The Washington Post

The primaries that matter today

Barack Obama might embarrass himself tonight.

Well, not embarrass himself as much as be embarrassed by the Arkansas presidential primary results. See, the president isn’t very popular in that state — he has essentially zero chance of carrying it in November — and there’s a no-name candidate on the ballot, and so there’s some speculation that the president might do very poorly indeed.

Here’s what you need to know about that:

Nothing. Absolutely nothing.

It’s a non-story. If the national media decides to chase after it tonight and tomorrow, it will be forgotten by next Tuesday.

The shame here is that there really are some serious, important contests today in Arkansas and Kentucky. National Journal’s Scott Bland tells us to watch the Republican primary in Kentucky 4 for a proxy McConnell/Paul showdown, with the winner getting a safe GOP seat, and both primaries in Arkansas 4, which has an open seat that will most likely be a Republican pickup. Also, in Arkansas 1, the Democrats may have a chance for a serious November challenge to incumbent Republican Rick Crawford, depending on today’s results. These contests will offer real results, with real consequences, even though the national media prefer to obsess about the presidential race — despite the probability that nothing happening right now in that campaign will make any difference at all in November.

And if you don’t like House races … well, you should, but either way, start getting ready for the big primary in Texas next Tuesday, where an open Senate seat is up for grabs. There are lots of important electoral politics happening right now. It’s just that very little of it has to do with the race for the White House.


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