The Plank

(Relatively) Huge Turnout Predicted In Hawaii

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Despite Hillary's aggressive attempt to mobilize the local machine, early news from Hawaii sounds good for Obama. Caucus turnout--which has never exceeded 5,000--is expected to reach as high as 12,000 (the Obama people are saying 15,000-18,000).

As Noam pointed out, very high turnout is probably good for Obama. It sounds like history may be on his side, too:

[P]arty activists said the last time they can recall so much interest in the caucuses was in 1988, when the Rev. Jesse Jackson brought new people to the party but ultimately lost here to Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis. Progressives encouraged by U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich of Ohio in 2004 helped drive caucus turnout to about 4,000, the highest since 1988.

Obama has been playing the "local card" pretty aggressively, even saying to a major newspaper, "Not to pull rank, but I grew up in Hawai'i." But he's also been quite substantive, promising federal funds for mass transit along Oahu's hellishly congested highways. (That sounds fantastically tantalizing, and I haven't even spent that much time there.)

I also saw one report that Obama's organizers were phone banking weeks ahead of the Clinton people.

The local press has been fawning over Chelsea Clinton, and we shouldn't underestimate the power of local bigwigs--nor the "experience" argument. But it's quite posssible that just won't be enough.

--Barron YoungSmith

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