06 February, 2008

Super Tuesday

I spent all this morning watching video of last night's CNN coverage of Super Tuesday and I wanted to blog about it. I just wrote an email to my little sister hannah about it all, so i'm just going to post that to save me having to think it all through again.

I think it was a slightly better night for obama overall, he didn’t get sweeped and he still builds momentum in the next couple of primaries. Louisiana, Virginia, Maryland and DC will all suit Obama, especially with the black vote motivated. Some good things for Clinton, especially Massachusetts, but the problem with Clinton is that anything less than her as the presumptive candidate and she looks weak. It’s very hard for her to regain momentum.

However, key democrat stat of the night is that the dividing lines in the Democrat race are not specifically race and gender, but age and class. Age we knew about already, but there is a threshold at household income of $50000 whereby if you are below that line you are more likely to vote hilary and if you are above that line you are more likely to vote Obama. Clinton does best in the category household incomes $15000 or less, while Obama does best with $150000 or more. Obama is the candidate of middle class aspiration. Clinton is the candidate of working class unions etc. hence more wins in the North East. Perhaps also explains some of the appeal to Latino voters. Although pundits are quick to point out that there are more than one type of Latino voter, the puerto Rican/Dominican s that you find around NY etc and the Mexicans in CA and AZ and the like. Obama appeals more to latinos in the west, but reaching out to the poor and latino vote have to be big priorities over the next few weeks, especially with Texas coming up. Alex suggested you could sum it up by saying if Obama is like Oprah, Hilary is like Ricki Lake.

Also, what is interesting is that Obama is becoming the party of the city. Missouri was a key example of that, Clinton swept virtually every county of Missouri, except the two or three that have St Louis and Kansas City in them, and that was enough to just win him the state. BTW. If Obama needs a few extra pennies in the future, he should write a book called ‘The Art of the Caucus.’ Because his organisation for caucuses kicks ass.

Call me perverse, but part of me is still finding the republicans far more interesting than the democrats. I think the big story of last night was that Romney showed that he isn’t really a credible candidate. He’s been running for the last week or so on the ‘conservative alternative’ tag against McCain, but the south showed that when they want a conservative alternative, it’s Huckabee that they are looking for. Although Romney has more delegates than Huckabee, it’s clear that he is in a weaker position. Although loving the 90% vote from Utah. That’s hilarious.

By the end of the night, people were starting to talk on CNN about Huckabee being on the shortlist for a McCain VP. Here are the ways that makes way more sense than a Clinton/Obama ticket.

1) VP is a win for Huckabee. He has come from nowhere and doesn’t have the national appeal to win the vote this time around. It would be a real achievement and an honour for him. I would expect in some ways it is what he is campaigning for and him being in the race helps John McCain big time.

2) McCain is almost inevitably going to have to have a conservative, southern, values voter type of person on the bottom half of his ticket. McCain is not loved by the Republicans, especially the rabid right. The radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh said yesterday he would rather vote for Clinton than McCain and James Dobson denounced McCain from a big height. The numbers all show that McCain can only command about 40% of the party that would call themselves conservative. He needs a VP that can help him in that area and Huckabee demonstrated that he can deliver in the south. However, and this is a big but, there are some conservatives who say that Huckabee is too liberal on some issues and that would hold against him.

3) Personality wise they would be a good mix. Both can lay claim to outsider status in Washington. Huckabee has got the folksiness ‘our kind of people’ thing going on that is so important to Republican voters. He is the only candidate who can use a sports metaphor without looking like an arse. McCain and Huckabee would have a kind of a ying/yang thing going on that could work well, and would have a significant challenge to either of the Democrats in the North, the South and the West. Especially if concerns about McCain get washed away by a ‘stop hilary’ vote.

CNN is great fun for elections and I will be following their coverage come November. For a start, they have Wolf Blitzer, who has the most amazing name ever. They do number crunching and comment great and I feel like I learnt something from their coverage, if only they didn’t have to keep reminding you that they are the ‘best political team on television’ as they did about 50 times last night.

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