It may surprise some readers of this blog to learn that I’ve actually been considering registering as a Republican so I can vote for Ron Paul in the primary. I’m not a Ron Paul supporter at all, as I’ve detailed here exhaustively in the past, but I’m still happy to see him shaking up the Republican debates and bringing up issues that no one on the right or left is bringing up. And of course I would love to see the GOP tear itself apart, as I see completely marginalizing the Republicans as necessary for any sort of meaningful progress in this country (see Abe on the subject).
But seeing how well all the Democratic candidates are doing in early polling against their Republican counter-parts, it looks like a Democratic victory in 2008 is likely no matter who the candidate is. Take a look through Election Central’s Poll Tracker and pay attention to states like Virginia, that are trending Democrat. Victory is far from certain, and anything can happen between now and November of 2008. But with the current president still polling in the in 30-something percent range, and the fact that most voters still don’t know much about Giuliani (conservatives still don’t know he’s pro-choice, and not much has yet been made of his marriage scandals) or the other candidates (Romney’s Mormonism remains relatively unexplored, McCain’s age and health still surprise people), it’s hard not to bet on a Democratic candidate. It’s unlikely anyone’s going to dig up anything new about Clinton or Edwards since they’ve already been through the national scrutiny of a presidential election. Obama and Richardson are more vulnerable in that area. But the right wing noise machine’s been digging on Obama and nothing much as come up. Richardson has some skeletons in his closet (Wen Ho Lee scandal, and possibly some womanizing), but he has cross-over appeal to Republicans and Independents that could probably make up for it.
So in other words, the next president will probably be chosen in the Democratic party primaries, not the general election. Since blanket primaries don’t exist anymore, you’ve got to pick one primary or the other. In other words, if you don’t want to see 4-8 years of Hillary Clinton in the oval office, you’re best off registering as a Democrat this time around.
Of course, all of this is academic for me since Oregon’s primary is the second to last and the race will be decided by then.