Sometimes it appears that, yes, history really does repeat itself. It almost feels like 1996 all over again, doesn't it? Of course, you do remember the 1996 US presidential election, right?
In 1996, the Democrats will be putting forward a highly charismatic and articulate politician several years younger than his rival Republican and far more popular with independent voters and moderate/left Republicans.
The Republicans will put forward an older war veteran who has been in the U.S. Senate for a number of years and represents the moderate wing of his party. Like 1996, the Republican Senator claims age is on his side -- despite ongoing health concerns since his service -- and that his being a veteran therefore makes him best qualified to lead the country on national defense isses.
The story line is clear: John McCain is the new Bob Dole. The problem for McCain is that Dole's opponent, Bill Clinton, is less popular at home or abroad than the tremendous rush of support for Barack Obama. (Thus, McCain may be the new Dole, but Obama is not the new Clinton by a longshot.)
I see history clearly repeating itself: just as Dole lost handedly to Clinton, I predict that McCain will lose equally badly to Obama. For the benefit of number crunchers, my exact prediction is Obama wins 53% of the popular vote and McCain wins 45% (with 2% to other candidates).
Now here is a more controversial prediction: Arizona was virtually split 50-50 in 1996. Let me state first for the record I am predicting that Arizona will go to Obama. I think the vote will be just as close, but it will favour Obama. This is not because Arizona has not been kind to McCain, but instead because Arizona is a different kind of state: it has a perhaps surprising number of Democrats and unaffiliated voters, a highly multicultural population, many Arizonans were born elsewhere (lacking particular loyaties to McCain), and I have the sense that Arizona will deliver a major surprise this November. If Obama wins Arizona, then remember you saw it here first!
UPDATE: I understand that McCain has all but given up on New York state. There is a New Jersey office, but virtually no presence and no office staff in New York. It looks like a campaign short on cash . . .