Chris Cillizza reports that John McCain has bought air time in Michigan. It’s a smart move. The Michigan primary comes only a week after New Hampshire’s. If McCain wins both, he’ll suddenly become the Republican frontrunner.
Moreover, Michigan is a good state for McCain. For one thing, he won the primary there in 2000. For another (and the two points are related), it’s an open primary, so non-Republicans can lift him to victory as he hopes they’ll do in New Hampshire. In fact, McCain may be better positioned to capture independent votes in Michigan than in New Hampshire because Obama and Edwards have not been competing seriously in Michigan.
Of course, that too could change if Obama wins in Iowa and New Hampshire.
SCOTT adds: Reader Chritstopher Trudell writes to let us know that for the first time since 1992, Michigan has adopted a closed primary system, as noted in this WOOD TV story. Reader Robert Allshouse adds that the procedural change does not alter the substance of an open primary:
In Michigan, open or closed, you just need to declare a party and then vote in that primary. Only Clinton, among top Democrats, is running in Michigan due to the dispute about the moved-up date. It would seem reasonable to conclude that many independents — and even Democrats — would then opt to vote in the Republican primary.
Screw with the other party — a long tradition here.
As Paul observes, Michigan presents McCain with a prime opportunity to capitalize on whatever success he achieves in New Hampshire.
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