Nobody can say with any real confidence who will win tomorrow's GOP primary in Michigan. On the eve of this critical contest, McCain and Romney are running neck and neck. And given the breathtaking events in New Hampshire, pollsters and pundits alike are spooked. Few hard predictions have been issued by the T.V. and radio men.
Me, my money's on McCain. The senator's bold and forward-looking vision for Michigan labor may not push him over the edge (just too hard to hear for many laid-off autoworkers), but I imagine Romney's calculated polish has, on some level, offended potential voters. On the other hand, McCain's grandfatherly appearance and knockabout personality are decidedly Midwestern, and should've endeared him to the Wolverine State.
Then there's the iffy matter of immigration, which will hurt the AZ senator, but I don't think Romney has fashioned himself a staunch enough nativist to draw robust support from the Minuteman crowd.
Maybe I'm banking too much on personality. Maybe Michigan voters are too conservative to accept a Republican who doesn't foam at the mouth over Mexican strawberry pickers, a Republican who's willing to state a hard truth: global capitalism is killing the Midwestern auto complex, and unless we're willing to go the way of aggressive protectionism, that trend ain't getting any better. America is rapidly becoming a post-industrial society; certain parts are feeling the disorientation of change in a particularly negative way. That is, sadly, the nature of the market, the same market that once drove America's automotive field to global prominence. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust . . . money makes and unmakes with equal ease.
Perhaps tax incentives could be used to anchor heavy production and manufacturing at home, but again, will Americans (and REPUBLICANS??) support that degree of interventionist government?
Anyway, Michigan to McCain, by a small but respectable margin (+2.5pts??).
Will I regret that in some twenty-four hours? Stay tuned . . .