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Thursday, January 17, 2008

Presidential Power Rankings (Part 2)

Now, on to the conclusion of the Presidential Power Rankings. Part 1 was posted on Monday. Remember, these are the rankings for most likely to be the next President.


3. Hillary Clinton - I really don't like her chances in a general election, but she's got a 50/50 shot at being a nominee, and only one other person of either party can say that. If she somehow lucks into a contest against Huckabee or Romney, she should win the election when VP nominee Richardson brings over New Mexico and Florida and the rest of the electoral map stays the same.

In the Democratic nomination process, the Obama-Clinton duel is the definition of a toss up. Clinton currently holds solid leads in national polls, but it'll be a close race in Nevada this Saturday, which gives Obama more credibility. Then Obama will win South Carolina to further dig into Clinton's national lead which Senator Obama has been softening since the end of December.

When it comes time for Super Tuesday, Obama will have a small lead in the delegate count. The national polls will then be about as reliable the infamous New Hampshire polls, meaning either one has a legit shot at coming out on top, and in the unlikely event that one of them dominates (note: this domination could only be from Clinton and her strength in NY, NJ, and California), the race is alive at least until March 4th.

2. John McCain - Last night's Michigan loss was disappointing, but by no means backbreaking. Simply, a Michigan win would have put McCain in position for a South Carolina win. Those two wins would have resulted in a runaway McCain nomination. All the second place finish means is that McCain's road to victory becomes a bit more difficult. South Carolina is a three-way race with Huckabee and Romney. The winner of that will be the leader heading into Super Tuesday, but as long as McCain doesn't finish at a distant third, he will remain the favorite.

Ultimately, McCain is the candidate that the Republican Party can rally around easiest. For eight years, he's been the third most visible face of the party, after President Bush and Vice-President Cheney. He's been at the front of a war that is still popular with Fox News and the party. He led a troop surge which has quelled violence. He has a record that is more conservative than many think, though isolated maverick forays like McCain-Feingold have always been a trademark considered undesirable in the Republican Party.

In a general election, John McCain is the favorite over Hillary Clinton. With Republicans coming out in full force to vote against Clinton, the Democratic ire of the last five years will be negated and they'll break even with voters registered with one of the two parties. Then it becomes a battle for the center, and Independents love McCain, while Clinton's unfavorables among non-Democrats are notorious. With John Edwards' non-viability, there's only one candidate from the Democratic Party that can compete against McCain in a general election.

1. Barack Obama - The 2008 general election will be won in the middle, in between the trenches. No candidate since Clinton appeals to the moderates of this country like Barack Obama does now. His continuing rhetoric about making America whole again appeals to every Independent and moderate who could not bring themselves to join the bitter partisanship that has developed in this country since the 1994 Republican revolution. Obama has untapped potential to attract moderate and young voters, meaning he could defeat almost any Republican that the GOP nominates.

Almost.

Only two things stand in the way of Senator Obama getting the chance to transform the nation from the Oval Office: the two people above him on this list. Enough has been written about the Clinton-Obama duel. What could shape up to be a very interesting general election is Obama vs. McCain. It's hope vs. reality. Rhetoric vs. straight talk. Liberal vs. conservative. Domestic agenda vs. foreign policy. It's the yin vs. yang of America, and you couldn't pick two better candidates to represent the balance and articulate their side. Moreover, they are the two candidates that most appeal to the center. The two candidates have the integrity to only speak to the issues and have a great debate about the direction this country needs to go.


Tomorrow I'll take a look at Nevada and South Carolina.

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