You know things are desperate when you measure political success by losing not all 77 Oklahoma counties but losing only 75 or 76 of them.
This is the position state Democratic Party leaders were in as the party's 2012 presidential nominating convention drew to a close in North Carolina. The leaders hope Barack Obama will do better this year than in 2008, when he failed to carry a single county. They smell victory!
We don't — noting only that the level of enthusiasm for GOP nominee Mitt Romney is the wild card in this deal. Oklahoma and Cleveland counties are mentioned as possible breakthrough areas for Obama. We'd put our money instead on Cherokee, Muskogee and/or Okmulgee counties.
Cleveland County's large college student and faculty population makes it an easy choice for a prediction of Obama's success. But not all Norman residents will support Obama and, more importantly, Moore is also in Cleveland County. That suburb isn't prone to elect Democrats to any office.
In 2008, Cleveland County voters gave Obama 38 percent of the vote. That was better than the 34 percent Obama got statewide. In Oklahoma County, Obama won 41.5 percent of the vote, compared with 37.7 percent in Tulsa County.
Oklahoma County was among the few in which Obama got more than 40 percent. Others include Cherokee (43.9 percent), Muskogee (42.8) and Okmulgee (41.5). These three abutting counties (or at least one of them) may give Obama something that eluded him four years ago. If so, state Democratic Party leaders can claim that they've accomplished something.
This would all be moot if Romney wins the Electoral College vote nationally. For state Democratic Party officials, though, any glimmer of hope is worth grasping. Not since 2000 has the Democratic nominee won any counties in Oklahoma. And not since 1964 has the nominee won the state.