Open Season

Dave Broker

It’s primary season! Of course, for us Wisconsinites, we will likely know who the nominees will be before our February 19 primary. Nonetheless, let’s take a look at what’s happening.For Democrats, it has come down to Clinton and Obama. Despite his best efforts to be a populist, Edwards could not win in Iowa, which took the bulk of his campaign’s resources, and he will only do worse from here on.

Clinton was able to save her neck by winning New Hampshire last week, but expect Obama to pick up steam in Nevada and South Carolina. Several unions now feel comfortable endorsing him and polls show that his popularity among blacks (50 percent of South Carolina’s Democrats) has skyrocketed since his Iowa victory.

This might be a tight race to the end, but I think California, rich with delegates, is the key. Polls there show Clinton has a solid lead, but polls this year have been unreliable and there’s time for Obama to use his extensive outreach in the Golden State. Watch the delegate scoreboard as the race continues.

In case you’re one of the 12 Republicans at Lawrence, I’ll break down your race too. First of all, Romney is in trouble. After dumping his personal fortune into Iowa and New Hampshire and failing to win either, his candidacy is in serious question.

McCain has made a triumphant return, regardless of his records on immigration, tax cuts, and campaign finance reform — none of which sit well with many conservatives. The libertarian Ron Paul has done much better than I expected thanks to the most dedicated, organized, and vocal base of supporters imaginable. However, no one actually expects him to win.

Meanwhile, Rudy Giuliani has decided to take the road less, well … never traveled by waiting until the Florida primary on January 29 before becoming a serious contender. Frankly, his numbers aren’t high in early states where you need more than name recognition. If this strategy works, pinch me.

Fred Thompson, the only candidate with the Reagan credentials that most Republicans are looking for, has campaigned like a snail with asthma and will subsequently lose. Finally, Huckabee has become the candidate of the religious right. Some disagree that it will be enough to win him the nomination, but Evangelicals have a stranglehold over that party, and seem to think that America can only be righteous with a Baptist minister in charge.

Huckabee needs to be on the ticket; otherwise the Evangelicals will stay home in November and the GOP will lose. If Huckabee is the nominee, his tax-policy ideas will lose him the independents, who already lean Democratic (the Democrats have seen about twice the GOP turnout thanks to Independents). More likely than not, a Democrat will replace Bush.