Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Huckabee’s Seven Hopes

Contrary to what many critics think, Huckabee has more going for him than the evangelical vote. Iowa was not a fluke win for Huckabee, whose slogan, “I like Mike,” could carry him far.

First, his popularity extends into two of the largest voting blocs in America, fans of NASCAR racing and Country & Western music. NASCAR is the most popular sport in America, and Country & Western Music cuts across many segments of American society. These two groups are like first cousins to evangelical voters.

Second, Huckabee does not need a win in New Hampshire, only a good showing in a secular state with relatively few evangelical voters. Romney and McCain should do well in New Hampshire, competing for first place, but if Huckabee comes in third with a strong showing he will have demonstrated support among non-evangelical voters. Because of a low bar of expectations for him in New Hampshire, just clearing the bar will give him a win there while losing.

Third, the gateway to the South, South Carolina, gives Huckabee hidden advantages. Southern Baptists in South Carolina, who are like flies at a summer church picnic, have a natural affinity for Huckabee. But who manages his South Carolina campaign? None other than Carroll Campbell, Jr., heir to the most potent political organization in modern South Carolina politics. Campbell’s father managed the successful South Carolina primary campaigns of Ronald Reagan, George Bush I, Bob Dole, and George Bush II. Campbell, who is not a Southern Baptist, has a bright political future. A win for Huckabee would be a big win for Campbell, who is Huckabee’s hidden treasure in South Carolina.

Fourth, the South possesses by far not only the largest number of Electoral College votes among the principal regions of the country, but also the largest bloc of delegate votes to the Republican National Convention. We could make the case that as the South goes so goes the Republican nomination and so goes the presidential election. Huckabee could be the key to Republican hopes of winning the White House once again. Remember what the South did for Richard Nixon (1968, 1972), Jimmy Carter (1976), Ronald Reagan (1980, 1984), George Bush I (1988), Bill Clinton (1992, 1996), and George Bush II (2000, 2004). As the winning candidates they either swept the South or carried a significant portion of it.

Fifth, Huckabee possesses natural political assets and instincts only rarely found in politics – a razor sharp mind, quick wit and an appealing manner. He is rapidly becoming one of the most sought after talk-show guests. It’s difficult to find people who dislike Huckabee, even among his political enemies. And so it was with Ronald Reagan.

Sixth, Huckabee has come this far with little money and few big-name supporters. Now with a big win under his belt, the money will begin to flow into his coffers and the big-name supporters will want to get on the band wagon.

Seventh, in politics the “Big Mo” of momentum blows and changes like wind blowing over the prairie. Momentum once propelled the campaigns of Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney, but the winds have changed. Now Huckabee has the wind of momentum in his sails. If the wind continues to blow his way, he could go all the way, at least to the nomination.


Matthew Clark said...

As always you make a strong case, but what about the fact that only 14% of non-evangelicals voted for Huckabee in Iowa? I agree that he does not need to win HN, but he does need McCain to win. Romney would once again be a powerful force if he wins New Hampshire, Michigan, and Nevada.

The next few days are going to be crucial for Huckabee. If he can build off his win, he could take the whole race. However, with all eyes on him, if he fumbles he could fade as quickly as Thompson.

Mike O'Brien said...

Christian and Jewish Conservaties/ rEPUBLICANS better wake up! BEFORE WE BLOW The CHANCE TO REVERSE roe v Wade. Lose the War on Terror, the Ability to Defend Israel and save our constitution from the Communists influence of Liberals. Mitt Romney Is our only Hope. I don't want the blood of the unbirn on my hands for not being informedor educated, Mitt is a Christian a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of latter day Saints. if we loose, it will be because of religious bigotry.
Mike O'Brien Gahanna Ohio