The mega American primary elections known as Super Tuesday are now over in America, and its implication is still to be seen in a Presidential race that is far from over. Many Americans living here in Israel had the chance to vote by absentee ballot. Those who didn’t should find out what needs to be done in order to vote in the main elections in November. Republican Party candidate John McCain appears to be the front runner and likely party candidate when the GOP convention convenes in August. He racked up the largest number of delegates over his rivals Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee. Huckabee, who fared better than many thought he would, wound up winning a number of Southern States, as well some others that might make him a “king maker” at the convention and even force McCain to give him a top cabinet post of even offer the Vice Presidency spot. That will of course depend on how Romney fares in the upcoming primaries as he has many more delegates than “Huck”.
The Democratic side is much more confusing, however, even though Hillary Clinton appears to have won more delegates, due to her winning big states like New York and California. Obama won more states in total and may fare better in upcoming primaries in states like Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Texas, not to mention the District of Columbia which has a large Afro-American population. This race is likely to end up on the floor of the Democratic Party Convention this coming July, and be a real free-for-all.
What this election is gearing up to mean for Israel is how the new Presidential administration will deal with the Jewish State and with its Palestinian and other Arab neighbors. If Hillary Clinton should win the Presidency, she will probably use tactics similar to those her husband Bill used when he tried to put pressure on both Israel and the Palestinians to reach a peace agreement that failed miserably at the Camp David summit in July, 2000. If Barack Obama wins the Presidency, it’s anybody’s guess what will happen, especially in light of Obama’s Muslim influenced childhood; an issue that is still not definitely settled in the eyes of many Americans and Israelis.
As for Republican candidate McCain, his politics seem to fluctuate for ultra conservative to moderate. He has definite ideas concerning America’s Iraq involvement, and has even said that he would keep American troops in Iraq “for a hundred years if necessary”. That’s a bit different than either Hillary or Obama, both of whom favor eventual troop withdrawals. McCain might be a safer bet concerning America’s stand against Iran, though, as his military background makes him understand this kind of a problem more than his Democratic (and Republican) rivals.
Both political parties and their candidates need to understand a few basic points though. The situation in Iraq will not go away on its own, and Al Qaeda and its top leaders are still active and ready to have a go at America again. Iran and its proxies like Hezbollah and Hamas are also ready and waiting for the right opportunities, as we here in Israel are acutely aware of. And a worsening of the American economy will be bad for everyone, especially here in Israel.
So as the race heats up in the U.S. elections, all we in Israel can do is hope that the “flack” from it won’t come down too hard on our heads – literally!