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CLINTON - OBAMA

Spencer Di Scala - Women and Evangelicals. These are the two words that express the importance of the vote in the American primaries of 2008

The primary process will continue and this trend will likely continue. If it does, it is likely that neither candidate will win enough delegates to lock up the nomination because the rules of the Democratic Party allot delegates according to proportional representation. In that case, the convention will have to decide who the Democratic nominee will be, as used to be the case before the reforms that gave voters the greatest role in picking presidential candidates. If this happens, the Democratic “Superdelegates” will have a major role. This is an anomaly because in the past these Superdelegates have had a purely formal role and no one is certain exactly what their impact will be (Bill Clinton is a Superdelegate).

The Republicans face different problems. Their primaries are winner-take-all and the Supertuesday vote has made it more likely that John McCain will win the nomination soon. Nevertheless, disturbing implications emerged for him in the vote. Many Republicans say they will not vote for McCain because he is not a conservative. This idea has taken a strange twist: in the South religious evangelicals turned out to vote in record numbers, giving Mike Huckabee a strong victory there and practically pushing Mitt Romney out of the race. Romney claimed the true conservative mantle, but it is difficult for him to claim that position now, not having won any of the states in the conservative heartland.

The Republican primaries are winner-take-all, which makes it more likely that a Republican nominee will lock up the nomination before the convention. Huckabee's avowed aim, however, is to derail McCain so he will not have a majority of delegates, allowing the convention to decide. This is not a likely scenario, but Huckabee emerges from the voting in a greatly enhanced position to affect party policy.

Spencer Di Scala



Data: 2008-02-07







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