Friday, July 13, 2007

Hillary's Coronation: Don't Count on It

BERKELEY, CA – Conventional wisdom tells us that when the dust settles next spring, Hillary Clinton will be the Democratic Presidential nominee. She has the money, the name recognition, the organization, the political endorsements –– and a seemingly insurmountable gender gap, being the only woman in a field crowded by men. So, she's going to win, right? Obama, Richardson, and Biden should start positioning themselves as Veep nominees? Don't count on it.

It is common knowledge that Hillary Clinton is a polarizing figure nationally, and while possible, it is unlikely that she could build a coalition that would deliver 270 electoral votes next November. In fact, her seemingly wide coalition of support is so narrow, that she even faces a battle to secure the Democratic primary that the pundits have already awarded her. With eight years as First Lady and six years of free, high-profile media coverage as U.S. Senator from New York, Hillary Clinton is one of the most recognized figures in American politics. But, with name recognition is well over 90 percent, why can't she seem to muster the support of more than 40 percent of Democratic primary voters?

Despite the number of candidates Democratic votes have but two choices in their primaries: "Hillary Clinton" or "Not Hillary Clinton." Nobody wants to say it, but right now, "Not Hillary Clinton" is winning.

One could argue that as candidates drop out, support will shift to Hillary as the logical choice, and then it's lights out for Edward, Obama, and anyone else who dares to challenge the Clintons. However, I don't believe Hillary Clinton is anyone's "second choice" in the Democratic primaries. As with most polarizing figures, anyone who would even consider supporting Senator Clinton is already firmly in her camp. Democrats have known Hillary for 15 years and they either like her or not – and it appears now that a majority do not.

I can't tell you who will be the nominee when the dust settles after Super-Duper Tuesday next February. However, as candidates drop out of the Democratic primaries for lack of money, lack of support, and lack of press coverage, two distinct camps of support will remain: Hillary Clinton's – and whoever remains in the race against her. Right now, if you ask me who will be accepting the nomination in Denver, I would bet on the latter.

1 comment:

Peter S. Cohl, Editor-in-Chief said...,0,2219355.story