The most spectacular result of the latest sizzling primary in the United States was that Senator John McCain (Arizona) stepped across the magic threshold of 1,191 delegates. With this he assured himself the Republican candidacy for the presidential elections on November 4.
That McCain would cross that threshold by winning the primaries in Ohio, Texas, Rhode Island and Vermont was according to expectations since Super Tuesday (February 5). The spectacular element of his nomination lies in the fact that only one year ago hardly anyone gave a cent for the chances of the only war veteran who has no firm base in Conservative America.
McCain flew at the time economy class to meetings where he spoke to visitors who most of the time could be easily counted on the fingers of two hands. The story of this wonderful resurgence has yet to be written.
Then there was the spectacular comeback of Hillary Clinton in her battle with Barack Obama for the Democratic investiture. She knew how to convincingly win in Ohio, a state with a very outdated industry.
From Columbus, Ohio, beaming and perky in a flattering red outfit, she reminded her young followers that not a single candidate in recent history, Republican or Democrat has won the White House without having won the primary in Ohio.
Ohio, which since the founding of the Republic has “delivered” eight presidents, has been for many years a “swing state” that can go either way. If John Kerry, during the 2004 presidential elections, had received 60,000 more votes here, he would have become president, even if George W. Bush had received three million more votes spread across the entire country.
Clinton also won in Texas—albeit with her heels across the Rio Grande—the struggle with Barack Obama. Her husband Bill had said a few weeks ago: if she wants to continue, then Hillary has to win Ohio and Texas. That has succeeded wonderfully, while many observers had already imagined her politically dead.
Ultimately, the all-deciding question remains: how many delegates will support each candidate. In that ranking, Obama is still ahead. Because delegates are divided according to the number of votes, he has since last night, when he only won Vermont, only barely lost ground.
But from a political-psychological standpoint, the momentum is for the time being on the side of Clinton.
For Obama, a difficult period lies ahead. His rise has proven not to be unstoppable; the honeymoon with the press that devoured every word from his mouth as if it was gray caviar is over. This week a trial started against a sinister “political boss” from Chicago from whom Obama is alleged to have benefitted with the purchase of his beautiful house.
Hillary Clinton’s bounce-back undoubtedly influences the behavior of the 800 super-delegates (see my blogs “Black hero threatens not to vote for Hillary,” and “Are Democrats so democratic after all?”). These are the Party barons who have the right to vote at the Convention without having had to participate in the primaries. The majority of them maintain close ties with the Clintons.
Recently, a number of them have “leaked away” to Obama. They found that they could not go against the will of the Democratic voters by still voting for Clinton. That leak seems to have been plugged.
There is no one who has as much interest in seeing that the fight in the Democratic camp (with its bitterness and suspicions) continues for a while longer than John McCain. The Republican ranks have now closed behind him, thus, for the time being, he has little else to do but to radiate experience and harmony.
That he would be able to come this far, is something that he (although he was probably the only one) must have thought to be possible a year ago on those drafty airfields.