early and often

The Early Word on Indiana, Maybe the Final Democratic Battleground


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Because we’ve all decided that states where Barack Obama has demographic advantages don’t really count (as opposed to Pennsylvania, whose primary was apparently Hillary Clinton’s redemption), Indiana is the next — and maybe, if there truly is a benevolent God, last — major Democratic battleground. But as in many other important primary states, most Americans were unaware that Indiana existed until just now. So what does this place promise for the never-ending race?

• Jonathan Martin says both candidates are starting off on an equal footing, though Obama may have a slight advantage thanks to the state’s large, heavily black urban areas and proximity to his home state, Illinois. He may need to win only about five of the 92 counties, if he wins the right ones, to take the state delegate-wise. [Politico]

• Monica Davey (reporting from Kokomo but probably not the one the Beach Boys were thinking of) believes Indiana voters will resist messages of change, as they’re a traditional people who like things the way they are. At the same time, the campaign will be dominated by the poor economy, which, presumably, Indiana residents want to change. [NYT]

• Amy Chozick and Nick Timiraos write that Obama will have to overcome similar hurdles in Indiana as in Pennsylvania — specifically, attracting the working-class white voters who he’s so far had difficulty drawing in. [WSJ]

• Mark Halperin calls Indiana one of the “most even-Steven” states so far, where the suburbs outside of the major cities will likely become the key battlegrounds. [Page/Time]

• Tim Reid says Indiana is the only remaining primary in which the results are not “foregone conclusions,” but both candidates have their advantages: Hillary Clinton should be helped by the high female electorate, her endorsement by Senator Evan Bayh, and the overall white, blue-collar population. Obama, meanwhile, has to date won every state bordering Illinois. [Times UK]

• Chris Cillizza believes that Clinton will be unable to make a case to the superdelegates without winning Indiana. Obama simply needs to win by a single point to take “a huge amount of air out of Clinton’s balloon.” [Fix/WP]

• Brendan O’Shaughnessy notes the excitement (and importance) of crossover voters — Republicans who can vote in the Democratic primary and have been active in the campaign. Some are disaffected with their party, while others are simply trying to meddle in the Democrat’s primary process under the leadership of Rush Limbaugh’s “Operation Chaos.” [Indianapolis Star]

• Karen Tumulty sees a Clinton loss as a likely fatal blow to her candidacy. She’ll have to overcome a large fund-raising gap between her and Obama but is fortunate to have Senator Bayh on her side because he’s pressuring Indiana’s superdelegates not to make any endorsements. [Time] —Dan Amira

Related: How Much Worse Will the Democratic Race Get?

For a complete and regularly updated guide to presidential candidates Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and John McCain — from First Love to Most Embarrassing Gaffe — read the 2008 Electopedia.

The Early Word on Indiana, Maybe the Final Democratic Battleground