Contests are far from over
Iowa went to Mike Huckabee and Barack Obama. New Hampshire went to John McCain and Hillary Clinton. This presidential primary may be more competitive than anyone expected. Hallelujah. Voters beyond Iowa and New Hampshire will have a voice in this process, after all.
The media didn’t expect Hillary Clinton to rise from third in Iowa to a narrow first-place victory in New Hampshire. Numerous polls pointed to another big win for Obama, and stories flowed about Clinton’s campaign being in disarray. The polls turned out to be wrong, though. Voters proved once again that what they tell pollsters does not always match what they do in the voting booth. That’s why we hold elections.
This is encouraging. When George W. Bush won the Republican Party’s nomination eight years ago, the selection process was over before it even began. He had soaked up virtually all the GOP contributions there were to be had. Salisbury native Elizabeth Dole, finally running for the presidency herself, pulled out of the race on Jan. 4, 2000. By this time eight years ago, she was campaigning for Bush instead of against him. Two years later, she won a seat in the Senate.
No one has a lock on either party’s nomination this time, though some are painting New Hampshire as something less than a victory for Clinton. “She squeaked out a victory on Tuesday,” said a Los Angeles Times editorial, ” but across the wintry plains of Iowa and the unseasonably mild hills of New Hampshire, large numbers of voters in the past five days have affirmed that they are looking forward, not back, and thus swarming to Barack Obama’s thoughtful, eloquent expression of hope and away from Clinton’s call of experience and readiness.”
The Washington Post thought otherwise:
“For all the hoopla over Barack Obama’s post-Iowa bounce, in the end the Democratic primary in New Hampshire turned out to be surprisingly close. This is good news, and not just for Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, N.Y. It’s good news for the voters in all the other states who haven’t yet had a chance to express a preference. The situation is much the same on the other side: John McCain’s decisive victory in the Republican primary suggests that the scrambled GOP race will remain scrambled for some time to come.”
So it’s not over until it’s over ó or at least not until a few more primaries take place. The 2008 presidential race may actually give voters something to be excited about. That’s a victory for everyone.