Impressions from the Rally:
* This was probably the most diverse crowd I've been a part of since coming to Houston. Young and old, black and white, asian and some latinos - they were all there. I'd estimate about 60% of the crowd was African-american, and there seemed to be a relative scarcity of latinos. That worries me a little bit, especially after George Lopez was booed for supporting Obama in Houston on Tuesday
* When Obama made his entrance shortly after 8:00 pm, the place went absolutely NUTS (y/t). I'd wager that crowds at most Rockets games don't get nearly that fired up.
* Obama gave a strong version of his usual stump speech. On the Obama scale, it was only average, which is, of course, exceptional by any other politician's standard. After seeing him in person, it's especially clear why people are so moved by his rhetoric.
* The crowd had a very southern-church feel at times, with people yelling things like "oh, yeah!" and "preach it" back at Obama throughout his speech. Obama plays off of this call-and-response dynamic very well, and the crowd just ate it up. These people are fired up and ready to go!
* Shortly before his entrance, they played the will.i.am video on the big screens. It was clear that most of the crowd was familiar with it and many were singing along. That a viral internet video has achieved such penetrance makes evident the power of the internet as a tool for building a movement. (something which comes as no surprise to dKos regulars) Make no mistake - this isn't just a campaign. With his record numbers of small donors and capacity crowds waiting hours to see him in every city, Obama has clearly set off an avalanche of support, and has built a bona-fide movement.
On the ground in Texas:
*Obama is gaining quickly in Texas, with recent polls showing him in a dead heat with Clinton. I don't usually give much credence to the idea of momentum, but this may be the election that changes my mind. He's now won ten states straight and Clinton's attacks just slide right off. They used to claim that Bill Clinton was teflon, but I think Obama's even better (and gives the critics less ammunition to fire with).
* Clinton's advantage among Latinos may be overhyped. It's clear that she started with a large advantage over Obama in that, and every other demographic. We've seen in state after state, though, that the more voters see Obama, the more they like him. Due to it's size and super tight Super-Tuesday schedule, Obama didn't have much time in California, especially compared to Clinton, who put all of her eggs in that basket. He's got two weeks before the primary here in Texas, and only one other state (OH) splitting his time.
* Ted Kennedy stumped through West Texas over the last few days, and he's immensely popular among Hispanics, thanks to his fights for immigration reform. This can only help Obama's already impressive inroads in that important demographic.
The Bottom Line:
Given the level of support I saw tonight, and the obvious trends in the polls, I'll be very surprised if Obama doesn't win Texas, possibly by a sizable margin.
Confidential to Texans: Early voting started today in Texas. Get to a polling place, and vote for Hope, Change, and Barack Obama.
Sí se puede!
Comments are closed on this story.