No Good Reason For Clinton To Drop Out

by: Chris Bowers

Fri Mar 14, 2008 at 12:40

There is a sentiment in some parts of the blogosphere that Hillary Clinton should drop out of the campaign, "for the good of the party." The various aspects of the argument go as follows:
  1. Clinton cannot win unless she convinces delegates to thwart the popular vote, which would invariably anger many people in the party and create lasting divisions for some time to come.

  2. Clinton can only win by going nuclear on Obama in a way that will damage the party via right-wing arguments that will damage the party for a long time to come.

  3. We need a nominee early enough in order to start directly taking on John McCain.

  4. Obama has stronger coattails, and nominating him will help Democrats downticket in more areas of the country than Clinton.

  5. Given her low chance to become President at this point, Clinton should start working on building her future position in the party through means other than a presidential campaign.

I disagree with all of these arguments. In fact, I think arguing for Hillary Clinton to drop out is counter-productive at this juncture for the party, and even for Barack Obama. A distinction needs to be made between the dangers of running a destructive campaign, and of the dignity in running a long-shot campaign. In the extended entry, I counter these arguments point by point:

Chris Bowers :: No Good Reason For Clinton To Drop Out
  1. Without a single more superdelegate making an endorsement, it is still possible for Clinton to move pretty close in the delegate count. I presented this case yesterday in a table projecting future delegate counts based on current polling in remaining states, which shows Clinton down by 79 delegates when all the voting is completed. However, it should be pointed out that it is also possible for Clinton to surpass current delegate projections and polling. She could, for example, net 18 more delegates in Michigan, 16 more delegates in PA, 12 more in Indiana, 10 more in Florida, 6 more in North Carolina, 4 more in both Puerto Rico and Oregon, and 2 more in West Virginia, Montana, and Kentucky. All told, that would put her within three delegates of Obama. If that winning streak also results in her winning the national popular vote, then she would have an overwhelming argument to bring to superdelegates based on both momentum and the popular will.

    Some might object, and argue that since Obama has consistently gained ground on Clinton once campaigning has begun in any given state, the above delegate projections are unrealistic. However, why on earth should a campaign assume that it will drop in the polls no matter what happens in the future? Such a claim is asking Clinton to admit that there is no way for her to ever improve on her current polling position, a claim that is not only incredibly defeatist, but has also been proven wrong on a number of occasions. Clinton's polling relative to McCain improved during the entire first half of 2007, relative to Obama during the summer of 2007 and during mid-January 2007, and relative to both during the first week of March. While unlikely, it is not impossible for her to improve her position, get closer in the pledged delegate count, and win the popular vote. Even at this point, it can be done without thwarting the popular will.

  2. It is true that the Clinton campaign has not exactly been a bastion of light in recent weeks of the campaign. Specifically, arguing that John McCain would make a better Commander in Chief than Obama, in combination with threats to thwart the popular will, arguments that certain states don't matter, and comments like those from Geraldine Ferraro are all damaging to the party. I don't support any of those, and think that her campaign needs to change direction on those issues. However, that does not mean she should drop out, it simply means her campaign should change its rhetorical course. Those are not the only arguments her campaign can make. She needs to stop being damaging to the party, not drop out.

  3. To date, the contested primary campaign has actually been very good for the party. Cumulatively, it has created millions of new Democrats, sent our fundraising through the roof, improved our polling position for the general election, and turned a lot of red states purple. Organizing in all fifty states, straight through June 3rd, will only continue this pattern. By contrast, Democrats are not polling particularly well in Florida, a state where there was not a contested Democratic primary. I simply see no way that ending the campaign now will help Democrats in the general election. Let's play the string out to the end, and organize and campaign everywhere.

    Also, I just hate it when progressives start to argue that contested primaries are bad for the party. Primary campaigns have proven to be one of our only effective ways of pushing the Democratic Party to the left, and of bringing new grassroots energy to the party. When we start to argue that primaries should be avoided "for the good of the party," then we start to sound like the loser establishment types that have long argued our primary campaigns are destructive. I hate that argument, both because it is simply not true that primaries are bad for the party, and because it urges people to fall in line rather than using internal, democratic means to fight for what they believe in. A party that stands for falling in line ultimately stands for nothing, and will inevitably atrophy as time goes on.

  4. It is true that Obama appears to have stronger coattails for downticket Democrats at this point in time. However, that is not the case in every part of the county, and it also can change over the next three months. If, for example, Clinton goes on a big winning streak starting in Pennsylvania, then it won't be long before she starts polling better against John McCain in the general election. Already, she has drawn even with Obama against McCain, and if she takes the momentum in the nomination campaign, she will also take the nomination in the general election. And yes, coattails will follow from that, too.

  5. I would say that Clinton has about a 5-10% chance of becoming President of the United States right now (10-15% chance to win the nomination, and then a 50-60% chance in the general election). I honestly can't think of any possible future position that someone could hold that would equal the opportunity cost of even a 5% chance to become the most powerful person on the planet. Even if her chances of becoming President are a long shot at this point, they are still real, and as such nothing can possibly compare to them. At this point, continuing her campaign is her best option for the future.

