Now that New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson has announced his candidacy for the presidency in 2008, the Democrat primaries are shaping up to be one of the most brutal and least substantive in history. It's hard to imagine Hillary Clinton accepting any position other than presidential candidate, which means that Barack Obama and Bill Richardson will have to duke it out for the vice presidential nomination. Richardson's resume is far more impressive, but I imagine that race will play the largest factor in picking the winner. Which racial group will the Democrats cleave to?

Hispanics are growing faster than blacks and are less wholly aligned to the Democrats than are blacks, so a Richardson nomination could swing a lot of votes to the left. However, many blacks are growing disillusioned with the Democrats and snubbing Obama could finally fracture the 90%+ blacks who vote for the Dems, swinging votes to the right. It's hard to say which would do more damage.

Finally, if the Republicans hope to defeat the race/gender perfect storm the Democrats are brewing they're going to need to come up with some serious ideas with broad attraction across the electorate. Trying to match the Dems' race/gender-baiting would be playing into their hands, and if the Reps put up a woman or minority who isn't a natural fit they'll get annihilated by the Left. The good news is that there are substantive policy issues that Americans want dealth with and that Democrats can't handle, like Social Security reform, tort reform, and so forth. Unfortunately the Republicans haven't been too keen on these issues either, but at least that reluctance has left some impressive fish for the candidates to fry.

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