Where is Mike Huckabee from

Political spectacle with lady

The next president is wanted for 300 million Americans. Joe Biden, veteran US Senator and second-tier Democratic candidate, tells his audience every day: This is the most important choice of their lives for all of them.

"Either we get the world and this country back on track or there will be major problems for the foreseeable future," warns Biden. A warning that all candidates would presumably sign. The election campaign has been going on for a year, so it is half-time in this marathon, which will ultimately cost billions of dollars. The two main contenders alone will spend a billion dollars together. But it's not that far yet. For Republicans AND Democrats, the nomination of the candidate is an ordeal. And this phase of the campaign is not about content and programming. David Yepsen has been watching the primaries for decades for Iowa's premier daily, the Des Moines Register:

The voter looks primarily at the personality of the candidate, and he asks himself: Can this candidate win afterwards, says Yepsen. There is certainly no shortage of different personalities this year. A black, a Latino, a woman, a Mormon - in addition to apparently old acquaintances from the mainstream of both parties, unusual applicants have a chance who could historically put the rightful label on this election. As always, the primaries begin in the state of Iowa, which is home to just one percent of Americans, and almost all whites at that, and an estimated 250,000 people will vote tomorrow. But the judgment of these few has enormous weight. Jimmy Carter's rise began in Iowa in 1976, where Walter Mondale won in 1984, Al Gore in 2000, John Kerry and George Bush in 2004, and they were all nominated in the end. And because that was the case, the applicants have been visiting all 99 districts, every city, and every village for months. So if you want, you can question the next President of the United States personally. Dennis Goldberg, a political scientist in Des Moines, Iowa's capital, smiles mischievously.

No sensible person would come up with the idea of ​​such a selection process, says Goldberg. Indeed, what will be happening in Iowa tomorrow - especially among the Democrats - has nothing to do with a conventional election. The so-called caucus is a party meeting, a political spectacle that, by the way, can be a lot of fun. Postal vote? Unknown. Secret election? On the contrary. And who will change his mind after making a decision? No problem.

The rules of the game are crucial, many candidates, here John Edwards, have made a video especially so that everyone knows what it is about. Dennis Goldberg:

"If you want to join in, you might have to take care of a babysitter, hope that there won't be a blizzard, and you have to stick with it for a few hours, in other words, it's much more than just giving your vote on the computer."

The procedure in brief: If you want to vote, you have to be at the polling station at half past six tomorrow evening, after which the doors will be closed and those present will be counted. Depending on the constituency, this can be between 20 and 300 people. The supporters of the respective candidates line up in groups. As a group, you have to be strong at least 15 percent of all participants. If this does not succeed, the group and thus the candidate are out of the race and the "losers" can go home or - now it gets exciting - join another group.

The homeless voters are now wooed by arguments, petitions and supplications. Violent discussions between family members, neighbors and friends. Only then will the votes be finally counted. That phase was pretty crucial last time around, says Scott Erennan, chairman of the Democrats in Iowa.

John Kerry had certain people in each of the 1874 constituencies who continued to campaign for him during the election. Howard Dean, favorite at the time, didn't. Kerry won, Dean lost. This second phase will also be important tomorrow. Because even if Hillary Clinton, Barrack Obama and John Edwards are tied in polls. When voters are asked who they would vote for as the second choice, Clinton is way behind her competitors.

I'm supposed to announce this guy, tall, handsome, with protruding ears, whom I love so much, says Michelle Obama in a hall full of supporters. Young voters are excited about the young Illinois senator. The duel between Barrack and Obama and Hillary Clinton determines the discussion among the Democrats, not just in Iowa. That afternoon, in mid-November, Obama was still in a difficult position. For months he was well behind Hillary Clinton. He had not yet managed to turn massive donations into better poll numbers. But that evening in Des Moines was to turn the tide.

Obama was the last candidate to speak, the audience had been listening for three hours, and Hillary Clinton had spoken directly in front of him.

Obama delivered an inspiring speech, in retrospect a milestone in his election campaign. In this country, where only two black governors and three black senators have been elected, the African American Obama actually has a chance. Obama wants to reconcile the politically divided nation. He criticizes the fixation on the opponent:

"If we want to win, then we mustn't be afraid of losing, this party was always the strongest when it came to the fundamentals, not the polls."

Since that night Hillary Clinton has had at least one competitor on an equal footing, with John Edwards, the lawyer campaigning to the left of Clinton and Obama, maybe even two. In terms of content, they are close together, everyone wants to get out of Iraq. Obama is the only one who has the advantage of having voted against the war before the invasion. Everyone wants a similar health care reform, a hot topic for democratic voters. 47 million Americans are without health insurance. That will change when the Democrats take over the White House. A woman and an African American both see their application as historical. Both have enough money to counter attacks from the other camp. With Bill Clinton at her side, Hillary has organized a highly professional campaign team. But the question remains, are the eight years at her husband's side in the White House a plus or a mortgage? Political scientist Dennis Goldberg:

"A lot of Iowa voters like her very much, but they also wonder if she can win against a Republican in the end because there are a lot of negative memories from her time at the White House."

Obama's argument is simple. President Clinton would be the continuation of an old rivalry that Washington has blocked for many years. Bush, Clinton, Bush, Clinton, that would mean: the superpower, in the hands of two families at war for 24 years.