In short, I don't see any good reason for Hillary Clinton to drop out right now. Her campaign needs to adopt thus damaging rhetoric, but that is not the same thing as asking her to drop out. I also think there is a real danger for Obama supporters when they argue Clinton should drop out. It never sounds good to urge your opponent to quit, and simply to hand you a major victory. It sounds weak, as though you can't win the nomination on your own. It sounds snotty, as though you feel you are entitled to the nomination. It sounds dismissive, like you don't care that there are lots of Democrats who support a different candidate. In fact, if you add this all up, it sounds kind of Clintonian, as though large sections of the party should simply stop their whining and fall in line.

Obama supporters should not be urging Clinton to drop out. Change her rhetorical course, yes. Making sure that Obama secures a popular vote victory, yes. Making sure that a popular vote victory is then not thwarted by other forces in the party, yes. Ultimately, however, there is no good reason for Hillary Clinton to drop out at this point, and I cringe whenever I see calls for her to leave the campaign. Honestly, such calls feel like meeting the enemy, and discovering that the enemy was us all along.

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All I can say (0.00 / 0)
is that I really, really hope that you're right.

Percentages (4.00 / 1)
20% x 50% is 10%.  :-)

so it is (0.00 / 0)
I'll fix. And math is supposed to be my strong suit... :)

[ Parent ]
Probably there (0.00 / 0)
are other circumstances that could prevent her becoming Pres besides losing the nom and the gen. Being hit by a bus is the classic. Yes those probably still don't add up to the missing 5%.

Jeff Wegerson

[ Parent ]
Me fail Math? Unpossible! (4.00 / 1)
50% chance of a 20% chance = 10%, not 5.

I agree with you, I agree with you as an Obama supporter. My fear is that she is going to go more negative.

Why she should drop out (0.00 / 0)
I think that #2 is vaild.  It would be like calling for McCain to drop out if he was running for a democratic president.  

Not that I think she should drop out before the primaries are done as I think the good outweighs the bad, but she should after.

Overall I think michigan and florida will probably do worse in comparison to the rest of the democratic states and the lack of contested primaries there will be the reason.

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I suppose you're right. (0.00 / 0)
    But do you really think we can win if we don't have a candidate until the convention?  Really, really?  

John McCain lets lobbyists shape his economic policy

June would be better (0.00 / 0)
And, if the convention was held in mid-July, I would actually be in favor of it going all the way to the convention. the only reason I don't like it going all the way to the convention in 2008 is because the convention is in late August.

I say, play out the string, and then, if no one has 2,208, maybe have some sort of pre-convention caucus via conference call, where we decided this thing in early July.  

[ Parent ]
What would a summer without a nominee look like? (0.00 / 0)
What campaigning is being done?  Who are appeals going out to?  With no voting left to do, how do citizens stay involved?  Why would citizens stay involved?

Your thoughts?

[ Parent ]
C'mon, Chris! (4.00 / 1)
Admit it, you just want Pennsylvania to matter so that you can sell billboard space on your roof!

[ Parent ]
Ironically (4.00 / 1)
I disagree with the above precisely because of the several items which require Hillary to have a more than perfect final run for her candidacy to be justified.

Ironically, it is Hillary who is running a campaign on Hope.

Michael Bloomberg, prince of corporate welfare

Obama supporters - about 5 days left to call PA independents! (4.00 / 1)
The deadline to switch from independent (= "non-affliiated") to Democrat is March 24.  The Obama campaign is calling PA independents (via the Obama website and when an Obama supporter is found the Obama campaign sends them a form to switch to Democrat.

In 30 minutes of calling I got 2 independent Obama supporters to switch to Dem.  These aren't 2 identified Obama supporters who probably would've voted anyway, these are 2 real votes!

Around March 20 it becomes too late for the campaign to get a form into people's hands and then have them mail back in on time, so if you're going to volunteer, please give a full burst over the next 5 or 6 days and ensure that Obama doesn't get wiped out in Pennsylvania.

Your number 2 (4.00 / 3)
If she abandons her scorched-earth tactics, I'm all for her staying in. I might even start to like her again.

She should be selling her health care plan. It's her strongest point politically, and the concept needs to be sold to the country whatever happens between now and November.

And Mark Penn. Has Mark Penn talking to press ever had a positive effect for her campaign?

Numbers (0.00 / 0)
It would be really interesting to look at general election matchups in states more than a month before their primaries and then after them.  I know here in Iowa Obama is way up on McCain while Clinton is down.  I wonder if it correlates more with a person winning the contest or just with having the contest at all.

about point #1 (4.00 / 1)
The larger narrative question is whether Clinton can honorably win the nomination and there are a number of factors beyond how you summarized the first point. The fairness issue with Florida and especially with Michigan. The character issue with trying to flip delegates (remember the chapter in F&L on the campaign trail '72 on how to flip a delegate and get them to pick up a few more?). And the trust issue, for instance I fully expect Clinton to fight to overturn the Washington Caucuses with the Primary after the last vote if it is close. And the meta issue with her campaigns tactics on all fronts bringing to the forefront whether we want her team back in control of the Party, without moral legitimacy.

