Arkansas: Breaker of Liberal Democratic Nominees

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
May 15 2012 3:42 PM

Arkansas: Breaker of Liberal Democratic Nominees

The date was May 23, 2000. Al Gore had been the presumptive Democratic nominee for months. He had no real competition. Then came the Arkansas primary, and -- right the hell out of nowhere -- Lyndon LaRouche got 22 percent of the vote. This, according to partly bylaws, gave him the right to Democratic delegates. But the party found a way to claw them back.

May 18, 2004. John Kerry's competition was vanquished. Only Dennis Kucinich was sticking around to try and win delegates. Then came Arkansas -- 23 percent of the vote going "uncommitted," against Kerry.

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May 15, 2012. Barack Obama is still president. In one week, he faces voters in Arkansas. Comes a poll of the state's fourth district -- the last one held by a Democrat -- which has Obama up only 7 points on some dude named John Wolfe.

The fourth is a fairly good screen for Arkansas as a whole. Obama won 38 percent there in 2008; he won 38 percent statewide. Arkansas is one of five states that gave Obama a smaller percentage of the vote than John Kerry won in 2004. West Virginia, the last one of these states to vote, gave a convicted felon 41 percent of the anti-Obama vote.

So: Get ready for this next week.

David Weigel is a reporter for Bloomberg Politics

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