Wednesday, January 02, 2008

What If John Edwards Wins?

It is not entirely impossible that John Edwards, who came in second in the Democratic Party's Iowa caucuses in 2004 with help from Kucinich voters, might get the gold medal this time. The former Senator is presently locked in a dead heat with Senators Hillary and Obama. What is most remarkable about this showing is that John Edwards does not have celebrity air under his wings. Nor is Edwards a sitting Senator in the most aristocratic club in the world (second only to the Council of Bishops). Edwards is pulling even with two bona-fide superstars, and he is doing it on his own steam.

And that is why he might win tomorrow.

What would happen if Edwards actually won? Many among the chattering classes are speculating that Edwards is a one-state wonder, a punk, and his victory would eliminate one of his two better-known and funded opponents: Obama -- If Obama came in 3rd -- or Hillary, in the event that she does. That logic doesn't sit with The Corsair.

First: Edwards has cobbled together an Old Left coalition of Labor and the economically disadvantaged and disgruntled. These people are loyal, they are angry, and they are pocketbook, populist voters (while Clinton and Obama are more foreign policy thinkers). Edwards states the clearest message on the effects of globalization on Americans who believed in their country but were left behind.

Second: The Edwards narrative -- his sick, and possibly dying wife giving him a life after their marriage -- is unbelievably compelling. It is Christian; it is poignant. It will not evaporate after Iowa, and it will energize and immunize him in the face of opposition attacks.

Third: Edwards cleverly anticipated the fading of the issue of the Iraq War as an issue in this election -- clearly the surge has worked -- and is well-situated against populist anger at hedge fund greed, the coming recession, and the sub-prime mortgage crisis.

Four: Karl Rove admitted recently that in 2004 he was most scared of Edwards. Edwards is a good-looking, Southern Christian Democrat. He is a white man. Edwards has been elected in a hyper-red state. And Southern Christian Democrats have done well in running for the presidency this past half century 9for further reference, see: Carter, Jimmy; Clinton, Bill). Edwards might have beaten George Bush in 2004 had he been the nominee and not the robotic ultra-preppy John Kerry who reeks of New England privilege.

John Edwards just might win tomorrow. Fer realsies.

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