Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Hillary vs Who? and What?

My ha'penny on Super Duper Tuesday.

Hillary is going to be the nominee for the Democrats. There I've said it. I know loads of people think that Obama has loads of momentum after the last few weeks and that he is well placed now but the fact remains he has fallen short and he need really big wins in really big states, exactly the type of place he didn't get close to winning last night. It seems that where the Dems are weakest he has been able to gee up the base more. States that have been so red that declaring yourself a Democrat is accompanied by a coming out party and the number of a sponsor.

Obama has to win a clean sweep of the Chesapeake Primaries (Maryland, D.C. and Virginia) next week or else Clinton will simply moving further ahead of him. By March 4th (the old Super Tuesday) Obama would be requiring landslides in the big states after in order to draw level, and I can't see that happening. Some might say that the surge came too late but it might also be that it simply made him viable.

I expect both camps to play nice over the next few weeks as the idea of having a ticket which has Obama on as Veep sinks in, perhaps even with the hint being dropped that he might get to run in 4 years time. If he can bring out the same youth vote, then it could have a big impact in the Congressional races too. It hasn't been done quite this way before but a person on the ticket who plays up their advisory role and ability to assist in agenda setting has happened before and it was Hillary herself who talked up her role with Bill. One of the benefits to being VP for Obama is that he does haven't to say or decide anything allowing him to sidestep many contentious issue that he would have to take a side on in the Senate, the downside is that he is tied to her performance in office not his own.

So despite the initial impression that the Democrats are going to I think their race is almost settled. As for the incumbent party, oh dear

Republicans -

The talk seems to be that McCain is the presumptive nominee and that it is all over bar the shouting. I actually think they're the party with problems that will right the way run to the convention. and remember they have the shorter run from the convention to election day. Usually a benefit but not if you have a pie fight live on television that gets replayed for the first 3 weeks of the campaign proper.

For the Republicans there is a different problem winner takes all states keeps the game alive in that candidates can dream/project/hope for marginal wins in the states that get them up the delegate numbers. McCain is on 559 which while well ahead of the others individually is only 265/169/16 = 109 ahead of them all together.

The problem for McCain is that while he is the candidate to win over the independents required to secure victory in November, he can't be confident of the south. He wasn't able to break 40% in any of the southern states that have voted yesterday and that means if at least some of the 60% who voted for someone else (include 10% for Thompson in Tennessee) decide to simply stay home then he is in trouble. The Republican don't have a solid southern strategy this time especially if someone runs ads repeating the Republican attacks against him regarding pro-choice and immigration.

The difficulty the republican find themselves in is entirely of their own making since no one told the religious right/moral majority that the Republican party is also a coalition of interests and that while they were a significant part and indeed the single most numerous part of the party in recent years that they were not a majority and had no right

Do not bet against the republicans having a war over the convention as the religious try and create a platform that McCain won't run under. Is it more likely common sense will prevail yes but is it a possibility undoubtedly. If the RR/MM think the election is already lost to the party they may come to the conclusion that the convention and campaign should be about what the party is to become rather than chasing after elected office that is speeding away from them.

1 comment:

mgb said...

Its all about the money.

The Democrats have loads of it, and Hilary and Obama both have demonstrated an ability to run professional, national campaigns and raise lots more.

So it would be crazy for the Dems to isolate either Hilary or Obama when they could be in a position that a Hilary/Obama ticket could raise enough cash to fund the general election and the DNC could run the congressional and senate campaigns using their own money, while relying on the headline ticket to get the vote out.

The Republicans, not so much. the RNC is allegedly broke, which is bad news for the local races and the party in general. McCain (or whoever) can probably fund their own campaign. But big business doesn't appear to be lining up behind the RNC this year.

So if it comes to a convention where McCain is home and dry, and yet the religious right reckon the republicans are going to lose and lose badly; then we can assume that big business will also reckon that the republicans are going to lose badly and so won't be generous to the party.

This has many implications. Here are two.

In the first instance, if the democrats roll into town with Hilary and or Obama on top billing and the local democrat congresscritter wannabe as second then the RNC probably doesn't have the money to run a competing event to show that they have a potential congresscritter here too. Whereas the Dems will probably have enough money to promote their people locally both as part of a national vote democrat campaign starring visits from Hilary & Obama and at a local level to counter visits from the republican ticket.

In the Second instance, the only people left with money in the Republican party will be the religious right. And they will demand their pound of flesh on the party platform and in suitable soundbites and positions from the local candidates. Just the kind of thing to make the average republican candidate even less appealing to independents, let alone wavering democrats.

So the religious right can lose the presidency, yet win the party. Which won't be a lot of fun for the republicans.