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John McCain's Success

John McCain's Success

Kerby Anderson

March 5, 2008



            Now that the March 4 primaries are over, it might be worthwhile to look back and see how we got to this point. Since I recorded this commentary a week ago, I don't know if John McCain has locked up the nomination but I am sure that is a safe assumption.


            It sure didn't look like that back in July when many were declaring that his campaign was just about finished. But he surprised the pundits and achieved something that nine months ago most thought was unthinkable.


            His success came because he was able to duplicate in New Hampshire in 2008 what he was able to do in 2000. He was also able to survive a defeat in Michigan and then squeeze out a 33 percent to 30 percent victory over Mike Huckabee in South Carolina. Then he got a 36 percent to 31 percent victory over Mitt Romney in Florida. By then he had momentum and fewer opponents. He really began to roll up victories after that.


            Of course, much of this happened due to a collapse in Rudy Giuliani's support. Some predicted this might happen but then backed away from the prediction when Giuliani continue to be at the top of the national polls. And it is probably true that John McCain's success was also due in part to the failure of Fred Thompson. Ironically, Thompson often led in polls when he was a non-candidate but then lost the lead when he actually declared his candidacy.


            Both guests and callers to my radio program have also pointed out that the leaders of various Christian organizations were split over various candidates. Although a significant number of Christian leaders endorsed Mike Huckabee, there were others who supported many of the other candidates. I think you can make a compelling case that if the evangelical vote had been more unified, a different candidate might have emerged other than John McCain.


            Well, these are some of the lessons from campaign 2008. We will see if candidates learn from them in the future or repeat the same mistakes. I'm Kerby Anderson, and that's my point of view.