At this point, I don't see how Clinton can cross the moral legitimacy threshold.  

On twitter: @BobBrigham

This is the pertinent issue (0.00 / 0)
I agree with Chris in general, but for me it all hinges on what kind of campaign the Clinton team can run.

I see no major disadvantages of a protracted campaign (at least until June) if there are certain groundrules. Candidates can continue to talk about why they'd be better in relation to certain issues, including C-in-C. But if they are going to be critical, it can't cross the line into what Olbermann has called the "filth" of race-baiting, or into arging that the Republican candidate would be better than the Democratic opponent.

If the Clinton team (and I'm sorry, they are the ones most guilty of crossing the line) could run such a campaign, it would actually be a disadvantage. Throw in a constant them by both campaigns against McCain, and it would be Mccain who'd have to fight two battles at once rather than Obama.

But as Bob says, at this point, Clinton has to win back the moral legitimacy, and if she doesn't, it will have a longterm negative effect on the campaign and on the progressive movement.

[ Parent ]
Sorry, (0.00 / 0)
I meant to say advantage in the second par. I.e. if the Clinton's ran an above-board campaign until June, the protracted race would be an advantage (in terms of constant coverage, party building etc.)

[ Parent ]
The Obama campaign cries "wolf" on race (0.00 / 0)
As I said in another post, the Obama campaign and its supporters go trolling and digging under rocks looking for things to decry as racist.  Read Bill Moyers, LBJ's press secretary who was in the room when it happened.... on the partnership between MLK and LBJ to pass the Voting Rights Act.  It bears no resemblance to how the Obama campaign characterized it, but it completely jibes with Clinton statements.

Read Eric Boehlert on the trashing of Hillary Clinton on the 60 Minutes interview.  She said no Obama wasn't a Muslim, "Of course not" with a second...she said no 8 different times and Steve Kroft kept asking the same question repeatedly...."as far as I know" was said in an exasperated tone and she was flummoxed as to why he just wouldn't take no for an answer. The Obama folks have a history of not taking no for answer as well.

These incidents are just trolling looking for racist comments to blowback at her campaign. Obama, despite the fact that he himself personally said that he knows the Clinton campaign did not release the Muslim garb photo, he then uses it in speeches to trash her.  The Obama campaign has done a lot to roil the race issue..No matter what they say about avoiding it they don't mean it because they know in a Democratic primary it helps them.  Even the idolatrous Andrew Sullivan says the Obama people have to stop it. It will 1. not help them them in the general. 2. it is driving Hillary supporters away from him and I assume he wants a united Democratic party to go into the general.

They have to stop it too.

Neither the assaults nor the anger are a one way street.

"Incrementalism isn't a different path to the same place, it could be a different path to a different place"

[ Parent ]
those are good points, but (4.00 / 6)
...the one problem that outweighs all the other answers is with #2. You say,

However, that does not mean she should drop out, it simply means her campaign should change its rhetorical course. Those are not the only arguments her campaign can make. She needs to stop being damaging to the party, not drop out.

Agreed, if she could run a positive campaign, then by all means stay in the race and take your chances. But do you really think that will happen? I see no evidence that she is planning on letting up the attacks on Obama at all, and I see no way to pressure or encourage her to stop. It worked in Texas and Ohio, so why not keep playing these right-wing memes and drive up Obama's negatives?

Since we all know this scorched earth strategy will continue, and that it could very well be fatal to our chances of winning (even if she were the nominee and not Obama), then I have to agree that she should stop her campaign.

I agree (4.00 / 2)
It would be fine to continue if Clinton weren't going to go nuclear on Obama. But how likely is that? She's not going to just hang around and hope that Obama somehow suffers a meltdown -- she's got to try to cause one. Doing that increases her chances of winning the nomination. It's too bad that it also decreases the chances of the Democratic nominee winning the general, but that seems to be a price she's willing to pay.

[ Parent ]
Huckabee Rule? (4.00 / 1)
Should it be refered to as the Mike Huckabee rule?

I don't understand why she can't do this the same way Huckabee did? He stayed in, and activly tried to win, while at NO point trashing his own party, and the presumptive nominee of that party.....

[ Parent ]
actively tried to win? (0.00 / 0)
Debatable.  Seemed to me he was gearing up for a speaking tour and a talk show.

[ Parent ]
Not mention raising his national profile for a future race (0.00 / 0)
Hillary Clinton does not have to do that, does she?

"It sounds wrong...
     ...but its right."

[ Parent ]
and at what point do we say enough is enough? (4.00 / 1)
How much negative campaigning needs to go down before argument #2 becomes indisputable?

