The Democratic Turning Point

Tuesday's results aren't enough to rescue Clinton.

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The May 6 primaries might go down in history as the deciding factor in why America failed to nominate its first female major-party presidential candidate in 2008. It's hard to see after Tuesday's election results how Sen. Hillary Clinton makes the case that she should be the Democratic nominee.

Her campaign pledged to carry on through May races in West Virginia and Kentucky. But in order to woo more superdelegates into her camp—and superdelegates are now the decisive factor in the Democratic nomination race—she had to score a more decisive victory than her narrow 2-point margin in Indiana. And she had to foil Sen. Barack Obama's attempt to score a double-digit lead in North Carolina, which she did not.

Combing through the exit polls, there's only one point of light for Senator Clinton: She prevailed among suburban and rural voters in Indiana. Both categories will become much more critical in the general election:

According to CNN's exit polling, Clinton took 52 percent of the vote in suburban areas, compared with 48 percent for Obama. She won 66 percent of the rural vote, compared with Obama's 34 percent.

The Christian Science Monitor proclaimed: "Illinois Sen. Barack Obama won the North Carolina Democratic primary by a commanding 14 percentage points over New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, proving to critics he can win white Southern votes as well as black. With that win, he has amassed an almost insurmountable lead in both pledged delegates and the popular vote."

I agree with the Monitor on delegates. But I disagree on Southern white voters, who I cannot envision supporting "the most liberal member of the U.S. Senate," which is how the National Journal rated Senator Obama.