Dancing Through Wyoming

A campaign blog.
March 8 2008 5:11 PM

Dancing Through Wyoming

More than 100 years ago, politicians danced when they went to Wyoming. There was no getting around it—if you wanted to represent the will of the people, you had to shake your groove thang. This according to an ancient article in The New York Times (PDF), which tells us that Wyoming politics used to be a " terpsichorean " affair. The details are too fantastic not to quote at length:

The chief factor in this pre-election gayety is that whenever there is to be a speaking by the aspirants to office it is always the custom to have a dance that same night. Hundreds of people turn out to hear the spellbinders, not because they love the oratory so much as that they are keenly bent on the terpsichorean festivities that come after the shades of night have fallen.


That’s the most exciting detail to come out of Wyoming. There’s little else to say about a primary that everybody expected Obama to win . Obama has proven that he does well in Great Plains and Rockies caucuses before, and a win in the least populous state in the Union shouldn’t change any of the macro-campaign narratives.

Clinton will probably downplay the loss by saying Obama can win in red states but not big, blue states important in the general election. We’re still trying to understand this logic, as new polls by SurveyUSA confirm that almost all big blue states will still back Obama in the general election. Obama, meanwhile, will try and say that his success in red states brings new Democrats into the process, which could benefit the party's ticket in November. There’s little proof of that in those SurveyUSA polls, as well. That’s why they call spin spin .

Wyoming is a useful example of what red-state Democrats would think if the campaign were shaped only by the media. Neither candidate had high-profile endorsements in the state (the governor doesn’t like either candidate ), there were no polls taken, and the candidates only spent one day there . Voters most likely made decisions based on what they saw on TV and read from wire copy in the papers.

Or maybe they tapped into their state’s history and judged who would be the better dancer. We’ve

, but from what we could find, Clinton

. As

, Hillary Clinton

before Iowa that proclaimed "Dancing is hard, Caucusing is easy." What Clinton didn’t realize, of course, is that sometimes the two are intertwined. In Wyoming, maybe caucusing was hard on Clinton because she didn’t hit the discotheque after her stump speech. Lucky for her, she can hang up her dancing shoes. There aren’t any caucuses left on the primary calendar.



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