Saturday, June 14, 2008

Why I believe Obama will win

Some people ask if I really believe Obama can win. Maybe they're worried about entrenched racism being too much to overcome. Or perhaps they bought into the Hillary line about him not being able to win the swing states. Either way, I feel very confident (though that's happened before).

There are two reasons I believe in Obama's potential - substantive and situational.

Substantively, Obama has made the right decision to stop running away from Republicans on 'Republican Issues'. Since the late 60s, Republicans have won on foreign issues, while Dems have dominated on domestic issues. Democrats so internalized this divide that a generation of Democrats have been ashamed to speak their mind on foreign policy. Hillary exemplified this by voting for the war in Iraq and attempting to prove her Commander in Chief qualifications by tying herself to John McCain. She would constantly cede the foreign policy ground and attempt to change the subject to domestic policies. However, times have changed and Americans have realized how the republicans have done us poorly in their neo-imperialistic posture. Obama recognizes this and will run on principles. The principle that Republicans royally screwed up in Iraq (from hype, to concept to execution). The principle that being afraid to speak to adversaries will lead us to more wars. Obama has never been afraid to challenge McCain on this, so he is now forcing the media to question their assumptions here as well. Of course, we still dominate on domestic policy (even if Obama has shown weakness in articulating his economic policies). I believe the American public is ready to have a sustained discussion about our role in the world, and by addressing the Republicans assumptions, he can show a Democratic spine - something that's been missing.

Situationally, this country is trending Democratic after a sustained conservative strength starting with Reagan's election. There are several pockets across the country that Obama has the power to flip. Virginia and (to a lesser extent) North Carolina both have a large creative class as well as a large blue collar workforce relocated from the Northeast. In the mountain West, the Republicans have disappointed a lot of libertarian small government conservatives and (at the least) Obama can make those states closer (for example, Montana's governor and both Senators are now Dems). Additionally, there is the liberal small government West (New Mexico, Nevada and Colorado - as well as Arizona if McCain weren't running). These states are highly energized by his campaign and may also shift Democratic this time around.

So yes, Obama may have problems in Florida and Appalachia, but the new parts of the country that he has opened up give the Democrats to build a new majority, not a temporary reprieve by being Republican Lite. This is exciting and why I think he will prevail.

Labels: ,