“The problem with slashing and burning is you never know when you’ll need to cross certain bridges again.”- Haruki on DailyKos
Earlier today, Terry McAuliffe said that he expected that those who supported Barack Obama would end up voting for Hillary if she ends up getting the nomination for the Democratic Party. The more I think about it, the more I disagree. Whether you support him or not, it is hard to deny that Obama has done a good job of bringing people who were not previously in the political fold into (or back into) the process. This group includes students/youth and many disillusioned citizens. Among these groups, it does not seem likely for them to just jump in the saddle with Hillary considering that if they liked her or cared, they would have been “in the fold” in the first place. Furthermore, the nasty nature of this campaign is polarizing Hillary as a figure to an even larger degree than previous times, but what makes the present different is that there is a group of ardent Democrats who are more anti-Clinton, with each successive Bill or Hillary (or surrogate) attack making a Dem reconciliation less likely. The other gigantic group that holds relevance here is the African-American community- their reaction to a possible reality of the Clintons using dirty politics to gain the nomination could lead to a potent reaction which could draw some parallels to George HW Bush’s re-election bid after he promised “no new taxes” and then reneged.
For the Democrats, the X-Factor will be Mr. John Edwards. To me, the past few weeks have shown that he does not have the juice to be the Democratic nominee this time. Assuming this is true, there are a few possible scenarios worth mentioning: If he drops out now or soon, it is not clear how his supporters would go (the assumption is Obama, but it is possible/likely that many would go towards Clinton). However, I see the potential of Edwards endorsing Obama as going a long way towards his supporters going in that direction, because there seems to be a loyalty with Edwards believers which could make an endorsement more persuasive.
What makes this even more compelling is that it comes at the same time as John McCain’s continued surge. Today was important for him because it takes any possible momentum away from Huckabee, and if Huck can’t take a Southern state with a strong evangelical population, it is hard to see Huck’s Joe-mentum holding out too much longer. The real question lingering if Huckabee falls out is who gets the evangelical mantle? I sincerely doubt it’d be Romney (too Mormon) or Rudy (for so many reasons). Do they go to McCain or sit on their hands?
Either way, a potential McCain/Clinton election would be compelling to say the least. This election is the Democrats to lose, but a divisive primary time resulting in a Hillary who has appallingly high negative ratings would make the GOP leadership celebrate.
Before we go our seperate ways, I’m gonna link to a few stories which could end up holding more importance in the coming weeks:
Accounts of Clinton-fueled voter suppression on the Strip in Vegas today (natually, take everything with a grain of salt)- http://dailykos.com/storyonly/2008/1/19/162953/644/790/439573
Bizarre story about how Hillary said for years that she was named after Sir Edmund Hillary (first man to climb Mount Everest), but later conceeding it wasn’t true after the media realized that Sir Hillary wasn’t “known” until Hillary Rodham was 7 years old- http://sweetness-light.com/archive/hillary-finally-admits-shes-not-named-after-sir-edmund
A thread on DailyKos with plenty of comments from Dems who would not vote for Hillary- http://dailykos.com/story/2008/1/19/194727/333/630/439733
As always, comments/opinions encouraged