T Nation

What Will It Boil Down To?


The 2008 U.S. Presidential Election?

My take (barring any major mistakes by the candidates):

1) It always sounds simplistic, but one determinate will be whose supporters get out and vote.

We all know that young citizens are notorious for not voting or even registering to vote.

Has Obama galvanized them enough like the media has portrayed it?

2) Women and Hispanics.

Which Candidate has the most support from these blocks? (To me its still unclear).

3) The Vice Presidential Choice?

How important will it be?

You guys always have some great points and insights.

The floor is open for discussion.



Both are in this because of generally positive images of them held by the public. Both are bleeding because they have to do the primary-->general election dance and sully their images as outsiders in the process. I think it will boil down to who has bled less, as trite as the answer may seem.

Ultimately I'd still give the edge to Obama even if other factors were even based on the fact that his campaign has been the most professional and best run operation of the cycle while McCain's has been a perpetual gong show, beset with interminable organizational chaos and until quite recently major money issues on both sides of the ledger.


What will it boil down to? If you don't vote for Obama, you're a racist.


As much as it pains me to say it, Obama will win it. This is in large part because McCain does not inspire enthusiasm like Obama does. Obama can run on charm without substance and still win it all. Superficiality wins again.

What it boils down to is that this is basically Brutus vs. Marc Antony: The Rematch. And we all know how that played out the first time. The mob wins and loses.


I think the biggest under-discussed issue is electoral math. Obama seems to be trying to make inroads in some traditionally GOP states, but he doesn't really need to - if he holds Kerry's states and just pinches off Ohio, or a couple smaller ones that are heavily leaning his way (Colorado) he'll win it. Barring a complete collapse in working class white support, it is his election to lose.

I agree with you very much about women and Hispanics, but I tend to think the former are not gonna vote Republican more than normal (war, abortion) while McCain's open-border stance is going to be constrained by fear of a revolt from the base.

Given how badly the Republicans have fucked up over the last eight years, it should be a cakewalk to the Democrats. That it isn't speaks to Obama's missteps and vulnerabilities. But there's a school of thought that McCain is Dole 2008, and I find that more persuasive than I used to.

Also, I don't think the VP stuff matters much at all, I think that is mostly a media game. Maybe it tilts one borderline state (although the GOP will lose Minnesota even with Pawlenty, for example, and win SC with or without Sanford).


Obama will self destruct as the election gets closer. His gaffes and mistakes have taken a toll and will continue to do so. Eventually he has to face McCain, w/o a teleprompter and I see that as being his undoing. You can't run simply by being against everything. You have to stand for something and what he stands for is way to radical and ill concieved for voters to approve.

He will not carry the South. He will not take Florida. Pa. is in play but so is NJ.
Colorado is leaning his way. Too many negatives for him to overcome. Hillary had a better chance in the South. The young and minorities do not vote in great numbers and are not a reliable bloc to count on. That is Obama's core constituency.

Democrats win by not telling you what they will do when elected. (hiding their positions) Republicans win by telling you what they will do. Obama is being pushed for ideas and is answering in Clintonspeak to suite the audience. This is alienating his netroot supporters and turning off the moderates.

Hillary supporters by and large are closer to McCain then Obama. Obama is a Republican in name only so he will get a portion of those voters. They will not answer that way in a poll but they will vote that way. For a Democrat to win he needs to poll 6-8% better then a Republican to account for sampling bias. This race is close. If history teaches us anything then McCain is ahead since polling shows them close to even.

I call McCain in a close race.


It is astounding to me that seemingly rational people keep doing the same thing, and all the while, expect things to change.

As long as Americans keep voting for the "approved" candidates in a two-party system, there is little incentive for any of them to address issues that the people care about. Rather, they'll continue to favor lobby and other corporate interests, while firing up the public about "patriotism", "hope", "change", "straight talk", "terrorists" and other BS.

At the end of the day, it'll boil down to "who's turn is it?". And looking back at this century's eight years, I can say with a certain degree of confidence that it's the Democrats' turn. I also foresee a record number of votes going to third-party candidates.

We'll know soon enough anyway...


I'm not voting for either guy, but don't kid yourself, McCain is an even more superficial candidate than Obama. He is running on his biography and patriotism and little else - "The American President Americans have been waiting for", I've heard few dumber slogans in my life. His grasp of policy is notoriously shaky, witness his repeated Iran - Al Qaeda gaffe that he had to eventually be corrected on by supporter Joe Lieberman. Neither option is appealing, but we're not talking about a workhorse versus a showhorse here.


I think Pat and Lixy have got it figured out. According to the cycle, it's time for Dems to win big, and anyway even if the libs don't like Obama's mush-mouth answers, they would feel guilty about not voting for the black guy. Dems carry the Executive and Legislative branch, all while blaming every problem that comes up on the previous administration. And so the cycle continues.

Even if a "record number of votes" goes to third-party candidates, Republicans will still read the votes to mean that their candidate was too damn Conservative and will rush headlong towards the Left. Democrats will try so hard to distinguish themselves from the Republicans that they will eventually be unable to hide their radical nature and eventually they will piss off the voters bad enough to make them vote for Republicans again. And so on.





I honestly think we are fucked either way. Neither one of the candidates seems to me like a worthy individual for presidency. McCain just is not listening to people he should be and does not really know what he is going to do. Obama also doesn't know how what he is going to do, so he is relying on his public speaking skills to really win over supporters.

Obama-"We need to change something because I think it is right. What the fuck do we change though?"
McCain-"We don't need to change anything. Let's keep everything the same and hope it corrects itself."


I agree with Lixy


[i]The new numbers from Zogby: Obama 47%, McCain 40%, beyond the ±3.1% margin of error. This is on top of the CBS/NYT and ABC/WaPo polls, which respectively gave Obama a six-point and eight-point lead.

The internals also have a very surprising, and not entirely believable, number: Obama leads among Hispanics by an astonishing 71%-19% margin.

Late Update: Make that four polls, with the Quinnipiac survey giving Obama a nine-point lead.[/i]

71% over McCain's 19% in the hispanic block. That seems impossible but even if its closer I'd imagine he has the lead.

The VP gives McCain the chance to address his selfconfessed economic weaknesses, and it gives Obama the chance to tackle his experience/national security problems. I would have thought Wesley Clark was a front runner in the Obama camp until he launched a personal campaign to end his political life.

I think McCain takes Romney for the economic boost to the ticket.

I would assume Obama takes a swing state Dem, Ohio's Governor is a dem (Strickland), maybe Obama will get him to get the voting boost in that swing state? Or he could aim for those with greater name recognition & resume - Richardson, maybe Biden. Anyone that gives him the ticket a little experience.


I can safely say that I never in my life thought I'd ever see the above sentence!


Don't get me wrong, I'm not in love with either of them. Johnny boy's had a good share of slip-ups. I just think McCain will harm the country LESS than Obama. But no one can deny the effectiveness of BHO's demagoguery and fanatic supporters. Obama doesn't need to say anything substantive to win, which is sad.


That's why we have the second amendment...To shake things up a bit :slight_smile:


I'm with Mick28 when he made the following observation:

Romney may be able to help McCain govern; but he will not help him get elected.

Romney as the VP candidate will cause McCain to lose more of the Christian Right Vote than he already has.



So all things really are possible,then.


Bear in mind as well that McCain can't stand Romney. That was readily apparent in any interview or debate during the primaries. Romney will NOT be his VP nominee.



I just don't think Romney was ever even in the running...

I think that the meetings McCain had with him were discussions about maybe the possibilities; but that's probably about it.