Monday, November 3, 2008

The 2008 Campaign

The big events of the 2007-2008 campaign season:

1. John McCain clinches the Repuplican nomination. In November of 2007, McCain was in last place and had been all but written off. Two months later, he was in the lead. In rapid succession, Fred Thompson, Rudy Giuliani, and Mitt Romney dropped out, leaving McCain and Mike Huckabee in the race until McCain won Super Tuesday.

2. The Democratic primaries turned out to be among the hardest-fought ever, with two history-making candidates slugging it out - Hillary Clinton, who would be the first female major-party nominee, and Barack Obama, who would be the first African-American major party nominee. In the end, Hillary staged a late rally but came up just short of the nomination. Much of the speculation and punditry centered around the Democrats excessively complicated nomination process, with proportionally allocated delegates keeping the delegate race tight and the unelected "super delegates" (party big-shots) waiting in the wings. In theory, the super delegates could have stepped in and overruled the primary voters and caucus goers if they nominated a candidate too far outside the mainstream. In practice, had the super delegates actually overruled the rank-and-file, there is no telling what kind of of fratracidal war might have resulted, but it would have been bloody.

3. Press bias - as it happened, in spite of the super-delegate safety fuse, the Democratic candidate, Barack Obama, was and is very far from the mainstream of American politics. But you would never know this from the coverage of any of the major TV networks, large daily newspapers, or two of the three cable news outlets. Only cable TV's Fox News regularly featured critical reports on Obama.

[to be continued]

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