In Alabama political history the Lt. Governor’s office has not been a good stepping stone to Governor. Attorney General has been the better springboard, but the best launching pad especially in recent
Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 18, 2004
Lucy Baxley may be poised to break several precedents if she moves from Lt. Governor to Governor in 2006. She is definitely outworking any other potential candidates and she already begins with stratospheric name identification-polls reveal over 80%. The most obvious precedent would be that she would have been the first female to become Governor of Alabama on her own, if one acknowledges the fact that Lurleen Wallace won the Governor’s race in 1966 as a stand in candidate for her husband, George Wallace. Either way you look at Lurleen’s landslide ride to Governor in 1966, she was indeed elected Governor. Therefore, Lucy would be Alabama’s second female Governor.
When asked by people who I predict will be Governor in 2006, I predict that Lucy will win. I further have predicted that Hillary Clinton will become the first female President in 2008. That was earlier this year when I made these two bold prognostications. Lucy may still be a safe bet but Hillary may be out of luck.
It was assumed that George Bush would be reelected President as is usually the case for an incumbent. He may very well win, but it is a 50/50 race. Hillary could have probably had the Democratic nomination this year but she opted out to make the race in 2008 when the office would be incumbent free and wide open. She did not foresee Bush becoming as vulnerable as he is at this point.
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John Kerry may very well win the Presidency in November. He will not carry Alabama which has gone Republican in every presidential election since the 1964 Goldwater turning point with only one exception, Jimmy Carter in 1976, nine-out-of-ten times in the last 40 years.
The election will boil down to three states, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Florida thanks to the way the Electoral College works.
Whichever candidate wins two-out-of-three of these states will be President. If you watch the candidates’ itineraries between now and November, they will both spend an inordinate amount of time in these three pivotal states which brings us back to Hillary Clinton. Her strategy will backfire if Kerry wins the White House. She will have missed the boat in 2004 and will be unable to challenge an incumbent Democrat in 2008.
Unlike Alabama when Lt. Governor has been an albatross and dead-end to moving up to Governor, the Vice Presidency has been the best stepping stone to the Presidency. Americans perceive the Vice Presidency as good training to an eventual Presidency. Nine of our Presidents have moved from Vice President; only two U.S. Senators have gone from the U.S. Senate to President, Warren Harding and John Kennedy. Therefore if John Kerry beats George Bush in November and Senator Hillary Clinton is not on the Democratic ticket as Kerry’s Vice President, she will probably never be President of the United States. You can bet the Clinton’s have made this same analysis and you can bet that she is jockeying or lobbying Kerry’s team at this minute to be his running mate.
Polls show the Presidential election to be close. People should remember that polls are accurate today but they should also remember that polls are a snapshot of people’s opinions that day. Therefore a poll a week old is inaccurate and in races this close there is also a three-point margin of error.
There is a historic correlation to the poll taken around the 4th of July in a Presidential year and the final outcome in November. People seem to turn politics off during the summer vacation months of July, August and into September, then there is a six week sprint to the first Tuesday in November. History also reveals that every incumbent President that was mired in a close race has always lost. An incumbent either wins Big or loses. Another caveat is that in races where a well-known incumbent is running for reelection almost all of the undecided votes break toward the challenger in the end.
It should be noted that Bush is the only incumbent President to be in a 50/50 race at this early date with the exception of Harry Truman in 1948 who had been all but written off by pundits and pollsters and he pulled off a major comeback upset victory. However, polling was not as sophisticated and accurate in 1948 as it is today. I still predict that it boils down to Florida, Pennsylvania, and Ohio. It shouldn’t be that way, but the Electoral College is an antiquated and undemocratic vehicle for electing a President. Every vote in America should count the same whether it is Florida or Alabama. The person who gets the most votes should win.
See you next week.