I predict an upset in Hawaii's Democratic Senate primary on Saturday.

Alas, I’m doing so because of, well, racism.  Or at least a highly unseemly racialist awareness of the candidates on the part of Hawaiian Democrats:

If U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz falls short in Saturday’s Democratic primary in Hawaii, it will be despite the support he has lined up from a slew of boldface names who are backing his candidacy.

Prominent Washington Democrats ranging from Al Gore to Elizabeth Warren to Harry Reid have all gotten behind the incumbent in his race against U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa.

Most notably, Schatz earned the backing of the first commander-in-chief born in the Aloha State when President Obama endorsed him in March.

Still, it is another native son of Hawaii who truly looms over the special election, offering Hanabusa perhaps the biggest boost in her upset bid: the late Sen. Daniel Inouye, who represented the 50th state in Washington for half a century.


Dirty little secret in Hawaiian politics right now: the haoles ain’t doing so hot in the polls*. Governor Neil Abercrombie (who started this entire thing by picking his Lt. Governor over Rep. Hanabusa, contrary to the wishes of Sen. Inouye**) is on the verge of maybe losing his own primary: even if he wins, Abercrombie’s not really favored to beat former Lt. Governor Duke Aiona in the fall. I am not… as confident of a Republican win in Hawaii’s Senate race as I am for other contested seats; but I suspect that the eventual GOP nominee would do better against Schatz than he (I believe that the GOP candidates are all male) would against Hanabusa.

Especially if Hanabusa decides to run as an independent.  Which would be ironic, under the circumstances – but there’s a lot of bad feelings going around in the Democratic party of Hawaii these days.  But I think that the question is moot; I predict that this Saturday’s Democratic primary is going to result in the incumbent Senator and governor getting tossed out on their ears.  I also predict that the surprised media reporting on this will manage to completely miss the point.


Image via Shutterstock.

Moe Lane (crosspost)

PS: What happens if I’m wrong?  …Erm, nothing? I’m not telling anybody to bet on this. I have been wrong before, as a look at 2006, 2008, and 2012 (half & half) might tell you.  Of course, I was also right in 2002, 2004, and 2010 – and I’m going to be right in 2014, looks like – so it all works out, nu?

*Important note: polling in Hawaii is generally awful.  Aaron Blake over at the Washington Post put it best: “Hawaii: Where good polling goes to die.”  This would concern me more if Hawaii was a state where we had much of… anything, really… to defend.

**Let me just note something here, for the record: this is in fact a Republic, not a feudal state.  Sen. Inouye’s deathbed wish for his successor holds absolutely no special weight whatsoever. And I would counsel anybody who wants to reply that with a Yes, but… that in fact there is no Yes, but… about it. If the people of Hawaii want to have Senate seats passed on like an inheritance, they can just go ahead and get Article IV, Section 4 of the US Constitution amended.  Until then, Hawaii can be stuck with elections, like everybody else.




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