Monday, November 3, 2008

Thought experiment

Although at this point it seems exceedingly unlikely, what if Senator Obama did not win the presidency? What then? Of course he would resume his role as the senator from Illinois. But it's interesting as a thought experiment to consider what might happen were he to fall short...

Would Senator Obama be the new power broker in the Democratic Party, consolidating his grip on the party apparatus, and biding his time until a re-run in 2012? Or would the stigma of losing when all the omens seemed to be in place for a Democratic win (i.e. an extremely unpopular sitting president who is a millstone around the necks of any and all Republican candidates for national office, an unpopular foreign policy, an economic crisis at home, a 5:1 or greater funding edge in the general election campaign - excluding party war chests - the excitement generated by the possibility of a minority candidate reaching the pinnacle of U.S. power, an erratic Republican candidate, etc., etc.) doom any aspirations to future/further advancement to the presidency.

It seems likely that this would depend upon the exact circumstances of his loss. Were he simply to lose by a very small margin, this blogger would expect an initial rallying around, many tears shed at a manifestation of the so-called "Bradley effect," followed later by a pull back of support ('if he couldn't win when all the stars line up....'), especially if another attractive candidate came forth... However, if just he lost after a very contested process (that included court cases, etc.) then this blogger would expect a rallying around that would be lasting, and that Senator Obama would be the prohibitive favorite to gain/keep the nomination in 2012...

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