Well – it is to be Barack Obama for the Democratic candidate – an extraordinary result for him and the attraction of the US way of doing power. I know that many of my friends at the University of Chicago will be delighted – and some of them stand to profit from his rise with senior jobs in Government if he succeeds in November. Obama taught law at the University – a fact that he wasn’t too keen to reveal in case he came across as elite!
From this distance I have a number of thoughts. The first is obvious and that is the extraordinary amount of money spent on getting to this point by all the Presidential hopefuls! Billions of dollars mainly on advertising and wining and dining the rich and powerful as potential supporters of the candidates. There are some serious moral questions about the way capitalist democracy expends such wealth !
Obama is an attractive candidate but do not under estimate the latent racism of America. There are significant areas of America where he achieved little support – and his status as a Black American is oddly problematic. I believe that this factor will bear down on him as the campaign develops.
The more important consideration beyond his personality is his politics. He is seriously left wing and in a country where the right (especially the Christian right has power and money) – it remains to be seen whether his views, when examined closely will gain the votes necessary to put him into the White House!
My final random thought is the complexity of the voting system! I am surprised that it should be so complicated in a country like America! I do not understand the relationship between the primary votes and the super delegates. Where is the power and influence? And – remember that there are still many who doubt that Bush got the votes necessary for his election eight years ago.
I feel sorry for Hillary Clinton who is a powerful and intelligent and compassionate politician. What Obama will do with her will be a test of his political judgement. It will also be fascinating to see the effects of this political battle on the shape of our politics in the UK.
When might we see the first Black or Asian British PM??