Monday 10 December 2007 — This is over 15 years old. Be careful.
It’s still 11 months until the presidential election, and we haven’t had a primary or caucus yet, but I’m willing to make a prediction: the Republican nominee will win.
I have two reasons. First, all the likely Democrat nominees are senators, and the likely Republican nominees are either governors or mayors. Historically, executive branch candidates do much better than those from the legislative branch. To quote Wikipedia’s U.S. Presidential Elections page:
Contemporary electoral success has favored state governors. Of the last five presidents (Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush), four have been governors of a state (all except for George H. W. Bush). Geographically, these presidents were all from either very large states (California, Texas) or from a state south of the Mason-Dixon Line and east of Texas (Georgia, Arkansas). The last sitting U.S. Senator to be elected president was John F. Kennedy of Massachusetts in 1960. The only other sitting senator to be elected was Warren G. Harding in 1920, whereas major-party candidate Senators Andrew Jackson (1824), Lewis Cass (1848), Stephen Douglas (1860), Barry Goldwater (1964), George McGovern (1972), Walter Mondale (1984), Bob Dole (1996), and John Kerry (2004) all lost their elections.
Maybe this is because of the compromise nature of the legislative process, and the hay that can be made of it. Remember “He voted for the war before he voted against the war”? Maybe it’s that personalities that succeed in Congress are not well-suited to executive branch work. I don’t know.
The second reason is that both parties have moved to the left. Clinton and Obama are both more liberal than Kerry was, and neither Romney or Giuliani is as conservative as Bush was. That means that the Republicans are moving toward the center at the same time that the Democrats are moving away from it. I’ve heard more than one liberal Massachusetts friend say that Giuliani wouldn’t be bad, for example.
I hope I am wrong, but from this (admittedly early) vantage point, it doesn’t look good for Democrats.
Obama, whose book I read, The Audacity of Hope, has a lot of good ideas and could easily appeal to a lot of people, but I'm not sure if he comes off as strong and leadershippy enough. Plus, he's half black, and a large amount of stupid-ass white folk won't vote for him because of that alone, not to mention the wacky name.
Yeah, we're probably screwed, I think the best we can hope for is to ride to victory on Bush's horrible failure at everything.
I think the democrats have an interesting challenge ahead of them. Their two front runners are both politically challenging. Clinton because she's a woman and her husband has more than a little political baggage, and Obama because he's black and he's relatively inexperienced. I think there's a large segment of the US population that would be challenged to vote for either of these people, and probably for different reasons.
I also think it might be disastrous if the Democrats ran the Senate, Congress and owned the White House. That won't necessarily make it easier for them to accomplish things.
I'd consider myself as a slightly left of center voter and I think Mike Huckabee looks interesting to me. And he has a clear interest in the health problem, which I suspect will dominate American politics in the not too distant future.
I'd be very surprised if the American people decided, after 8 years of disastrous policies (see Iraq, Katrina, energy prices, economy, etc etc), to once more elect an hawkish big-money Republican like Giuliani.
But what do I know, I'm a dangerous European socialist ;)
The hell kind of liberals they got in Massachusetts anyway?
I sure hope you are wrong on that one. As far as "both parties have moved to the left", check out this map on The Political Compass: http://politicalcompass.org/usprimaries2008
With the exception of Kucinich and Gravel, every candidate is way to the right of the center. You might argue about how exactly the center is defined but still according to this map, most of the democratic candidates are moving towards the center on their move to the left! I guess this simply illustrates Giacomo's point.
Anyway, I can recommend taking their test (http://politicalcompass.org/test) it is rather informative.
Another dangerous European...
I think people will view Clinton or Obama as further to the left than Kerry was. And they will view Giuliani or Romney as further to the left than Bush was. That's all I was trying to say.
I only commented because framing this debate as "stopping a move to the left" is one of the few ways that Republican will try to stop the otherwise inevitable blue landslide; and it's a very surreal frame. I didn't expect to find it on your blog, that's all.
As for Democrats moving to the Left, this is normal during the primaries. The Democrats can afford to move left now and tack back to the centre later. Republican candidates are unable to 'go Rove' and do the same thing this year. Their lacklustre fundraising and the Dems' momentum demand that they aim for mainstream Republicans and independents.
Which Democratic candidate is going to win though, I have no idea. The media have so hammered about Hillary's inevitability that I couldn't bet money on her anymore. There is just no upside left.
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