|Republican John McCain and his opponent for the Senate nomination, JD Hayworth, seemed to be separated by a knife edge a few months ago. But Mr McCain won the primary election easily. What happened?|
Notice the link is from BBC News. It's interesting that BBC cares about American senate elections at all; I guess the election does have relevance to the American federal government and hence to the world stage and thus is of interest to our brothers in England. What's ironic is: the BBC is covering American elections more analytically than most American news outlets. Maybe because they are able to view the elections from an physical and emotional distance, they have an easier time avoiding partisan nonsense and just being analytical.
So, how did John McCain win so easily in Arizona?
1. He shifted his unpopular positions. McCain shifted his stance on illegal immigration (He's now against it) and played down his position on climate change. (He doesn't care about it this year... apparently he realized that Arizonians care more about jobs than carbon emissions.)
2. He spent big. McCain spent big to get the message out, spending 21 million "more than he has spent in his previous Senate campaigns combined."
3. He attacked without going dirty. McCain learned from the 2008 presidential election and ran attack ads, and was able to attack without going dirty. (I wonder if he read "Game Change"... or if his campaign manager did.)
|They used an infomercial where Mr Hayworth appeared as a spokesman for an allegedly dodgy company promising "free money" grants from the government.|
"There's so much more on JD we didn't use, and mainly it's because John didn't want us to," Mr Davis confides.
4. He had weak opposition. The primary opponent, J.D. Hayworth, was a rather flawed candidate. (See point 3.)
And the ace in the hole...
5. Sarah Palin. The most popular conservative woman in America. McCain brought her to the national spotlight, and she returned the favor by endorsing him wholeheartedly. You gotta respect the loyalty of Palin and the insight of McCain in picking Palin as V.P. in the first place.
McCain is a true politician, for better or for worse. He has his flaws, but he has his strengths as well. I wouldn't vote for him for president, but he is a unique force in the senate. (I probably wouldn't vote for him for senator, either, but, in a way, I'm glad he's there... I just wish he could stick to negotiation and diplomacy and leave the voting and decision-making to someone else.)
I'll say this much for McCain... he is a political survivor. Now let's see if he actually votes as he campaigns.