Tuesday, March 04, 2008



Unprecedented numbers of registered Republican voters are asking for Democratic ballots today. And they're not all dittoheads trying to help get their faded hero into the spotlight again. So why are they crossing over?

Conventional wisdom among Inside the Beltway pundits-- i.e., something that can automatically be discarded without serious consideration-- is that Republicans are trying to manipulate the Democratic selection to pick a weaker opponent for John W. McCain. Of course, there are a few who may be doing that but according to interviews conducted at polls places the motivation of these voters is far more troubling for Republicans.
In the Republican roost of Chagrin Falls, veteran poll worker Liz McFadden was amazed at the number of people jumping the party's ship. Democrats accounted for 70 percent of the voters in her precinct, one of seven at the village's high school.

"That's a complete reversal of what it normally is, even more so," she said. "I've never seen a switch like this."

The defectors had motives both pure and sinister.

One woman voted for Clinton in hopes of delivering John McCain a weaker debate opponent. Another picked Obama because her vote could help deny Clinton and her husband a return trip to the White House.

A 69-year-old Catholic nun, Sister Ann Marie, was converted to the Clinton camp because of the former first lady's experience. John Baggett, another ex-Republican for Clinton, said he simply wanted to switch, and Clinton represented a known commodity.

"I'm happy with Republicans, in general," Baggett, 50, said. "I don't believe they've done a good job the last eight years."

In Strongsville, middle-aged couple Lucy and Pete See-- longtime Republicans -- both voted for Hillary Clinton. "I like that she has more experience in foreign affairs," Pete See said. "The Republican candidate was older than me.

Lucy See said she voted for Clinton as well. "I want to be part of making history," she said.

In Texas, Ohio and Vermont any voter can vote for anyone, regardless of their registration. Early exit polls are showing extraordinary numbers of Independents voting, most of them for either Hillary or Obama. Much fewer are asking for Republican ballots. Even if the mainstream media is sticking to the McCain PR hype, independent voters have started catching on that McCain is neither moderate nor independent.

Not unexpectedly, the Washington Post is reporting that the economy is dominating voters' calculations. "In Ohio, nearly six in 10 voters called it tops; if that holds in the final data it would be the highest of any state that has held a Democratic primary contest so far.
Nearly all Ohio Democratic voters, more than nine in 10, said the national economy is in "not so good" or "poor" shape. In Texas, more than eight in 10 rated the economy negatively. In Ohio, more than eight in 10 said trade deals on average take jobs away from people in their state; nearly six in 10 Texas voters agreed," putting the lie to a ridiculous mainstream meme that the GOP fed them this week about how Texans love NAFTA (a disastrous program that McCain and the heinous GOP have fully embraced).

"Change," rather than "experience," seems more desirable to Texas and Ohio Democrats. And nearly half the Republicans are still bitching that they don't like McCain and that he's isn't far enough to the right for them.

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