Saturday, 2 November 2013

Why Hillary is vital for the 2016 race


There is more data to support the argument that Hillary Clinton would be absolutely insane not to run for president in 2016.

As we know from polling data, Hillary is the only liberal candidate who performs consistently well against all conservative challengers, even Chris Christie, in head-to-head national polls for 2016. She beats all of them. The other potential liberal candidates like Biden and Cuomo regularly lose a lot of those head-to-head matchups.

But the gap between Hillary and the other liberals is even more striking when you look at the state-level polls. Believe it or not, there is already state-level polling for 2016. In those polls, Biden, Cuomo and the like do not do very well at all against Team Red. But Hillary has an opportunity, not just to win, but to win in the South, and break the conservative stranglehold on the southern states forever.

First, the other parts of the country. Up north, the polls tell us that Hillary would win Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New York, Pennsylvania and Virginia. She would win New Jersey even against Christie. She would almost certainly win Wisconsin, although Paul Ryan could potentially make it a fight. She wins Ohio, although Christie could make it close.

Hillary loses in the places you would expect: Kansas, Wyoming, West Virginia. She could actually lose Colorado if Christie runs. She probably loses Montana unless Brian Schweitzer is on the ticket. She loses to almost everybody in Alaska, but she beats Palin who is well known to the locals – ouch!

But the big surprise is in the South. Even when running against Christie, Hillary has tiny leads in Arkansas and Louisiana. In Georgia she trails Christie by a hair, ties Bush, and beats everyone else. In North Carolina she is beating Paul and Rubio, and in South Carolina she beats Cruz while losing to Christie and Rubio. In Kentucky she ties with hometown favorite Rand Paul and beats Rubio. She probably wins Florida, although she hasn’t been polled against Christie there. And the big one: in Texas she gets a split with Christie, beats Perry and Rubio, but loses to Bush and Cruz, although that last data came before Cruz became a national punch line over the government shutdown.

In other words, if Hillary runs, she not only holds onto almost every state Obama won in his two very comfortable wins: she can also attack the conservatives on their own turf, in the South. Wins a crushing landslide, even if she only gets a split down south. And helps build up liberal candidates and organizations across the South, uniting blacks, Latinos, women, gays, liberals, and people who are sick of the conservatives and the Tea Party. And overturns a lot of laws on union rights, gays and lesbians, abortion, Medicaid expansion, Obamacare exchanges, and voting rights.

Without the South, Team Red has nothing. Nowhere to hide.

Just imagine if Hillary picks a running mate who can appeal to a lot of new voters down south: Brian Schweitzer with his bolo ties and branding iron, Julian Castro, Charlie Crist, Bill Nelson, one of the Virginia Senators. Mary Landrieu!

Just imagine her campaigning with Castro, Wendy Davis, Allison Lundergan. And Big Bill and Obama.

In 2016, the Republicans will have an added problem defending the South against Hillary, because their southern donors will have other places they need to spend their money. Team Red must defend no less than ten Senate seats in the South alone: Shelby, Boozman in Arkansas, Rubio, Isakson in Georgia, Rand Paul, Vitter, Blunt in Missouri, Burr in North Carolina, Coburn in Oklahoma, and Scott in South Carolina.

And they can’t steal national money from Senate races elsewhere in the country, because they have yet another 14 Senate seats they must also defend: Murkowski, McCain, Crapo, Kirk, Coats, Grassley, Moran, Ayotte, Hoeven, Portman, Toomey, Thune, Lee, and Ron Johnson. Remember the big wave of 2010 that brought in all those new Republicans: six years later, the Democrats are only defending 10 seats while the Republicans defend 24. So the Republicans will be cash-strapped, even if they manage to overcome the current civil war among conservative fund-raisers. The Democrats could finally get that 60th Senate seat and crush McConnell's dreams, if Lundergan hasn’t already done so.

This is why you’re going to hear the word “BENGHAZI!!” five billion times over the next two years. And see continuing conservative sabotage of the economy, which they will then blame on the liberals. The conservatives know they need a weak economy and a bloody re-vetting of Hillary, to beat her.

If she runs.

Liberals could plan for a campaign that looks like this:

A Biden-Christie race? Just to give you an idea, if he goes up against Christie, Biden loses Colorado by 17, Iowa by 17, New Jersey by 11, Ohio by 18, Virginia by 7. That’s 60 electoral votes right there, draining the electoral college tally down to 272. And if Biden is taking on that much water in those states, then he is also likely to lose Florida, North Carolina, Colorado, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, Nevada, Wisconsin, maybe even Michigan and Minnesota. A landslide loss. And of course you can forget about invading the South.

Cuomo’s numbers are worse than Biden’s. Just to give you an illustration of how bad: imagine you’re DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz. You turn on your computer, and you see Quinnipiac polling data indicating that (and this is perfectly true) Chris Christie is within 8 points of Andrew Cuomo – in New York state. Your sphincter puckers so hard that you sprain your anus. And then you pick up the phone and promise your first-born child to Hillary Clinton if only she will promise to run in 2016.

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