At first, nobody expected a serious challenge to her campaign, calling her nomination “inevitable.” Then she placed third in Iowa and it seemed as though Obama was the nominee.
Last night, she narrowly beat Obama in New Hampshire, confounding predictions that it was Obama who had the momentum to win there.
As a U.S. presedential race junkie, I recently subscribed to MSNBC to get my fix in 2008 and I had forgotten how big the U.S. networks go at times like this. Her loss was read as the collapse of her campaign with words like “freefall” and “shambles” thrown about. Pundits confidently predicted that Obama was the next nominee.
For five days between Iowa and New Hampshire, that was the story. Now, her campaign is “bouncing back” while Obama is trying to figure out “what went wrong.”
Maybe people are just impatient with the primary process as it churns through the 24 hour news cycle. Maybe they just want to be told who the nominee is already. Problem is, there is a primary season to get through and at this point, we really don’t have an idea who it may be just yet.
As a Canadian, I know that my preference for a candidate is irrelevant but I’d like to see it be Obama, mostly because the U.S. will have gone through 20 years of Bush-Clinton-Bush-Clinton. That’s a little nuts. Obama’s inexperience doesn’t bother me so much because I’m sure he would, like the current president, surround himself with experienced people. Besides, George W. set the bar so low for a president, that I can’t imagine how anyone would do worse.
It’s a psychological thing, really. For America to move forward, it could benefit from electing a guy with a background that’s outside the norm of U.S. politics. But it’s all just symbolic, really.
But I think for Obama to be seen as president, people need to take a leap of faith. Clinton, on the other hand, has been working toward this since she was First Lady when it was clear that she had ambitions beyond lighting the White House Christmas tree every year. People can easily envision Clinton in the White House. With Obama, that vision is less clear and that is perhaps why a crucial single-digit percentage of voters did not support him last night, instead, throwing it to Clinton (or, if they’re independant voters, McCain).
There are more primaries to come and it’s still anyone’s race. We’ll see what the voters really want in due course.