Obama Has Many Victories Ahead

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[National: Commentary]


So far the 2008 primary season results have drawn much news and very little information.

Based on the results from Nevada and earlier from New Hampshire some pundits are attempting to write Obama’s political obituary. However what do the facts show?

Obama won Iowa and Clinton has won New Hampshire and Nevada’s popular vote and caucus raw numbers but Obama apparently won Nevada’s delegates 13-12. So far Obama has won Iowa with 36% of the votes, lost New Hampshire with 36%, garnered 45% of the caucus in Nevada and won the delegate sweep stakes there.

Most interesting Iowa is 2% Black, New Hampshire is .8% Black and Nevada is 8% Black; Obama clearly ran very strongly with a lot of white votes. The average of polls taken nationally and bundled at Real Clear Politics shows Clinton leading nationally with 41.3% to 33.4% for Obama with Edwards third with 12.8%. Note that a majority of Democrats polled favor Hillary’s two challengers 46.2% to 41.3%. Also note that with Blacks only 12% of the national population Obama has a lot of non-Black supporters.

I mentioned delegates previously and we would do well to keep the delegate count in mind because that is how presidential party nominees are actually chosen. To win the Democrat nomination the winner needs 2,025, the Republican needs 1,191 delegates. Right now the all important delegate counts stand at Clinton- 236, Obama- 136, and Edwards- 50.

On February 5th Super Tuesday 22 states will be voting with 1,681 delegates, 52% of the number needed to win. To date only 4% of the possible total delegates has been awarded. We have a long way to go yet.

South Carolina Democrats will hold their primary on January 26th where Blacks are expected to compose half of the turnout. Blacks will be about half of the voters in Georgia, one-third of the voters in Alabama and 20% of the voters in New York on Feb. 5. Blacks will be 50% of the voters in Louisiana on Feb. 9; and 30% of the voters in Maryland and Virginia on Feb. 12.

Much has been made of the history being made by the Obama Campaign but they have mostly been off target. Obama became the first African American to win Iowa but not the first to win a majority White state.

In 1988 Jesse Jackson won 13 primaries and caucuses and 29 percent of the total primary vote, according to Steve Cobble, a top Jackson strategist. Jesse won 1,218.5 total convention delegates, the highest total ever for the second place candidate and collected more than 7 million votes in total.

In 1984 he won contests in Louisiana (32% Black), Washington, D.C. (61%), South Carolina (30%), Virginia (20%), and one of the split contests in Mississippi (37%).

In 1988 Rev. Jackson won primaries in Virginia (20%), Louisiana (32%), Georgia (29%), Mississippi (37%), and Alabama (26%) on Super Tuesday; contests in Delaware (20%), Vermont (.5%), Alaska (3.9%), DC (61%), Puerto Rico, Michigan (14%) and South Carolina (30%); as well as a caucus in Texas (12%).

So the truth is Jesse Jackson in two elections won 14 states that were majority White states since there is not one state in the USA that is majority Black. Washington D. C. and Puerto Rico do not count because neither is a State.

With only ballots cast so far in the 2008 primaries and caucuses so far we have quite a bit of campaign left before we reach conclusions and make historical comparisons. One thing for sure African Americans will play a major role in writing that history.


Rick Adams is a 40 year veteran of the Black Freedom Movement, a radio talk show host and a cyber columnist. He was campaign chair and a delegate for the 1988 Western Pennsylvania Jesse Jackson Presidential Campaign. He can be reached at



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