If no one is capable of betting on who will be the future North American president, one thing is for sure: the campaign will most certainly not come cheap. On the contrary, it is a factory of money, on the one hand, and a bottomless pit on the other.
A battle is being waged between the “experience” of the Republican septuagenarian John McCain, and the promised “changes” of the reasonably young Barack Obama, who already has the majority of Democratic delegates. In terms of fundraising, McCain has drawn on his experience to re-use an old and and out-dated system that focuses on large donors and large sums. Obama, on the other hand has indeed changed, and is raking in, via the Internet, small quantities from millions of voters around the country.
In this sense, Obama has already won. In April, the last registered month of contributions, he collected around US$ 31 million against McCain’s US$18 million.
This is interesting for a number of reasons – one of them being that the Republicans, conservatives linked to large capital, tend to be much richer. A small example is evident here where I am now, in Albuquerque, New Mexico: the Democratic committee is small, messy, and has an awful secretary. On the other hand, that of the Republicans is pure luxury: in an elegant location, and half-way to the state capital of Santa Fé, it is organized, clean and efficient.
Soon, very soon, this will change. Obama has the young votes, the black and the intellectual vote, and is already a phenomenon the world over, but he still needs to attract the powerful Latin electorate that blatantly preferred Hillary Clinton. One paradise for Latin votes is, for obvious reasons, New Mexico, where 43.3% of the population is Hispanic and only 1.8% is African-American.
Bush lost to Al Gore by less than one per cent here in 2000 and beat John Kerry by less than one percent , four years later. This is one of the peculiarities of the American election: it does not matter whether the win is by one vote or by one thousand. The winner is entitled to all of the state’s votes.
This election is incredibly interesting, not only because it began with favoritism toward a woman and has arrived at a final stretch in which the first black man is running for the presidency of the world’s largest power against a Republican who, barely a year ago got very little credit, but also because there are no longer any automatic allies and anything can happen. Only November will tell.