in the hands of a few. Let's hope this dinosaur goes extinct.