Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Around and around we go

I honestly have no idea how Super Tuesday will play out. Given that many of the Super Tuesday states (for Democrats, at least – no clue on the Republican side) are states in which delegates are allocated proportionally (instead of winner take all), it seems likely that both Barack and Hillary will pick up a number of delegates but neither will win outright. If there’s a site that lets you map out the likely outcomes (by guessing at voting percentages and the like) I’d love to see it… would definitely help get a handle on what the possible results will be on Tuesday.

There’s an interesting dynamic playing out: Barack seems to be running explicitly for the General Election while Hillary is digging in to be the Democratic nominee. His praise of Reagan (praise I happen to agree with in case you were wondering) is just the latest example of his willingness to avoid polarization for the sake of polarization and instead try to get at the heart of what unites the country – that unity being the foundation on which he hopes to build his administration.

Both candidates have the money to make the race for the Democratic nomination a long, drawn-out affair. And barring the unforeseen, that seems to be where we’re heading. But here’s an odd thought to toss out: if Hillary is the nominee, could Barack run as an independent? He has the fundraising ability, he has the cross-over appeal to Republicans and Independents, and such a run would be ideologically consistent with his “post-partisan“campaign themes.

Ross Perot got 21% of the vote in 1992, which ensured Bill Clinton’s victory. A credible third-party candidate – who draws equally from both parties, doesn’t have the same negatives as Hillary does, and has more credibility with the Democrats than any Republican in the field – seems like that could be a winning formula.

I still think he’s got a shot at winning the nomination, but the polls in the primaries do seem to favor Hillary right now. Yet the national polls among likely contenders still seem to show Barack as the strongest candidate against the Republicans. Just a thought.


  1. Barack won't run as an independent. His message is of unity, but he is a partisan Democrat and doesn't deny it (I don't think that's a bad thing).

    Last year he said the following when asked whether he would support the eventual nominee:

    “I am a Democrat, and I would support the Democratic nominee. I intend it to be me.”



  2. Adam - I think you're likely right... and my hypothetical is certainly not supported by any statements he's made. He's absolutely a Democrat, and he's focused on winning the Democratic nomination.

    I wouldn't be surprised, though, if it turns out that Hillary is the nominee after a protracted battle, that those close to him would urge such a move. Particularly if the Clintons continue to lie and misrepresent his beliefs - it'd be awfully hard to support someone so intent on destroying your candidacy if it seems that their goal isn't so much doing right by the country as it is to do right by themselves.

  3. I don't think Hillary will win the general if she wins the nomination by playing the part of a Democratic Karl Rove. Especially if the Republican nominee is John McCain.

    McCain is also a partisan, like Obama, but hasn't ever sunk to the level of nastiness of the Clintons and Karl Rove. With his "My Friends" shtick, I think that a majority of Americans might buy into him being the uniter Bush claimed to be in 2000 and not the divider we know that he is in 2008.

    For my part, I was ready to vote for Clinton, Obama, Edwards or Kucinich before the campaign began in earnest. I supported Edwards, but the fact was we had several credible, exciting candidates to be proud of.

    Now that this has turned into "politics as usual," I'm really turned off. Edwards won't win, so I'm rooting for Obama, but I'd rather see him lose than play on the Clintons' level.

  4. Do I hear a hint at a Ron Paul-Barack Obama (not necessarily in that order) Unity '08 ticket? :)