Column: Presidential Election To Be 'heck Of A Ride'

This story was written by Alex Carroll, Daily News

Is it over? Can we safely say that Barack Obama and John McCain will be the nominees of their parties for this upcoming election? As we quickly approach the Republican and Democratic National Conventions, the pieces are slowly beginning to take shape.

There are two main reasons this race has not been decided yet. The first is the power of the Clinton machine. Despite signs of cracks at its base, the Clinton campaign has assembled a powerful group of people willing to go to incredible lengths to get her elected. Hillary Rodham Clinton recently loaned her campaign around $6.5 million of her own money to keep her campaign afloat. This not only shows her determination but also reveals her campaign's weak financial position. The second reason this race is not yet over is the fact that Obama is becoming his own worst enemy lately. The comment of small-town Americans being bitter and clinging to guns and religion did a lot of harm to his campaign's message. In addition to that we have Jeremiah Wright scaring away some Democrats. Now his campaign has indicated that they will no longer be fighting as much for primary votes, choosing to go ahead and look to the general election in November. It seems to me that had more of these issues come to light in the weeks and months before Iowa's caucuses, we could be looking at a very different race today.

Republicans have it a bit easier at this year. With McCain having the nomination locked up, we can focus on other races. This is great for McCain, who can conserve his money and energy for the general election, while watching the fierce fight on the left. This vacation for the Republican camp has prompted a number of top Democrats, loudest of all, Howard Dean, to call for Sen. Clinton to drop out of the race allowing them to take away the GOP's advantage.

The fight between the two campaigns has brought on one other major issue for the Democrats. Many voters on the left have developed a fierce loyalty toward either Clinton or Obama. They are the ones with the bright signs in their yards and the T-shirts proclaiming their choice. Many of these voters could feel alienated and discouraged with the party should their candidate not get the nomination. Democrats will have a good bit of damage control to do once the nominee is picked, whoever it is.

It is wonderful, though to see what this election has done to the voters of America. People haven't been this excited in many, many years. It will be fun to see the long term effects that having candidates like Clinton and Obama will have on politics in America.

If the excitement that we see in young Americans truly takes hold, we may see elections in the future with turnout close to 75 percent. People have been trying for years to get young people excited about politics. This election could do the trick.

The best thing young voters can do right now is keep watching this race. Get involved however you can. Also, watch the history that is taking place here. No matter what happens in November, this election will be like none other in American history, given the current field of candidates.

It will be over soon enough, but it will be one heck of a ride until then.