The date was May 23, 2000. Al Gore had been the presumptive Democratic nominee for months. He had no real competition. Then came the Arkansas primary, and – right the hell out of nowhere – Lyndon LaRouche got 22 percent of the vote. This, according to partly bylaws, gave him the right to Democratic delegates. But the party found a way to claw them back.
May 18, 2004. John Kerry’s competition was vanquished. Only Dennis Kucinich was sticking around to try and win delegates. Then came Arkansas – 23 percent of the vote going “uncommitted,” against Kerry.
May 15, 2012. Barack Obama is still president. In one week, he faces voters in Arkansas. Comes a poll of the state’s fourth district – the last one held by a Democrat – which has Obama up only 7 points on some dude named John Wolfe.
The fourth is a fairly good screen for Arkansas as a whole. Obama won 38 percent there in 2008; he won 38 percent statewide. Arkansas is one of five states that gave Obama a smaller percentage of the vote than John Kerry won in 2004. West Virginia, the last one of these states to vote, gave a convicted felon 41 percent of the anti-Obama vote.
So: Get ready for this next week.