It may be a foreign thought to many of us who have followed contemporary politics, but this election cycle could prove to be a historic one. With one caucus and one primary down and many more to go …. this country is in a unique position of not really knowing who a front-runner is.
Let’s look at the Republican side of things first…
Mitt Romney clearly is not a front runner, in fact you can really make a case that his campaign is running on fumes and in desperate need of wins in Michigan, SC and FL to catapult him into Super Tuesday on February 5th….does anyone really see that happening though? Then we have the presumptive national front-runner going into Iowa Rudy Giuliani. His tactic of largely staying out of Iowa ad New Hampshire accomplished what I thought it would, meager showings in each state. Mike Huckabee took Iowa convincingly, mainly due to the evangelicals turning out there, but flopped in New Hampshire for the same reason. John McCain showed a surprising third in Iowa and clearly won in New Hampshire and is now surging going into Michigan and South Carolina but will this translate into wins there?
Will Giuliani’s organization balance out the race from now on and cause further trouble for the remaining players? Mitt Romney has come across as a flip-flopping negative campaigner with no real appeal. Romney’s advisers should have had him on message and never wavering to start because he started his campaign fighting all those that have issues with his choice of faith. Romney addressed the concerns of voters over his religion but left himself open to attacks on his record as Governor as well as his ever changing political views. Mike Huckabee’s surge can be largely attributed to his likability, even I admit he is a nice guy, well spoken and comes across very Presidential at times. My opinion is that likability will ultimately lose to McCain’s experience.
So on February 6th, the morning after Super Tuesday…will one Republican rise enough to garner the 1,191 delegates needed to be nominated? I think it is unlikely. We may have two or even three Republicans going down to the wire to Convention time still scrapping over delegates.
Now onto the Democrats…
Now this side of things is far less complicated. It will either be Obama or Clinton. Edwards has made a run at it again but it is highly doubtful he will win many more delegates. Edwards continues simply because he is trying to communicate a message and perhaps campaign for another VP slot. Obama’s decisive victory in Iowa and close second in New Hampshire and his record setting million dollar a day fundraising makes him as close to a front-runner on the Democratic side as there can be. But to my partner’s dismay no one can count out Hillary. Say what you will of her emotional outpouring to a diner full of woman, or her tactics of attacking Obama…she finds a way to win. All the polls going into new Hampshire showed Obama running the table again by nearly an 8 point margin, instead he lost by 3, that is quite a swing.
Bill Richardson will withdraw today and Kucinich and Gravel were never really in it. With the whole field out except Clinton and Obama, can anyone really see one of these candidates rising so far above the other that they reach their magic number of 2,025 after Super Tuesday? Once again I doubt it.
Is this good? You bet it is. It means the people have turned out in record numbers and made their voices heard. The voters have not settled on what is spoon fed to them by their respective parties and have sent a clear message…give us CHANGE.
Now with the clear need for change being communicated by the people…could this be the year of the third party? With rumblings from Bloomberg entering as an Independent, or I should say a right leaning Independent as well as Ron Paul. With Paul’s support at the polls not quite matching his fundraising and online support, an argument can be made that he has a better chance of getting his voice heard as an Independent. Paul would need to meet certain state by state requirements to be placed on the ballots but his inclusion in three way debates would catapult his message and his support among people wanting drastic change on all sectors of government.
Now, I don’t have a crystal ball…all of this could be just plain guessing…but I think we should prepare for quite a horse-race in the coming months.
On another note, The Ron & Tom Show will be back on Wednesday 1/16 for wrap-up of Michigan and five our forecast for other Primaries to come as well as report all the news from the trail and the world.
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