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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2620

Hectic Primary Season Ends on Tuesday as Montana and S. Dakota Poll

By Philip Fernando in LA for Asian Tribune

Los Angeles, 02 June, ( The mechanics of getting elected is through the winding 50-state primary route. A dozen candidates each from the Republican and Democratic parties took the plunge in November of 2007. It came down to two, most likely Senator John McCain and Senator Barrack Obama. Senator Hillary Clinton who won the Puerto Rican primary on Sunday is hoping that a miracle of mass-scale Obama desertions would give her the party nomination.

This is easily the longest primary season since 1968 according to most observers. Some of the long ones were John Kennedy versus Lyndon Johnson, Reagan versus Ford, Edward Kennedy versus Carter and Clinton-Ross Perot-George H Bush battle. This year’s intensity beats all of them. South Dakota and Montana will end it on June 3rd.

It all amounts to keeping the pressure alive. Media can only report what is happening. Candidates do the campaigning. It is issues, celebrity door-to-door-knocking, TV and radio ads, brain storming sessions, mass rallies, backroom manipulations, data mining, internet fund-raising and damage control all combined into a $ 500 million industry. Obama and Clinton would ultimately collect and spend over half a billion dollars for this enterprise known as the primacy campaign.

By all means, news organizations had a field day providing ample space to issues, the candidates’ records and their promises. They now and then asked that the candidates address the big questions. Some did not limit themselves to that. They probed and cajoled.

Said one observer, what the media did was present the drama of who is
protecting a lead, who is surging and who slipped on a banana peel this week. The media had to chew over the consequences of changes to primary schedules, rules disputes and campaign tactics, all in a days work. None of this will matter. The dynamics and the way candidates handle the pressures of the long contest tell us something about why voters were attracted to candidates, their strengths and weaknesses.

The media coverage is important because the process tells us a lot about how the country chooses its leaders. Primaries are the daily diet of would be presidents who toil for nearly a year trying to reach the ultimate goal.

This year there was no incumbent or a vice president running for office. This is a horse race said one cynic. So both parties assembled large fields going into the season-opening Iowa caucuses. We witnessed the phenomenon of how they maneuvered, jostled and went at it. Some fell by the wayside. Some tarried longer than they should.

What are the memories do we carry from all this? Republican Mike Huckabee’s strong run keeping the race unpredictable for months. Those voters who identified themselves as conservative Christians would not let Huckabee give up. We know how John McCain came from behind and won. He wanted to distance himself from George Bush but also needed him for raising money. The definition of character was all there to see.

Other like Rudy Giuliani, Mitt Romney, John Edwards, John Thompson and Steve Paul came and fought and then evaporated. Some said that it was fascinating just for the weirdness of it.

The democrats took it all the nine miles. Historians will have a fun time analyzing this; it might even be the safe hunting grounds of PhD hunters. Closeness of the race between Hillary Clinton and Barrack Obama would never be matched. This is the first time in history that a black candidate, a woman and 68 year old candidate wanted to be president. Obama, Clinton and McCain have made history. It is unprecedented.

Having exercised the ultimate democratic prerogative of selecting a nominee at the polls, now we are left with the only option that officeholders and party officials known as super delegates use their theoretical power to award the nomination to the one chosen by the people.

It is not possible for anyone who witnessed all this to grouse that it has been boring. You have not seen anything yet, said one observer. I can’t wait till the Conventions arrive in August.

- Asian Tribune –

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