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Turbo-Charged Primary Season

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Before your New Year’s resolutions have all been broken and forgotten, the presidential nominations could be a done deal, what with IA holding its primary January 3rd, followed in rapid succession by NH on January 8th , MI on January 15th and more than 20 states holding primaries or caucuses Feb. 5. Reports the Los Angeles Times:

 

The contests in Iowa and New Hampshire - which have drawn the vast majority of the candidates' time and attention - are both exceedingly fluid, with the results in the first expected to heavily influence the outcome in the second.

The one certainty is that big states like California, Florida and Michigan will not carry the weight they sought by scheduling their contests earlier than in previous elections. "It's obvious that the disproportionate influence of Iowa and New Hampshire is alive and well, and will live in 2008," said Northeastern University political scientist William Mayer. …

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In an effort to increase their importance in the nominating process, California and other states pushed their elections forward in hopes of enticing candidates to come and do more than raise money to spend in Iowa and New Hampshire. That, in turn, spurred additional states to move ahead on the calendar, resulting in a game of leapfrog that produced what amounts to a national primary on Feb. 5, and, unintentionally, more clout for the small states voting first.

"Given how front-loaded this process is, if any candidate is going to defeat the front-runner, the only way they can do it is by making a dent in Iowa and New Hampshire," said Mayer, who has written extensively on the presidential nominating process. "From the perspective of the front-runner, it's how do you protect your lead? You campaign heavily in Iowa and New Hampshire."

Someone spiked Ol’ Father Time’s Geritol with Jolt Cola, and now the campaign season has become hyperkinetic. The Stiletto doesn’t want events to overtake her by waiting until the first caucus and primary votes are actually cast, so here are her predictions: The Dem ticket will be Hillary Clinton-Bill Richardson, for reasons she already enumerated, and the Republican ticket will be Rudy Giuliani-Mike Huckabee.

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Rudy benefits from radical Islam having more immediacy than abortion or other social issues amongst a surprisingly sizable number of conservatives; Giuliani benefits from Huckabee throwing a monkey wrench into Mitt Romney’s well-oiled IA machine; Huckabee has for the most part refrained from overly harsh criticism of Rudy, preferring to leave the dirty work to Romney; there is ideological balance (Giuliani is a social moderate but a fiscal conservative, Huckabee is a social conservative and a populist) and geographic balance (Northeast and South); having Huckabee on the ticket might persuade just a large enough percentage of ideologically pure conservatives who oppose abortion not to stay home on Election Day to give Rudy a fighting chance against Hillary; and both men are charismatic, and very quick on the draw in debates.

 

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Victoria Knox (AKA The Stiletto) blogs about politics and ... you name it, since these days everything has become politicized..

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