Monday, November 12, 2007

Richardson's road to the being the Democratic nominee

In yesterday's post, I outlined that front runner status prior to the Iowa caucus is not a shoe-in for the Democratic nomination and/or the presidency. Now, I will lay out how Governor Richadson wins the Democratic nomination.

1) Obviously, Hillary Clinton has to stumble. She has built her campaign on the idea that she is unstoppable and that she is unflappable to attacks. In the last debate, she clearly stumbled when attacked by Edwards, Obama and Dodd. That has shaken one pillar of her campaign. If she doesn't win Iowa, that will shake the 2nd pillar of her campaign. Then subsequent voters will have to look at Hillary as a candidate, rather than the presumptive nominee. I believe that her hawkish views on Iraq, Iran and the concerns about her electability will weaken her support.

2) Obama must finish in 3rd or 4th in Iowa. His support is strongest among the young and non-traditional caucus voters. With the January 3rd caucus, Obama will lose a lot of votes because his university-aged students will most likely be at home, rather than in their polling place.

3) Richardson finishes higher than 4th in Iowa. He gets to claim the "momentum" and "better than expected" label. How does he do that? He's following John Edwards 2004 model. He is attracting a lot of support in rural districts where senators from the city don't attract much natural support. Additionally, he's running a positive campaign. Edwards showed that a positive campaign attracts primary voters.

4) A better than expected finish, helps in the New Hampshire primary only a few days later, where he has a solid organization. Again, he's got to finish in the top 3 (with #1 and #2 being different or in a different order from Iowa)

5) With better than expected finishes, the next vote is the Nevada caucus. Only Richardson and Clinton have any organization there. Richardson has a lot of natural support and positions that attract a lot of support. Using a similar strategy as Iowa, Richardson should and must win Nevada.

6) The next primary is South Carolina, where Richardson could do well because of all the positive media up to that point, but will probably get his clock cleaned. He doesn't have a lot of natural support in South Carolina. Regardless, the campaign will have enough money and momentum to go into the February 5th date. At this point, Obama and/or Edwards will have to fold their campaigns.

7) February 5th - Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Utah and Texas all vote or caucus. 2/3 of all delegate avaiable that day are in the south and west. Fiscal conservatives and social libertarians tend to do well in those states. Governor Richardson is both. His history of balancing budgets, his support of line-item veto, strong support for gun rights are all important selling points within those regions. Additionally, his clear deadline for getting out of Iraq polls well in all states (with up to 65% of all Democratic voters agreeing with him).

A win in the big states of Texas, California as well as winning Utah, Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, Idaho, Kanasa, and New Mexico would make Governor Richardson the Democratic nominee. It is hard? Absolutely. Is it impossible. Absolutely not!

Tomorrow, I'll show how Governor Richardson wins a general election.