Author: Karl Howe
Issue: 24 – April 2008

The U.S. primary election cycle continues going into April � for the Democrats. That being the case, though, there is a winner: Barack Obama.

As the final ten states prepare for their primary elections, Barack Obama has developed such a lead that Hillary Clinton can not possibly catch up. However, she can work to make sure that Senator Obama does not gain enough votes to receive a majority of delegates to the party convention and secure the nomination in late August even though Obama will have a plurality of delegates at the convention and a significant lead over Clinton.

What happens then? As they say: �all bets are off�.

The resolution and nomination will be decided when the so-called �super delegates� take the reigns and steer the party to nominate the candidate they feel is more likely to defeat Senator McCain. These �super delegates� are nothing more than party big-wigs and elected officials who automatically get a spot at the convention and do not have to pledge their nominating vote to any candidate. It is these officials that will decide the Democratic candidate for 2008 where all the arguments to persuade will be focused.

Obama will enter with that clear lead in elected delegate count from the primary process and will make the argument that the will of the Democratic voters be upheld by having the �super delegates� ratify his nomination. He will also argue that his candidacy offers the best chance of winning the election as the candidate who can unify the country, clean up the messes of George W. Bush, repudiate and end the Iraq War (which Mrs. Clinton voted in favour of), and rebuild America�s standing in the world by demonstrating its willingness to elect a candidate that can rise above the stereotypes of American prejudice and racial conflict.

Clinton will show a strong surge in delegates in the final state elections. While not enough to pass Obama�s lead, she will demonstrate her toughness and determination to fight to the end. She will also argue that she will be the candidate who can win in contrast to the fading Obama. Another argument for Clinton will be that she won the big, important states that the Democrats will win in November�s general election (such as New York and California). And, while Obama won more states and has more delegates, that won�t matter come November as the states Obama won (such as Louisiana and Georgia) will go to McCain.

The overall problem for both candidates will continue to be gender and race. As the Democratic Party has worked tirelessly to attract women and minorities to their party, they have always chosen the traditional white, middle-aged male as the standard bearer. This year will be different. This year will be the year when one of the constituent factions of the Party will lead the ticket and that is weighing heavily on the individual voters and will be eventually shouldered by the party insiders at the convention.

As the race enters April, the infighting and rhetoric continues to heat up. On March 21st, Democratic Governor Bill Richardson of New Mexico endorsed and pledged his �super delegate� vote to Barack Obama to the cries of �traitor� and �Judas� from the Clinton camp. An unknown Congressman only nine years ago, Richardson was appointed UN Ambassador and Energy Secretary under Bill Clinton before winning his position as governor on New Mexico. To say he owes the Clintons his political career would not be an understatement � is it any wonder that they are calling him a traitor? On the other side, black elected officials who support Clinton have endured the taunts that they are betraying their race by not endorsing the only black candidate in history who has the chance of winning.

With the Republican nomination sown up, John McCain has begun the general election cycle by touring the Middle East and Europe to appear Presidential and demonstrate that the U.S. is set for a seamless transition of power. This display of statesmanship also puts the Republican nominee in stark contrast to the Democrats as their race gets more vicious. It will be a long grind until August.


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