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Clinton’s hollow victory in Indiana

Although Hillary Clinton won Indiana she won by the narrowest of margins. This was her last chance to show that she is a viable presidential candidate and her failure to win with a sizable majority may mean the end of her campaign for president. Paul Jay spoke with Marie Eisentstein assistant professor at Indiana University Northwest about Indiana’s results.

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Story Transcript

PAUL JAY, SENIOR EDITOR, THE REAL NEWS NETWORK: While Hillary Clinton won by a small margin at the state of Indiana in the Democratic primary, Barack Obama actually by a small margin won Northwest Indiana. This was somewhat a surprise. The Times newspaper, a local paper in Indiana, predicted that Hillary Clinton was ahead by fifteen points over Barack Obama, and this was only a couple of days before the vote. So what happened in Northwest Indiana? Did the Clinton vote actually collapse? To help us answer this question we’re joined by Marie Eisenstein, and she’s speaking to us from Indiana University Northwest. Marie, what did happen? When we talked last, just a few days ago, you were telling us that the demographics of Northwest Indiana really did favor Hillary Clinton, that the African-American population in Gary wasn’t enough, and that the 15-point lead that The Times newspaper talked about seemed believable, but that sure ain’t what the results were.

ASST. PROF. MARIE EISENSTEIN, POLITICAL SCIENCE, INDIANA UNIVERSITY NORTHWEST: Right. That sure ain’t what the results were. In terms of what happened, a couple of things, and I haven’t been able to verify some of these numbers. But the chairman of the Lake County Democratic Party, who is Rudy Clay, mayor of Gary, he is claiming that he was able to turn out 85 percent of all the registered voters in Gary, Indiana to vote in the primary. And, of course, if that in fact occurred, that he was able to turn out 85 percent of all the Gary-registered voters to vote, then that, of course, would go a long way towards explaining how Indiana ended up so close between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. Another demographic that I noticed that she was winning a large percentage of votes has to do with the Catholic votes. And I think that if you take a look at Pennsylvania, she won, say, 70 percent of the Catholic vote there, whereas here in Northwest Indiana she won 60 percent of the Catholic vote. And beyond that we have this large Hispanic population here in Northwest Indiana, probably 15, 16 percent of the population if memory serves me correctly. And yet I was checking these CNN exit polls, and it looks to me as if that vote wasn’t turned out at all, that there were just not large enough numbers of that population voting for the CNN exit polls to even post numbers.

JAY: I think the angle on this that the mainstream media is missing is that this wasn’t an area, quote/unquote, “in Obama’s back yard” that he was expected to do well in. Based on the analysis you gave of the demographics, in fact, with a large Hispanic population, a large Catholic population, a large white working class and traditionally conservative population, these would all be factors in Clinton’s favor. So the fact that she loses Northwest Indiana is a really big loss, not a small loss, and not one that people were predicting.

EISENSTEIN: Yeah. She got 40 percent of the white vote here in Indiana, and I wasn’t able to break that down in terms of what that was here in Northwest Indiana, but Indiana as a whole. So he received 40 percent of the white vote. The only way, I would think, to assess whether or not the Rev. Wright issue has had any impact on that vote would be to look at, say, primaries that were held before the whole Rev. Wright issue, say, in predominantly white states—Idaho comes to mind—to see if there’s been any sorts of changes in the percentage of the white vote that he has received in elections before Rev. Wright and now after Rev. Wright. But clearly I think that your point, that for Hillary Clinton, she won first place, but on paper. In many ways Barack Obama can claim a win in Indiana. He may not [inaudible] she didn’t do as well as one arguably would say she needed to do in order to continue to make the argument that she’s a viable nominee for the Democratic Party.

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Please note that TRNN transcripts are typed from a recording of the program; The Real News Network cannot guarantee their complete accuracy.