The race for the house on Pennsylvania Avenue seems to be heating up every primary that goes by. Seemingly too, the candidates that want to go on are also the ones that can and will make history. Democrats’ Illinois Senator Barack Obama and New York Senator Hillary Clinton are set to make a historical milestone in the long narrative that is American politics. Senator Obama stands on the precipice of becoming the first African-American to be a presidential nominee; Senator Clinton the first woman presidential nominee.
The probable impact of these two contenders in the political arena might shake a bit the American political landscape, but only one will be the next occupant of the White House come election time this fall. (President) Barack Obama Senator Obama, I predict, will be the next American president. The young senator tends to exude the confidence that another former great president showed, none other than President Ronald Reagan (Newsprism n. pag). Reagan was of the belief that the American nation was, according to the Newsprism article,” not only a great country, but a good one. (Newsprism n. pag).
He can cut across racial divides and have the ability to communicate his ideals and platforms to the voting public (Barrett n. pag. ). His ideas catch the interest of the American public should work in the favor for the Illinois senator. Again according to Newsprism, American voters seem to pick candidates more with their hearts rather than their minds (Newsprism n. pag). And Americans usually go for the aspirant that can deliver the hope and change that voters desire to see (Newsprism n. ag).
Obama comes across as one who can deliver on the promises that he has been trying to “sell” America throughout the campaign. Senator Barack Obama does seem to be strutting the posture of the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, the first African-American to have the privilege. From slugging it out in the primaries with New York Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, Obama has trained his guns on the national election, and the presumptive Republican nominee, Arizona Senator John McCain.
Obama is now focusing more on attacking the policies of the Bush administration, while almost neglecting his campaign sorties with Senator Clinton (Knowlton, Rohter n. pag. ). The good senator seems to be catching on in the minds and hearts of American voters with his “Change We can believe in” slogan. His victories in the primaries in South Carolina, for example, proves he has the mettle to take on the more experienced and better oiled political machines and actually beat them head on (Youngman n. pag).
In a sign that Obama seems to have the nomination all but wrapped up, his campaign has started to go back to the places that Clinton defeated him in the primaries. He is also on his way back to places that have finished their primaries, reaching out to groups that have strong ties with Clinton, among them Hispanics and working-class voters (Knowlton, Rohter n. pag. ). To prove his point, Obama will not be in the states holding their primaries, namely Kentucky and Oregon, but in Iowa, who handed him his most significant victory.
In another sign that the Illinois senator is on top, there is already talk that Obama should pick a Clinton ally for his running mate come the elections (Knowlton, Rohter n. pag. ). This, party insiders claim, would ease the divisiveness in the party and heal the fractures of the party faster for the battle ahead (Knowlton, Rohter n. pag. ). In fact, many a name have cropped up in the selection process, such as Governor Ted Strickland of Ohio, Indiana Senator Evan Bayh of and retired General Wesley Clark (Knowlton, Rohter n. pag. ).
But there are also political luminaries that would not accept the offer of being Senator Obama’s possible running mate in the elections. Political personalities such as Delaware Senator Joseph Biden and Virginia Senator Jim Webb have flatly rejected any one who would offer them the position, with Biden even going so far as saying in an interview with television network ABC that he (Biden) is not interested in the position. Statements notwithstanding, even Senator Clinton has backed off somewhat in her tirades against Senator Obama, focusing more on the “failed” policies of the Bush administration (Knowlton, Rohter n. ag. ).
Winning in the wearing What’s wearing a T-shirt got to do with winning an election? According to Spalding Group president and founder Ted Jackson, political “gear” gives a candidate some definition on his character (Rosenbloom n. pag. ). According to Mr. Jackson, items that are sold by the candidates are geared to connote to the voters about the candidates’ personality (Rosenbloom n. pag. ). In the case of Senator Obama, his sexy T-shirts somehow appeal to the young female voters about his youthfulness and new thinking politics (Rosenbloom n. ag. ). But some of the candidates seem to be missing out on the “memo”, so to speak (Rosenbloom n. pag. ).
And Senator Obama has seemed to convey that message pretty well, especially in the past few weeks. In the case for the “superdelegates” in the state of Indiana, majority of them support Senator Obama, while the rest have aligned themselves with Senator Clinton. (Indiana has 12 superdelegates, seven of them support the Illinois senator and four support the Clinton, one being uncommitted (Groppe n. pag. ).
In his statement on why he supports Obama, Representative Pete Vicklosky maintains that Senator Obama is the candidate that will bring unity to the American people and lead the country back to its lofty position as leader in the world (Groppe n. pag. ). But in order to be sure of clinching the vote for the Democratic nomination, Senator Obama must be able to convince the Democrats to, in the article of Arnon Mishkin “Can Obama Close? ” (2008), “retire the Clintons” (Mishkin n. pag. ). The very idea must be able to be sent through the voters who, if they are not satisfied with an Obama choice for president, might swing to John McCain (Keck n. ag).
As in the case of the Kentucky primaries, six in ten voters would cast their lot with the Republican McCain should Clinton lose the nomination (Kuhn n. pag. ). But the numbers is not too much to change the outcome of the election in a significant way, according to University of Kentucky professor and elections specialist Stephen Voss (Keck n. pag. ). Voss’ advice for Obama is for the senator to get his message across to the people, making them understand how his political agenda can somehow alleviate the current economic crunch that Americans are experiencing (Keck n. pag. ).
Voss also maintains that Obama must rally people to his cause not only as a politician, but as a person (Keck n. pag. ). Voters must be able to empathize with him; Obama must capitalize on the story of his humble beginnings, not as a political tactician, but one who has seen their struggles. He must be seen as one who rose from the bottom up, not, as University of Kentucky political science professor Mark Peffley avers, “ a silver-spooned liberal” (Keck n. pag. ). During the 1992 presidential campaign, Democratic presidential candidate Arkansas Governor William Clinton said “change must be fashioned out with courage” (Mishkin n. pag. ).
Factors to look out for Senator Obama, though he leads currently in the dog fight for the Democratic nomination, must be able to look out and be wary of several factors that might to prove to detrimental to him in his bid for the White House (Mishkin n. pag. ). Among the issues that might hound Senator Obama will be the race issue. In his article, “Can Obama close? ”(2008), Arnon Mishkin provides us with the example of then Mayor and California gubernatorial candidate Tom Bradley. In his article, Mishkin avers that Bradley tried to sidestep the issue of “he just happened to be black” in his campaign for California governor in 1982 (Mishkin n. ag. ).
Bradley took the path of sidestepping the issue of race rather than commenting on it in his campaign (Mishkin n. pag. ). In the end, Bradley lost, his opponent using that issue to his advantage and overturning Bradley’s months-on lead. Lindsay Barrett, in her article, “Barack Obama may win, but he’s no African-American”(2008), says that Obama may run into problems running “a once racist nation” (Barrett n. pag. ). Presently, for him to win, Senator Obama must be able to quickly and adequately address this issue to douse any chance that it will be a major factor in the campaign.
Another issue that Senator will be on the lookout for in this campaign is the tack on espousing change, both in the party and the government. Obama has been scoring highly on the need to convince the people for change in the government, but he needs to influence a more important, though smaller, group of people-the Democrats themselves. Senator Obama, with his campaign slogan, must be able to communicate that the change the country needs is one that is in the hands of the voters themselves, that they can decide their future in the coming election.