A voter singing a song about the conservative applicants on the occasion of the CNNYoutube candidate debate. The Republicans also have a hard time making their choice, but while the Democrats cannot make up their minds because they find several applicants attractive, the Conservatives are at a loss because they don't really like anyone. The party is divided, it consists of partly radical camps that make a consensus seem almost impossible. Romney, Huckabee, Guliani, McCain, Thompson, names consistently unknown in Germany, but one of them will become one. In Iowa, Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee are fighting over the right faith. Romney, heavily wealthy businessman who was most recently governor of Massachusetts. He has already invested 17 million dollars of his own funds in the election campaign. Into a tight, professional organization in Iowa and New Hampshire. No other Republican has spent so much time in Iowa. The result was a comfortable lead in the opinion polls until late autumn. But at the beginning of November it was stormy. Romney a flip-flopper, that is how it was written more and more often. A flip-flopper, someone who hangs his coat in the wind. In Massachusetts he was considered a moderate conservative. Gay marriages weren't a problem for him then, they are now. And Romney has only been known as an anti-abortionist since he wanted to become president. His second major handicap, especially in Iowa: Romney is a follower of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, as it is officially called, easier: Romney is a Mormon. A real problem for the religious conservative base in America. For them, Mormons are more of a cult than part of the Christian church. Dennis Goldberg, the political scientist from Des Moines, recalls the past:

"For Romney it is a bigger problem than for the Catholic John F. Kennedy in 1960. After all, 25 percent of the population is Catholic, the Mormons only come to about two percent."

John F. Kennedy solved the problem in a legendary way. Kennedy explained himself and his stance on religion in a specially designed speech, in retrospect a masterpiece of political communication. I believe in an America, said Kennedy on September 12, 1960, that is officially neither Catholic, Protestant nor Jewish and that no elected representative solicits or accepts orders from the Pope and other ecclesiastical authorities:

Mitt Romney also tried a speech on Faith, and he had apparently rummaged through the archives.

"No authority in my church will ever influence my presidential decisions," said the Massachusetts Mormon. Forty percent of Republican voters in Iowa consider themselves part of the religious right, a powerful, well-organized party bloc without which George Bush would never have become president. This group is problematic for Romney. On the other hand, there are 20,000 Mormons in Iowa. Not unimportant, because tomorrow evening only a few thousand votes will be decisive.

A band in Elks Lodge, Iowa, and Mitt Romney's biggest problem, plays bass guitar. Mike Huckabee stands casually on stage. A kind of second home for him. Huckabee is an ordained Baptist minister and was the governor of Arkansas. His election campaign dragged on until October, little money, hardly any infrastructure, no basis. But at some point around this time the religious right realized that it was standing without a convincing candidate of its own. At the end of October, all Republican candidates presented themselves to the socially conservative base at a conference in Washington and Mike Huckabee saw his chance:

"I'm not just talking to you today, I'm from your ranks, said Huckabee, a creationist who openly questions the theory of evolution."

He described the current abortion law as a legal Holocaust and hit the nerve of the audience when he shouted that we do not have the right to change God's standards to meet new cultural norms, exactly the other way around.

Impressed, very impressive, very good, I attached his sticker to me right away, so reactions after his speech, and this early Huckabee activist said after the speech, it is still early enough, if we all support him, he has a chance .

She was right. That was at the end of October, and Huckabee has climbed steeply since then. That he has no experience of foreign policy and has shown himself to be poorly informed in recent weeks when it comes to Iran or Pakistan. Apparently no hurdle for the new religious star. His win in Iowa, Mitt Romney's nightmare.

Secretary of State Gardner when he announced the eagerly anticipated election date in New Hampshire on Thanksgiving Day. Just five days after Iowa, the next decision is made, and the problems for Mormon Romney continue there. Here, too, he was in the lead for a long time, and here, too, he gets competition at the last minute, but from a completely different side. John McCain is back, 71 years old, they like him in New Hampshire, here he beat George Bush eight years ago, who then brought him to his knees with money and a political mud fight. McCain was a prisoner of war in Vietnam for years and was tortured there. When McCain comments on the current discussion on torture and does not allow shades of gray, he speaks with unprecedented authority, as here, when Mitt Romney hesitated, refused to commit.

John McCain replied:

"This is about how we see ourselves. Anyone who wants to be president and commander-in-chief should be able to take a clear stand and say: We will never allow torture."

McCain is particularly popular with independent voters. There are many of them in New Hampshire and the Republicans there allow them to vote, so McCain is believed to be a success. Should it come like this, a Huckabees victory in Iowa, a McCain victory in New Hampshire, it would mean the end for Mitt Romney and a laughing fourth: Rudy Guliani, a man with three elements per sentence, a noun, a verb and the 11th September. Biting mockery from Joe Biden, the Democratic Senator, and yet there is a grain of truth in it. Why Guliani, the former mayor of New York, leads nationwide polls is a mystery to most observers. A politician in his third marriage, with liberal positions on abortion and gay marriages. A horror for the religious right. The 9/11 hero has largely ignored Iowa and New Hampshire. Mitt Romney spent six million dollars on television commercials in Iowa alone, Rudy Guliani not a penny. He calculated unusually, Guliani relies on success in large states with many electors who ultimately secure the nomination. States like Florida, California, and Michigan. Rolling up the field from behind - a dangerous and so far largely unsuccessful strategy, as the winners of the early states will take advantage of the media spotlight of the coming week. And again and again it will be said: is there still enough for Guliani? The answer to this will be given on February 5th, the so-called Giga or Tsunami Tuesday. On this day, votes are held in 24 states at the same time. It will then be clear which two candidates are fighting for the White House.