The following major points, however, merit close observations with the ongoing US primaries:
First, Democrat candidates have imbued voters with an outburst of enthusiasm and interests, On the one hand, Americans hope that the Democratic Party will assume office to reform politics and re-orientate the direction, as they have become despaired with reality in the U.S. and aspire to make changes. On the other hand, one of the Democrat forerunners is a woman and the other a black man, and whoever gets elected will make the American history. Mrs. Clinton's race has greatly interested American women in politics, and the smart, handsome black Obama has filled Afro-Americans and young people with great enthusiasm.
The second point is a rivalry between the "reform" card and the "experience" card. Due to people's discontent with reality in Washington D.C., Obama first of all raised the "reform" card and attracted lots of students, youths and kids. Hillary hosted her "experience" card at first, and later shifted her card to the one of "reform" plus with "experienced preparations"so as to pluck up her initiative as her original card inclines to be linked to present reality in the U.S. by her opponents.
Third, Republican candidates vie with each other for unfolding their "security" card. They have reached consensus to beef up the U.S.' military might while vying with one another to release their tougher foreign policies. As the U.S. is currently faced with security challenges, they opt to pass themselves off as reliable guarantors of U.S. security once they get elected.
Fourth, Republican candidates meanwhile raise "anti-immigration" card. All Republican candidates, with the exception for John McCain, have advocated for expelling 12 million illegal immigrants from the U.S. Meanwhile, John McCain holds that they should also be "given a way out" and because of his once-declined supporting rate, he later had to emphasize on reinforcing border management and law enforcement. It is precisely owing to this cause that more minority races voters have turned to support Democrat candidates.
The fifth point represents a "religion" card. Mitt Romney, former Massachusetts governor, has striven to quell persistent concern about his Mormon religion. If elected, he pledged to voters, he will only serve public interest instead of working for any religious sect. And former Arkansas governor Mike Huchabee, an ordained Baptist minister, however, appeal to evangelical voters, or social conservatives. So far, he has picked up a key endorsement from a group of African American church leaders. But he gets reproached for collecting votes in the name of religion, and much remains to see what role his religion is to further play in his race for presidency.
Finally, the newest point has something to do with an "economy card". At start, Democrats unfolded the card of troop pullout from Iraq. But when it was reported that situation there had turned to the better recently, the value of this card has lowered. Meanwhile, faced with daily growing worries for the possible economic recession, candidates of both Parties vie with each other to hoist the "economy" card. General speaking, Democrats candidates are in favor of increasing government expenses and subsidizing the impoverished people, whereas Republican contenders opt to cut tax rate or offer tax refunds.
Looking ahead, South Carolina, the first state with a major black electorate, is due to hold the Democrats' next contest on January 26. Polls so far predict that Barack Obama will readily win with a margin of five to six percent over Hillary Clinton, as the black communities there makes up somewhat half the voters, and so the contest is all the more worth seeing and observing. Likewise, Republican hopefuls are looking forward to primaries on Super Tuesday on February 5 to sort out their frontrunners, and so much remains to be seen on that day.
Giuliani's effort here has been Herculean. Romney held 176 events in New Hampshire through Tuesday, primary day, while Giuliani held 126. That's considerably more than McCain, who held 104, and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who held 93.
Moreover, Giuliani held more events in New Hampshire than either Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., or Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., who are favored to come in first and second (not necessarily in that order) on the Democrats' side.
James Kirchik's "Angry White Man"
Everyone said Mike Huckabee was a big dope to leave Iowa Wednesday to fly to L.A. to be on Jay Leno, but did you see him on that thing? He got off a perfect line on why he's doing well against Romney: "People are looking for a presidential candidate who reminds them more of the guy they work with rather than the guy that laid them off." The studio audience loved him. And you know, in Iowa they watch "The Tonight Show" too.
Mr. Huckabee likes to head-fake people into thinking he's Gomer Pyle, but he's more like the barefoot boy of the green room. He's more James Carville than Jim Nabors.
What we have learned about Mr. Huckabee the past few months is that he's an ace entertainer with a warm, witty and compelling persona. He won with no money and little formal organization, with an evangelical network, with a folksy manner, and with the best guileless pose in modern politics. From the mail I have received the past month after criticizing him in this space, I would say his great power, the thing really pushing his supporters, is that they believe that what ails America and threatens its continued existence is not economic collapse or jihad, it is our culture.
They have been bruised and offended by the rigid, almost militant secularism and multiculturalism of the public schools; they reject those schools' squalor, in all senses of the word. They believe in God and family and America. They are populist: They don't admire billionaire CEOs, they admire husbands with two jobs who hold the family together for the sake of the kids; they don't need to see the triumph of supply-side thinking, they want to see that suffering woman down the street get the help she needs.
