Wednesday, February 20, 2008
An aloha moment
Yes, Barack Obama was born in Hawaii, finished highschool in Hawaii and undoubtedly received some votes in yesterday's caucuses for no better reason than being a Native Son—but 76% to Clinton's 24%? It was aloha all over
But here's the truly amazing number: According to the Honolulu Advertiser, "The caucuses have drawn fewer than 5,000 people in the past but the vote count totalled 37,182 last night." That's a record turnout and more than a sevenfold increase in caucus attendance. The Democrats expected a better-than-average turnout and had printed 17,000 ballots. They ended up having to "improvise with notebook paper and index cards."
Since anyone willing to register as a Democrat, even at the door, was allowed to vote in the Democratic caucus, there have been some sour-grape speculations that this huge turnout was an insidious Republican plot—
... others wondered if Republicans weren't showing up to make mischief for the Democrats, temporarily registering for the party so they could vote for the candidate they believed would make the weakest opponent for GOP presidential candidate John McCain.
Gimme a break. If there's a Republican conspiracy, it's to nominate Hillary. And if Hawaiian Republicans don't know that, they've been cut off from the mainland far too long. More power to 'em.
For years the pundit class has been commenting on the demographic shift the white Republican establishment will eventually have to face. If that day hasn't arrived, it was certainly heavily foreshadowed in the Hawaiian caucuses. Here's the 2003 ethnic breakdown of the state—
- Unmixed (except Hawaiian): 739,890 (60.5%)
- Caucasian 286,727 (23.5%)
- Japanese 203,963 (16.7%)
- Filipino 162,542 (13.3%)
- Chinese 47,609 (3.9%)
- Black 11,587 (0.9%)
- Koreans 10,236 (0.8%)
- Samoan/Tongan 17,226 (1.4%)
- Mixed (except Hawaiian): 223,901 (18.3%)
- Hawaiian/Part Hawaiian: 258,490 (21.1%)
You can't get much more multiethnic than that.
Of course Hawaii is heavily Democratic, so whoever wins the nomination will surely get Hawaii's electoral votes. But Hawaiians have made the point that they expect Barack Obama to be the recipient.
Newt nominates Hillary (4/15/05)