Monday, November 17, 2014

Hillary's Amazing Expanding Map

So Hillary Clinton wants to expand the map.

As an old 50 State Strategy Deaniac, I think this is a good thing. I'd even like to play for the future in a few places. Wendy Davis may not have been the perfect messenger and the campaign had a lot of problems, but Texas is a long range investment. And does anyone else remember that brief stretch where Mississippi - MISSI-freakin-SIPPI - had a 3-1 D House delegation?

The more interesting states, and the better long term investments, are Georgia and Arizona. Georgia was briefly in play in 2012 and competitive this year. Arizona would likely have flipped Democratic in 2008 had John McCain not been the nominee.

But in the medium range?

The unanswered question for the post-Obama era is how much were thoughts about Obama, and by extension about the Democratic Party, motivated by race? Both negatively AND positively.

Clinton bases her case for Arkansas, Missouri and Indiana on her appeal to white working-class voters, pointing to the 2008 primaries.

Chris CiIizza notes
Fair(ish). But remember that Clinton's performance in those primaries was against an African American candidate named Barack Obama, not against a Republican in a general election. And that coming close isn't the same thing as winning. Yes, Clinton would almost certainly do better with white working-class voters than Obama did. But, in some of the states that Stewart puts in that first bucket, that's a pretty low bar.
Kentucky's gone, as is West Virginia (carried by DUKAKIS in `88). That's more than Obama, though he's doubtless a factor. Is we saw in the House Democratic split over the Keystone pipeline this weekend, the environmental wing of the Democrats outnumbers the old-school labor wing,and Kentucky and West Virginia see Democrats, not just Obama, as job killers.

Arkansas seems to be on the list out of sentimentality. Bill Clinton couldn't save Mark Pryor this year, but maybe a Clinton on the ballot would bring some folks back one last - and it would likely be last - time.

But the flip side here: could Hillary Clinton replicate Barack Obama's high African-American turnout? The percentages will be there, sure, with Republicans making no serious effort at black outreach. (Their big winners this year either won despite black voters - Tim Scott - or in places with virtually no black voters - Mia Love.)

But will the raw numbers be there? Elias Isquith at Salon:
All the more so if we accept the premise that Clinton will appeal further to the kind of working-class whites who hate Obama, in no small part because of how they perceive his coalition (i.e., the people from whom we must “take our country back”).
And what does lower, even slightly lower, black turnout do to a place like Pennsylvania or Ohio?

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