Honestly, I expected a narrow Clinton win here in Ohio (after all, if there is one thing we’re good at, it’s fucking things up for the rest of the country), but I was a little surprised by the margin. As I pointed out last night, exit polling wasn’t exactly flattering to Clinton voters, as it implies that they are voting based on the gender and race of the candidates, and not on the merits. (To be fair, black voters went overwhelmingly for Obama, and I certainly suspect that a good portion of that is race politics – but that doesn’t change the fact that 56% of all voters who said race mattered voted for Clinton.)
And now that we have actual results, we can see that down at the extreme southern end of the state, in counties such as Scioto, Lawrence, Jackson, Gallia, and Scioto, Clinton earned 80% of the vote. Thru much of Appalachian Ohio she won 70% of the vote. In most of the rest of rural Ohio she won 55-60% of the vote. So why such a large margin in Appalachian Ohio? We’ve all seen that religious based attacks seem to work down there. Norah O’Donnell and Adam Verdugo have even more damning numbers. And Ohio is one of the few states where white males have gone for Clinton rather than Obama.
I went back and took a look at the 2006 Gubernatorial election results, and while there’s a complicating factor in that Strickland is from Appalachian Ohio (and it was a general, not a primary), the white candidate again won by a margin significantly higher along the Ohio River than in the rest of rural Ohio.
It pains me to say it, and I’m open to alternative suggestions, but it seems pretty plain to me that racism is alive and well in Appalachian Ohio, and it contributed to Clinton’s margin of victory.
Wedge politics FTW!