South Carolina has come and gone. But the political landscape looks much different than it did just two days ago.
There’s been a major atmospheric shift in the presidential election. Did anyone really see Barack Obama winning the South Carolina Democratic primary by such a huge margin? The winds, for the moment, are blowing in a new direction, but I’m not sure whether they’re stirring up a hurricane or just a temporary breeze.
The demographic breakdowns are out and we all know which types of voters went for which candidates. I’m sure the cable news networks will be busy dissecting those results at least until Super Tuesday.
As they do, I have one suggestion – while you’re focusing on whether the color of our skin or our two X chromosomes played a bigger role in Obama’s victory, spend some time analyzing the size of the voter turn-out, as well.
That’s where the real “surge” story is these days.
In 2004 about 290,000 people voted in the South Carolina Democratic primary — this year, that many people had voted by lunch time. The total voter turn-out was almost double what it was four years ago.
It’s no secret that we Americans tend to take our right to vote for granted and like to find excuses to stay at home on election day. But it seems like something started in Iowa and New Hampshire that some thought was an aberration from the excitement over the first two big contests.
An electoral nerve has been touched and voters have responded in a major way, and I’m betting that the folks who are getting ready for the primaries on February 5 had better have lots of extra ballots, plenty of bottled water and the patience of Job, because the voters are coming like we haven’t seen for a long time.
What is clear is that record numbers of Americans, at least for the moment, have said with their actions, ‘We’re mad as hell and we’re not going to take it anymore.’ How can that be anything but good?
What do you think? Is there a change a’coming in how we view our right to have a say in who’s going to sit in the Oval Office? Or was it just a slow day at the office?