WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Republican John McCain clinched his party’s nomination for the November presidential election on Tuesday with four big victories over his last major rival, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee. Hillary Clinton won a critical showdown with Barack Obama in Ohio to keep her Democratic presidential bid alive.
Following are analysts’ views:
“With Clinton’s victory in Ohio, the Democratic race looks set to be prolonged. It could help the Democrats if either Clinton or Obama wins out with a tough image in the end.
“Right now, the current is running in favor of the Democrats. But if the two candidates end up spending much of their time slandering each other or using up their money, that would be negative toward the November race.
“Whichever of the two wins against McCain, it would have a limited implication on the Japanese economy, as the Democrats are focusing on China as a threat. Obama sees China’s interest rate policy as a problem, so the pressure on the Chinese yuan could lead to a rise in the yen if he becomes president.
“If McCain wins in the end, the Republican government would place more emphasis on its ties with Japan as a friendly nation, particularly in terms of security.”
“On the economic front, McCain is vowing to respect the independence of the Fed, so he won’t touch on monetary policy.
“But his sales point is not in economic issues but security policy, so I wouldn’t expect much change in the Japan-U.S. relations if he wins in the election.
“McCain is unlikely to make Japan the target of criticism while keeping a subtle distance with China. The Republican government won’t be pressing harder on Japan or China than the Democrats, although its policy stance could change depending on what the electorate may demand.
“Even in Texas where evangelicals were a significant part of the Republican electorate Huckabee didn’t get the margin that he needed. White evangelicals were half of the Republican voters in Texas today and according to early exit polls he has a plurality among them but he’s not winning a big majority of them. I think most Republicans have accepted that McCain is the Republican nominee and are getting behind him.”
FRED DICKSON, CHIEF MARKET STRATEGIST, D.A. DAVIDSON & CO,
Dickson said there had been little market interest in the Republican contest since McCain’s main rival Mitt Romney dropped out of the race in early February.
“Right now, I think the market attention is going to be really focused on whether there is going to be a clear-cut winner in the two big primaries on the Democratic side.
“McCain wrapping up the party nomination isn’t going to move the market needle at all. There may be some reaction tomorrow. If Hillary Clinton finds herself having lost in Ohio and Texas, that would possibly be a market mover.”
“I think Wall Street favors Hillary as being the favorite candidate to run against McCain and that she would be the more predictable candidate. Her team of advisers are known. Many are holdovers from the Clinton administration.
“A big win by Obama in both Texas and Ohio might trigger a minor market reaction. But I think most investors at this point realize that we’re still 9 months away from a general election and a lot can happen.”
“McCain can turn his fire on the Democrats and pummel them while they are distracted by their own contest. The other thing is that Huckabee has now endorsed him and tomorrow he will meet Bush for an endorsement. And both endorsements will be directed at conservatives and both are directed at them putting their doubts behind them and saying we are now going to unite and deal with the Democrats.”
KWEIBO HUANG, AN AMERICAN DIPLOMATIC POLICY AND INTERNATIONAL
AFFAIRS PROFESSOR AT NATIONAL CHENGCHI UNIVERSITY IN TAIWAN.
“For Hillary Clinton to win wouldn’t be good for Taiwan, because she holds the old standards of her husband.”
“In the end (former president) Bill Clinton’s stance on Taiwan wasn’t too good. He linked China’s human rights and trade in his first term but didn’t do so well in his second term.
“Obama’s foreign policy we can’t see yet, so what he would do for Taiwan we can’t say for sure.”
Compiled by Stuart Grudgings; World Desk Washington tel. +1 202 898 8370