A locus for eccentrics (hopefully)

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Presidential Power Rankings, Mach III

We're just about at April here, and its just as good a time as any to take stock of the remaining Presidential candidates and evaluate their chances. As always, these are subject to change and I hope you can comment on anything I am leaving out or glossing over. Here we go:

1. John McCain - Has risen, phoenix-like, from the ashes of last year. I suppose he got the nomination by default...at the end of the day, there were just too many questions surrounding all the other potentially viable GOP candidates and McCain was the only one left. However, even as he was clearing a path to the nomination last month, winning primary after primary, the wins were ugly - he hardly got a majority in any of the states he ended up winning. The base is just flat out not excited about him. I can't decide if its a good thing or a bad thing that he gets to be unopposed now while Obama and Clinton bash each others' brains in until the convention. On the one hand, it makes him seem above the fray while they sling mud at each other. He can go around the country shoring up his fund raising and making nice with the Evangelicals while the Dems argue. On the other hand, the Democrats are sucking up virtually all the oxygen in terms of news coverage and he is in danger of being forgotten. Plus, it can't be good that even when Obama and Clinton are fighting in states, the turnout and fundraising for the Democrats in their primaries are smashing records, while GOP turnout and fund raising is pathetic in comparison. Still, I put him at top, because all the latest polls have him up on each Democrat by at least 5 percentage points in a hypothetical matchup. Plus, polls show that Clinton supporters will flock to him if Obama is the nominee and vice-vursa. McCain's propensity to appeal to conservative Democrats and independents will help him especially against Clinton; given Obama's ability to attract Republicans and people who otherwise would not be inclined to vote would offset this. Still, a Republican who can win in California would wipe us out in the Electoral college, and a candidate like McCain seems well suited for something like this.

2. Barack Obama - Except for a couple minor hiccups and the firestorm surrounding the Wright affair (which he handled adroitly), he has run a masterful campaign against an Establishment candidate. His ability to win in lilly-white Iowa and then racially diverse South Carolina is fucking impressive, as was his battling Clinton to a draw on Super Tuesday and then routing her the rest of February. As we all know, he leads her in number of states won, share of the popular vote, and number of pledged delegates. Unless the Democratic Party elders decide to fuck him over (and potentially alienating scores of African American and young voters, many of whom are tentatively dipping their toes in the political arena), he can't lose...right? So why do I have such an uneasy feeling? He is so close to the finish line, but until she is dead and buried, I won't believe it. Honestly, he has run a great campaign, and is (largely) avoiding rookie mistakes and stupid gaffes. As previously mentioned, his ability to attract independent and first time voters would potentially offset McCain's advantages. Plus, his fund raising numbers are huge. The major downside seems to be that the race between him and Clinton has gotten so bitter that a lot of the blue collar middle aged white voters that are Hillary's bread and butter (and keyed her victories in states like Ohio) may defect to McCain in the general election if Obama is the Democratic nominee. Plus, would Obama have the edge in Red States like Missouri, Texas, South Carolina and Florida in a general election? Its unclear. McCain is leading him in national polls, but it is still early.

3. Hillary Clinton. Someone needs to tell me the rationale behind her staying in the race. Is it because she realizes that even though she cannot win the nomination, she might be able to cripple Obama in the general, and thus set herself up to go against McCain in four years? Seriously, someone needs to explain this to me. Is it because she somehow thinks that she can convince the Superdelegates to override the will of the people? Do you know how many people would defect from the party? It would be a bloodbath. But that's the Clintons, I guess. They would risk destroying the party to further their own ambitions. Its like my Dad says about them: "Strip away their Yale degrees, and they really are just a couple of low level thugs."

Someone with a real live advanced degree in Poly Sci, please let me know what I am missing in this analysis.


Blogger steve said...

Sorry to leave this one languishing Omar, but right now I don't really have definitive thoughts on the race. Looks like the Rev. Wright controversy has not fatally wounded the Obama campaign, which is pretty lucky and his very nice speech might have actually made a difference. Clinton has virtually no chance of winning even if she runs the table yet she will continue.

I'm still not convinced that us being totally focused on the dem candidates is bad, no matter what network news pundits tell me over and over. No news is bad news. I think McCain is still getting a lot more no news than he wants. And I think he may face some pretty fierce asskickings when the dems get done with each other. All you have to do is show the shit on Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell or any other of the numerous "maverick-now-not-maverick" moments of his to do some damage.

4:04 PM

Blogger Omar said...

You might be right that McCain faces a tough road. I'm also starting to get the feeling that as much as people admire him, he doesn't energize people adequately enough to count on a huge turnout, a skill Obama has in spades. His candidacy is generating not a whole lot of excitement in GOP circles, which reminds me of Bob Dole's candidacy in 1996. All that, combined with McCain's current lack of focus on economic issues (particuarly in such a tough economic year) gives me some hope that Obama could pull this thing off.

5:16 PM


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