Iowa and New Hampshire were key. Always have been. Until they were over, and then South Carolina was the turning point. And then Tsunami Tuesday was the non-turning point. I think somewhere along the way Maine and Wyoming were important. What can we make of this campaign season that continues to refuse to conform? In Politics 1.0, averages and totals were the key stats–how many votes, how many delegates, etc. In Politics 2.0, it’s not the averages that define where things are going but rather the extremes. In old politics, the center wagged the extremes; in new politics, the extremes wag the average. When it comes to extremes this campaign season, one place in the U.S. dominates–the Inner West. Maybe we should look to the Inner West for where the body politic is heading.
The Inner West of the U.S. handed many of the candidates their best results of the season. In Utah, Mitt Romney won an astonishing 90%. Ron Paul had his best showing in Montana, at 25%. Barack Obama loves Iowa, which handed him a 79% victory. Fred Thompson and Mike Huckabee were big shots in the South, but it was the central plains where they brought it home–Thompson with 25% in Wyoming and Huckaee with 60% in Kansas (equalling what he got in Arkansas, his home state). Even Duncan Hunter had his best outing in the Inner West with 2% in Nevada.
There were several other patterns I observed. First, the South gave two of the three remaining candidates their biggest wins. Hillary Clinton pulled down 70% in Arkansas, and John McCain’s biggest victory to date came in Mississippi (79%). Delaware awarded hometome boy Joe Biden his best showing (3%); Michigan’s shortened list resulted in best outings for Chris Dodd (1%), Mike Gravel (0.5%), and and Dennis Kucinich (4%); John Edwards (30% in Iowa) and Bill Richardson (5% in New Hampshire) faded early; and Rudy Giuliani really did do his best in Florida, just like he had planned (15%). Alan Keyes, Sam Brownback, Tom Tancredo, and Tommy Thompson didn’t register above 0.5%.