[ Parent ]
The dichotomy between this site and say Talk Left is interesting (0.00 / 0)
While you discuss the "underhandedness" of Clinton, they discuss Obama's tactics with regard to FL and MI. I really don't see much difference between Clinton and Obama other than people seem to have staked out their partisan position, and now seem to focus everything through that lense.

If you read Matt and Chris a lot (4.00 / 3)
you'll see that this is a far less pro-Obama site than, say, Dailykos, and a far, far, far, far, less pro-Clinton site, than MyDD.

But this campaign has revealed that the liberal blogosphere is made up of many mini-public spheres, and sometimes they talk to likeminded people in a strategic way, rather than in debate with those who differ.

[ Parent ]
I do agree this site is better , but the bias of both sites is (0.00 / 0)
clear. Talk Left clearly leans Clinton. Open Left leans Obama. Chris made it clear when he endorsed Edwards (whom I supported) where he leans. I don't have a problem with that bias per se, but I do note that in situations like this we only get half the facts.  For instance, as I said, to talk about Clinton acting in an un-Democratic way, but to not have seen a full discussion here about Obama's manipulation of the electoral process in MI and FL, etc. Ultimately, this site is really good, but I do wish when looking at the candidates there is more of attempt by all to continue to show the contrast and similarities. But, then, that may be here because this diary is concerned with how Clinton can still win.

[ Parent ]
Talk Left Does Not Lean (0.00 / 0)
Talk left does not lean towards Clinton.  It's even more rabidly pro-Clinton and anti-Obama than dKos is the reverse.  MyDD leans Clinton (in the front page, the Diaries are getting astroturfed to hell).  Open Left is trying hard to hoe the middle row.

[ Parent ]
Sorry but that comments lacks objectivity (0.00 / 0)
Seriously-- have you been reading Daily Kos. I am oaky with pro Obama sites, but Daily Kos is crazy. As I mention, they actually argued in the front page that Clinton going to the exact same Christian Network as Obama was wrong for clinton, but not Obama to do. A few more reasaonable Obama supporters had to get on there to state their problems with the front page comment as being a double standard, and they were denounced. Let's not even get in to how Kos parse's diaries that bowers write. I come here to read what kos dissects, and I am oleft wondering "did he read the same diary?" Also, let's not get into the diaries saying "If Obama doesn't win, I won't vote Democratic." I haven't seen 1 diary at Talk Left like that. Only the biased can't see those  as being real differnces in behavior. Just bvecause Kos says what you want to hear, doesn't mean its reasonable in its approach. Or, to put another way, just because you only want mail that says what you want it to say doesn't mean you are getting all your mail.

[ Parent ]
dKos isn't banning Obama bashers (0.00 / 0)
TalkLeft was handing out bans for even mentioning the Ferraro mess.

[ Parent ]
But (4.00 / 2)
This site isn't partisan to Obama. The greater dichotomy may be between JJP and TL where both sites cater to and encourage support for a favored candidate and vigorously flame opposition from the top down. Open Left has diaries that seemingly contradict each other because there is actually a diversity of opinions on the race on this site.

[ Parent ]
Flame wars? (0.00 / 0)
This is OT, but TL vigoriously moderate their site to prevent flame wars. No matter the source.  Indeed, I find the site to be highly focused on lifting the debate even when it's disagreement. I think both this site and TL when it comes to flame wars are pretty good, especially when compared to Daily Kos (or as I now call it daily cesspool). My only point I guess is that if we want people to not frame the discussion about Clinton and Obama as evil v. good or become enflamed, it starts with the runners of the various blogs. Overall, I think OL is good, but just wanted here to point out how sometimes the biases play out. I think both candidates in different ways have been behaving badly since Edwards left the race (but hey that's my bias).  

[ Parent ]
I agree on some points (0.00 / 0)
The flame wars I remember at TL, as an Obama supporter, looked pretty harsh. I look at them now and see little difference in tone really. The moderation is a welcome change, but the diaries produced by moderators encourage one point of view most often, which is fine to be honest. I frequent JJP which has gotten MUCH more vitriolic in favor of Obama than any other site I can think of.

Again, my experience with both JJP and TL was that moderators would flame opposition to the favored candidate in the thread and threaten to ban those forcefully in opposition before they would do so to those in support.

Still, it's true that this site has been doing a good job of moderating and biases do come through at times. I agree that it's about who RUNS the blog and how it's run, and that's why I named the sites I named. The sites I said were encouraging flame wars had and have frequent updates on the campaign from overwhelmingly one of the two major sides for Democrats: either Clinton-supporters or Obama-supporters. The diaries about the election are mainly about how one is lying or devious or evil or racist or sexist and that criticism just gets played over and over by the mods ad nauseam.

JJP, again, has been much worse about this, but I think TL's moderation in terms of discouraging insults and name calling and cyber-bullying, etc. is still not up to OL standards.

Does this all make sense?

