Some may agree with Sen. John McCain’s (R-Ariz.) positions on his myriad of causes and enthusiasms. Others may embrace Mitt Romney’s record as governor and his experience in business. But one fact remains pre-eminent — McCain has a much better chance of winning the election than does former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R).
If you feel confident, for some unknown reason, in a Republican victory, it is possible that either candidate could win. If you feel the nation is aching for a Democrat, as I do, then the importance of choosing the strongest candidate fades a bit.
But any rational observer has to conclude that John McCain has a better shot of winning than Mitt Romney does.
And, if a failure to win means the election of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.), the stakes are too high to ignore the issue of political practicality in making a choice.
Perhaps because he is better known, the Arizona senator ties Hillary in the match-ups while Romney trails by up to 12 points.
But the real difference is not in their current polling performance, but in their future potential as November candidates.
Because of his immigration position — the same one that has so fouled his relationship with the Republican right — McCain has a very good shot at winning a lot of Hispanic votes. While the Clintons have always had a genuine, if now faded, popularity with blacks, they have never been able to boast of a strong Latino base. Partially because of Bill’s pardon of the FALN terrorists, Hillary swept the Puerto Rican vote in New York state in 2000, but she has no special appeal to bring to a genuine battle for their support. Romney’s hard-line immigration position will leave Latinos cold.
But McCain has a chance with them.
The bitterness of the Democratic contest leaves open the possibility of massive defections from Hillary should she be the candidate, both among blacks and whites. There will be legions of disappointed young voters if Obama eventually loses to the race-baiting Clinton machine.
McCain’s record offers much to attract these disaffected Democrats and independents. His ability to win independents where they are permitted to vote in Republican primaries attests to his appeal to swing voters.