There’s a long way to go, but already the signs are that the Democrat drive to the White House is becoming a two-horse race.
Attention has moved to snowy New Hampshire, and it’s Barack Obama who seems to be pulling ahead.
Some polls give him a 10-point lead going into tomorrow’s primary, forcing Hillary Clinton to campaign for her political life.
Political analyst Dante Scala says Clinton has make voters think again:
“The swing vote in this state is college-educated women, and Clinton has to find a way to connect with those voters, whether by means of saying, you know, this could be an historic event fo us women to become the nominee; to make them suspicious of Barack Obama, or unsure of Barack Obama.”
Momentum is everything. A good result or two, and suddenly a candidate seems unstoppable. Obama offers a multi-facetted campaign. He attracts the young vote; as a black American he addresses parts of the electorate which has perhaps felt ignored. His easy charm has so far not alienated many conservative Democrats.
He says he represents change, and that infuriates the Clinton camp.
“I want to make change, but I’ve already made change!” said Hillary Clinton. “I will continue to make change. I’m not just running on a promise of change, I’m running on 35 years of change!”
Obama responded by playing the statesman:
“Everybody has great qualifications, and has done good things. But what I think is important is that we don’t try to distort each other’s records,” he said.
The third candidate is John Edwards. He’s still showing well in the betting, but may already be angling for a role in an Obama administration.
“He believes deeply in change, and I believe in change,” said Edwards. “And any time you’re fighting for that. I didn’t hear these kind of attacks from Senator Clinton when she was ahead. Now that she’s not, we hear them.”
An American election is like the longest job interview in history. If a candidate can survive the next six months to the convention, they’re deemed to have a good chance of surviving the Presidency.
New Hampshire is only the second campaign stop, and there IS a long way to go. But things may be a little more clear after tomorrow’s events.