[ Parent ]
Yeah it does (4.00 / 1)
I used to not think moderators were a good idea, but to be quite frank, I notice that supporters will get together and collude to take over a site. Letting this occur is primary the result of who runs the site. I imagine that at the site you mention that is the central issue. I have to admit that when I read TL , I favor BTD diaries more because although he's an Obama supporter, he is a weak one at best, and therefore willing to admit both the strengths and weaknesses. I prefer this. I prefer it when we c an admit that both candidates are imperfect and why, and how they are good in some ways and why. Often, I get annoyed on blogs because it seems it's about a CNN type spin of the facts. I don't get why others would come onto blogs to spin. I can certainly see why people want to hear only those who want to agree with them, but on a site like Daily Kos, the goal seems to be just to spin. I really gave up on that site recently when I saw a front page diary attacking Clinton for going on a Christian network, but then ignoring the fact Obama had went on the same network. When called on the bias, the front page writer tried to claim there was still a difference. My thing is either the action was wrong or right. This trying to parse in favor of a candidate is what leads to X is Satan or evil or Y. It's this behavior which at least online leads to a lot of unnecessary strife. I know passion is needed, but this is the fake Jerry Springer kind of passion. Luckly, I don't think this is representative of the voting electorate as a whole- just mostly online.  

[ Parent ]
Obama must win in the court of public opinion (4.00 / 2)
the Clinton's went through this already in 1992.  The party was very fractured in '92.  Leader's across the country fretted about "when the other shoe would drop".  By mid-June, Clinton was polling third, at about 27% if memory serves me correctly.  I was one of the few die hards, angry about the Perotistas, watching Bill Clinton make his case on MTV of all places, during a Rock the Vote special.  
So, for Hillary, she knows she had almost half the pary with her up until the end of last year.  Winning over another 15-20% would have 'sealed the deal' but instead Obama was able to consolidate that 'other' half of the Democratic party.  The one pissed off at Democrats who co-opted Bush's policies, the one still mad at the apologists that 'let' Bush steal the election in 2000 getting America to this disasterous point.
Obama must make his case forcefully and win over those supporters remain steadfast to Hillary.  Hillary is doing all she can to hold onto her supporters while trying to peel away Obama's supporters which she feels are much 'newer' and 'softer' in their embracing of Obama.  
Obama has to win this in the court of public opinion, his supporters must help him win this argument.  

Excellent post. I'd add to that (0.00 / 0)
that it's good to have divisions with the Democratic Party become visible.  Yes, that's right--it's good to see divisions within the Democratic Party--*when* those divisions highlight something substantial about vying coalitions within it.  This nonsense about getting unduly outraged whenever some member of the campaign staff saying mean things about the other campaign's candidate wastes precious opportunities to make real differences clear between the various factions within the Party unless it is based on an underlying value difference.

I know this would be heresy to say at Daily Kos, but we need to face the fact that we're not all on the same side, even though we're all on the blue team.  Not just on issues, but on basic values (like the inherent injustice of capitalism, maintaining a hegemonic military, maintaining the illusion that this country is a meritocracy, etc.).  On the whole, I'm not on the same side as C or O.  That doesn't mean I'm on the red team; it means I'm on (what I rightly or wrongly think is) the side of justice or equality or fairness or the working class or Global South or whatever.

American two-party politics is a coalitional system--there are divisions, and we Leftists should highlight the divisions within the coalition whenever it serves our purposes to do so.

Then, yes, yes, we'll vote for the blue team either way, because we're in their coalition.

Kicking it in the NY-25.

Just to add... (0.00 / 0)
the example of O's pastor recently preaching about God damning America due to its injustice is a good example.  As far as I understand the pastor's comments, I'm behind the general vein of what he said, though I'm not a Christian.  O is not behind it.  Fine--he said as much and that he disagrees with the pastor.  But as far as I know, O did not say that the pastor did not have a right to say it or that he is not on the blue team (that he's not a 'true' or 'real' Democrat).  These instances of intra-party turmoil highlight the kind of divisions within the Party that are healthy to get out into the open air.  The pastor is going to vote for the blue team either way.  And all of those people in his church who yelled 'Amen' in agreement were voicing a counter-orthodox view that exists today, among O's supporters, who are within the Party.

I'm down with that.

Kicking it in the NY-25.

[ Parent ]
I, too, found myself nodding with Lewis (0.00 / 0)
Only saw a clip of him speaking, but remember thinking, so what's so extreme about that?  How far removed is he from my screaming at the teevee when gw appears and think to myself that I do believe I hate him.  Hate him.  And Cheney, and Rove, and every other douchebag member of his court.  How different is he from the rest of us who decry what's done in our name?  The main difference I see is that Lewis doesn't say done in "my" name, but instead done in "their" name, which only illustrates that he, like many AAs, feels justifiably like an outsider in his own country.  Semantics.

[ Parent ]
unfortunately, those divisions are shallow right now (4.00 / 1)
Race, gender, blah blah blah.  It's never really about the direction we want the country to go.

What if the party were divided on how many troops should stay behind in Iraq?  Wouldn't that be refreshing?

