Welcome back, American Gladiators. But I’m here to serve you notice: There’s a bigger, badder, more outlandish reality game show also relaunching this year, and it’s called The Amazing Race for White House Survival.
So writes David S. Bernstein for the Boston alt-weekly the Phoenix as he recasts the 2008 presidential race in terms of those elimination-style reality TV shows. He breaks the presidential campaign into six legs with key dates from each—then predicts who will get voted off the island at each stage. With New Hampshire and Iowa behind us, we’re now entering “Leg 2: Grinding for position (January 9 through February 4)”:
This year, due to their clumsy mishandling of the schedule, the Democrats have just one big contest during these four weeks: South Carolina. The party is boycotting the Michigan and Florida contests, and Nevada’s has become so marginalized that Oprah Winfrey didn’t even bother to include it on her big tour for Obama.
South Carolina will be the first big contest between Obama and Clinton for the Southern black vote. But don’t forget that Edwards won the state in 2004—if he gets momentum, he will camp out there 24/7, hoping to be left in a two-person race with the Clinton-Obama survivor.
The Republicans, on the other hand, have votes in Michigan, Nevada, South Carolina, Florida, and Maine—meaning that the candidates might split up to concentrate on states most amenable to them, in hopes of staying viable until February 5.
Other rounds to look forward to include “Leg 4: The Great Lull (April 1 through August 24)” and Leg 5: Dirty Season (August 25 through September 25).
It may sound light, but the analysis is actually pretty smart and positively welcoming to all levels of political familiarity; it even offers fresh perspective to those steeped in the season’s political wonkery.