Thursday, January 3, 2008
The race is on ...
I have felt that John Edwards would do better in Iowa than many expect. He could come through to top the poll on the night. His union support and strong appeal to the Democrat base on economic inequality should help him in a caucus. It is less clear whether, even if it happened, that would make the nomination a genuine three way race for long.
The influential Des Moines Register poll was very good for Barack Obama. Still, that might not help him in the expectations game. (A lower profile CNN poll had Clinton ahead). That Obama's lead was based on his appeal to independent voters strengthens his claims to electability in November. But will they caucus tonight? (The New Republic blogunpicks the numbers).
Obama's chances depend on increasing the caucus turnout. The university holidays don't help him. (However, Time says his strategy is to 'campaign young, but organize gray'). First place would be a remarkable achievement. It is still an outsider insurgency campaign, but victory could give Obama the momentum into a closely contested New Hampshire primary to make the February 5th contest too close to call.
Hillary Clinton is still the frontrunner with a strong national lead, and remains the most likely Democratic nominee. She is electable in November, particularly this year. The experience and credibility cards are her strongest suit. But this is a 'change' election: standing for 'change' and for 'less risk' is a balancing act. With no President or Vice-President in the race, there are dangers in Clnton becoming the establishment 'continuity' candidate, despite being a Democrat bidding to succeed a Republican President. But a credible bid to be the first female President will mobilise support (as well as anti-Clinton opposition). The 'big bang' nationwide contest in 22 states on February 5th is good news for her campaign, but she needs to win one of the first three contests to prevent the campaign dynamic changing against her.
So I have a feeling its still going to be Hillary - but quite probably not tonight. And there is still everything to play for.
As the Washington clocks strike twelve on 20th January 2009, listen carefully and you might just hear a swooshing sigh of relief travel around the world. The Bush Presidency will not leave the legacy its architects intended. But a critique of what should have been done differently since 2001 is not enough. This blog is about the new ideas which can create a 'new multilateralism' to tackle the global challenges we face.