[ Parent ]
Not really (0.00 / 0)
The divisions are shallow because the debate is within the context of an election, where both campaigns and all the surrogates are hesitant (some less than others) to delve into topics involving race and gender.

That does NOT mean that topics involving race and gender are just meaningless pablum, however. Failing to address race and gender, as well as other identity conflicts within society in a more substantive way, like maybe incorporating policy ideas within a formal address about the topic, can lead to the party being weaker than it should be with the diverse nature of our coalition, and helps allows those who have always held the reins in America keep hold of them.

That is COMPLETELY about the direction of the country, unless you believe race and gender have nothing to do with the worldview of the head of state and government for America.

[ Parent ]
You misunderstand my point (4.00 / 1)
But I didn't write it that well, so it's not your fault.

What I meant was, the way we are talking about race and gender is inadequate to the task of advancing equality in America.  I absolutely agree that sexism and racism are real barriers to justice in the this country, and that the next Democratic president needs to address them.

But Ferraro going on all these TV shows and saying "I think YOU'RE racist, how about that!?!" is totally unhelpful, and it  creates this false reality where the Democratic coalition is divided by demographics instead of by the content of our solutions.

I basically agree with you.

[ Parent ]
The only problem I see with this post (4.00 / 2)
Is here:
A distinction needs to be made between the dangers of running a destructive campaign, and of the dignity in running a long-shot campaign.

The problem is that it seems fairly clear to me Hillary is deliberately running a "destructive campaign" rather than a long-shot campaign.

The problem with this analysis (4.00 / 5)
Is that #2 is actually persuasive, and you agree that she needs to stop with the "going nuclear" option.

And she's not going to.  She's been on that tear for a month now, what makes you think she'll stop?  It's precisely because of the sustained negativity that so many of us are calling for the race to end.

And the reason for the negativity is that I think your math on how pledged delegates will work out is way off.  Using polling rather than coalitions is a mistake.  The coalitions, based on regionalism, socio-economic status, race, gender, age, income, etc have been pretty stable of late.  They were fluid in January and early Feb, mainly with Obama poaching away Clinton demographics, but they've been near set in stone for many contests now.  And when you look at those coalitions, it becomes clear that Clinton needs to do something radical to shake those up, cause Obama's coalition is simply bigger.

What's more, that "radical" thing is the same "radical" thing she's doing to try to win over super-delegates: go nuclear on him in the hopes of destroying him, so that he's just not a viable option.

So, there's the problem for her:  to get more favorable delegate math or more favorable ground with supers, she has to stay negative.

And as you yourself said, you don't support her staying negative.

Once you accept the fact that as long as Clinton's campaign continues, she will be negative, your own preference that she end those tactics takes you to the same place the rest of us are already at: she needs to be forced out of the race.

I'd really like a response to this (0.00 / 0)
It basically demolishes the whole post.  How does Hillary win without going completely negative?

[ Parent ]
All that has to happen is (0.00 / 0)
for Obama to be identified as the Emperors Club's Client #10.

Nothing of the sort it likely to happen, but that's the sort of lightning strike she's hoping for.

I speak only for myself, not for those voices in the next room that won't leave me alone.

[ Parent ]
Lose Lose Situation (4.00 / 4)
I agree, there is no reason for her to drop out, but there's absolutely no scenario where she might realistically play nice.

If she's going to continue to run, she must play to win. And if she's going to win, she needs to drag Obama down. She's not going to beat him with speeches about McCain. So expecting or hoping that she run a clean campaign from a longshot position-- well, I think she would agree thats a waste of her time.

By virtue of her vote totals she has to run, and by virtue of her position, she has to run nasty. Its an unavoidable lose-lose.

A win-win is her staying in, conceding tacitly, and hammerin McCain along with Obama (god, wouldn't that be sweet.) but since she isn't playing for veep, we're never going to see that. So we get... this.

It's All About the Coattails (0.00 / 0)
I DO want Hillary to drop out, but only after a consensus forms among Supers that Obama is both the people's choice and the best coattails guy.  And I think the consensus will be fully formed by the time of PA, maybe even before, but no later than IN and NC (which should be the coronation).

There was something in the Scranton Times-Tribune about Hillary's negatives rivaling Santorum's in PA.  Those negatives have been fairly constant for years, and they'll go even higher if Hillary keeps up with the kitchen sink/toilet tactics.  In PA, that means not only that Obama does better against McCain, but that down-ticketers could lose if Hillary is at the top.

That's starting to sink in among legislators in PA and elsewhere, who in most if not all regions would much rather run under Obama than Hillary since, in defiance of history, he actually does bring more yougn'uns to the polls.  In areas where generic Dems have traditionally lost to generic repubs, the new Obama voters could (and hopefully will) result in a number of dem congressional pickups in November.  Hillary, by contrast, will not only not keep those young voters, but instead will by definition have alienated them if she is the nominee, since it is only by smearing Obama that she can become the nominee.

