May 11, 2008

Barack Obama a sure thing ?

Many in the media have been claiming that the race for the Democratic nomination is over. It likely may be, but it could be far closer than is currently believed. It could still turn the in favor of Hillary Clinton.

Realclearpolitics makes the scenario where Hillary makes the race far closer with wins in West Virginia, Kentucky and Puerto Rico.

Here is how the numbers could play out.

HOW LIKELY IS A DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENT?
Many factors favor a democrat for president in 2008. Unpopular Republican president. Bad economy. Unpopular war.

Intrade 2008 US president prediction market has it 57% Obama, 38% McCain.

Detailed electoral vote projections have a very close race between Democrats and Republican.

This article points out how the Democrats often find a way to lose the presidential election.

The first Republican to win a presidential election was Abraham Lincoln. Since that initial success, the GOP has won 23 presidential elections compared to just 14 for the Democrats.

Since the Civil War only four Democrats -- Jimmy Carter, Lyndon Johnson, Franklin Roosevelt and Samuel Tilden -- have won a majority of the popular vote. (Tilden in 1876, lost the Electoral College vote and never became president.)

It has been 32 years since a Democrat won a majority of the popular vote. The last to do so was Carter, who won a whopping 50.1 percent of the votes in 1976. He defeated Republican incumbent Gerald Ford, the man who pardoned Richard Nixon and carried the burden of Watergate and the Vietnam War into the election.

Obviously, 1976 was not a good year to be a Republican. Nixon's disgraceful resignation and reputation for deceit and corruption fatally wounded the Republican presidential ticket. But even with such enormous advantages on his side, Carter barely eked out a majority. Carter's once sizeable lead in the polls dwindled as election day drew near, so much so that some observers believe that had the election taken place a couple of weeks later, Ford might have prevailed.


Another article making the case that the Democrat path to the presidency is not assured

What does seem certain is a Democratic House and Senate.
So a McCain presidency would have to work with a Democratic House and Senate, which would force more moderation from McCain to get things passed.
Obama and Clinton's stated policies are very similar. A question would be how effective Obama would be in getting real policy enacted.

I do not believe the US government (regardless of who wins) can be counted upon to start generating appropriate far sighted policy. Relatively neutral and non-damaging policy would be the hope.

I think the choices around Iraq will be less important in 2009. What will be more significant will be the future choices around Iran, Pakistan, Syria and North Korea and technology policy choices.

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