McCain and his veiled appealJohn McCain won the Florida Primary yesterday, and before we say anything else we must congratulate McCain on a very well-won and hard-fought victory. However, in winning a closed Republican Primary, John McCain is showing that he is quite capable of winning the nomination. He is doing so because the conservative vote is still split between Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee. If McCain squeaks through and wins the Republican nod it will likely be because of vote-spitting between Romney, who is now picking up more evangelical support as part of a larger movement to stop McCain, and Huckabee. If Huckabee stays in the campaign long enough to keep Mitt Romney from establishing any clear momentum and thereby handing the nomination to McCain, there may be something in it for both Huckabee and McCain.
Listen closely to McCain's words about and apparent overture to Mike Huckabee in his victory speech last night. To win in November McCain must do something that candidates do not normally do: To try and keep the Republican base in line, he will actually need to run to the right. We are already seeing evidence of this during occasions like his victory speech when he was making constant allusions to Ronald Reagan and to conservatism. Even the site of Rudy Giuliani's expected endorsement today has been strategically chosen-the Ronald Reagan Library. John McCain is also very much aware that in order to secure the Republican base, he must get Southern conservatives and especially evangelicals out to vote in November.
There are two candidates that appear the most likely to galvanize that voting bloc-Fred Thompson or Mike Huckabee. Expect McCain's health to be an issue in the General Election if he is the nominee (and that is far from certain just yet), and that makes the Vice Presidency extremely valuable. No one knows that more than John McCain.
I do not believe that I can promise in good conscience not to support the Republican nominee (as some others have done), and risk Hillary Clinton being elected. The McCain campaign can certainly rest assured that one Primary vote they won't get next Tuesday is my own.
Labels: Presidential Election