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Honest Argument: Hillary Clinton cannot win election as President of the U.S.
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Hillary Clinton cannot win election as President of the U.S.

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Hillary Clinton cannot win election as President of the U.S.  Hillary Clinton cannot win election as President of the U.S.
       High unfavorability ratings  High unfavorability ratings
              Unfavorables are largely those who wouldn't vote Democratic anyway  Unfavorables are largely those who wouldn't vote Democratic anyway
       Religious right will not accept a female President  Religious right will not accept a female President
              This would inspire enormous "anti" voting  This would inspire enormous "anti" voting
                     More than offset by surge in female voting  More than offset by surge in female voting
              They could support a female conservative with the right credentials  They could support a female conservative with the right credentials
                     Norquist endorses Rice for McCain's VP  Norquist endorses Rice for McCain's VP
       Burdened by husband's scandals  Burdened by husband's scandals
       The Clintons are prodigious fundraisers  The Clintons are prodigious fundraisers
       Bill Clinton's political skills unmatched in Democratic party  Bill Clinton's political skills unmatched in Democratic party
       She has little to no grassroots support  She has little to no grassroots support
       Frontrunner status in polls  Frontrunner status in polls
              Early polls more about name recognition  Early polls more about name recognition
              Early polling drives fundraising, recruitment and media  Early polling drives fundraising, recruitment and media
       Significant Democratic constituency for first female President  Significant Democratic constituency for first female President
       D.C. insider support  D.C. insider support
       Dynasty fatigue  Dynasty fatigue
       She is too polarizing  She is too polarizing
              She is only polarizing because the right wing makes her so  She is only polarizing because the right wing makes her so

Comments:




She is a polarizing figure without par.

There's very litle ambivalence about Hillary Clinton. Should she campaign, any success she encounters will result from 1) huge expenditures of cash and 2) the electorate's (propbable) continued repudiation of Bush administration policies; she will not succeed on her own merits.

Comment by: Horofan At: 2006-12-01 06:38:29



Bill Clinton is probably the greatest living

Democratic strategist.

Needless to say, she will have exclusive access to those skills

Comment by: coolgeek At: 2006-12-01 18:58:51



Re: She has little to no grassroots support

She continually places first in public polls--even this far out, that has to mean something. Moreover, there's a significant constituency out there that wants to see the first female president, especially in the Democratic primary universe. Moreover, there are plenty of supporters of the Clintons who she'll have access to. Not necessarily the most popular figure among activists, certainly, but it's unfair to say she has little to no grassroots support (compare to somebody like Joe Biden whose entire constituency is made up of Tim Russert, David Broder and, of course, Joe Biden)

Comment by: meelar At: 2006-12-13 12:11:54



Re: comment: Re: She has little to no grassroots support

Some good points, meelar. I added three nodes.

One point I'd disagree with - on a technicality - is the definition of grassroots. She has lots of insider and institutional support (or at least there's an unwillingness to not be publicly supportive (and I qualify that because I'd bet a lot of them aren't convinced she's electable either)), but there doesn't seem to be much grassroots (some of whom, but not all, are activists) support. At least not the type of grassroots support that donated $50 million to Dean in mostly sub-$100 increments.

Comment by: Ulysses Berman At: 2006-12-13 13:57:50



Re: node: Hillary Clinton cannot win election as President of th

I am responding to the argument as stated, which appears to presume Clinton's having won the Democratic nomination. That is, I take the question to be, "Hillary Clinton as Democratic nominee cannot win the 2008 U.S. Presidential election."

That distinction is relevant because I do not think she can win the Democratic nomination. However if she does so, then I believe she will win the general election with relatively little difficulty.

The case that Hillary can't win a national election is usually summarized as, "Too many people just _hate_ her." The flaw in that analysis is the "too many" part.

I believe most people following contemporary American politics would agree with the following three assumptions:
(a) all the voters who hate the Clintons voted Republican in 2000 and in 2004.
(b) Hillary has no chance of persuading any of those voters to vote for her.
(c) the number of such Clinton-haters is not increasing (she's done nothing this century to inspire _new_ Clinton-loathing).

I will add a fourth one:
(d) given the Republicans' poll ratings and the lack of any incumbency advantage, the 2008 GOP nominee is highly unlikely to attract a higher fraction of eligible voters than George W. Bush did in 2004.

George W. Bush in 2004 got the votes of 29% of eligible voters. We believe that all of the Clinton-haters were among them, and that all of those would show up again to vote against Hillary in 2008. We also think that the GOP nominee will not top Bush's 2004 percentage.

In that case, the goal of any Dem nominee in 2008 is 30%: that's the national percentage of eligible voters he/she must attract in order to win the election safe from any oddball Electoral College arithmetic. John Kerry in 2004, surely one of the least-appealing major-party nominees in living memory, got 27%. Perhaps his total was artificially boosted by the special loathing which Dubya inspires in some quarters, but the Democratic national percentage has been consistently in the mid/high 20s through several presidential elections now.

Moreover the hate-Bush voters will be plenty motivated in 2008 despite his not being the actual GOP candidate, he will still be the smugly-infuriating face of the party; the liberals who are increasingly scornful of Hillary will still see the Republican as a worse choice. And while a Nadar-type third-party candidate could be mounted to siphon them off, that's unlikely at the moment with the painful memory of 2000 still fresh in the collective Progressive mind.

In sum there seems little reason to believe that Hillary in 2008 as the Dem nominee wouldn't start out with all of John Kerry's 2004 vote in the bag, nor is there any reason to believe that new Clinton-haters would appear who we haven't already factored in because they voted GOP last time. So then the question becomes, could she add another 3 points to the Dems' national vote by attracting people who didn't vote last time?

Sure she could, even her worst critics would concede this part. Her political strengths and skills are familiar enough to be not worth repeating, and she'd have precisely the type of one-time history-making aura that's most likely to entice to the polls some of the folks who've lost interest in choosing from among white guys in dark suits. Far more eligible voters sat out in 2004 than actually voted for either party's nominee -- Hillary only has to add about one-twelfth of them to Kerry's 2004 vote in order to beat the Republican, again assuming that the Republican isn't able to add anything to Dubya's 2004 total.


Comment by: Paul Botts At: 2006-12-20 20:11:19



Re: node: Hillary Clinton cannot win election as President of th

Paul,

I don't necessarily disagree with what you have written, but I do think your analysis misses some finer points.

First, although the number of Clinton haters may not be increasing, that doesn't necessarily mean voters will have a natural affinity to her or her campaign. I get the feeling there are millions of voters out there who, after living through consecutive Bush-Clinton-Bush presidencies, are tired of these names be bandied about and are looking for a fresh start. Hillary doesn't have that natural "likability" factor so overcoming this name fatigue will be difficult especially if the Republicans run a successful governor against her.

Second, I don't know if those enamored with the thought of electing the first female president will be a boon to her compaign. Seems to me that those who find such a thing that important would likely vote Democratic anyway.

Comment by: Powebar At: 2006-12-31 19:01:24



Re: node: Religious right will not accept a female President

Not necessarily true. If, for example, international tensions were even more hightened, and Condoleeza Rice had an impressive record as Sec of State, she could have been a potential Republican nominee.

Comment by: goethean At: 2007-01-04 17:48:22



Re: comment: Re: node: Religious right will not accept a female

"and Condoleeza Rice had an impressive record as Sec of State"

heh, did you mean to phrase that as a hypothetical?

Comment by: Ulysses Berman At: 2007-01-05 19:32:37



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