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Wednesday, January 09, 2008

 

people, not poll, powered primaries

posted by Aziz P. at Wednesday, January 09, 2008 permalink View blog reactions
It is almost obscene how much I am enjoying this election year, and it's only just begun. I love being wrong because my predictions thus far have been the kind you make in a year where the dynamics are known and oppressive, where polls not people matter.

But not this time. It seems instead that there is a poll backlash instead.

Consider: Hillary took New Hampshire. That excites me to no end. How about this for a crazy theory? Obama's wave of independent support was imminent and then indies said to themselves, "he we like Obama. You know, we also like McCain. Since Obama's got this in the bag (according to all the polls), they reason, what the heck, let's support McCain instead and keep Romney down. Result? McCain sins the indies, and Obama loses them - making the race closer on the Democratic side. Meanwhile, Democrats who've been following the news are suddenly reading how after the meaningless Iowa caucuses, Hillary is supposed to close up shop, it's over, she's deader than HD-DVD. Rather than depress turnout for her, it stimulates it.

This is exciting because in many ways it's the opposite of 2004 where despite all the energy at the people level, the "inevitability" meme took over and Kerry utterly swamped Dean. The race is far closer and much more in play this time, and its because the polls aren't in charge.

And another thing that is equally exciting is that the Democratic and Republican nominations are not running in a vacuum, but have some feedback between them, again at the people level. This makes this a truly national race, and it also shows that despite the partisan establishment, independents matter.

The dynamic on Feb 5th will defy all expectation. Some states are closed primaries, others wide open, and others in between. Obama can't take the indies for granted, but neither can Clinton bank of the Dems, and who knows what the spillover from McCain is.

If anything, this cycle has shown me just how awesome the Iowa-NH-go-first system can be, even if everyone else goes on eth same day for a truly national primary on feb 5th (and they might as well, to be honest).

The only prediction I will make is that McCain, not Romney or Huckabee, takes the GOP nomination. As for the Democrats, I declared myself for Hillary a while back but my recent issues analysis of their foreign policy, and Hillary's position on Dubai Ports World, make me agnostic as to whether her "experience" is truly an asset. An excellent analysis by farangi at Chapati Mystery questions the whole framing of "experience" as well.

To be honest, I want to want Obama to win. The main reason I still am on Hillary's side of the fence is because I am partly cynical about where we are and where we need to go. And maybe if the rest of this primary goes the way of Iowa and NH, in other words an utter joyride, I might find the audacity for hope after all.

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Discussion

Experience might not matter? Well, maybe to the inexperienced. My take on NH is that the Mrs took it because her staff has experience and turned out voters. The big O doesn't have that level of experience on his staff and was relying on students to get out and deliver. As all of us who have been students well remember, school-time isn't one of our most responsible moments. Therefore you can sum up O's strategy as one of relying on the unreliable to get him the numbers needed to put this thing away. A rework is in order there.

As to the Mrs much critiqued genuine moment... at least we got to see something other than talking points from a candidate.

Two very important items to consider; 1) we have seen the first time in this country's history that a person of color has one a presidential contest, and, 2) we have seen the first time in this country's history that a women has won a presidential contest. It is clear that some significant number of Americans are ready for change.

Back to experience for one last moment - How about some experience for a change? Wouldn't that be great?

 

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About Nation-Building

Nation-Building was founded by Aziz Poonawalla in August 2002 under the name Dean Nation. Dean Nation was the very first weblog devoted to a presidential candidate, Howard Dean, and became the vanguard of the Dean netroot phenomenon, raising over $40,000 for the Dean campaign, pioneering the use of Meetup, and enjoying the attention of the campaign itself, with Joe Trippi a regular reader (and sometime commentor). Howard Dean himself even left a comment once. Dean Nation was a group weblog effort and counts among its alumni many of the progressive blogsphere's leading talent including Jerome Armstrong, Matthew Yglesias, and Ezra Klein. After the election in 2004, the blog refocused onto the theme of "purple politics", formally changing its name to Nation-Building in June 2006. The primary focus of the blog is on articulating purple-state policy at home and pragmatic liberal interventionism abroad.