OPINION

Only a weak favorite

The Pennsylvania primary showed that the Democratic nomination still hangs in the balance. Barack Obama, currently holding the lead, has been unable to open the gap that would force Hillary Clinton out of the race. Her goal is to stay at least a short head behind him until the end. She is hoping that the superdelegates of the Democratic Party will use the opportunity presented by such a development to endorse her nomination. The fact that the favorite is weak in the market is not solely due to the mistakes of the two protagonists, but reflects a rift among the Democrats. The majority support Obama, but a strong minority (mostly white, older voters) prefer Clinton, not only because they believe in her, but also because they are skeptical about having an African American in the White House. Obama’s identity is a double-edged sword for his election hopes. On the one hand, his own party is somewhat cautious, while, on the other, it gives him an edge. America is in dire need of change following the Bush era, which will allow it to forge a new course for the future. Obama is highly symbolic of this hope. Clinton, in contrast, represents the more familiar and established. Until recently it was almost certain that the next elections in the USA would see the Republicans out of the White House. This impression has been fueled by the mess in Iraq and to Bush’s failings as president. Naturally it was also strengthened by the Democratic victory in the Senate elections in 2006. The «fight to the finish» mentality between the Democratic candidates however is moderating this certainty. Whoever wins will have to come up against the popular and experienced John McCain, who speaks for a large segment of American society. Obama has better chances of beating McCain, because he has more hope of mobilizing the «other America.»