Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Super Tuesday sows super confusion

The country remains closely split between Rs and Ds, but within each of the two major parties, Super Tuesday’s results confirm deep splits among constituent groups. In the GOP, the chasm between moderates and religious conservatives has become more pronounced than at any time since the early and mid-1990s, and threatens to create a serious problem in the general election for the Republican candidate if (as now appears likely) John McCain is the Party’s nominee. Regional splits, breaking down largely but not entirely along that same moderate-conservative fault line, also have come to the fore in the GOP.
On the Democrat side, the splits are deep and bright between young and old, male and female, black and white, and black and Latino. The challenge for that Party’s nominee will be to bring those deeply divided factions together in the fall.
These splits will likely figure heavily in each Party’s nominee’s choice of a running mate; with McCain (if he prevails as appears likey) almost certain to choose a southerner, and the Democrat nominee likely to pick a veep from the west or the south.
Although major media still tries to ignore Ron Paul’s Republican candidacy, the continuing strength of his effort, reflected especially in impressive fundraising, indicates a real base of libertarian-leaning voters into the future.

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