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May 31, 2005

The Power of First

Garance on Hillary:

she's also got one incredible and unique advantage no other candidate has: the power of history. For a Democratic Party that's seen as adrift and out of date, having a woman at the top of the ticket can become part of a narrative of national progress and forward motion. More importantly, it could have profound implications for field organizing and strategies for winning actual votes.

That's correct, actually, and a very interesting point. Further, Hillary, by virtue of her time in the public eye, won't be the "first woman nominated by a major party for president!" I mean, technically, she will be, but her candidacy won't be novelty, she's too natural a choice for the ticket. That allows her to reap the benefits of a trailblazer without being seen as a token. And indeed, it fits nicely with the Democratic narrative of civil rights and equality for women, a storyline that's recently derailed into endless arguments over gay marriage. Regaining some sort of "force of history" sheen is crucial for Democrats though, and Hillary might be able to help us with that.

I do, however, have to take issue with something Garance wrote:

as Villaraigosa showed, it can help to have a candidate who actively inspires a fraction of the electorate where there's room for vote growth.

Yes, Villaraigosa did enjoy broad Hispanic support, but given the election we just went through, I wouldn't quite put "inspire" in the same sentence with him. VIllaraigosa didn't inspire much of anyone, it's just that his opponent was actively reviled by broad swaths of the electorate. End result? Turnout was abysmal, but those who did bother to leave the house went with Villaraigosa. So he certainly won, but he's not exactly a good model for future campaigners.

May 31, 2005 in Election 2008 | Permalink

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Comments

Hillary may actually win.

The Republicans don't have an obvious front runner and Hillary, unlike the hard left of her party, has attempted to postition herself in the middle (She supports the war. She is not for homo marriage, etc.).
If she does win, she will face a hostile congress and will move the left's agenda little.

Posted by: Robert Zimmerman | May 31, 2005 3:46:40 PM

Funny that you mention Villaraigosa not inspiring anyone but the revulsion of the electorate towards Hahn as being the deciding factor. I can easily see the same scenario playing out for the Presidency in 2008.

Posted by: Alan | May 31, 2005 4:30:25 PM

Guess that idea of running Mrs. Bush against Hillary hasn't been noticed here.RZ there's no chance the Repug's will ever risk enlisting girlie-boys (imitating Ah-nold). That Dems will has to be because most don't think it's scary.Haven't you noticed Repubs currently deal in fear ?

Posted by: opit | Jun 1, 2005 12:39:46 AM

Hey, I have no problem voting for a woman. I don't think anyone really considered the gender of Margaret Thatcher as much as her policies.
However, Hillary is a snake, both to the conservatives and to the liberals. She would sell out her own mother.

Posted by: Robert Zimmerman | Jun 1, 2005 11:12:38 AM

The Democrats are not going to give Hillary the chance to be President. I would think its going to be some Governor running. When was the last time someone became President who wasn't a Governor?

I place my money on Governor Vilsack (D-IA) of Iowa. He won't turn off a large percentage of the voters like Hillary would. Also he can't be called a Northeatern Liberal.

Posted by: Ron Greiner | Jun 1, 2005 12:27:39 PM

Look at Garance's reasoning:

"If Hillary can inspire and organize 5 to 7 million more single women to vote than voted in the last election -- and to vote for her -- in addition to matching whatever increased numbers she'll have to turn out to keep pace with growth in the Republican turnout operation's numbers, she would win decisively."

With all due respect to everyone involved (Garance and Billary), I personally am not sure taking a risk of trying to galvanize 5 to 7 MILLION more voters in the next election, based upon a "you go girl" phenomena, is worth it. I know some women who like Hillary and some who are indifferent, but in the battleground states, I'd like to see the solid evidence that there is a large bloc of voters just waiting for a woman to try for President. We don't need to win over New York or California residents. Now, if we could just get rid of that electoral college...

Also, I know some liberal men who aren't fond of her either, myself included (although I would vote for her if she were the Dem ticket.) What about turning off potential voters? Garance seems to think in terms of "all things equal."

Posted by: Adrock | Jun 1, 2005 2:52:27 PM

Hilary runs and I am out of the Democratic Party. Why don't we just have an aristocracy and be done with it? Maybe Chelsea or Jenna can take over next.

Slick Willie's neoliberal economic policies and general sleaziness were enough to keep me voting third party all through the 90's.

No Hilary.

Posted by: la | Jun 1, 2005 4:40:53 PM

Hilary runs and I am out of the Democratic Party.
Slick Willie's neoliberal economic policies and general sleaziness were enough to keep me voting third party all through the 90's.

Sounds like you are already out of the party. Welcome to my world...

Posted by: Robert Zimmerman | Jun 2, 2005 10:34:26 AM

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