But if Clinton (K-E7), Obama (R-G6) leads to… by mattsteinglass
June 5, 2008, 9:50 am
Filed under: President | Tags: , ,

People doing post-mortems on the Clinton campaign — how might she have won? — consistently fail to see that different moves by her or different situations at the inception would have led to different responses by the other players involved — including Edwards. Notably, the fact that her opponent was black shielded her from a potentially debilitating argument that she was unelectable. Ezra Klein starts a nicely broad and complex list of the things that led to her falling short:

Clinton’s campaign was responsible in part, but so were Clinton’s votes, and Obama’s unique talents and demographic characteristics. If Clinton had voted against the war, she would have won the primary. If she had apologized for voting for the war, she might have won the primary. If Obama had simply been a white anti-war liberal, he wouldn’t have overcome Clinton’s firewall of black voters. If he hadn’t settled on a “long march” strategy that included competition for caucuses and organizations in post-Super Tuesday states, he wouldn’t have won the primary. Which is all to say, elections are complicated things, with a lot of moving parts.

Yet this still fails to describe the full breadth of the options. If Obama had been simply a white anti-war liberal, he wouldn’t have had to face the argument that he was unelectable; and he might not have beaten Edwards. If either Edwards or white-Obama were in the race, it would have been Hillary Clinton, with her high negatives and female-ness, who would have faced the unelectability argument, and the whole shape of the race in early 2008 would have been completely different.


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