Roughly two and a half months passed since the beginning of the presidential race in the United States. Most of the two major parties’ candidates quitted it before the Iowa caucuses, right after them, or after two or more states having cast their ballots, whether primaries or caucuses. It has been a rather interesting contest so far both in the Republican Party and in the Democratic Party.
Although Republicans already have one of their candidates locked up his nomination, Senator John McCain (R – Arizona), this race did not lack passionate polemics between the candidates such as the one between Mr McCain and former governor of Massachusetts Mitt Romney. The two accused each other of being liberal. This is the first time I have ever seen this word being used as an insult but it did not amaze me because I know that Republicans are conservative and being liberal is not typical of their party’s platform.
Super Tuesday contributed to a new scandal among the Republican presidential hopefuls right in the beginning when it appeared that former Governor of Arkansas Mike Huckabee had won West Virginia, a winner-take-all state, with about 99% of the McCain voters having voted for him thus contributing to his win with 52% versus 47% for Mitt Romney and only 1% for John McCain. After his failure on Super Tuesday, Mitt Romney felt obliged to quit the race and later endorse John McCain for the sake of the party’s unity. Mike Huckabee remained in the race until its informal end after the results of the elections in Texas, Ohio, Vermont and Rhode Island which were sufficient for the Vietnam War veteran to eventually lock up his nomination. There is still another rival in the race, Ron Paul. Nevertheless, John McCain is technically the Republican presidential candidate in the general elections having won more than the required 1191 delegates for the Republican National Convention. What remains unclear is who is going to be his running mate.
While Senator McCain can afford to take a rest after having locked up his nomination, on the Democratic side tension is still high. In fact, it has constantly been high especially between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. Most of the democratic voters do not even know that there is a third candidate, former senator Mike Gravel from Alaska, but this is not important at all. On March 11 Obama won the Mississippi primaries and now his lead in delegates has increased. Now the difference between the two in terms of delegates is more than 100 to Mr Obama before the pivotal Pennsylvania primary on April 22 where 154 delegates are at stake. Besides, Florida and Michigan may have primaries, this time at stake, through e-mails and hypothetically if Clinton wins both of those states, Obama’s lead may shrink which will give Hillary Clinton bigger chances to eventually get the nomination.
What impacted Mrs. Clinton’s trailing in the race in my opinion? I believe that she did not manage to play her cards well. First of all, in her attempt to attract the voters, she tried so hard to satisfy them by saying exactly what they want to hear that she frequently changed her stands on the issues. For example, when already resigned governor Spitzer wanted to allow illegal immigrants to get driver’s licenses, she was with him. Then she changed her position on this issue right after Mr. Spitzer changed it. It can be inferred that she wants the presidential post so badly that she is ready to do anything for that.
Second of all, she acted as if she was already president of the United States. This may be a good tactic in order to impress the voters but it may turn out to be a bad one because of some people’s getting the impression that the particular candidate is too arrogant and hypocritical.
What made an even greater impact on Senator Clinton’s trailing was her husband’s playing the racial card in South Carolina where Hillary suffered a great loss mainly because of the black vote there which was 50% of the registered Democrats. About 83% of the African Americans in South Carolina voted for Barack Obama and after the state’s primaries the black vote for him increased to around 90%. In my opinion it is Bill Clinton’s relating Barack Obama to Jesse Jackson that further separated African Americans from his wife.
A fourth factor was money and endorsements. Senator Obama got a pivotal endorsement from Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius in order to attract female voters. Meanwhile Senator Clinton’s having been endorsed by Mr. Spitzer might turn out to be negative for her after his love affairs with a “petite brunette”.
As to money, according to opensecrets.org, Barack Obama got almost twice as much as Hillary Clinton on January 2008, $36 060 927 and $18 884 127 respectively.
Overall, it looks like things go well for the Obama campaign and very bad for the Clinton campaign. It is still a close race between the two not only in state delegates but also in the popular vote where Clinton leads by a very small margin.
What if the two eventually run under the same ticket? It would be extremely interesting and at the same time difficult to figure out whether it will be good or bad for the Democratic Party. According to results posted by MSNBC, about 6 out of 10 Obama supporters approve of the two under the same ticket whereas about 4 out of 10 Clinton supporters approve of such option. However, if you have watched CNN in the evening of March 11, the results in the Mississippi primaries show that Mrs. Clinton got more support in mainly Republican areas. So, in November, with Hillary Clinton on the ticket either as a presidential candidate or as a vice-presidential candidate, the Democratic Party my benefit by stealing the Republican electorate from the Republicans which will most likely lead to a broader electoral college and eventually being victorious for the first time since 8 years.