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Open Field Presidential Politics 2008

Michael Barone explains why he believes the field is wide open in 2008.

Current polls suggest there will be more moveable voters than in 2000 or 2004. In polls in the 2003-04 cycle, neither Bush nor various Democrats scored so high as to suggest that either party's candidate would win more than the 51 percent Bush ultimately got. Movement was minimal. But in polls in this cycle we have seen well-known candidates of both parties run far ahead of little-known candidates of other parties -- far enough to suggest that they could get over that 51 percent level in general elections. Voters who wouldn't consider a Republican or Democrat in 2004 seem willing to at least consider one in 2008.

The Karl Rove model of turning out your base may prove obsolete. Some analysts assume that Republicans will be weighed down by low Bush job ratings. But that may not be the case. I think we're entering a period of open-field politics, in which both parties will be defined less by their past leaders than by their new nominees.

Hat tip: Patrick Ruffini.

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Comments (4)

Well, as for me I am not th... (Below threshold)

Well, as for me I am not thrilled with any of the candidates running for POTUS.

I want someone who is pro-border security/anti-amnesty, won't bail on the war on terror, fiscally conservative, favors and will nominate non-activist judges and supports the culture of life. Along with these positions they MUST possess a backbone.

No candidates who have adjusted their positions on these issues in recent years for the purpose of winning the election need apply. I don't want to hire someone who does not believe in their positions.

Barone is correct that 1928... (Below threshold)

Barone is correct that 1928 was the last time no sitting President or Veep has been involved at all, but 1952 saw Truman's reelection bid derailed early when he lost to Sen. Kefauver in the New Hampshire Primary. That year was also similar to the dynamic of 1928, and which will likely exist for the next cycle, in that the nominee of the incumbent party was not tied to the previous Administration in the public mind.

The election will likely turn on events which cannot be affected by any candidate, however. If Iraq remains unstable and unpopular, Democrats will be heavily favored. If the situation in Iraq is improved, Republicans will not be disadvantaged.

Even if Iraq were well on t... (Below threshold)

Even if Iraq were well on the way to stabilizing, if the MSM can portray it as a defeat as they did our victory in the "Tet Offensive," well, it won't matter. And then, even if they can't pull that off, any tax-raising compromise W works out with the Dems will gut the will of the GOP, just as his Daddy's abandonment of his "No new taxes" pledge did.

Iran will be more of an iss... (Below threshold)

Iran will be more of an issue in 2008 than Iraq. The key in Iraq is to get the Shiites to see themselves as friends to Sunni Arabs and not to Persian Iranians. This will be difficult because many current Iraqi government officials were given shelter by Iran from Saddam. I'm not sure the Iraqi government can find that middle ground and Maliki may have to go before progress can be made.

On the issue of 2008, I see the strong possibility that we will have a four party system by 2008. The Republicans still have a civil war over immigration and the Democrats will have a civil war over Iraq, Iran, and other foreign projections of American power, (also with tax policy, which GWB will use to split them, not to repeat his father's mistake). The new left and the anti-immigrant right could prove to be large enough to present viable alternatives.







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