Elected supers appear to be figuring this out, but are waiting for the chance to flood over to Obama.  This is probably where those phantom 50 supers reported by Brokaw come in.  If you listen to Brokaw carefully, he didn't say they were on board, but instead that they were "ready" or something to that effect.  Had Obama done better in OH and TX, they would've migrated en masse.  Alas, he did not, and they got sidelined for a while.

So Hillary's in a trap.  She can't beat Obama unless she kneecaps him, but if she kneecaps him, she only raises her negatives, thereby amplifying the importance of his coattails.  This could not only cost the party pick ups, but could even wind up costing some present elected supers their seats.  And you know they're not gonna go for that.

As this seeps into the consciousness of the supers still in play (and probably some of those looking for a good excuse to jump ship), far more than fifty will be looking for a chance to go with Obama.  This, combined with the delegate and pop vote math could put him over the top, maybe even before PA if she continues with the toxic C-in-C stuff or the racist stuff.  More likely though, he must do well (read: not get blown out) in PA, and maintain in NC and IN.  Assuming that, the trickle to Obama should become a flood, (notwithstanding the Clintons' inevitable protestations to "wait for MI and FL . . . and PR. . . and the convention").  

OK, but (4.00 / 1)
Once it becomes clear that Clinton will not be able to catch up to Obama in pledged delegates or the popular vote, she should go.  If Obama is ahead in pledged delegates and the popular vote, yet still loses, I won't support her in November.

Stay in the primary but be better about it (4.00 / 1)
Of course it's good to have a fight still going, to get people in these states excited, to develop the infrastructure, and to stay in the news.  And she has every right to stay involved as long as there's any doubt.

That said, if she is going to continue claiming he's not qualified to be president and things like it, I have a hard time believing that it's best for the party.  Also, while I don't agree that there's any sort of deliberate effort to employ a race-baiting strategy, I'm also not particularly happy with the way that stuff is going.

Basically, I'm all for continuing the process, letting every state vote, etc. but only insofar as it stays mostly above-the-belt.  The problem is that I'm not sure if Clinton has any interest in that given that her best route to the nomination does seem to be a variation on the scorched earth approach.  I hope I'm wrong.  

Point #2. (0.00 / 0)
Chris, I do agree with you. Clinton should be much more careful about what she says in terms of damaging our chances in November.

I do believe, however, that the Obama camp's successful painting of Clinton as racist has done far more to damage her for the general election than the McCain controversy has done to damage Obama. Everyone seems strangely quiet about that.

It's astounding to me, really. It not only hurts Clinton's chances in the general, it also shoots Obama in the foot. The more his defenders bring up race, the more his "post-racial" appeal to independents and moderate Republicans erodes.

I agree (0.00 / 0)
with Chris' post in its entirety. The moral onus here isn't on Clinton but it may well be on super delegates. There would be nothing wrong with (and plenty to recommend) super delegates making all of this moot by declaring for Obama. Of course, I'm not arguing that all super delegates should endorse Obama now but rather the much smaller but still possibly quite large subset of delegates who are strongly leaning toward Obama.

My biggest concern, aside from Clinton's campaining that (4.00 / 1)
puts down Obama while bolstering McCain, is VETTING. The Clinton's have not been vetted for any of their business dealings over the past 7 years, the multi-million dollar contributions to the Clinton Library, her activities as First Lady, and outstanding charges of major election law fundraising violations. Can someone at least not force Senator Clinton to release her tax returns and business records and First Lady records and answer to the fundraising violations BEFORE additional primaries, before she is the nominee and before the Republicans sledgehammer her with anything they find during the super short general election?

Even Bill Bradley has made this point.

Help support "CRASHING THE STATES"--a Netroots Film!

Agree with others about #2... (4.00 / 1)
If she changes tactics, sure, by all means she should continue... there's no evidence of that happening though, particularly since it seemed to work for March 4th.

I think the problem a lot of Obama supporters have is that there's a Catch-22 involved here... If Clinton continues the way she's going, then she's hurting the party and our (likely) eventual nominee by making him look unelectable, but it gives her a slim chance of winning the nomination (and at the same time reduces her chances of winning the presidency)... but if she changes tactics, then she probably can't win the nomination.  Given this, it just doesn't look like a net-positive for her to continue.

And we've already seen a lot of the damage done.  For instance, for better or worse, a "joint" ticket has effectively been ruled out because of her tactics.  I'm not necessarily saying that would've been the best ticket, but it did seem like there was some interest in it originally (and, perhaps it may have even helped unify the two coalitions... who knows).  No longer... Clinton nuked that possibility (which likely would help her more than Obama) with her tactics, as even Pelosi has pointed out twice now.

The problem is they won't stop being negative (0.00 / 0)
She needs to stop being damaging to the party, not drop out.

She/they (the Hillary camp) won't stop damaging the party because they are only interested in winning now or in 2012. That is the problem with your entire argument. You seem to assume the Clintons will change their game plan and do what is best for the party. It is obvious to any sentient being that the Clintons are willing to do any thing to win and to hell with the party.

