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I think you are confusing a number of things here, not least of which that the one most likely to win (in your opinion) is also the least polarising. I also think you both understate his ability to win in the GOP nomination race, and overstate his appeal to Democrats and so-called independants (this latter group probably more aptly refered to as the low-information voter) see as such.

He supports more than anyone else in the race with the possible exception of Giuliani an extremely unpopular war. The war, press reports (mostly in mainstream, corporate-controlled American organs, to be noted) to the contrary, shows no signs of either ending or producing any results other than further death, destruction and drain on the public purse, and will continue to be a fiasco that everyone but the elites in the media, congress and, to a steadily decreasing extent, big business (outside those few sectors making out like bandits in the adventure).

He also offers no real help to average Americans on the crises facing them - home ownership increasingly at risk, rising food and energy costs, stagnating wages, increasing wage inequality and a certain economic slow-down (and, imho, a very real possiblity of a deep recession).

In this, he is very much in step with the vapid conventional wisdom one reads on the pages of the various organs of punditocracy accross the land: much sound and fury, signifying nothing. To be fair, with a few exceptions (in most cases by degrees, ie not fundamental, unfortunately) this is true of all the candidates, major and minor, of both parties in the American political duopoly.

The big polarisation is between the views of the ruling elites (mostly bi-partisan, neo-liberal on economic policy and hawkish on foreign policy) and the interests, realised or not, of real American workers. This becomes obvious whenever there's serious economic stress in the US. I'd suggest things may in fact about to become interesting in this regard in coming years.

Alas, within the actual halls of power in DC, polarisation is just for partisan show. There is no there there.

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill

by r------ on Sat Dec 29th, 2007 at 07:30:06 PM EST
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redstar:
I think you are confusing a number of things here, not least of which that the one most likely to win (in your opinion) is also the least polarising. I also think you both understate his ability to win in the GOP nomination race, and overstate his appeal to Democrats and so-called independants (this latter group probably more aptly refered to as the low-information voter) see as such.

I offer no commentary on the merits of the candidates - simply the likely outcome of the primaries and National election given what poll data we have.  (Some of the merits and demerits of (McCain?) which you mention may of course become a greater factor in voter perceptions as time goes on, but polling data is, by its nature, based on past and present perceptions, not on future ones.

I would have thought that Clinton and Huckabee, the most likely nominees (based on my analysis) are also the most polarising of the 7 major candidates.  It is difficult to see how McCain, alone of the GOP contenders, can beat Clinton and tie with Obama if he doesn't get more independent support than the other GOP contenders.

I don't dispute your larger point:
redstar:

The big polarisation is between the views of the ruling elites (mostly bi-partisan, neo-liberal on economic policy and hawkish on foreign policy) and the interests, realised or not, of real American workers.

But I suspect none of the 7 candidates featured as riding high in the polls would be seen by you as representing "the interests, realised or not, of real American workers" and so these polls do not measure that polarisation.  I have however argued elsewhere that the very low participation rates in US elections may be in part symptomatic of the fact that many potential voters do not see any of the candidates on offer as representing their interests.

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by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Dec 29th, 2007 at 09:11:39 PM EST
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