Monday, February 11, 2008

When the smoke clears...

With over half the primary elections and caucuses already out the way, political analysts were predicting a clear picture of the Democratic presidential nominee. However, both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have enjoyed waves of momentum, and each so far have taken around 1000 delegates thus far. Recently, however, this momentum has flowed like a pre-tsunami tide towards the Obama camp, taking all 5 votes this weekend. It seems the press loves him, the students love him and in this day where the internet is so powerful, those are two very important demographics for any candidate. Time Magazine ran a feature on the elections this past weekend, detailing the endeavours of a New York 5-year old, rallying support among his classmates.
Yet Obama has also struck deep into the predominantly Clinton areas - the white working class. For instance, he took Maine, one of the poorest states in the North East, despite early polls suggesting that Hillary was to relieve Obama of some of his massive weekend momentum.
This is what makes Obama special - he has at least a degree of fanatical popularity amongst every demographic, and not since Bill Clinton has America seen a potential President with such common charisma, rallying people from all walks of life. The only potential roadblock stopping this surge of momentum is the primaries in Texas and Ohio, where Hillary is expected to take the majority. Hopefully, though, this will be more a pothole than roadblock.
Whilst its commonly accepted that Obama casts a better public image than his rival, his cult popularity is harder to define. All I can do is talk about my views on him.
Simple as it may sound, Obama's skin tone may get him into the Oval Office. America is desperate for wholesale change after 8 years of stagnant Texan conservatism, and the newly eligible vote looks to be in the hands of Obama for this very reason. His skin tone is different, his voice is different, his background is different. At this moment, there are only two similarities between Obama and Dubya - both attended Top 20 colleges, and both are guilty of substance abuse, one more openly than the other. Its this honesty that is a breath of fresh air, in a country that was suffocating from sordid foreign policy, tense union relations and draining public support for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
2000 was the 1st election I watched closely and we all know how that ended, but 2008 has what is for me a foreign element. Something resembling reasonable confidence in progressive change.

No comments: