Media see impasse and hope after Super Tuesday

Swiss newspapers have seen the positive and the negative in Super Tuesday

Swiss newspapers are upbeat but realistic after the Super Tuesday primaries in the United States, claiming the real winners are democracy and hope.

This content was published on February 7, 2008 - 08:47

Commentators said that US politics is undergoing a clear revival as voters show that they are ripe for change after eight years under President Bush.

Democrat candidates Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are neck and neck after primaries in 24 states to decide presidential candidates. John McCain has pulled ahead for the Republicans.

According to the Zurich-based Tages-Anzeiger, there is much to celebrate about Super Tuesday.

"After the dark days of the Bush presidency, American democracy is having a real party these days," it said in its editorial.

Debates on core topics are taking place and people are getting involved like never before, said the paper's correspondent in Washington.

It said a miscalculation in the Democrats' camp is to blame for "democratic stalemate" facing the party over which candidate should represent them.

For the German-language tabloid Blick the Democrat situation is clear. "Hillary remains the favourite, but Obama is snapping at her heels," it said.

McCain, it observed, can relax and concentrate on the presidential campaign. But for the Democrat candidates it will be a battle for every vote, it added.

The Neue Zürcher Zeitung titles its report "no decision for the US Democrats" and warns the Clinton-Obama duel could last until March. There was no "knock-out" on Super Tuesday, it said.

Even McCain could not quite eliminate his Republican rivals. The debate on whether he is "conservative enough" will continue, said the paper.

Hope springs eternal

For its part, the Geneva-based Le Temps sees hope as a leitmotiv for Super Tuesday.

"The hopes raised by this political sparring are without precedent for many decades – not since a certain John Kennedy gave Americans the moon as their horizon," it said.

All three candidates offer a certain measure of hope, it comments.

Le Temps remarks, however, that behind the "somewhat angelic face" of the campaign, "the interests at play are enormous and the daggers are drawn". This could lead either to the end of or the accomplishing of the dream, it warned.

The Italian-speaking Corriere del Ticino considers that the best thing about the primaries is that they have been full of surprises – starting with Obama's win in Iowa. These continued on Tuesday because voting was supposed to bring clarity, which it did not for the Democrats.

Several other French-speaking newspapers comment specifically on the "Obama effect".

For Lausanne's 24 Heures, Obama "has already had a deep impact on American political life" and the young Illinois senator has "made a new generation of the electorate want to vote". These are the voters who want change after President Bush, it notes.

Neuchâtel's L'Express points to"solidarity" behind Obama, whereas Fribourg's La Liberté says that the US has already won its election because the Illinois senator is still in the running.

La Liberté observes that the young generation has left behind the racial tension of the past and sees "not a black leader but a younger leader, who will be the best to understand and solve its problems".

swissinfo, Isobel Leybold-Johnson

Super Tuesday

Super Tuesday is the name given to the day in an election year when a group of US states hold simultaneous contests to help decide the presidential nominations. This year 24 states participated on February 5.

In the polls, Republican John McCain moved closer to his party's presidential nomination winning California and New York, although Mike Huckabee did better than expected.

Democrat Hillary Clinton won in New York and California, but rival Barack Obama also did well, winning in 13 states.

The next contests are on Saturday in Louisiana, Nebraska and Washington state and there are primaries in Maryland, Virginia and Washington DC on February 12. The US presidential election takes place on November 4, 2008.

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