With results in from both Iowa and New Hampshire, it isn’t too early to begin forming conclusions about the 2008 General Election. This looks like a Sea Change Election Year. There haven’t been many. The last was 1980 when Ronald Reagan defeated Jimmy Carter. The Sea Change Election before that, 1968 when Nixon defeated Humphrey and prior to that 1952 when Eisenhower replaced the FDR administration.
There is only one characteristic that distinguishes between a Sea Change Election Year from the ordinary General Election: The Electorate is signaling a Change of Direction. Both Primaries point to such an event and this is what makes the 2008 Election more exciting than usual…and perhaps, a bit more intense. Voter turnout surpassed the 70% level in both States. Historically, voter turnout has been decreasing since 1968’s 61% voter participation.
The Republican and Democratic winners in Iowa, Huckabee and Obama respectively, are seemingly different but with a number of similarities. Each is their party’s youngest. Each is also the least angry…maybe because of their ages…and while each is less experienced in national politics relative to their competitors, this is a Sea Change Plus.
New Hampshire’s results do not alter the Iowa template. Hilary nudged ahead of Obama relying on old-time political Democratic Machinery, and with all that, got less than 6,000 more votes than Obama. This is a fact. The editorial staff here doesn’t call that a Come Back, but more of a Respectable Exit. McCain similarly relied on the old machinery used in 2000, when he also won the Primary. Huckabee’s # 3 showing among the Republican Presidential contenders does not diminish his presence on the national stage.
Here’s the wide Angle – staring in February 2006, all national polls began consistently indicating that Americans thought the Iraqi War a mistake. What Iowa told us is that a candidate’s national electability will be a function of his or her distance from that war and New Hampshire validates that the usual political machinery cannot trump that sentiment.
The decision between Obama and Huckabee, should those be the country’s final choices, may well turn out to be which candidate is perceived to represent the mentality of a Third Party without actually having to start one.
Before leaving the past, let’s revisit 1980. Jimmy Carter had to be an easy opponent. Iran was holding over 100 Americans hostage, interest rates and inflation were both over 20%. Nevertheless, before you join the ‘Trash Jimmy Carter’ crowd, know this factoid:
One of President Carter’s last acts as President, by Executive Decree no less, was to get the Federal Government out of the brewing business by deregulating brewers. Yes, folks, at cocktails parties, you would be factually correct to state that the mini-brewery industry is a legacy of the Jimmy Carter Presidency.
Here are three regional brewers in this space, and public companies to boot…and note the years these companies were founded. Make note of the economic benefits to the American Economy — $400 million in Revenues that would not exist if it weren’t for Jimmy Carter, over 1,000 jobs and $600 million in aggregate stock market values.
Samuel Adams (SAM: $35.15). Founded 1984; Revenues of $320 mm, 433 employees
Red Hook Ale (HOOK: $6.35). Founded 1981; Revenues of $40 mm, 134 employees
Pyramid Breweries (PMID: $2.25). Founded 1986; Revenues: $48 mm. 480 employees
A few mini-breweries stand out that are private. For devotees of Fat Tire Beer, it is brewed by New Belgium Brewing in Colorado. Also worthy of note is the brewer of Pete’s Wicked Ale, the Gambrinus Company of Texas.
Let us hear your thoughts below: