Sunday, November 12, 2006

US Elections and the next President

Well I got my predication wrong that the Democrats would fail to gain the Senate, though in terms of the House, I was fairly accurate in terms of the seats they would win in the House of Representatives. The resignation of Donald Rumsfeld was the icing on the cake.

In terms of the results, whilst it was a shift to the Democrats it was not the same across the country, the south is still Republican dominated and for the first time ever the party governing the House will be without a majority in the southern states. While the balance has shifted in the 50/50 nation, a large part of the country still looks like remaining Republican for the foreseeable future. Where the Democrats have made advances seem to be in mid-west states like Ohio, Missouri, Iowa which voted Republican in 2004.

Obviously attention will now shift to the 2008 Presidential Race. In terms of the candidates Hillary Clinton has to be the favoured candidate for the Democrats and for the Republicans John Mc Cain would have to be the favoured though the race is wide enough for other candidates to emerge which has happened in the past.

How do I view Hillary Clinton? I like and respect the woman and believes she has many positive attributes. However I also think she is a divider not a unifier, in America you either love her or hate her, with little in between. If she is the candidate, I believe she would struggle to get elected, for a start she would motivate the values voters to come out and vote like in 2004, this is a grouping that is mainly anti-gay marriage, anti-abortion, anti-gun control and evangelical Christians(though not exclusively). This is a major part of the American electorate especially in the South, but also in many mid-west states that are key to winning the presidency. Likewise her appeal to independent voters who make up a sizable part of the electorate may be limited.

After the turmoil of the Bush years, I believe the American electorate will be looking for a unifier rather then a divider and will be a looking to elect a president that can be portrayed as one. John Mc Cain and Rudy Gulliani would fit this model for the Republicans, though I have my doubts whether they could carry the loony right which is a sizable sector of the Republican party. It may be that they decide on another right wing loon which will be a golden opportunity for Hillary Clinton if she is the candidate. If it ends up being someone like Newt Gingrich and it is rumoured he is running, her task will be made much easier as he is firmly a divider and in the far right category.

Personally, I would like to see Al Gore running again and if he does I will be right behind him. He was cheated out of the presidency in 2000 through the action of Geroge Bush's brother Jeb, Katherine Harris(who was thankfully thrashed this week in Florida senate race) and Republican sympathisers in the US Supreme Court. Recently on the way to Dubai, I watched the Al Gore documentary film An Inconvenient Truth, this was one of the best films I've seen in long time and made me real think hard about environmental issues and the threats facing the planet. In recent years his view have become a great deal more Liberal though backing Howard Dean's bid for the Democratic nomination back in 2004 may now in retrospect be seen a s big mistake.

The other candidate who could come through is Barack Obama, a senator from Illinois who made a barn storming speech at the 2004 Democratic convention and of late has refused to rule out a bid for President. A candidate like Barack Obama is far more likely to unite the nation then Hilary Clinton and carries none of the baggage of political office that she has accumulated over the years.

In terms of the rest, John Kerry may bid again though to be honest he is uncharismatic and is probably far too Liberal to win, that he came so close in 2004 was probably more down to the weakness of George Bush rather then any of his political skills. John Edwards may bid again but his profile has been fading and potentially much stronger candidates exist who will probably beat him. Another potential is Senator Evan Bayh of Indiana who is pretty centrist and Governor Tom Vislack the outgoing governor of Iowa where the first caucus will take place in January 2007. They both lack name recognition but cannot be ruled out entirely.

Everything is all to play for in the USA and with politics in the US being so unpredictable, predicting the future is no easy task. With Bill Clinton being a pretty much unknown before seeking the presidency, the 44th President may be even be somebody that is hardly on the radar scheme at present. Let battle commence


Blogger The Ripper said...

The only way the Democrats lose in 2008 is IF they nominate Hillary. Let's face it folks, she is simply toxic, right or wrong, to a large percentage of the electorate. I am continually surprised by the ignoring and omission of the one person who could certainly derail the Hillary Express: Al Gore. He was shafted in 2000, was right on the war, and has been a true visionary on the environment. He sits on the board of Apple, are we in store for an Ipod like product introduction?

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