Back in February I made this claim while most Obama supporters were chewing their fingernails over the showdown with Hillary Clinton. Results from the field are backing me up: a 50 state+ primary benefited both Obama and the Democrats tremendously, pushing up the Dems’ voter rolls and helping Obama build a veteran ground team that McCain just isn’t matching:
An observation we’ve heard repeated in Obama offices across America, Crandall emphasized how beneficial the contested primary had been for building the foundation for record turnout. “We had real hints of it in the primary,” Crandall said. The first-time voters the campaign energized for the May 6 vote foreshadowed what North Carolina is seeing today. Crandall remembers thinking “these are NOT your typical primary voters.”
I’ve spoken to enough Hillary supporters in NH who felt, in fact, that the contest didn’t run long enough (many wanted a floor battle). Ending this contest any sooner would have been a disaster.
In any event, what Obama has now is the envy of any political operation anywhere: thousands of battle-hardened organizers spread throughout the 50 states. This is not just a benefit to Obama on Nov 4 — it benefits all of American democracy. It may even yet become a thorn in Obama’s side: a people who have stood up do not easily sit back down again. And that’s how democracy should be.