Monday, March 03, 2008

Hillary's last gasp and Ohio strategy

Apparently, some of Hillary Clinton's "people" have suggested to The New York Times that Hillary may drop out of the race for the Democratic nomination if she does not win both Texas and Ohio tomorrow:

Their expenditures, combined with a travel schedule that sent Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Obama and their surrogates from border to border in Texas and Ohio, reflect the expectation that the voting on Tuesday may be climactic. Mrs. Clinton’s advisers have suggested that she will bow out of the race if she falters in either state, after 11 straight losses.

This woman doesn't give up easily, and I do not believe that losing Texas and Vermont (a scenario that is now not the least bit unlikely) will be enough to deter her from continuing on. If she is under the impression that narrow victories-that is winning by four points or less-in both Texas and Ohio will be enough to drive Barack Obama out of the campaign, I think she is in for a rude awakening. The Obama camp is setting up for a landslide in Vermont, and that wouldn't mean much except that with the Democrats' proportional delegate system, if Clinton were to win Texas and Ohio by four points or less, narrowly win Rhode Island, and Obama carry Vermont in a landslide, Clinton could do no better than an effective tie in the delegate count. Despite her lead in Pennsylvania, there is a month and a half to go before the Keystone State votes and plenty of time for Obama to catch up.

There is a particularly interesting note about Clinton's Ohio strategy that proves quite revealing:

In Ohio, both candidates have focused on the urban areas and suburbs around major cities, but Mrs. Clinton is campaigning as well in rural areas and southeast Ohio, which she views as one of the strongest parts of the state. (It is where Mr. Strickland did particularly well in his election as governor.)

Southeast Ohio isn't exactly the hub of nouveau-liberal thought. There are a lot of Democrats there, but they are the old-school, working class, socially conservative Democrats whose roots at the least come from the days of the New Deal, and in a few cases come from the days of the War Between the States and Clement Llaird Vallandigham. That part of the State is blue-collar, white, and most of its regular voters are over 40. To do well there, Governor Ted Strickland had to campaign as a moderate (as opposed to a liberal) Democrat-which he is, and George W. Bush carried nearly all Southeast Ohio counties handily both in 2000 and 2004. That begs the question: Has Hillary been campaigning in Southeast Ohio as the I'm-not-all-that-liberal candidate? If that is where Hillary is counting on getting the votes to put her over the top in Ohio, that is what she would likely have to do, and that would mean downplaying all of her liberal endorsements.

I wonder what lies she's been telling up there this week?

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At Monday, March 03, 2008 5:29:00 AM, Blogger Sharon Cobb said...

The Clintons are like the herpes of politics.

You see no sign of them, but they keep coming back no matter how badly you want them to go away.

And there's no cure.

At Monday, March 03, 2008 5:33:00 AM, Blogger Dave Oatney said...

On this, you and I agree completely!

At Monday, March 03, 2008 8:31:00 AM, Anonymous Adam Graham said...

I think it's incredibly hard for Hillary. If your scenario happens, she'll have lost 13 of the last 15 and gone from leading Texas to losing it, and have a very narrow win in Ohio if polls are to be believed. Then next week Mississippi and Wyoming will give Obama 15 of his last 17, heading into Pennsylvania six weeks in the future.

And Obama will have a ton of time to catch up with the African American population out there. Unlike with the Republicans, Democrats don't always continue until someone clinches because their states aren't winner take all. In 1988, all the Democrats other than Jesse Jackson dropped out when it became clear Michael Dukakis was going to win. Hillary needs momentum and a split won't give it to her.


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