The 2008 Formula

To get elected, the next President will have to both represent change and be hawkish on the war

Bettmann / Corbis

Former Vice President Humphrey and former Vice President Richard Nixon.

Amid a lively presidential campaign, with vigorously contested nominations in both parties, interesting candidates and a new primary schedule, it's worth asking, What are some of the underlying dynamics of the 2008 election? What kind of election cycle, fundamentally, are we in?

Actually, we could be in two kinds at once. We're having a change election, and we're having a war election.

One of pollsters' favorite questions is this: Do you think the country is on the right track, or do you think it's going in the wrong direction? As you would expect, when the right-track number is pretty high or...

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