I caught a few minutes of the Democratic “debate” last night, and some of the analysis on NPR this morning on my drive to work. I was glad to see that the candidates refused to take any serious snipes at each other. I suspect that what precipitated that is that McCain is now the presumptive nominee for the Republicans. He is the strongest opponent, precisely because I’m not alone in thinking that among the Republican candidates, he is the one I would prefer if we had to have another Republican President next. That is, a lot of moderate Republicans and Independents won’t cross away from him the way they would from Romney, Giuliani, or Huckabee. (We don’t, by the way. Have to have another Republican next in the White House, that is.)
So Obama and Clinton cooled the hostilities, and even didn’t dismiss a ticket pairing the two of them as P and VP.
McCain won’t energize the evangelical Christians, so that will cost the Rep’s some votes, unless Hillary is at the top of the Dem ticket, then they’ll come out just to vote against her. I suppose it’s also possible that a third party far right Christian could appear and split some vote off from McCain, but they may be too savvy at this point for that (unlike the liberals, where Nader would still like to jump in).
If Obama is on the Dem. ticket at all I think he will energize a lot of young people and a lot of African Americans – both groups with a lot of folks who might not vote at all otherwise, so it is just a net gain, not a double gain where the votes are actually pulled away from the other party. To do that he needs to be at the top of the ticket, then the Religious Right may stay home on Election Day. That combination could swing some of the southern “red” states to the Dems, enough to counter the loss of a big swing state like Ohio or Florida should that happen, and it could if McCain picks up a bunch of independent middle-aged and older white male votes.
Hopefully Edwards will continue to pull energy into the Democratic electorate. He still needs a job, and while he isn’t exactly Bobby Kennedy, I’ve already heard speculation of his being appointed Attorney General.