John McCain is going to stop Mike Huckabee from winning the nomination, but he can’t stop him from winning Kansas. Huckabee won 60 percent of the vote, more than twice the number of votes as Mr. Nominee-to-Be. He’ll get 39 delegates, an ego boost, and an excuse to stick around a little longer. Hooray for Huck.
More importantly, about 17,000 fewer people turned out for the Republican caucuses than the Democratic caucuses earlier this week. That’s a small margin in a multimillion-vote state, but not in Kansas. Both of the caucuses were closed, so the 17,000 gap implies nearly twice as many true Democrats caucused as true Republicans. In 2004, nearly twice as many Kansans voted for George Bush than for John Kerry.
Granted, the Republican race is Nanook of the North to the Democrats’ Transformers . Plus, the governor of Kansas is a vocal Barack Obama supporter, which may have stimulated turnout for the Democrats (Obama won 74 percent of the vote). But if even Kansas is more excited about Barack Obama than John McCain, all of the Republicans-are-unexcited nightmare scenarios could come true. Once again, we may be asking ourselves, What’s the Matter With Kansas ?