I have been patiently waiting for the right time to bust out my newfound interest in politics, and after winning a 10th consecutive primary/caucus, it appears as though Democratic Presidential hopeful Barack Obama has given himself a touch of breathing room in the race for the Democratic Nomination.
Because I like to relate everything to sports, the 2008 Presidential Election presents me the perfect opportunity to do so.
The upcoming election, much like any election for that matter, is really no different than a competitive sporting event.
You have two opponents (whether you want to look at the overall Republican-Democrat sides or the Clinton Obama race), along with months of campaigning (sort of like the regular season) which culminates with a playoff birth (earning the nomination of your party) and then the championship game (the election).
There are really only three potential candidates at this point, with those being Senator’s Hillary Clinton from New York, Barack Obama from Illinois and John McCain from Arizona.
The Democrats and Republicans essentially represent 2 conferences or leagues (East and West, American and National), and in one conference, you have two big name teams (Clinton and Obama), both very popular within their party however both not without flaws and question marks.
The other conference or league, aka the Republican race, has been all but decided as McCain is probably only a handful of primary victories away from earning the nomination. You could say that McCain is leading challenger Mike Huckabee in the bottom of the ninth, with 2 outs and a 9-0 lead. Despite Huckabee refusing to bow out and follow in the footsteps of Mitt Romney, who made the right decision in suspending his own campaign and releasing his delegates to McCain.
And so, the real intrigue right now rests solely in the race for the Democratic nomination, as Obama and Clinton are neck and neck, as Hillary had some early success including winning some big states on Super Tuesday last month, while Obama has followed that up by winning 10 consecutive primaries/caucuses.
I personally am still relatively new to the politics scene, however Presidential elections are essentially like the Super Bowl of politics, and because they happen once every 4 years gives them even more appeal.
If you look back in time, Presidential elections have provided as much drama if not more than your favorite movies, TV shows or sporting events.
I’ll throw a little history knowledge down, considering it’s my major and all, and take a quick look at some of the more dramatic storyline revolving around Presidential elections…
1800 (yes, 1800) Thomas Jefferson win a disputed election as Aaron Burr came within a grasp of becoming the third President of the United States. Jefferson was unable to win the popular vote, however after the dispute went to the House of Representatives, Jefferson was eventually awarded the victory, and the Presidency.
1948- “Dewey defeats Truman” was the headline running across the newswire the morning after Harry Truman actually won the election, in what many consider the greatest upset in United States political history. It was widely accepted by politicians, the press and even Truman’s own party that Thomas E. Dewey would become the 34th President in our country’s history.
1960- Richard Nixon, years before the Watergate disaster, came within a mere 100,000 votes of defeating a young Senator you may have heard of by the name of John. Fitzgerald Kennedy. Kennedy of course would enjoy the oval office for less than 3 years before his assassination in November of 1963. Nixon would go on to win the 1968 and 1972 Presidential elections, although his fate would be determined with some unfortunate tape recordings which came to light.
2000- where do I begin? The last 8 years have certainly had their ups and downs…alright well we have had plenty of downs…and we can go back to the most disputed election in the country’s history, as Al Gore would go on to win the popular vote yet fail to earn the Presidential nomination when we lost count of the times Florida ballots were recounted. After Gore finally conceded the Election to Gore more than a month after the election, George W. Bush would go on to become the 43rd President of this Country, while many of us were left to wonder what would have been.
I hope you enjoyed the history lesson, although I have a feeling I lost most of you at 1800…
Anyway, my point is when you combine the significance of the Presidential election, along with some of the drama which follows it, it is hard not to get wrapped up in whats going on.
You don’t have to develop a strong interest in politics to appreciate what is at stake, as this country heads into a new generation, with a struggling economy and thousands of troops still questionably deployed overseas. We have issues with immigration, education, health care and social security, not to mention the more trendy (but no less important) issues regarding the environment.
Like it or not, as I would assume almost everyone who reads this blog is old enough to vote in November, the candidate you vote for (or at least the one you favor) will be responsible for guiding this country into an unknown, unpredictable future.
Ok Adam, now that you’ve ranted on about why its so important to get involved or get interested, where do you stand?
Well, at this point I have had a tough time deciding where to stand, for no other reason than I am still actively researching both the candidates and issues, which is something I encourage you all to do here.
I have always considered myself a Democrat, yet for the longest time had no idea why other than the fact my both of my parents were.
While I know I probably lean more left than I do right, neither Obama or Clinton have provided me with that go-to candidate I feel I can really get behind with confidence or faith.
And so, while we are still just under 9 months away from decision day ’08, we have just under 4 months before Primaries are completed in all 50 states (and territories), and so for you Democrats out there, the time is now to start paying attention to the names Clinton and Obama.
I know they are highly flawed and biased, but for those of you like me, who only want to dip your feet into the politics pool, check out The Daily Show and Colbert Report, just to get familiar with the candidates and where they stand.
Also, don’t be afraid to take a few minutes out of your day to go to cnn.com and browse around on the politics page (which I linked up earlier in the post), where they do a terrific job of introducing you to the candidates, the issues and the election process.
Right now, despite the sub zero, freezing cold temperatures outside (at least up in Syracuse), the race between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama has been heating up, and in my eyes is worthy of the same attention that gets paid to the big game. And with the race as close as it is, and as exciting as its gotten…
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