It's not Christmas Eve, but some candidates will be waking up tomorrow morning to find either electoral presents or pieces of coal in their campaign stockings. Some candidates might find nothing, and be puzzled what exactly it means. Remember back a year ago when everyone thought that those early primaries were unfairly frontloading their power in order to swing the primaries and skew the overall results for the rest of the country? Well, last laugh's with the later states. This truly is a long distance run - not a sprint. (If it was a sprint, McCain would still be in last place, left panting by the opening post last November.) So obviously the long distance has done the McCain camp good, and it all but looks like he's got the Republican nomination in the bag, unless by some weird happenstance Romney pulls out some big wins, like say, California (however unlikely). But the real question is how to predict the super duper effects today will have on the Democrats, if that effect will be anything.
It could go a number of ways; three to be exact: Outright Clinton win, Outright Obama win, or a draw, with each candidate taking enough primary votes to still be in contention all the way up until the Democratic convention. No matter what happens, it's a "historical" primary. That's a stupid designation if you think about it - isn't everything that happens in every single campaign "historical"... i.e. it happens in "history"? A more apt term would be historically revolutionary, or something that implies a paradigm shift in the way we look at politics and political leaders -- it's no turkey on white campaigning. But just who of the two democratic contenders looks especially ready to claim the Tuesday prize?
Obama was able, in the first primaries, to go out and stump like a crazy political lumberjack. There wasn't a tree in the entire state of Iowa that he probably didn't pass by on the campaign trail. And that benefited him greatly. The more people he can personally effect by giving a speech or attending an event, the better. People are generally moved by Obama when they see him in person, so the longer he gets to roam the primary state, and meet people, the better his turnout will be. He's obviously a recognized name right now, but often it takes that personal bump to get people energized for Obama. The problem this creates for him is that with over twenty states in one day, the opportunities for primary state face time with the voters is minute. Clinton, on the other hand, is not a candidate that gets voters to support her by seeing her speak. She may pick up supporters that way, and in comparison to someone like Giuliani, her speeches certainly don't deter voters from her campaign, but the stump for her is not her primary method of garnering primary votes. Her political savvy and demonstrated intellectual heft are more essential to her campaign (not saying Obama doesn’t have this either, it just she uses it in a different way). While Obama thrives on the medium of lofty, inspirational speeches, Clinton gains support by showing her strength and explaining her policies more in depth or concretely. Obviously, this has the negative possibility of getting her into more trouble, but in some respects it's more real than what Obama is doing. So Clinton has a slight (very slight) edge over Obama at this point in the race. We'll see what happens tonight
Supporters of Clinton find it hard to be open with their support. The problem is her opposition, while not a huge or overwhelming majority, is vicious. No other candidate has had such mainstream malice shoved onto her shoulders. The words 'bitch,' 'cunt', you name a derogatory name for a female sex organ, and it's been printed on a t-shirt under Clinton's face and name. And it's completely allowed in society. While some might cringe at the t-shirt, no one says much about it. However, you can bet that if someone printed a t-shirt with a dergoritory term for an African American on it along with Obama's name and face, the country would be in an uproar, and rightly so. But what makes the harassment and continued denigration of women such an excepted practice, even among women? Why is it merely laughable when even women participate in their own destruction, and down Clinton on sexist terms, or even contribute slightly to encouraging the unfair practices by doing the smallest things such as having bumper stickers that declare: "Caution: Blonde Thinking"? As an independent in NY, this blogger has no say in the primaries (you can bet it's depressing). But that doesn't mean we're not excited to see who makes it. It's hard to believe, but this primary, it's not about the lesser of two evils, but the greater of two applicable (and hopefully electable) rivals. It's good to see that both Democratic candidates are becoming friendlier, and hopefully once a clear national candidate appears, they will continue that trend for the good of the party and the country. The key will be to pick up the other's voters, and some Republicans, and those elusive independents that sometimes trend towards McCain. Perhaps they're reminded of their great-great-great grandfathers when they hear him speak. Think of it this way (and yes, this is an ageist argument). Would you trust your grandfather running, well, anything? The average life span of a white American male is 72. Now, McCain is known for his "youthful vigor" - but this is one slightly irregular argument that just shouldn't be bought, no matter what the political discount. Yeah, Reagan did it old, and Eisenhower was no spring chick filet, but in an era when current stories are increasingly important, it might be better to have candidates that weren't middle aged during the Cold War. That kind of politics, and outlook on life, while fine, does us no good now. Either way, it's time to trend towards a change, a globalized outlook, out of glasses with an anti-imperialistic, unprejudiced, non-sexist tint.