They believe that Mr. Huckabee, the minister who speaks their language, shares, down to the bone, their anxieties, concerns and beliefs. They fear that the other Republican candidates are caught up in a million smaller issues--taxing, spending, the global economy, Sunnis and Shia--and missing the central issue: again, our culture.
"An Electoral Affirmation of Shared Values" -- Todd Purdum, The New York Times, 11/3/04:
It was not a landslide, or a re-alignment, or even a seismic shock. But it was decisive, and it is impossible to read President Bush's re-election with larger Republican majorities in both houses of Congress as anything other than the clearest confirmation yet that this is a center-right country - divided yes, but with an undisputed majority united behind his leadership.
Surveys of voters leaving the polls found that a majority believed the national economy was not so good, that tax cuts had done nothing to help it and that the war in Iraq had jeopardized national security. But fully one-fifth of voters said they cared most about "moral values" - as many as cared about terrorism and the economy - and 8 in 10 of them chose Mr. Bush.
Diane Arbus, Child with a Toy Hand Grenade (1962).
In other words, while Mr. Bush remains a polarizing figure on both coasts and in big cities, he has proved himself a galvanizing one in the broad geographic and political center of the country. He increased his share of the vote among women, Hispanics, older voters and even city dwellers significantly from 2000, made slight gains among Catholics and Jews and turned what was then a 500,000-popular-vote defeat into a 3.6 million-popular-vote victory on Tuesday. . . .
The biggest questions now may be about just what parts of that agenda Mr. Bush will choose to pursue, and just how many fights he will take on with either his liberal opponents or his conservative supporters.
Will Mr. Bush move to create private investment accounts for Social Security, a move that would follow through on an idea he first broached four years ago, gratify free-market ideologues but discomfit fiscal conservatives worried about how he would pay for them and practical politicians fearful of simply touching such a hot issue? Will he pick confirmation fights over anti-abortion judges, or press for a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage? Or neither? Or both?
Yesterday, Mr. Bush sounded a conciliatory note. "A new term is a new opportunity to reach out to the whole nation," he said. "We have one country, one Constitution, and one future that binds us." Mr. Cheney's daughter Mary and her longtime partner, Heather Poe, appeared together at the victory rally.
The power of second-term presidents tends to dissipate quickly and Mr. Bush's will be limited at the outset because he will still be five Republican votes shy of the 60 needed in the Senate to stop a Democratic filibuster.
Senator Arlen Specter, the moderate Pennsylvania Republican expected to head the Judiciary Committee, warned Mr. Bush yesterday against nominating judges "who would change the right of a woman to choose, overturn Roe v. Wade."
James A. Thurber, director of the Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies at American University, said that for all the Republican gains, "the other story is that the nation is deadlocked, especially in the Senate, over what the most important issues are and how we deal with them."
But Grover Norquist, president of the conservative group Americans for Tax Reform, said that the Republican Party was no longer what it was 25 or 30 years ago, "a collection of people running on their own." Instead, Mr. Norquist said, "there is a coherent vision, and to a large extent voters can tell that Republicans are not going to raise their taxes, are for tort reform, are for free trade."
He said that without the drag of the war in Iraq, Mr. Bush would probably have rolled up a bigger majority.
As it is, Mr. Bush became the first presidential candidate to win more than 50 percent of the popular vote since his father did so in 1988, and he received a higher percentage of the popular vote than any Democratic candidate since Lyndon B. Johnson in 1964.
All those are daunting numbers for the Democrats. Early in his campaign, Mr. Kerry drew fire for musing aloud that the Democrats could win the White House without the South.
Yet for all of their hope that the Southwest could be their new ticket, Democrats were left with the fact that in the past 28 years, only Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton among their ranks have made it, and both had Southern and evangelical support. Mr. Kerry, a lifelong Roman Catholic, often struggled this year to speak of his faith in public.
"Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter got elected because they were comfortable with their faith," said Representative Rahm Emanuel of Illinois, a former Clinton aide. "What happened was that a part of the electorate came open to what Clinton and Carter had to say on everything else - health care, the environment, whatever - because they were very comfortable that Clinton and Carter did not disdain the way these people lived their lives, but respected them."
He added: "We need a nominee and a party that is comfortable with faith and values. And if we have one, then all the hard work we've done on Social Security or America's place in the world or college education can be heard. But people aren't going to hear what we say until they know that we don't approach them as Margaret Mead would an anthropological experiment."