The Republicans have their nominee in John McCain. Our nominee is not yet determined and so, the contest between Hillary and Barack continues.
If you listen to the pundits, media, party insiders in both major parties or even the average Joe flapping his jaws on the topic, you might believe this gives a clear competitive edge to McCain, in regards to the general election, in November.
Here's the theory behind that mindset:
1. John McCain knows he's the nominee for his party and can begin campaigning for the office he'll be seeking in the Nov. General Election.
2. Barack and Hillary must, instead, focus solely on the race FOR the nomination and against one another. Only after our eventual nominee is chosen, can our nominee begin campaigning for the office he or she will be seeking in the Nov. General Election.
Here's why that theory is backward.
1. Part of any candidate's campaign for his/her party's nomination already includes and must include campaigning for the office he/she hopes to be seeking in November. Knowing what kind of President Barack intends to be vs. what kind of President Hillary intends to be is vital to our deciding between them in the race for the nomination.
2. There are two parts to every campaign --
A. Running FOR the office and/or nomination you are seeking
B. Competing AGAINST your opponent(s.)
The edge for November clearly lies with Barack and Hillary. Not only is each already letting Americans know why they should be our next President, each already knows who the opponent will be in November. While only one of them will get the nomination, both of them will be campaigning for our nominee to defeat him. Each of them can begin campaigning specifically against McCain, now -- they both differ from McCain, but in different ways from one another and there's no law or point of rule to prevent either of them from making their differences from McCain a part of their campaigns, now.
By contrast, McCain no longer has to put any of his campaign focus on defeating a competitor for his party's nomination. But, that's been true for quite some time in this campaign season. He can certainly continue to campaign FOR the office of President.
But, but when it comes to competing against his eventual opponent, he has three options. He can put it off until he has an actual opponent. He can split his competitive focus between running against Barack and running against Hillary. ...Or he can turn it into a purely partisan "McCain vs Any Democrat."
We've had eight years of hearing that all Republicans are good Christian, America loving, straight, moral, decent, protectors of all that is good in the world and that all Democrats are evil terrorist-abetting American-hating, atheist, immoral, public-gay-orgy-having threats to everything decent. Voters of every political persuasion have seen that neither extreme is true. So, running against the evils of "any candidate" from an opposing party, instead of against a specific candidate, for any length of time, is likely only to damage a candidate's chances for a win in November.
That leaves only the options to put off competing or to spend precious campaing time and resources running against two different might-be opponents.
The advantage is clearly to the future Democratic nominee, if Barack and Hillary both adopt the following strategy: "Here's why I'm going to be a great President, here's how my Presidency would differ from my Democratic opponent's and this is why you shouldn't let McCain anywhere near the Oval Office." Don't give McCain any similarities to exploit, each should compete with McCain on areas where both differ from McCain, but also differ from one another.
The more schizophrenic McCain's efforts to compete against both, as potential opponents, the better for whichever eventually wins our nomination.
Will they both run brilliant gambits for the end game as they duke it out for control of the blue squares or will they just continue to play to the next move, ceding a portion of their advantage to the red king? My money's on the latter, but they're both smart, surrounded by smart people and ultimately on the same side, so there's at least a hair's breadth of a chance they'll wise up.