Friday, January 04, 2008

Presidential quick takes:

  1. Huckabee's Iowa win does nothing for him in New Hampshire, but it does reveal a schism between the GOP's religious base and their economic base. That schism will continue to be a factor going into the general election.
  2. I expect to see Hillary hang in there until the convention, given the large number of super delegates she's amassed. If she can keep it close in a three-way race with Obama and Edwards, she could pull out a win without actually winning more primary contests.
  3. Either Obama or Edwards needs to pull out after Super Tuesday if they want to thwart that strategy. Probably Edwards. Obama has a huge advantage right now in terms of material resources and manpower, as well as media buzz. In fact, I'd say that if Edwards can't pull something out in New Hampshire, he should probably drop out before Super Tuesday and throw in with Obama. This is especially true if Clinton wins New Hampshire. Either Edwards or Obama would have the edge in a two-way contest with Hillary. A three-way contest favors Clinton down the stretch.
  4. If Hillary's smart (and I have my doubts), she'll put money into the Edwards campaign (secretly, of course) in order to continue the three-way race. If she's stupid (again, I have my doubts), she'll try to knock out Edwards so she can take on Obama one-on-one. This match-up does not favor her. She needs to play to her strengths (back-room wheeling and dealing), and not her weaknesses (campaigning).
  5. The majority of Democrats in Iowa did not favor the establishment choice. This is different from pointing out that the majority didn't favor Edwards or Obama either, since the votes those two candidates received would be more readily transferable to each other than they are to Hillary. There's Hillary and Not Hillary, and that's what the race is going to boil down to, eventually. Not Hillary wins that contest, but again, if there are two Not Hillarys, then splitting that vote keeps Hillary alive until the convention.
  6. Bottom line: the GOP race is still wide open, and the Democratic race needs to be pared down to a two-person race in order to avoid the establishment choice (Hillary) from cruising to victory.

1 comment:

Neil Sinhababu said...

I think Edwards hurts Clinton in SC more than he hurts Obama. If Edwards can cut into Clinton's margins among white voters, that means the pro-Obama black voters may add up to a clear plurality.