Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Obama's Coattails for Peace

People need to start recognizing that Obama is the best nominee, not just because he is more likely to beat McCain in November, but because he is more likely to beat him big, bring new voters into the process, thereby positively affecting the downticket races.

Donna Edwards is the first exciting case in point. Yesterday, Democrat Donna Edwards (who happens to be a former Congress Watch colleague of mine) pulled off a stunning upset against 6 term incumbent congressman Al Wynn (D-Maryland) in Maryland's fourth congressional district (a hybrid of Montgomery and Prince Georges Counties in suburban DC).

The margin of victory? 20%! Completely unheard of for a primary challenge against an incumbent not currently under indictment. Hmmm...Who else won his Maryland Democratic primary by 20% on Tuesday?

Three guesses and the first two wear bold colored pantsuits.

This is no joke. Maryland's appear to be the first congressional primaries of the year (February is very early). Donna is part of a slate of Democratic challengers across the country running against Democrats who supported the war and continued military buildup. And she won, not a little bit, but huge, with the exact same margin of victory as Obama.

People who know Maryland's fighting 4th tell me the little old lady faithful stayed with Winn. They've voted for him for years and saw no reason to change. So what made the difference for Donna is not the party faithful but new voters, or occasional voters; people who don't usually come in in droves in primaries.

We all know about the Clinton coattails (in his second presidential bid, Clinton not only maintained his loss of Democratic control of the House of Representatives for the first time in 50 years, but Democrats lost gubernatorial seats and control of state legislatures across the country).

I love the idea of peace candidate Obama first sweeping in new peace Democrats in the primaries, and perhaps adding to the Democrats' margin in November, transforming it in the bargain from a majority of Democrats, to, dare I hope? a majority of progressives.

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