March 4 was a make-it-or-break-it day for both the Democratic and Republican presidential nomination. Sen. Barack Obama hoped to keep his momentum going, coming off of 11 straight victories, while John McCain hoped to secure his party’s nomination once and for all. Meanwhile, Gov. Mike Huckabee hoped to bring his dying campaign to life with unexpected wins, while Sen. Hillary Clinton looked for much-needed – though doubtful – victories.
Clinton surprised the nation with key wins in Ohio, Texas and Rhode Island – just what she needed to keep her campaign alive. At her speech in Columbus, Ohio, Clinton dedicated her victory to all who have persevered in the face of mounting odds. Meanwhile, Barack Obama spoke before a Texas crowd, pointing out little had changed in the overall delegate counts. He believes victory is still imminent for his campaign.
Meanwhile, John McCain swept all four state primaries with commanding leads, giving him the delegates he needs to become the presumptive nominee for the Republican Party. Upon learning the results, Mike Huckabee formally dropped out of the presidential race. McCain can now turn his attention to uniting his party for this coming November.
Blogs and news magazines have been buzzing with predictions over the last few weeks as to who would take these crucial states and how. One of my favorite theories: Because Obama may have a better chance at victory against McCain in November, Republican strategists allegedly asked moderate voters to choose a Democratic ballot to vote for Hillary Clinton. Commentators like Rush Limbaugh announced their support for the New York senator for this exact reason. Because of anti-Clinton theories coming from the right, many feel the Republicans have taken a cheap strategy to make sure their party gets the White House.
These blogs are a joke. The Republicans have no reason to try to rig the Democratic presidential race when the Democrats are already hanging themselves. Here we are in March with a clear Republican candidate for president. He’s ready to unite the party and already working on a strategy for this coming November. Meanwhile, Clinton and Obama continue to fight over every last delegate. This is indicative of the kind of fragmented, struggling campaign we can expect from the Democrats. The Democratic Party has been split, as made evident by their inability to settle on either candidate. John McCain can simply let the Democrats continue fighting amongst themselves, polarize the American people and, when November comes, voters will be disenfranchised with their candidate.
What’s more, neither candidate has a decent chance at attracting moderate voters from McCain. The man is an independent voter’s dream, staying clear of the more controversial issues of his party while maintaining a centrist platform. Though it may be true Obama could pull more moderates than Clinton, this is a small advantage. John McCain has been popular among moderates since his first presidential run in 2000, and this is unlikely to change. Regardless of recently formed conservative views, Americans understand his commitment to refusing big business ties and a more centrist platform. Clinton can’t seem to convince voters to overlook her “political baggage,” and Obama seems to be failing to deliver his message in a way that shows he is experienced and ready to lead.
So while I congratulate Clinton and McCain on their big wins, there is little doubt in my mind who our next president will be. Neither Obama nor Clinton can seem to muster up enough votes to get people in their corner, so how can they be expected to unite an entire nation? McCain has the right stances, substantial supporters and the momentum he needs to win in November. While Americans cling to news sources for any sign of momentum for either Democratic candidate, McCain will use the time to bring all parts of the country together. I would advise the Democrats to hurry up and pick their candidate… but at this point they may be a little too late.