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.


  1. 1
    Ryan says:

    I had been waiting for a post like this after Nevada. Iowa seems farther and farther away every day. 🙁

    Would having Richardson or Obama on the ticket sway you to vote for her? Although you didn’t mention it here, I’m guessing you would give a third party candidate a lot of interest, right? This seems like Bloomberg’s plan…

  2. 2
    Ron Chusid says:

    The VP choice might tip the balance on a close decision but it isn’t a major consideration. It is safe to assume that Hillary Clinton would not follow the George Bush model and allow her VP to run the show.

    I would consider a third party candidate. A third party candidate has a minimal chance of winning, but if the alternative is staying home there is no reason not to vote for a third party candidate who I expect to lose. I’m not sure that Bloomberg is the answer but I will listen to what he has to say. If it comes doe to an ego campaign, or a campaign based upon vague things like bipartisanship I have no interest. I would consider Bloomberg if he actually puts out a set of positions which I find preferable to the major parties. I would also be more interested in something which is laying the framework to shake up the current party dynamics as opposed to a one shot personality-driven campaign.

    Iowa seems a long time ago, but remember that Obama has still won the delegate battle. He tied in New Hampshire and won in Nevada. Where Clinton came out ahead is in momentum and regaining the appearance of inevitability.

    One lesson of New Hampshire is how quickly momentum can swing each way. The question is whether a victory in South Carolina, along with responding to Clinton attacks, can shift the momentum back towards Obama.

  3. 3
    gracie says:

    The only VP Hillary will have is Bill Clinton, no matter who is her ‘official’ running mate that is elected.

    So, for me NO. Her VP choice makes no difference as they will be politically neutered. Hillary may not even make decisions and could likely defer her decisisons to WJC who has ‘more experience’. Anyone who thinks this election is anything other than a 3rd term for Bill is fooling themselves.

    I have decided that I will not vote for Hillary and that I will vote for all other Democrats down ticket in hopes of the Republican President not having a GOP majority. However, as each day passes and Hillary builds more and more rancor across the nation not just with the GOP but within our own party I recognize that many people will likely stay home and not vote at all.

    Even the choices on the Supreme Court do not matter now that Roberts is the chief and Alito is on the bench with him, along with Scalia.

    I am going to fervently hope for massive health problems to take down the Clintons and Roberts that is our only hope.

    Perhaps, like here in MN, the Clintons can meet the Wellstones fate. While the latter would have been of great help to the nation the same fate for the Clintons would be in the best interest of our nation.

  4. 4
    Ron Chusid says:


    I’m not going to wish Wellstone’s fate on anyone, regardless of how little I think of them, but I certainly agree that Bill Clinton will have far more influence than the official vice president.

    I wonder if any potential VP choices will be concerned about beng even lower on the totem pole than usual for a vice president.

  5. 5
    Luv says:

    I can state unequivocally right now that I WILL NOT VOTE for Hillary Clinton. She is unworthy of the office (note, I didn’t say unqualified)and is identical to George W. Bush in pretty much every way politically.

    She represents the worst aspects of our political enviornment and I’d rather see a Republican shame our party than sell our souls to the Clintons. We’d DESERVE to have a Republican in the White House if we’re stupid enough to give her the nomination.

  6. 6
    john says:

    AS James Carville asked an Obama operative, “What is it you object to in the Clinton Administration? The peace or the prosperity?” I would vote for Senator Hillary Clinton for President of the United States in a heartbeat. And we would be fortunate indeed to have the Clintons in the White House. Remember, whatever smear campaigns we may have succumbed to re the Clintons in this country, they are greatly respected by a world that now largely holds us in contempt.
    Since they left the White House our international standing (among other things) has tumbled precipitously; when they return to the White House, international repect returns with them. And that is no small matter.

  7. 7
    Ron Chusid says:

    Peace? Both Bill and Hillary supported the Iraq war, so they can no longer run on that one.

    We can have peace and prosperity under other candidates, plus more. In contrast to the Clintons we can have a president who respects liberal principles. Most importantly, without the Clintons we might have a president who tells the truth.

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