US Presidential Politics: Inevitability
2 October, 2007
Inevitability is a great weapon in politics, just ask Gordon Brown. Hillary Clinton is seeking the Democratic presidential nomination and if you believed some sources had the nomination all sown up already. Now Hillary is a candidate of immense strengths and would make an excellent president even if she were not following a truly appalling predecessor but I would argue that this is one of the most open presidential elections ever. While the nomination process is somewhat frontloaded compared with previous electoral cycles there is still a formidable political assault course of fundraising and primaries to overcome before anyone gets there hands a nomination from one of the two major parties.
The Republican field is probably the wider of the two. With neither the President or Vice President in the running they are left with a string of second draw candidates. In my humble opinion Rudy is the best candidate they have but he has some major issues that could derail his campaign and his reputation from New York isn’t the beacon of shining light that he would like it to be. After two terms of Bush there is a perception that they are playing for second place come the presidential election. Well the last two term Republican president was replaced by another Republican president and they retain a formidable electoral machine. The election will also be in November 2008 so it is still in political time a very long way off.
The Democratic field can in effect be narrowed down to Clinton, Obama and Edwards. Perhaps the first two have the greater chance of gaining the nomination but it is still all to play for. Take for instance the newsweek poll on Iowa, a key primary state ordered the candidates respectively:
Obama: was right on the war from the beginning and he has star quality in bucket loads. People are genuinely excited by him to an extent that we have not seen for any other candidate Democrat or Republican. Clinton: has the best reference in the business from Bill. She has the Democratic establishment behind her. She is extremely formidable, very disciplined and large national opinion poll leads. If the Democrat convention were today she would be the candidate, but it aint. Edwards: Having played the number two on a campaign that should have won he is now aiming for the top slot. He doesn’t have the fundraising muscle of the first two but as a former senator he doesn’t have to hang around the senate and can campaign as much as he wants.Now consider that a week is a long time in politics and it becomes clear that this is a competitive race whatever the national opinion polls say at the moment.I want to declare an interest. As a UK politico I find the primary process a little strange as our candidate selection largely takes place within a political party despite recent not all together successful attempts by the Conservatives to have some open primaries. If I was fortunate (I think that is the word) enough to be a US citizen I would be an Obama voter although come the general election I would be supporting whoever the Democrats choose.