Super Tuesday was the culmination and the amplification of a number of different sentiments that are running through the political spectrum in America. The main theme consistently that is being seen in all strata is that of change. People want change. But with their change they don’t want compromise…hence the intense polarization that exists in both political parties.
The next few weeks will be telling, but there are a number of lessons learned from Super Tuesday primaries. While you can tune into all the talking-head shows and commentators you can to get the generic breakdowns, my analysis will give you the perspective of a political veteran with “no horse” in this race, as well as an astute criticism of the way this entire race has been conducted, on both the Democrat and Republican sides of the race. This is real deal, folks.
…and then there were 3…
The results last night brought the picture into clear focus: John McCain has been designated by many in the Party as the “standard-barer.” It’s not because McCain did anything spectacular…he’s just the one that pretty much everybody could agree on, for the most part. His standing in the electoral vote count shows this. But there is a problem here: McCain can’t win without uniting the Republican Party. Minor problem…a good chunk of the Party so-called “base” can’t stand him. While George W. Bush could hold the base down while continuing to appeal to moderates and independents (remember the whole ‘compassionate conservative’ mantra?), the conservative front of the Republican Party will not be making the leap of faith.
I could spend my time and space writing about fiscal conservatives and libertarians, I want to focus on the “social conservative” or “right-wing” movement that has put the wind in the sails of former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, to a lesser extent.
What the mainstream media and 99% of Democrats out there don’t get is that you can’t lump “social conservatives” into one camp. There really is a difference between “social conservatives” and evangelicals. I’m not going to go into the definitions of the two, but social conservatives are about the issues – where you are on guns (let people have ’em), gay marriage (oppose it), abortion (ban it) , prayer in schools (as much as people want) , parental control (lots of it), low taxes (sign a pledge not to raise ’em) etc. Doesn’t matter how you got there, but just as long as you’re there. If you’re one of them, you’re most likely for Mitt Romney.
If you’re an Evangelical, you’re more concerned about the conviction of the candidate. You care about the motivating factors and the “journey” that the candidate has taken…the conscience of their soul. So you may have raised taxes here and there, or may not support the death penalty…your conviction as a Christian and your calling to serve others is unquestionable. Those are your Evangelicals…and they are for Huckabee.
Now, if you look at it from these separate positions, you’re going to see that there is very little way that most of these Evangelicals are going to support Romney. In their eyes (and in those of many), he is an apostate who is a member of a cult. He’s constantly shown as a person who has spent their life “grooming themselves” for high elected office or some other narcissistic purposes. Huckabee on the other hand was a Baptist minister…yeah, he raised taxes a few times and bowed to the Democrats in Arkansas occasionally, but he was helping the people. It’s a very Christian thing to do, you know.
Trust me…if this group was going to be pragmatic and support another Republican, it would be Romney. And they’re not doing that. And there is no way in HELL they’re going to get behind McCain.
I keep hearing about this McCain-Huckabee alliance…how McCain is going to make Huckabee his VP choice in exchange for all of his delegates. Yeah, well that might get you through convention, but if you really think that those Evangelicals are going to vote for John McCain…aka:
1.) The man who left his first wife, who stood by him while he was in Vietnam for money-bags Cindy
2.) After being a LIFE-LONG Episcopalian, converted IN THE LAST YEAR to being a Baptist
3.) Called the Christian Right “agents of intolerance” within the last few years, then gives a commencement speech at Bob Jones University in the last year
Yeah…vote for him MY ASS! People may think that Evangelicals are “backwater” folks, but they’re not stupid…and they can see a carpet-bagging impostor a mile away. They’re not going to vote for someone they see as inauthentic. That’s the way they view Romney, and you can imagine their distain for McCain. They’ll stay at home and sit on their hands before they vote for him. Trust me on this – they’ve done it before and they’ll do it again.
McCain will secure the nomination without great fanfare and will have to spend the majority of his time trying to keep his coalition – an uneasy coalition at that – together. That is time he’s not reaching out to independents, and Democrats. He won’t win without them. The “Straight Talk Express” is never even going to leave the station. Some of you have heard me describe the advancement method of “failing upward.” McCain didn’t win because he was a stellar candidate with a top-notch campaign team – he won because he’s the one who is the best candidate in the field that we have to represent the Party. There is a BIG distinction between the two.
For more reading on the liabilities of John McCain, take a look at my friend Scott Schmidt’s posing comparing the races of John McCain in 2008 to the race of John Kerry in 2004. He’s spot-on.
It’s a crazy-ass showdown between Obama and Clinton. We’ve all see the news and reports over the last few weeks about race being interjected into the campaigns. Well, the Democrats had it coming. Let me spell it out here from a California perspective – possibly the most race/gender/sexual orientation-politicized state in the union.
The Democrats looooooove to pretend like they’re one big happy liberal family – that everybody is equal. To celebrate their diversity, they have a ton of special interest groups that they give a LOT of weight to…the African Americans, the Asian Americans, the Latinos, the women, the homosexuals (GLBT). Everybody has a coalition. The minor problem here is that sometimes, society pits one against the other…and politics is not exempt from these little spats. In the Republican Party, we don’t do this crap…we have clubs, but we don’t do the “special interest” caucus’, so we don’t have this problem. But the Dems do – and it’s gettin’ nasy.
Now, I live here in California. We’ve lots of brown folks and lots of black folks. Hell…we’ve got a little bit of everybody. But you’d have to be blind to ignore the conflict between the African American and Latino populations. If you look at how last night broke out here, you’ll find the following:
Obama supporters – Blacks, white elites (and about half of the gays, mostly younger)
Hillary supporters – Latinos, “soccer moms” (and the other half of the gays, mostly over 35 y/o)
And as we know, there are more Latinos in this state than Blacks. It didn’t used to be that way, but it is now. It’s a sore point of contention between the communities that the Democrats don’t like to talk about it. Maybe one day I’ll do more on this issue, because it’s going to erupt soon in Los Angeles.
With the gays, which typically vote 75%-25% with Democrats vs Republicans, the older gays were part of the first Clinton campaign w/ Bill…many of them were the first out-of-the-closet gays to ever work in the White House (a result of Bill Clinton’s outreach to the entertainment community in his races). The younger gays are definitely ready to buck the Party establishment and get a real reformer candidate in office – and for many that’s Obama.
Nationally, the Clinton/Obama race is neck-and-neck. The caucuses in the mid-west and South this Saturday will probably go for Obama (Obama has superior organization when it comes to caucuses), and then there are mid-Atlantic primaries next Tuesday that will probably split between Clinton and Obama. That race is far from over.
So that’s it folks. My worry – the Republican ticket led by John McCain is going to spend most of it’s time trying to get its “base” in line. After the primary, candidates SHOULD be making a sharp turn to engage more independent/more moderate voters…and instead we’ve got John McCain needing amplify his “conservative credentials.” This spells disaster in my book. Obama and Hillary are going to continue dancing around each other for a few more weeks, but I worry that they’re going to get their act together and make inroads to independents/DTS voters in America before the Republicans can, and that makes me EXTREMELY concerned.
Ok folks…that’s it for now. Thanks for reading along, and by all means feel free to comment and let me know what you think.