Sunday, January 13, 2008

Where the nominating process stands

Iowa and New Hampshire have really shaped the nominating process for both parties. The democrats have seemingly made this a race between Hillary and Obama. The republicans have made this a race between Huckabee and McCain.

The democrats are in for a longer than anticipated fight for the party nomination. Here is how I see the race shaping up:

Hillary-

Hillary is the establishment candidate. The democratic party has established rules to prevent an insurgent campaign to overtake the establishment pick. The democrat members of congress and the DNC have super delegates that will inevitably sway the nomination to their chosen candidate. Hillary also has Bill campaigning for her. Eight years has made the public to forget the embarrassing moments in Bill tenure as President and the Democratic party longs to have the Clinton years back. There is a nostalgia within the democrats and that should help Hillary secure the nomination.

Obama-

Obama needs to capitalize on his win in Iowa and narrow defeat in New Hampshire. If Obama is able to secure wins in Nevada and South Carolina the nomination process could take longer than anticipated. With a few wins under his belt Obama may be able to stay in the race past Tsunami Tuesday. Obama may be able to secure victories in such states as Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, Missouri, Illinois, Minnesota, and New Mexico among others. The longer Obama can remain a viable candidate the greater his chances. Hillary has high negatives and poses risks in the general election. If Obama can prove his viability he maybe able to overtake Hillary and secure the nomination. The road is more difficult for Obama than it is Hillary but it is possible. If Edwards drops out sooner rather than later Obama chances again increase. The typical Edwards voter is closer to Obama than Hillary.

Edwards-

I see no chance for Edwards to secure the nomination. Edwards needed Obama to win in New Hampshire and he needed a stronger finish there. Taking a distant third behind Hillary and Obama wreaked havoc on his chances. I think Edwards will be gone shortly after South Carolina. He does not have the money to compete and taking second in Iowa and third in New Hampshire is not going to improve his fund raising.

As this shakes out I believe Hillary will be the ultimate nominee. I think Hillary will tap Bill Richardson as her Vice President. Richardson would bring credibility to any Hillary cabinet. Hillary has no real executive experience and Richardson would be a great benefit to her. I believe that is why Richardson dropped out before Nevada. It is my belief that Hillary is looking for Richardson voters in Nevada and asked him to drop out of the race with the promise that he would be the VP nominee.

On the republican side I see a much shorter nomination process. Mitt is a damaged candidate, Guiliani is no where to be seen, Huckabee appeals to one plank of the republican triad, which leaves us with McCain as the leading contender.

McCain-

John McCain seems to be the establishment candidate. His maverick style and views on immigration have damaged his credentials in some republican circles. However, he appeals to independents and can appeal to social and fiscal conservatives. He is a hawk in the war on terror and no one can question his ability to lead in the face of crisis. He was the lone voice in support of the surge that now seems to be taking hold, providing an opportunity for Iraq to move forward.

Huckabee-

Huckabee is kind of a wild card in this race. He appeals to the evangelicals and should perform well in Southern States. I think he needs to fare well in South Carolina. He either needs to win the primary or at least be a close second (within 2-3 points). If he is close in South Carolina then he should be able to continue into super Tuesday.

Romney-

Mitt needs to win in Michigan on Tuesday. Another second place finish will all but finish his campaign. He has his own money and would be able to continue for quite sometime. However, if he does not get a win in Michigan there appears no viable way to win. Mitt will not do well in the South and he will have to contend with Guiliani in larger more liberal states.

Guiliani-

Guiliani has staked his entire campaign on winning in Florida. If he loses Florida he will be history. If he hangs on in Florida he may be able to make some noise on super Tuesday when his home State of New York votes along with New Jersey and California among other big state possibilities for Guiliani.

Paul-

ROn Paul really has no chance of gaining the Republican nomination. He is a libertarian that appeals to many younger voters and some independents but that will not gain you the nomination as a republican. I think Ron Paul will drop out in the near future and perhaps explore an independent run perhaps with Michael Bloomberg or on the Unity 08 ticket.

All this being said I think by the end of Super Tuesday the Republicans will know their nominee. If this happens the republican will have a chance in the general election. This is shaping up to be another democratic year. However, if the republican nominee is known after super Tuesday and the democrats have a drawn out nomination process then the republican nominee has a chance. The republican could start running a general election national campaign on primary funds. The republican could then move to the center and make an attempt to appeal to the independent voter.

The best opportunity for a independent run would be if McCain and Hillary are the party nominees. Hillary has high negatives and probably could not garner much over 50% of the popular vote. A unity 08 ticket with someone like Sam Nunn on the top creates an opportunity for the independent to win. No one is enamored with their choices this year. Sure the democrats seem happy with their choices but the candidates are not that appealing to the independent middle of the country. I believe an independent run by either Bloomberg or Ron Paul would create a disadvantage for the democratic party. Either one would appeal more to the left leaning independents and younger voters. Both of these groups would otherwise lean towards the democratic ticket. The best chance for America is to have a strong and viable independent run. A strong Unity 08 candidate could create the atmosphere necessary for an independent to win. America desires change and none of the party candidates would be able to produce the changes in government the public wants.

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