Thursday, February 07, 2008

The Virgin Islands Are Next

A little more about the presidential primaries since today is the first day I've had a break from campaigning in awhile and I'm suffering some withdrawal symptoms.

Here are some of my thoughts on what lies ahead for the Democratic candidates now that Super Tuesday is behind us without a clear winner:

1) Most importantly, both candidates should note that the US Virgin Islands are next on the Democratic Primary calendar and that I'd be happy to do my part to securing a win for whichever campaign pays for my ticket. (If it helps, the campaign should know that I'm batting a perfect 1000 (2 for 2) in the primaries I've chosen to get involved in, thus making me the closest person avaialable to a sure thing).

2) The next few weeks will probably be bumpy ones for Hillary even though she won the big states last night (California, Arizona, New Jersey, New York and Massachusetts). Obama has a fundraising lead and a good chance of taking wins in the upcoming caucus and primary states, including Maryland, Virgina, DC (Yes, DC votes in the primaries), Hawaii and Wisconsin. Obama's goal of course is to use those primaries to make a stand as the frontrunner and hope that the momentum carries him to seal the deal with a victory on March 4th, when the grand states of Texas and Ohio (along with their 390 combined delgates) have their primaries. Hillary's goal is to make it through the next few weeks as unscathed as possible so that she can make a strong push for wins in those two states and then cap it off with a win in Pennsylvania in April. (Yes, that would mean we'll be biting our nails through the primary season for at least another 2 months.) Put another way, political strategists on both teams are earning their keep right now trying to figure out how to put all the pieces of the puzzle together to secure the nomination for their candidate by September.

3) The Democrats' decision not to count Michigan and Florida's delegates could come back to haunt them given how close the delegate race is. If one of the candidates (that would be Hillary since she won the states) decides to make a push for seating Michigan and Florida's delegates at the Convention then a protracted legal fight could ensue that would flashback to the Gore v. Bush debacle in 2000. The question is which is better: seating the delegates to ensure that the nominee reflects a truly national consensus, or not having them count since the campaigns all went along with the Democratic Party's decision before the primary season started and it would be unfair to change the rules of the game after it's over? Right now I'd lean towards not trying to seat the delegates, but a part of me feels like that's trying to have it both ways for the Democratic party; they want to be able to cherry pick when the popular vote should matter and when it shouldn't.

4) Looking to the general election, much of the debate between Hillary and Obama now is going to turn on who's more prepared to take on John McCain. On this front, both candidates have credible arguments and it will be interesting who winds up ahead on this count. Nevertheless, what remains to be seen is what happens after the nominee is picked. Both Obama and Clinton have repeatedly promised that they'll stand behind the eventual nominee; however, it's equally important that their respective supporters stand behind the nominee as well. Based on anecdotal evidence, my impression is that most people will do just that. Nevertheless, because much of Obama's base are first time young voters, there's a chance that if their candidate doesn't get the nomination (and also isn't given the nod for VP), then they'll be disillusioned with the political process and will choose not to go to the polls for the general election. Needless to say, that would be a shame, and I hope both Hillary and Obama have it in them to make a genuine push for each other when the general election rolls around.

I'm still worn out from yesterday's busy day of campaigning (interrupted by a hooky trip to watch New York City's parade for the Giants after their win in the Super Bowl). Now that I've gotten all my thoughts out of my system and onto the page, I'm going to call it a night so I can prepare for what I hope will be a splendid weekend on the islands.