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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2681

U S Elections: Big Winners Emerging with January 19 Primaries: Billionaire Bloomberg Hovering in the Background

By Philip Fernando in Los Angeles

Democratic Party front runners are emerging in the US primary election process. It will either be a woman or a black candidate, Hillary Clinton or Barrack Obama, while the Republicans are still having McCain, Huckabee, Romney, Giuliani and Thompson vying for top honors, according to most polls. Primaries in Nevada and Michigan (19 January) and South Carolina (19 Jan for Republicans, 26 January for Democrats) could reduce the field of candidates to just one or two per party. Meanwhile, New York Mayor, a Republican billionaire Bloomberg entering the fray is being talked of. He will be a logical rallying point if Republicans are divided.

Bloomberg has enough money to wage an independent candidacy. Bloomberg is intriguingly a “fresh prospect” to many. His message seems to be “Don’t stray too far from the consensus positions, because I can do it all by myself and upset all your electoral calculations.

However, if front runner emerge on February 5th Super Tuesday, the winners will have a few months to rest, re-group and, of course, raise millions of dollars before the real dog fight - the general election on 4 November. This is a historic US election: the next president might be a woman or African-American, and this is the first time both parties have 'open' nomination slots (that is, there is not an incumbent president or vice-president candidate).

Barrack Obama may have missed an opportunity to put the race for the Democratic nomination away with a second solid win over the front-runner Clinton. Obama is now on the heels of Clinton trying to gain the upper hand while explaining how he fell so far short of expectations in New Hampshire.

And Hillary, with her against-the-flow victory, is thriving on the “comeback” narrative.

On the Republican side, McCain beat Mitt Romney by seven percent in New Hampshire getting a new lease of life to his candidacy considered all but dead only six months ago.

“We sure showed them what a comeback looks like,” Mr. McCain told his supporters in a victory speech.

For Mr. Romney, the former Governor of neighboring Massachusetts, the loss is the second devastating result in a state where he had invested heavily in advertising, infrastructure and energy. The Republican field is now wide open. Rudy Giuliani, who briefly stood near the top of the polls in New Hampshire, suffered a fourth-place finish behind the Iowa caucus winner Mike Huckabee. As Mr. McCain gave his speech, the Giuliani campaign sent an email to reporters informing them that he would be in Florida.

Meanwhile, some leading Republican analysts have praised Obama. The Wall Street Journal, the New York Times’ Republican columnist David Brooks and conservative observers Peggy Noonan, William Bennett and Rush Limbaugh have all had very good things to say about him. It looked like that they all feared Clinton more than that they loved Obama.

Clinton took the focus of the election away from the Iraq war to the “impending economic crisis due to the ever present growing anxiety over jobs, prices and living standards.” A majority of voters in the New Hampshire Democratic primary said their chief concern was the economic situation.

Were Bloomberg to enter the presidential race, he will try to draw support from both Democratic and Republican sides. Like Ross Perot in 1992, his candidacy would shift the direction of the campaigns of the two major parties and ultimately tip the balance in favor of one or the other party, the scenario that took place when Parrot helped Bill Clinton to emerge victorious in 1952 against the elder George Bush.

Bloomberg’s demand, made in the name of the American people, for an end to what Senator Nunn called “rampant partisanship” is resonating among many people in the US. It is becoming more than an empty ritual or the airing of political differences. We have to wait and see how things turn out said one observer.

- Asian Tribune -

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