Who will be the next president?

Published 12:32 am Wednesday, July 16, 2008

By Staff
The protracted Democratic presidential eace is finally over. Freshman Illinois Sen. Barack Obama will be the Democratic nominee. The 46-year-old will be the first African-American to be the presidential nominee of one of the two major parties.
Obama and Hillary Clinton fought a six-month battle that basically ended in a virtual dead heat. Both received about the same number of votes, but Obama's campaign realized the importance of caucuses in red states and mustered an edge in delegates. Clinton carried most, if not all, of the important Democratic and swing states. She would most likely have been a more electable general election candidate because of her dominance over Obama in the pivotal swing states. However, Obama brought large numbers of African American and young voters into the process. He also has shown an amazing prowess at raising money. It will be interesting to see if Obama selects Hillary as his running mate.
John McCain's choice of a running mate will also be very interesting and important. Vice presidential choices are generally not decisive factors in a presidential race, but many experts believe they are more relevant this year. The two candidates' selection of running mates is the most exciting thing on the summer agenda, as we await their coronations at their conventions.
We in Alabama are considered a safe Republican state. We have voted for the GOP candidate for the last 7 presidential races. The last time a Democrat carried Alabama was 32 years ago when our neighbor from Georgia, Jimmy Carter, eked out a victory in 1976. Therefore, it is a safe bet that John McCain, the Republican nominee, will carry Alabama.
This leaves the all important swing states. There are about 14 that swing back and forth and can go either way. This is where the candidates will spend most of their time and money. These states are mostly in the industrial Midwest and more recently in the West. The Midwestern battlegrounds include Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Minnesota. In the West, the pivotal swing states are New Mexico, Nevada, Arizona and Colorado.
It is not by accident that the two parties have chosen sites located in importance swing states for their conventions in late summer. The Democrats will meet in Denver. The Republicans have chosen St. Paul, Minn. When all is said and done, the most important swing state is still Florida.
This election has gotten Americans revved up and ready to vote. The primaries brought out more voters than ever before. In many states the turnout has doubled the participation of four years ago. In important states, where in the past the numbers were the same in both the GOP and Democratic primaries, this year the Democrats outnumber Republicans 2 to 1.
The fact that most voters cite the need for change does not bode well for the GOP, considering it probably means that voters want a change from George W. Bush, a very unpopular sitting Republican president. This change mentality should portend a Democratic victory. However, head-to-head match-ups with the two apparent nominees reveal a close race in the fall.

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