Well, Obama surpassed the pretty high standard that I was setting. I said that he needed to win convincingly with Romney-in-Nevada-like numbers, and he did. Even taking the large black electorate into account, winning by 28 points in a three-way race is a convincing victory. Obviously, the significance for the Democratic race is great, especially for his potential in Illinois, California, New York, New Jersey and states across the South, and Obama deserves credit for his impressive win. Still, let’s keep some perspective. There’s no need to be overcome by Obama-fear just yet.
This result does not necessarily mean that he will be able to compete effectively in a national race, much less does it mean that he can “put Southern states into play.” Some points: he finished third among non-black Democrats (23%), and he likewise finished a closer third among non-black non-Democrats (27%). He received a similar level of support from white men (27%), and was weaker with white women (22%). An Obama-led ticket would probably not “put Southern states into play,” but would rather take them out of play. It would not necessarily be race that does this, but instead a combination of his left-liberal record and his “politics from above” that will simultaneously drive away moderate voters and downscale voters.