Big news from both US presidential races yesterday as dropouts were announced.
For the Democrats, John Edwards has thrown in the towel after failing to make much impact in any of the primaries so far, running a distant third behind the media frenzy enveloping Clinton and Obama. Despite making substantial criticisms of Clinton's attacks on Obama during the early primaries, Edwards is not endorsing either Clinton or Obama - for now. This is probably strategic - keeping his options open to cut a running-mate deal with whoever wins the presidential nomination. It's a pity Edwards didn't make more headway as he was the most radical of the candidates and the only one who made action to reduce the shocking levels of poverty in America the centrepiece of his campaign. To a large extent he has been eclipsed by the emergence of Barack Obama as the alternative to the Clinton dynasty in this campaign - although Obama's policy platform isn't actually that radical.
Meanwhile, after what has turned out to be the most strategically wrongheaded campaign in recent history, one-time favourite Rudy Giuliani has pulled out of the Republican race. Giuliani's campaign was a disaster, full stop ("period"). He didn't bother to campaign in Iowa, New Hampshire, Michigan etc because he was concentrating on Florida because it had a lot more convention delegates. What he didn't take into account is that by failing to compete in those early primaries he looked like an also-ran time after time, and he missed out on any media coverage. The strategy might have worked if the early results had been a complete mess, with none of the other candidates gaining any net advantage, but the fact that John McCain was in the lead by Florida, and that McCain was also the candidate whose policy stance is closest to Giuliani's, effectively wrote him off. It's an extraordinary failure for the guy who was at one stage being touted as the great white hope for '08. Giuliani has endorsed McCain.