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June 2, 2008
in ‘Healthy’ Nomination Process
The Republicans could not have possibly wished for anything better.
Although those who insist that the upcoming presidential election is
“made” for the Democratic nominee go too far, it is nonetheless a decent
year for the Democrats, and becomes more so as congressional Republicans
blunder on a near-daily basis.
Yet despite the good news going for them, the Democrats have still
managed to bungle their nomination process and their shot at the
presidency. Despite what the Democratic Party’s mouthpieces might
insist, the party’s contest has absolutely not, under any circumstances,
Due to John McCain’s appeal to the independent electorate and his
simultaneous embrace of some of the most essential conservative
principles, as well as the successes in the Iraq War effort brought
about by the policies he advocated, the Arizona senator is the favorite
That said, by playing their cards right, the Democrats could have given
him a serious challenge by selecting a well-balanced candidate who would
capitalize on President Bush’s low approval ratings and the sleaziness
of many congressional Republicans (which is merely cute compared to
congressional Democrats’ behavior, but it’s not like elements of the
mainstream media are battling to be the first to report on, say, Rep.
John Murtha’s crooked earmarks).
the Democrats had nominated John Edwards, they would have given McCain
significant obstacles on his way to the presidency. The same goes for
Joe Biden. Bill Richardson would have presented a formidable challenge,
and perhaps even created an upset in November. Indeed, the absolute best
scenario the Republicans could have wished for on Christmas was the
nomination of either Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama – the Democrats’
two least electable candidates.
the Republicans had been exceptionally well-behaved that year, Santa
Claus would have even granted them a Democratic contest that ran as late
as Super Duper Tuesday in early February, an entire month after the Iowa
Well, Santa delivered for the Republicans, and when he was done, higher
powers jumped in on the action to give even more.
had been 16 years since anything more than the first few voting states
mattered in a primary contest. And for good reason, most expected that
Hillary would wrap up the nomination early and proceed with her
pre-designed general election plans. But it is June, and we still don’t
have a presumptive Democratic nominee.
Even if one of the two candidates is definitively selected today, the
nomination process will still have eaten up four valuable months of
general election campaigning for the Democrats. McCain might not have
been able to capitalize on this situation, at least financially, as much
as Republicans have hoped. But it does not mean that the disparity in
general election campaigning will not have hurt the Democrats by the
time November comes around.
Indeed, the situation has far surpassed what would have been considered
ideal by Republicans at the beginning of the year. The Democrats still
have two candidates fighting it out in June, and they happen to be the
two worst candidates from the pool fielded by the Democrats this year
(the likes of Dennis Kucinich and Mike Gravel being excluded, of
course). Regardless of who gets the nomination, the Democratic candidate
will lose, possibly taking congressional Democratic candidates down as
Obama’s nomination would likely result in easy victories for McCain in
the southwest and in Florida, as Hispanics turn out in droves both
against Obama and for McCain, one of the most Hispanic-friendly
Republicans they know. This is not to mention the lack of enthusiastic
support for Obama among otherwise Democratic senior and Jewish
constituencies in Florida. Ohio and Pennsylvania, despite generating
extraordinary urban support for Obama, will likely see every rural white
voter that voted for Bush and many of those that recently supported
Hillary Clinton to fall in McCain’s camp.
a presidential candidate fails to win any two of the three biggies
(Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida), he cannot win in November. Obama would
be extraordinarily lucky to win even one of these states.
Clinton would, under normal circumstances, perform better in Ohio and
Pennsylvania by playing on the susceptibilities of blue collar workers
who are led to believe that some of the policies that in reality hurt
them the most (i.e. protectionism) actually help their lot. But it has
always been and will continue to be incredibly difficult for such a
divisive figure to earn a majority of the electoral votes this country
has to offer.
Clinton is also at least as much a Washington insider as McCain is,
which eliminates the powerful argument that has handed the presidency to
former governors repeatedly in recent history. Besides, and perhaps
unreasonably, Americans are tired of family succession, irrelevant of
the candidates’ credentials – and the Clinton last name does not help.
also cannot be blind to the fact that those who are simply not ready to
hand the presidency to a woman, however few, might cast enough votes in
November to impact the results. But most importantly, nominee Clinton
will have suffered the loss of many young and black voters disaffected
with the manner in which she snatched the nomination away from Obama. It
would not be a pretty sight (or perhaps it would be).
This would leave us with some combination of Clinton and Obama as a
ticket which, despite eliminating some of the weaknesses of the
individual candidates, is more likely to combine their Achilles’ heels
and leave the Democrats with no good foot to stand on. Now that would
certainly not be healthy.
© 2008 North Star
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