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Hillary Clinton and John McCain Take Super Tuesday, Barack Obama Trails Close Behind, Huckabee Causes Upset
By Archana Prasanna - February 07, 2008

Hillary Clinton
Hillary Clinton
 
Barack Obama
Barack Obama
 
John McCain
John McCain
 
Mike Huckabee
Mike Huckabee
 
Mitt Romney
Mitt Romney
The notion that history is being made during this 2008 Presidential election is an understatement. For the first time, the possibility of having a woman, Hillary Clinton, or an African American in the form of the ultra charismatic orator Barack Obama, for the presidency does not seem farfetched. The involvement of young voters is at an all time high and Internet campaigning has finally emerged as a legitimate and highly effective place to court the younger demographic of voters. A new era of politics is developing and Super Tuesday maintained this trend of political firsts. On February 5th, twenty-four states held primary elections, the most ever in a single day. In past decades, this election has provided a clear-cut front runner for the Presidential nomination from both the Democratic and Republican parties. However, this year has been very different and somewhat muddled.

The Democratic candidates have been fighting a steadfast battle and the results of Super Tuesday merely confirmed just that. Both Democratic nominee hopefuls, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, won in their home states as expected. Hillary Clinton clinched New York while Barack Obama easily carried Illinois. All eyes were initially on California, the state with the largest number of delegates. It became evident as the night went on that securing this win in California, in which Hillary Clinton prevailed, would not be enough to declare the winner of the Democratic nomination.

Barack Obama maintained momentum by winning the majority of delegates in the Southern states where African Americans came out in record number to support his candidacy, while Hillary Clinton failed to get her footing in the southern region. Obama secured an overwhelming number of African American votes in Georgia and Alabama. He also managed to win in various smaller states throughout the country such as Arkansas, Delaware, Idaho, and Utah. His supporters, senators Ted Kennedy and John Kerry, did not have much influence on Massachusetts voters. Surprisingly, this state went to Hillary Clinton as did the state of New Jersey. Clinton managed to establish herself among Hispanic and women voters, and most surprisingly, among Asian voters in the west. She also appealed to older generations and working class Democrats, while Obama relied on the younger voters and a wealthier set of ultra-liberal Democrats. Overall Barack Obama won in thirteen states, while Clinton locked in on eight of the more significant states and she ended up with slightly more delegates.

While the Democrats were not able to choose a front runner, the Republicans were coming to a close on their nomination. It was anticipated that John McCain would emerge as the clear favorite. McCain did emerge as a favorite, but not too convincingly. He clinched important wins in California and New York. He also secured various other states such as his home state of Arizona, Illinois, New Jersey and Oklahoma. The surprising upset on the Republican side was Mike Huckabee’s unexpected success, which has reportedly cut into Mitt Romney’s votes and created what CNN is now referring to as a “three man race” on the Republican side. After being written off by political experts, Mike Huckabee managed to secure some respectable wins in the southern states where evangelical voters are in strong numbers. He won in five southern states including Georgia, Alabama and in his home state Arkansas. His achievements, although not significant enough to win him the Republican nomination, are stirring up trouble for his rivals as delegates are now being divided among three candidates. True conservative Mitt Romney failed to tighten the race between himself and John McCain. Other than winning in his home town of Massachusetts, Mitt Romney was not able to clinch any significant wins. This could predictably make things better for John McCain’s chances of nabbing the Republican nomination which he has coveted since the 2000 Presidential election. If the Republicans fail to declare a clear competitor for John McCain, this makes a stronger case for his nomination.

The aftermath of Super Tuesday has different implications for the two political parties. For the Democrats it is evident that the race is still deadlocked, as both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have emerged victorious. The Potomac primaries will play a significant part in deciding the eventual Presidential nominee.

In the long run, Obama may have an edge. He is expected to do well in the smaller states such as Maryland and Virginia, and has raised an unprecedented 32 million dollars during the month of January, giving him more money to spend. Clinton who has taken the lead in the recent election will carry the momentum of her California win going into the upcoming primaries. Clinton will continue to establish herself as the more experienced candidate.

While the Democrats as a whole are unified in terms of their goals, the voters seem to be divided as a result of the “spin” that each of the Democratic candidates puts on their respective campaigns. Obama’s being a “movement” and a call for “change.” He is promising a Washington in which lobbyists do not have a stronghold on public policy, putting that power back in the hands of the American people. He also continues to stress his consistent stance against the war in Iraq. Hillary Clinton’s campaign is more about properly navigating the system that we have in place, picking and choosing battles and stressing the need for universal healthcare. Both Democratic candidates want out of Iraq, though Clinton insists upon the need to tread lightly for the safety of those Americans who are currently living and working in Iraq.

Inevitably, the results of Super Tuesday show a racial and gender split. Regardless, Democratic voters are waiting for change and would be pleased with either candidate as a Presidential nominee. At the Los Angeles Democratic debate, the idea of a “dream team” ticket with Clinton and Obama was brought up and quickly deflected by both Obama and then Clinton.

This contentment with both candidates is not the case among Republicans. The success of John McCain has caused a rift between moderate and conservative Republicans. McCain’s stance on various issues is not consistent with traditional Republican ideals. This has stirred right wing conservatives, some of whom are now announcing that they would rather vote for a Democrat than for John McCain.

Super Tuesday was meant to secure a decisive win for the Presidential nominee. Rather, the campaigns for the Republicans, and even more so the Democrats, have been extended, and the process somewhat drawn out and confusing to many Americans. The upcoming primaries will have more weight for the candidates, and campaigning is far from over. One thing is certain; this may possibly be the tightest and longest race to the White House.

Hillary Clinton and John McCain Take Super Tuesday, Barack Obama Trails Close Behind, Huckabee Causes Upset


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