Primary & Caucus Season, Round 1

Posted by Mike Merritt in Election 2008, Politics on

First off, congrats to Mike Huckabee and Barack Obama for their successes in last night’s Iowa primary. It shall be interesting to see what happens in New Hampshire. I’ll start with the Dems. I’ve been tracking the total number of delegates each candidate has so far, and while Barack has more pledged delegates, Hillary is currently winning by a large margin, because of the number of superdelegates she has. I won’t try and explain myself what those are, since I don’t fully understand it myself. Here’s an explanation from CNN:

Superdelegates in the Democratic Party are typically members of the Democratic National Committee, elected officials like senators or governors, or party leaders. They do not have to indicate a candidate preference and do not have to compete for their position. If a superdelegate dies or is unable to participate at the convention, alternates do not replace that delegate, which would reduce the total delegates number and the “magic number” needed to clinch the nomination.

Many of these people seem to be rooting for Clinton, but I guess they could change their minds if Obama or Edwards look like they might come out on top. I wish I knew how it worked better – not sure if you can change your preference as a superdelegate once you’ve given one. On the other hand, it’s still early in the game, and Obama could end up coming out on top in the end. Or Edwards. One of those three, since I honestly don’t see Richardson coming close, and the remaining two don’t have a chance. Remember that even though Hillary has the higher total delegates so far, Edwards topped her (albeit by 1) in the pledged delegates. I think they will end up fighting in a lot of states, especially in the north and the liberal states. I think Hillary may have some more fighting in the South and West, but remember she’s the wife of a former President from Arkansas, so she’ll have that going for her. And the fact that she seems to be a bit more conservative than Edwards.

On the Republican side, Huckabee did extremely well, given his evangelical background. He may also do very well in the South, given the rather evangelical conservative nature of that region. However, Mitt Romney came in a pretty close second place, so it doesn’t seem that Iowans saw his Mormonism as that much of a threat. While I still think Huckabee is going to come out on top there, I think he and Romney will come close in some of those states. I won’t yet go into the west until there’s a primary or caucus out there, except that we know Huckabee will probably get trumped by Romney in Utah, home of the LDS Church.

You may notice I’ve been silent about the rest so far. That’s because they honestly didn’t do well. Indeed, John McCain didn’t even nearly match Clinton’s number of pledged delegates last night. Thompson sucked just as much, and the libertarian Ron Paul and moderate Republican Giuliani came out looking really bad. Won’t even go into Duncan Hunter, who I expect to pull out after New Hampshire.

Ron Paul’s just never going to get the votes, sadly. He’s been ignored too much, and is too far from the current Republican mainstream to win. Giuliani I expect will come up a bit better in the liberal states, where Republicans are more moderate. But, I don’t think he stands a chance in the South or West, where Republicans tend to more conservative. I’m sorry Rudy, but you’re the Ned Lamont of this race, and I think even he’ll have done better than you in the end. Hey, I could be wrong, though. He could pull through and clinch it, as the polls have been showing forever. But, I foresee bad times for him. Let me get to Thompson quickly, and then I’ll explain why I see it this way. Thompson, sorry dude, but I think you’re getting whipped. You came in too late, and even though you were high in the polls before you even declared, you’ve been too quiet! I haven’t even really heard of you campaigning, and as far as I understand, did little of it in Iowa. You have the conservative cred, man, what’s up? I think his inability to organize his campaign and really get out there is probably a result of not wanting to know what he wanted to do in the first place. I will say this, though. If a Republican doesn’t get elected in November, I expect to see him back in ’12. Just a little guessing…

Anyway, back to why Giuliani is going to end up losing the nomination. I feel as if the country hasn’t really changed that much in the last four years. Sure, even some Republicans may be getting weary of the Bush administration, but I don’t think the character of the voters that re-elected him in 2004 has really changed all that much. They’re still going to stand for many of the same issues (though perhaps not Iraq) as they did then. Look at who won last night: two of the people who’ve displayed their religious credentials the most in the past couple months. Romney and Huckabee have been really appealing to their religious base of the party, while the others have been focusing on other issues, such as Iraq and the War on Terror (McCain and Giuliani’s big thing). With that kind of atmosphere in the country, how does a moderate Republican keep on his feet? I don’t think he can. Again, I could be way off, but I think it’s going to come down, in the end, to a race between Huckabee and Romney. We shall see.

Well, there you go. I intended to talk about tonight’s awesome episode of Stargate Atlantis, too, but I really got into this. I’ll do that tomorrow.

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