Barack Obama’s stunning victory against Hilary Clinton in the Iowa caucuses last Thursday night is the talk of the international press. That a black man defeated the establishment candidate in a primarily (95%) white state and the fact of a record turnout of Democrat voters suggests that Americans are seeing the need for fundamental change.
Interestingly, former Baptist preacher Mike Huckabee gained support from religious conservatives to stage a victory over Mitt Romney in the Republican race. Huckabee was, like Obama, an anti-establishment outcome. Insurgencies are occurring on both sides of US politics.
Obama’s victory shows that the boundaries of race in US politics have dissolved – an amazing outcome given that slavery was abolished in the US only 148 years ago. Ignoring the partisan issues associated with Obama’s candidature (I think his policy on Iraq amounts to abandoning a people who have turned on the terrorists and who desperately need support) the outcome here is, in itself, cause for celebration. It is noteworthy that Obama is addressing issues facing mainstream America not civil rights concerns. His speeches do not contain much content - most US political speeches do not - but he is a passionate performer who will go over well in the US. He is charismatic, carries an aura of authenticity and carries none of the baggage of disappointment that characterises recent US presidential politics. Clinton in comparison, is a boring hack who represents establishment politics.
In the overall scheme of things the events in a small state like Iowa might not seem important but they do set the tone for the remainder of the US presidential campaign.
Now on to Tuesday’s New Hampshire primary where early polls favoured Clinton and McCain. But those polls were taken well before the Iowa vote. The would-be Clinton dynasty is on the line in New Hampshire and support is turning against her. Yes, it couldn’t happen to a less pleasant person.
Barack Obama has a good chance of becoming the next US President. I think he will because I don’t believe Huckabee is electable and I cannot see who will stand up to oppose the calls for renewal by Obama? It is clear that Americans are disappointed with establishment politics and the current presidency. Obama is seen as a solution.