Don’t Call It a Comeback: Hillary Clinton’s PA Primary Victory


Yesterday, the Post predicted that if Hillary Clinton won the Pennsylvania primary by 10 points or more, it would be a landslide that put her back in the contest. The News‘ prediction for the same margin of victory was that it would “quiet calls from the sidelines for her to get out.” Now, Clinton did win by 10 percentage points, and so much of the rhetoric surrounding the victory is of Clinton’s campaign being on its last legs and that, as the News‘ truck headline on pages 6 and 7 declares, “PA. KEEPS CLINTON ALIVE, BUT BARELY.” But the front page of the Daily News has a headline that probably speaks to the current Democratic zeitgest: “HERE WE GO AGAIN!,” with the quasi-mournful subhead, “He won’t win, she won’t lose.”

The front-page photo of Clinton in the News has a smug expression, and the photo of Obama next to her has an expression of “You’ve got to be effin’ kidding me. Again?!” An open-mouthed, cheerful waving Clinton graces the front of the Post, with “TAKE THAT!: Hill slams Bam by 10 in Penn.” as the banner head. Both papers have a lot of “been there, done that” coverage: columnists praising Hillary Clinton as the “comeback kid” (yes, we’ve heard that before), others hand-wringing that this could be the final nail in the coffin of the Democratic party’s chances for winning in November, and of course, the articles on “politics as usual” and how Clinton pulling out all the stops, including fear-mongering.

Both papers devote an article to Bill Clinton’s on-air “race-card” comment in an interview with a Philadelphia radio station. Clinton said, “You gotta really go some to play the race card with me—my office is in Harlem, and Harlem voted for Hillary by the way.” When he thought he was off the air, the former president muttered, “I don’t think I can take any s–t from anybody on that, do you?” The incident dogged Bill Clinton in Pittsburgh, and he told reporters he “wasn’t going to play [their] games today.” The coverage here is more of the “Bill’s not towing the Hillary party line” narrative, and paints him as a troublemaker.

Another common trope in the coverage is just who was voting in yesterday’s primary. Despite Barack Obama’s huge rallies, it came down to seniors, women and blue-collar workers who went for Clinton. The Post features a map of Pennsylvania on page 7 that breaks down who got the most votes in various parts of the state. Obama took Philadelphia by a wide margin (62%), and won in the city’s suburbs by a smaller amount. Clinton was victorious in the rest of the state, gaining 68% of the votes in northeastern Pa.

And, finally, there are just some weird photos in today’s papers. The two most unflattering are the News photo of Clinton awkwardly embracing a voter on page 9 and the Post‘s requisite bug-eyed shot of a celebratory Clinton with her hand in the air on page 5.

Despite the massive coverage of yesterday’s election, you can almost feel the ennui emanating from the pages of the tabs. This ain’t over, and it seems that everyone just wants it to be.