How Hillary Can Win or Lose
By Jerome Grossman
The Hillary political juggernaut has picked up speed and increased its lead. Contributions are rolling in at a faster rate as she appears to be the likely Democratic nominee. More Democratic officeholders with significant constituencies have endorsed her. The challenges by Obama and Edwards seem to have reached their plateaus, perhaps their upside limits. Hillary’s campaign gaffes have been held to a minimum. The superdelegates, mostly major donors and officials not elected but appointed by the party apparatus, which make up almost half of the voting delegates, seem to be breaking for her.
There are two potential serious negatives for the Hillary campaign that may persist until the primary elections. The liberal base of the Democratic Party is dissatisfied with her position on the Iraq war; her authorizing vote, her refusal to repudiate and apologize for it, and her plan for keeping residual force in Iraq after reducing US combat forces there. In addition, Hillary's positions on other issues are similar to the centrist positions maintained by her husband during his eight years as president. Liberals suspect that Hillary will reign like Bill and they don’t like it. However.if she is the nominee, they will vote for her to rescue the nation from Bush, Cheney and their adherents.
The second potential negative, her electability, threatens Hillary's nomination. Her opponents are reminding the Democrats of the 2004 nominating process in which the very popular Howard Dean seemed to have a lock on the nomination until the voters, first in Iowa, and then in the other states, decided that John Kerry was more electable - and it was over. If Hillary's negatives remain in the high forties, she may be rejected even by those who love her. That love will be superseded by the antipathy towards the Republicans, who aided and abetted George W. Bush. They must be driven from office: that is the primary motivation of the Democrats. If there is a possibility that Hillary could lose, she will not be the nominee. And if the other Democratic candidates have the same weaknesses, there's always Al Gore, just offstage.