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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

The Piece Still Missing

It’s anybody’s guess at the moment whether Hillary Clinton still really sees a path to the Democratic nomination, or just wants to pick up anticipated wins in West Virginia and Kentucky to increase her convention and general election leverage and then fold her tent. If she does intend to push on until such time as she is mathematically eliminated, her biggest problem now isn’t so much the pledged delegate or popular vote totals, but the strong pressure mounting on superdelegates to wrap this thing up (perhaps, so goes the CW, next Wednesday, when Obama is expected to win in Oregon).
Her strongest argument with the supers right now would be that Obama isn’t electable. I say “would be,” because general election polls continue to show Obama running as well as or better than her against John McCain. The latest, a new ABC/Washington Post survey, shows Obama leading McCain 51-44, while HRC’s lead is 49-46 (it also has Obama with a 12-point national lead over HRC for the Democratic nomination).
Sure, the Clinton campaign can and will make a complicated argument that the battleground-state distribution of her vote in trials against McCain makes her the stronger candidate. But she needs more than that to sway the supers. Clear evidence that she is likely to win, and Obama is likely to lose, against John McCain remains the piece still missing from her case for the nomination.

One comment on “The Piece Still Missing

  1. Hellgate on

    Here’s how I see the refusal of both Clintons to acknowledge the fact that she is defeated: neither saw Obama coming; and neither can accept defeat graciously, especially in light of their initial anticipation at the beginning of the primary campaign that Ms. Clinton simply would walk away with the nomination.
    The Clintons have run a deeply flawed campaign and, much like Bush ceaselessly changing the goal posts in determining success in Iraq, they have tried to change the parameters of this campaign. Now, for instance, we are told solemnly by the Clinton campaign that the votes needed to win the nomination are significantly more than the number set by the DNC, when Michigan and Florida fell into primary date apostasy and lost their delegates as a result. Who are THEY to declare this? The Clintons will now dictate the rules of the DNC?
    They have run an awful campaign. For starters, theirs has been a top-down and old-fashioned campaign (surprising for the long computer-literate Bill Clinton), relying on large donors and assuming unquestioning allegiance from various minority blocs – traditionally Democratic – who have gone over to Obama. When it appeared that Obama was taking the momentum, they resorted to racist-tinged comments and ads. And finally, the refusal of Clinton to deal with the facts on the ground instead of wishes in the air, has only added fuel to the fire of speculation that both she and her husband will stop at nothing to secure this nomination.
    I had supported Bill Clinton during and after his Presidency; a New Yorker, I voted twice for Clinton for senator. I was a Clinton partisan when this primary campaign began. But, after Bill Clinton’s South Carolina remarks and the “3:00 AM” ad, as well as the continuing negative screeds from her camp, I have had done with the both of them.
    This is a “change” election, much like 1932, 1960, and 1980. The Clintons are a day late and a dollar short, and they just don’t get it. Moreover, if the Clintons’ campaign is an indication of how the White House would be run, then I fear we would get another George Bush, only in a different candy wrapper.


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