Please revisit this post when we reach the convention and see how well your argument holds up. I suspect that we will witness more of the same damaging campaigning in the next few months.

We all supported and defended the Clintons in the 90s and when Hillary ran for the Senate. This in spite of being disappointed by many of their behavior and policy choices. It is time for the Clintons to reciprocate by showing respect for the party.


It is a dereliction of duty... a total failure of leadership for Democratic Party elders to sit on the sidelines and allow the Clinton campaign to rip the party to shreds.

Stop rewarding the Clintons bad behavior with silence.

And while your are at it solve the bullsh*t with Florida and Michigan.

I agree (4.00 / 1)
and frankly those calls are some serious spin which to me are trying to disenfranchise a good 50% of the Democratic party and low brow.  

I find it disturbing that the Clinton campaign is constantly being accused of dirty politics because in my view there is a hell of a lot of it coming from the Obama campaign.  

Let people vote and can we please focus in on policy positions.  Ya know McCain on economics is completely vulnerable but if it is realized that the Dems and the GOP are in essence the same on this, odds are Dems will lose.

Democrats just invited The Bill Gates Show to basically spin his global labor arbitrage agenda.  In this case we had Republicans sticking up for Professional workers while Democrats appear to be more than willing to sell them down the river.

Moves like this one are precisely why Ohio threw up their hands in disgust in '04 and voted Bush.  

If you do not get true economic reforms clearly stated as the Presidential nominee's agenda plus the Democratic platform and instead zero choice between the race to the bottom on these issues, you're looking at yet another 50-50 split.  

Right now the Democratic primary is so full of absurd identity politics and spin, nailing down real policy agenda, which is the key to the general is near impossible.

It's amazing how few even know the real policy positions of either candidate!  

The Economic Populist

When was the last time anyone talked (0.00 / 0)
seriously in this race about economic or foreign polciy issues outside of sound bites?

[ Parent ]
drop out? (0.00 / 0)
Hillary lost me when she tried to claim delegates out of the bogus FL and MI primaries.  Up until that time I was pretty happy that we had two strong candidates, and I was enjoying the primary election process.  But she bared her soul by trying to make a case that those delegates should belong to her, and I will never forgive her, regardless of how sweet and co-operative her rhetoric is from here to the end of the campaign.  I do not want that woman anywhere near the White House, and I think that there still isn't sufficient appreciation and awareness of just what a disaster our Party is headed for if she manages to steal the nomination by some sort of flim-flam with the superdelegates.  If that happens, I will be the first to write a $1000 check to support a third-party run by Obama, and damn the consequences.  

Florida and Michigan (0.00 / 0)
I hate to imagine how the rest of the world must view us when they pick up their newspapers and read that the beacon of democracy known as America is actually having a discussion about counting votes from states in which the voters and the candidates were told that the results would be meaningless.  

How do we tell the children?

Come On (0.00 / 0)
That's a boatload of "if".

She's not going to win the remaining states by large enough margins to appreciably close the pledged delegate count, and she's not going to stop going negative - it's what got her this far to begin with.

So what are we left with?

The constant warrior (0.00 / 0)
If the U.S. had a 5% chance of winning in Iraq, should we continue fighting? If we had had a 5% chance of winning in Vietnam, should we have continued the war? It is a devastating problem for leaders who cannot disengage from a fight, who have to "win at all costs". This is precisely the problem with George W. Bush and the Neocons. And Hillary has the same problem: everything is an existential threat, everything is a war, everything is a fight to the death. Please, do not put this woman in the White House. We are going bankrupt fighting a war that cannot be won on military terms. She will just prolong it.

One Other Reason She Should Not Drop Out... (0.00 / 0) so the Dems have someone to nominate once Americans have weighed in on Obama's association with his pastor.

I guarantee you a number of white blue-collar Democrats who would have voted for Obama prior to the release of the Reverend Wright's statements and news of Obama's association will be the cause of either Hillary getting the nomination or McCain winning the GE.

So much for the post-racial transformative candidate. No matter how much he denounces Wright, he sounds like a phony and a hypocrite. Worse, Michelle's earlier remarks - "black America will wake up one day" and "for the first time in my life I'm proud to be an American" - are placed in a far-worse racially charged context.

As a Hillary supporter, I KNOW I'm going to get slammed by Obama supporters for this POV, but this is the new reality. If anything, I equate Obama's candidacy on a par with Ned Lamont's, which is why I believe the SD will go with Hillary. The Left may have won Lamont victory in the primary, but they couldn't get him across the finish line.

Obama's association with the Rev. Wright has now given the SD all the cover they need to go with Hillary.

No Clear Path (0.00 / 0)
Remember what John Edwards said when he got out. There was no clear path to the nomination. Clinton can't make up the deficit in delegates over the course of the final contests. Obama is too far ahead in the delegate count. No clear path. Al Gore told Howard Dean after Wisconsin to think of the good of the country, not the campaign. Dean listened to Al Gore. Clinton should leave the campaign because she has no clear path to the nomination.  


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