All the pundits and publicity now focus on Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama to win the Democratic presidential nomination in 2008.
Don’t get stampeded into believing all this. When it comes time for the Democrats of Iowa and other early contests to pick someone to run they will be looking for the candidate who is the best shot at winning in November.
Just think about the passion of the rank-and-file Democrat. Twelve years of Republican control of Congress going back to Newt Gingrich who they despise. Eight years of Republican control of the White House. They want it back, and they are not likely to want another loser standing out there once the votes are counted.
This is the case for John Edwards, the case he will be making between now and a year from now. He’ll be saying that Hillary and Barack can draw the crowds in January; he can draw the votes in November.
Expect that message to hit home first with the labor unions who dearly want a friend in the White House. Edwards is running well ahead in Iowa, the first contest for ’08. Given his support from key unions he has a good chance to match a win in Iowa with a win in Nevada the Saturday afterward. That could give him a real momentum heading into New Hampshire the following Tuesday. A strong showing there could catapult him to victory in South Carolina the week later.
This is the Edwards chance: win early; knock out Obama, get into a long, drawn-out fight with Hillary with him as the only live alternative. It could happen.