What if Hillary Wins?

Jason Zengerle at The Plank has the right idea as to what might happen should Hillary Clinton win the nomination. He quotes Obama as saying, “I have no doubt that once the nomination contest is over, I will get the people who voted for her. Now the question is can she get the people who voted for me?” Zengerle then speculates:

The Clintons’ strategy seems to be banking on the idea that even if they take the low road to winning the nomination, Hillary will still get Obama’s old supporters in the general election, because those voters will have nowhere else to go. I don’t think there are too many of them who would go to McCain, but what if they just stayed home? It’s probably not an electability argument Obama can make too explicitly without sounding like a spoiler–I’m actually surprised he made it as explicitly as he did to Brody–but it’s something to think about.

Staying home is a good possibility. Democratic partisans who always vote Democratic will most likely vote for Clinton, even if they currently prefer another candidate. However I, and I bet many others who now support Obama, don’t fall into that group. I’ll vote for a Democrat if they have a satisfactory candidate, but I’ve purposely decided against voting for president at times in the past and I’m sure I’ll do so again at times in the future.

This year the choice came down a matter of elimination. All the Republicans (except Ron Paul) were quickly excluded for their support of the war, plus all of the Republicans (including Ron Paul) were quickly excluded for their social conservatism. I excluded some Democrats and considered others, with Obama being the only one left on the list I found potentially acceptable as the others dropped out. Clinton didn’t make my short list of candidates I was considering, and the dishonest manner in which she is campaigning only makes it less likely I’d reconsider voting for her.

Most years I’d already be pretty certain that if Hillary Clinton won the Democratic nomination I would not vote for her. This year my objections to the Republicans are even stronger than most, leaving open the possibility that I might reconsider by November.

The war remains a significant concern, but I have zero confidence that Clinton would do a better job than the Republicans of finding a way out. I even fear that Clinton would be worse considering how often she has tried to show how tough she is on foreign policy. With her record for pandering to the right on social issues I also have little confidence she would be any better than the Republicans on many issues. As for reversing the trend towards excessive power in the Executive Branch–that one’s a nightmare. Hillary Clinton with all the extra power George Bush grabbed for the White House is a scary thought.

There is one, and possibly only one, factor which might get me to vote for Clinton in November. Republicans do have a chance of appointing Supreme Court justices who would overturn Roe v. Wade. Abortion rights haven’t really on the table in most presidential elections, but this time there is the danger that this can change. This is the one area where Clinton might actually have a distinct advantage over the Republicans. Democrats who are expecting all the Obama supporters to turn out to vote might get their wish due to this issue, but they certainly cannot count on all to be thinking about the Supreme Court when deciding whether to vote for Clinton or stay home. Personally I probably won’t make that decision until November should Clinton win the nomination.