Wednesday, January 30, 2008

It's All Over For Rudy Giuliani

The strategy hasn't worked. Rudy Giuliani has failed dismally to win the Florida primary, in his bid to become the Republican party's candidate for the US presidential election. The man who led New York through 9/11 as its mayor will surely now not get the chance to lead America as its president.

A main reason why the man who styled himself 'America's Mayor' has done so poorly is the nature of America's electoral system. The early states to vote in primary elections, such as Iowa and New Hampshire, have a large influence on how election campaigns pan out, in that success in those early states can wipe out months of poor poll showings, and vice versa. Mr Giuliani reckoned that, as a Republican with relatively liberal views on social issues such as abortion and gay rights, he wouldn't do very well if he campaigned hard in Iowa and New Hampshire - states where Republican voters tend to be particularly right-wing and Christian. So he didn't bother, instead hoping his wide national profile would lead to success both in Florida (where he has spent most of the last few weeks) and nationally in a week's time, when 20-odd states vote on Super Tuesday.

The problem for Mr Giuliani has been that he's been largely shut out of the media for the last few weeks, as the surprise success of Mike Huckabee and the even more dramatic comeback of John McCain have won column inches. Add to that the intoxicating excitement of the Democratic contest between Clinton, Obama and Edwards, and poor old Rudy's face has been squeezed out of the picture. It must be pretty galling for him, especially as he was well ahead in most national polls over the last year, and must desperately want another crack at defeating Mrs Clinton (after their bitter showdown for the New York Senate seat in 2000 was cut short by his illness).

He may as well carry on until next Tuesday, as his strategy of campaigning in states across the US ought to lead to a better-than-expected showing. And if he does well enough, his name and experience both as a crime-busting prosecutor and mayor, could put him in a good position to earn a top job such as Attorney General in, say, a McCain White House (John Edwards may fulfil a similar role in either a Clinton or Obama administration, which is basically why he's continuing his own doomed campaign for the presidency). But President Giuliani is something that's now never going to happen.

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