On April 22, the Democratic party in Pennsylvania will hold its much-discussed presidential primary. The media feast so far has focused on polls and standings: whose ahead, Obama or Clinton, and by how much. But what about Hawaiians and people from Hawaii living in Pennsylvania? How might they influence the primary?
Obama went to high school in Hawaii, which counts among the core factors of being “from” Hawaii. If you weren’t born in Hawaii, but went to high school here, you can still call yourself local, especially if you love spam musubi. Not surprisingly, Obama garnered a high level of support during the Hawaii Democratic primary caucus on February 19 (see related story) and overwhelmingly won the state. So it’s not off the mark to think that Hawaiians in Pennsylvania would likely vote for him there, too.
Ripple or Tsunami?
Since Hawaiians in Pennsylvania seem likely to vote for Obama, what is the potential magnitude of their impact? According to the most recent US Census data, not very much. Only about 2,000 people from Hawaii moved to Pennsylvania during the years between 1995 and 2000. Most of them went to Philadelphia, where other liberals in the state are concentrated. So if anything, they could help Obama win the primary by increasing the turnout and impact of liberal voters in an already liberal area. Theirs would likely be a ripple effect, not a tsunami.
Figure It Out Soon
Whatever the voters in Pennsylvania decide, including transplants from Hawaii, the sooner the Democrats choose their candidate, the better. If for no other reason than to stop john McCain from trailing around unopposed with nothing to do but look presidential. Only the lamest party in history could lose a presidential election that was in the bag.