Primary favorites not always best choice

staff

With two of the premier presidential primaries down and a big batch of them being decided throughout the remainder of the month, oddsmakers and Democratic political analysts alike are debating who will win the Democratic nomination.

Many contend that Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry held the upper hand going into “Super Tuesday” primaries Tuesday night. Some others argue that the fiery former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean is still the man to beat.

Voters, however, should pay little or no attention to these crystal ball-gazing pundits. The election is not about voting for the guy everyone else is picking.

It is, rather, about choosing the candidate best suited to defeat the sitting president and lead the country in a direction that protects Americans from the dual threats of terror and a backward and stagnant domestic policy.

In that framework, the best choice for today’s Democrats is Sen. John Edwards of South Carolina.

Edwards is the one Democrat that can rival Bush’s popular man-of-the-people image. As much as the other candidates may claim to be in touch with the elusive “common person,” the southern senator has the true charisma necessary to connect with that demographic and make it feel heard in an election season awash with cluttered messages.

Edwards is also long on substantive issues that will take him through the long haul of the 2004 campaign trail.

He successfully walks the fine line on taxing by supporting repeal of Bush’s tax cuts for the wealthiest with a corresponding new set of tax breaks for working-class Americans looking to buy a home or finance a student in college.

His plan to subsidize everyone’s first year of public college should be a rallying cry for the majority of SDSU students that already meet the plan’s requirements of high academic performance and 10 hours of work each week.

A state like South Dakota looking to revitalize its rural communities should take heart in Edwards’ plans to simplify the process for development grants and bring high-quality technology and service professionals to non-urban areas.

With a platform based in issues that dovetail with South Dakota’s needs and the charisma of a true man of the people, Edwards is the Democrats’ best hope for this fall.

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