Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Tipping Points of the Presidential Campaign: Money and Words

Every day, voters are getting bombarded with news of the presidential candidates McCain, Clinton, and Obama. I’m wondering if this is causing campaign fatigue for voters. As you recall, this presidential campaign started back in 2006.

Democratic voters seem to be past the tipping point of frustration. Obama supporters are tired of Hillary, and Hillary supporters are frustrated with Obama’s unstoppable lead.

And supporters of both are frustrated with the remaining undecided superdelegates, delegates, and voters. What are these voters waiting for? We don’t want voters to throw their hands up in surrender, and make hasty voting decisions, like voting for Hillary simply because “It's time for a woman President." But what will it take to finally tip these undecideds in the favor of one candidate?

Let me suggest two tipping points for the undecideds: money and words.

First, money speaks volumes. More important, we should study which candidate is accumulating the most from small contributions. “Small contributions” means, not special interest money, but the kind of money Average American Joe can drop into a campaign and still afford the week’s groceries.

According to TIME magazine, the candidate receiving the most $200 and under donations is Barack Obama.

Here is the small contributions collected January 2007 through February 2008:

Barack Obama 41%

Hillary Clinton 26%

John McCain 13%

In March 08, the Obama campaign received 40 million, more than twice as much as the Clinton campaign, who raised a little less than 20 million. It is reported that both McCain and Clinton accept money from lobbyists and special interests. Yet we often hear that the Clinton campaign is living “hand to mouth.” Also, it was reported that Clinton had to use her own personal funds when trying to woo Michigan and Florida into a re-do.

By measuring with money, we are clearly seeing a people’s choice between Obama and Clinton.

Do we still have undecideds out there? Ok, let’s consider the eloquence, frankness, and wit of the candidates. Personally, ever since the end of Reagan’s term, I believe America has been in desperate need of a president with eloquence and wit.

With Clinton’s recent speeches, it’s become undeniable that Hillary is clearly a candidate that will do and say what ever she feels is necessary to win. Hillary exaggerated being under "sniper fire" in Bosnia in a bid to beef up her under-whelming foreign policy experience.

But more importantly, we need to study Clinton’s pseudo-apology for this exaggeration: "If I misspoke, that was just a misstatement." This phrase sounds like something George W. Bush would say at his most eloquent, and Bill Clinton would in his least eloquent, trying to sidestep from being caught in a lie.

Also, Hillary has spent much of her campaign attacking Obama by using a Fox News approach: unfairly taking his words out of context.

And it’s been proven that Obama’s speeches can bring people together. In an MSNBC poll at the end of March 08: when asked if the three presidential candidates could be successful in uniting the country if they were elected president, 60 percent of all voters believed Obama could be successful at doing this, 58 percent of all voters said McCain could unite the country while only 46 percent of voters said the same about Clinton.

What do YOU think is needed to convince the undecideds to finally choose our Democratic candidate?