Approximately half the states may be competitive in November’s presidential election. Barack Obama plans a 50 state campaign to take advantage of changed demographics, superior fund-raising, and his unmatched ground organization. A landslide Obama victory is possible.
Opinion: An Obama landslide?
I believe that Obama will break away from the recent statistical tie with John McCain and win an overwhelming majority of electoral and popular votes.
1.Brand–Obama will solidify his image: an inspirational candidate with a vision for the renewal of America that will “turn the page” to a new generation of leaders. His style, message, and the momentousness of his quest will swell passion for his campaign to more Americans and will bring out contributors and voters in record numbers. McCain will try to brand himself as a reformer with a vision that conserves the best of the past. But he cannot escape George Bush whose brand is one of corrupt, arrogant, and incompetent leadership. Only 28% approve of Bush’s leadership, 82% believe the country is going in the wrong direction, a majority of American want our troops withdrawn from Iraq, and 87% believe the economy is getting worse. McCain cannot separate himself: his Senate votes were consistent with Bush’s positions 95% of the time over the past year.
2.Issues—Obama is, I believe, on the right side of the issues of Iraq, the economy, health care, and global warming. Those who wonder what change Obama advocates need become informed citizens.
3.Temperament—Obama models grace, patience, and calm under fire. He can take a political punch and can counterpunch fast and effectively. He will be tougher on McCain than he was on Hillary Clinton, a fellow democrat. McCain is an angry man easily provoked by Obama who has political killer instincts. McCain’s anger should concern us. Unable to win on issues or personality, McCain will take the low road and try to demonize Obama. Doing so makes McCain appear small and ungracious. McCain comes off as an immature and grumpy granddad, which raises concerns about his age.
4.Leadership–Leaders have a vision for the future that inspires people to get involved. Obama’s inclusive campaign is a new model and foreshadows how he will govern. His grassroots organization, organic and networked, makes use of the internet, volunteers, and social networks to create commitment and exemplify his leadership style. McCain is a rebel who reacts against problems and looks to the past for solutions but lacks a creative vision for a new future. So far his campaign has stumbled and fumbled failing to get even the basics of campaigning right.
5.Transform or reform—some change is reformation: putting a new façade on an old building but underneath the plumbing and wiring remain defective. This is John McCain and the Republican Party. To transform is to bring about fundamental and sustainable change in values, practices, and culture. This is Obama’s goal and what America needs.
6.Experience and Judgment—John McCain has been a Washington insider for decades. What has he learned? Former White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan wrote that Bush lied to the American people about Iraq. Why didn’t McCain’s experience give him the insight and judgment to see through the Bush propaganda and faulty decision-making process? Obama demonstrated superior judgment in opposing the Iraq war from the beginning and has consistently shown that judgment during his primary campaign. Obama will challenge McCain on foreign policy and demonstrate his superior intellect and insight into a changed world. McCain’s thinking reflects his lack of intellectual vigor and his attachment to a military worldview that mirrors our historical past, not our present or future.
The 2008 presidential election is about Barack Obama. Americans recognize the need for dramatic change in direction from how we engage with the rest of the world to how we educate our children, to how we give every American the opportunity for success, to our stewardship of the planet. We are tired of saber-rattling and fear-mongering. John McCain cannot see the depth of change needed. He wants to change by reinventing the past—never a good strategy.
Obama’s challenge is to introduce himself to more Americans and to gain their trust and confidence—no small task in light of his newness and Reverend Wright. If he can do that, he will be our next president with the electoral mandate—up and down the ticket–needed to bring about the changes we need as a nation.