We enter exciting times again, with the French presidential elections and the US Democratic and Republican nominations.
Unsurprisingly, the final two horse race in France is between Nicolas Sarkozy and Segolene Royal. The last time I recall it was a more unusual contest between the incumbent Jacques Chiraq, and surprisingly, the right-wing extremist Jean Marie le Pen, who fortunately is not in the running anymore this time.
The problem with being a long-standing front-runner, is that more people are out to attack you and support your rival. This is the problem that Sarkozy faces. BBC radio reported today that Sarkozy does not seem to be wooing the centre, as he has maintained his conservative stance and still makes his (trademark?) divisive statements. Royale is still attempting to court the votes in the centre. Altogether, this uncertainty of outcome makes it an exciting race.
Regarding the recent US Democratic candidates’ debate at South Carolina, the jury’s out as to who’s really won the debate. Naturally, on Barack Obama’s website, a poll indicates he won it, with Hillary Clinton ranked second. Likewise, Clinton’s camp says she won it, and looked the most ‘presidential’ to boot. But we shouldn’t feel obliged to believe everything their own people say, as it would obviously be biased in their candidates’ favour. In any case, these are just mini battles and not the whole war.
I am somehow less interested in the Republican nominees this time. I supported John McCain when he ran against George W Bush two terms ago. But after McCain’s initial triumph at New Hampshire, it was a losing battle for the war veteran. Recent antics, his seeming lack of interest in wooing South Carolina voters at an earlier stage, and his increasing age may mean his chances are slimmer this time.
There are similarities between both the French and US Democratic nominee elections. In both cases, a woman is likely to be the strongest, or second strongest, candidate overall (I’m wondering what will happen when Condee Rice enters the fray). The New York Times notes that Obama has the potential to take away some of Clinton’s long-standing black supporters. But surely, voters shouldn’t support a candidate based primarily on race. Unless of course, race does make a difference in the candidates’ ability to empathise with voters, and vice versa.
Next, the male candidate who is currently competing with this female candidate, can be viewed as an outsider in terms of ethnicity. Sarkozy is the son of a Hungarian immigrant and a native French woman. Obama was the son of a Kenyan father and a white American mother.
Both the French presidential election and the Democrat nominations will be exciting to watch, as the second-ranked candidates are closing in. Wikipedia has a most useful list of opinion polls, arranged chronologically, to show how Obama has been catching up. And if you went purely by geeks, Mashable reports that Obama is getting much more attention on Youtube and Digg.
More info over at:
- The New York Times Caucus Blog (but I’m wondering if NY publications are skewed in favour of Senator Clinton)
- Obama’s senate podcast
- John Edward’s blog – personal and affable, like the man himself
- List of official and potential 2008 Democratic candidates
- List of official and potential 2008 Republican candidates
BTW, Barack Obama has finally started using Twitter. To date, his account stands at just one post: “At the California Democratic Party Convention in San Diego.” He has some way to catch up with John Edwards.
Technorati tags: Nicolas+Sarkozy, Segolene+Royal, Hillary+Clinton, Barack+Obama, John+Edwards