On Hillary's Future in the party
by Student Guy, Mon Jun 16, 2008 at 07:20:04 PM EDT
(I wrote the bulk of this on June 10th and added some revisions during a Study Break)
About me: To be honest the last election cycle where I was a Clinton fan was in 1996. I adored Bill in 1992 when he ran as a change agent and played up Hope. However Hillary in 2000, 2006 never really appealed to me as I am a mid-west farm boy and New York is a long way away from the prairie both geographically and culturally. I am guessing because I tend to support insurgents that played a big part in my support in 2008. I started off supporting John Edwards and then decided in February to back Obama. As at the beginning Hillary did a Rose Garden strategy which I am never fond of. I will admit that by May I was extremely impressed with her candidacy.
So On Hillary's Future...
Despite my views I desperately want Sen. Clinton to have a prominent role in the party. In fact I have even donated to her and plan to again in July if her debt is not yet retired. I hold this position because I have come to realize the great political strength she has obtained. This would be the ability to neutralize the education factor. Since 2000 democrats have been labeled as a party of egg-heads and intellectuals. This is a great weakness in winning elections as the high school educated vote, while shrinking, is still a large block. These folks voted for Bush in 2004 and were barely won by Gore in 2000, however Senator Clinton was able to draw this cohort in not only the primary but in general election polling as well. Her appeals to the this class were viewed differently from other candidates appeals. Even John Edwards who was considered in the conventional wisdom as the candidate of the white working class, the traditional union folks, was not able to beat Hillary among this group in Iowa or any other state he competed in. Nate has an article about this here. Obama was only able to win this group when the race was a landslide (see Wisconsin). Her appeal to this group is close to unique among democrats as the other prominent national democrats like Howard Dean, Nancy Pelosi, and Ted Kennedy all have great appeal to college educated democrats. (please note that I am not pigeon-holing Hillary's support as all high school educated folks but instead saying that she has great strength there that is not often seen in today's democratic party).
Now I honestly don't know if she would be able to get these cohort of voters to vote for Obama in the fall, but if she were able to; then she is the only choice to consider as veep. If Obama could even hold high school educated voters to a draw he wins in a landslide of epic proportions as he will dominate the college educated vote. However if Sen. Clinton isn't the VP candidate I hope that she has a very prominent role to play n the national stage.
No other democrat in today's party shows this great of strength among this cohort. Nate Silver over at 538 did a great run down of this:
538 The high school educated vote has been trending away from the democrats since Bill Clinton's presidency. To see proof that Hillary truly neutralized the education factor Nate also did this article. These graphs were prepared before Clinton hit her full stride but it is clear that she connects with the block of voters who have attained a high school education much better than Obama.
Now this polling was done in April which was Obama's nadir. But imagine a democratic party that has people speaking not only to the college educated crowd (like Obama excels at) but also the high school educated crowd (which Hillary excels at). To you doesn't that seem like a opportunity to change the landscape and make this country a lot more progressive. By performing better among high school educated voters Obama could turn his projected dominating victory into a landslide of epic proportions. If this also had coat tails we could be looking at a Senate with 62 democrats (counting Sanders but not Lieberman) and a house with 300 democratic members. With that big of a majority we could have UHC, sign into law a card-check law, repeal the Bush tax cuts, reform NCLB. The sky is the limit for the change that could occur.
For recent history the democrats have ceded the high school vote. They have done almost well enough among college and post grads to win but not quite. Obama looks like he will perform better than Gore or Kerry among college educated voters, but by strengthening his position among high school educated voters the map would be a lot bluer.
I wasn't very receptive to her message in the primary but I hope that Hillary Clinton keeps the prominent position she has now. She connects to voters that agree with democratic positions, but don't typically vote democratic, the party would be a ship of fools not to look at her strengths and make sure that she is a leader on the national stage. If Obama doesn't pick her as VP, I will be a huge backer of her for Senate Majority Leader, she has proven in the past that she can work with republicans to get things done, and from that prominent position she could bring a whole lot of new voters into the party, combine that with the level of new registrations being done with Senator Obama's campaign and places like Georgia and Louisiana just might be in play. Or if she doesn't want that then I will be a backer of whatever she wants. The democratic party needs a voice like hers in order to become truly dominant.
If the democrats do this they can have their cake and eat it too and flip Karl Rove's dreams of a republican majority upside down. Wouldn't that be great?