Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney swept the Michigan primary yesterday. The native son took 39% of the vote, according to MSNBC, while John McCain slid into second with a distant 30% of the population. It’s unclear whether Democrats gave Romney their vote to throw McCain’s campaign. Only 24% of Romney supporters said that he “says what he believes,” which we found interesting.
Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton took Michigan for the Democrats, but that’s no surprise: Edwards and Obama dropped out of the race because Michigan violated party rules and moved their primary forward. Clinton grabbed 55% of the votes, while a stunning 40% preferred to stay “uncommitted”. Ouch.
Some analysts are raining on Romney’s campaign, saying his win only proves the Republicans are “adrift”:
Mr. Romney won easily in Michigan, where he grew up, with a pointed focus on the slowing economy, which voters there overwhelmingly identified as the top issue. Senator John McCain of Arizona won New Hampshire last week with the backing of independent voters, who are so influential there. And Mike Huckabee of Arkansas won the caucuses in Iowa powered by social conservatives who make up a substantial part of its population.
On the most tangible level, the vote on Tuesday was proof from the ballot box of what polls have shown: this is a party that is adrift, deeply divided and uninspired when it comes to its presidential candidates and unsure of how to counter an energized Democratic Party.
The three leading Democrats – Clinton, Obama and Edwards – partook in an MSNBC-sponsored debate last night and, unlike the Republicans, seemed to have come together on a variety of issues, particularly Iraq.
Clinton dominated the discussion, yet made sure to include her rivals in the most friendly way. Taken together, the three candidates painted a picture of a united, gleeful and – most of all – friendly party. We saw none of the biting criticism that seems to crop up during this intense campaign period. Could it be the Democrats have outgrown their differences or were they simply minding their manners?