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Thursday, August 30, 2007

Who’s Really More Viable?

posted by on August 30 at 13:40 PM

I hear a lot from Democrats about how Hillary Clinton is the most viable general election candidate—the one who can actually beat Romney, Giuliani, or Thompson.

Perhaps. But earlier this week, a local Edwards fan sent me this recent Rasmussen poll, which showed Edwards beating the leading Republicans by a larger margin than any other Democrat. However:

While he generally outperforms other Democrats in general election match-ups against Republicans, Edwards remains mired in third place in the race for the Democratic Presidential nomination.

RSS icon Comments


We need a civil war.

Posted by Mr. Poe | August 30, 2007 1:47 PM

frankly, mr poe, i'm tired of being civil.

Posted by infrequent | August 30, 2007 1:55 PM

That's because Democrats are paying attention, and have come to the conclusion that Edwards is the Democratic George W. Bush.

Republicans were desperate to nominate someone electable, and look where that got us--8 years of the worst president ever.

Democrats should learn from that mistake and nominate the best man to be president, not the man that should get elected.

D'ya think Republicans regret nominating Bush? I'm thinking yes.

Posted by Seth | August 30, 2007 2:06 PM

; )

Posted by Mr. Poe | August 30, 2007 2:08 PM

Fuck this. Kerry ended up getting nominated because he was "the electable one". Too bad nobody realized he had the personality of a potato.

November 2004 = Coyote Morning for the Democrats.

Posted by Mahtli69 | August 30, 2007 2:27 PM

I wouldn't vote for Edwards because I think he's electable, I would vote for him because I agree with the majority of his positions - far more than Clinton or Obama. I don't know who I'm voting for yet, but I still like Edwards, and it has nothing to do with how I think he'd do against Romney or whoever. How is he supposed to be like Bush, anyway?

Posted by Levislade | August 30, 2007 2:33 PM

but do the republicans regret wining the white house?

Posted by infrequent | August 30, 2007 2:35 PM

Or woman, Seth.

Anyway, this has always been a problem in elections, both local and national. In the primary, the candidate that appeals the most to their party base usually wins the primary. Then they have to try to appeal to the entire electorate in the general election. That is why Washington state ended up in 1988 with Pat Robertson winning the Republican primary and Jesse Jackson winning the Democratic primary. Neither candidate had any hope of actually winning a general election, but both managed to appeal enough to their base in WA to win the primary here.

This gets repeated on a local level too. Remember your own favorite underdog Hugh Foskett last year? Sure, it was a joke campaign. Yet he still managed to get through to the general election. More seriously, anyone remember Ellen Craswell? Complete nutcase winger that won the WA governor republican primary in 1996, but had no chance of winning the general election.

I actually think this process of primary and general elections is partly responsible for fostering some of the bitter partisanship we are now facing. It rewards populist extremists from both parties in the primaries. It is more difficult for a centrist to win a primary.

Posted by SDA in SEA | August 30, 2007 2:47 PM

Ugh, these least-bad-electable arguments are so nauseating.

Posted by Victor | August 30, 2007 3:12 PM

Hillary Clinton is most definitely *NOT* the most viable general election candidate. Jesus Christ, are Democrats this stupid? Wait, don't answer that. These are the same people who thought John Kerry was the strongest candidate in the last election. (Full disclosure: I'm a Liberal who is seriously disappointed with the Dems). Hillary is about the most divisive politician out there besides GW himself. If you want Republicans turning out to the polls in record numbers, nominate Hillary. I dare you.

The strongest general election candidate is clearly John Edwards. He'll get the Democratic base and he'll win over some moderates in the South. That's the only way a Democrat wins.

Posted by Ryan | August 30, 2007 3:26 PM

I am shocked, shocked to discover that a white male is seen as a more viable candidate than a white woman or black man.

Posted by Kiru Banzai | August 30, 2007 3:33 PM

if hillary is the most devisive candidate next to GW himself, then wouldn't that mean she has a pretty good change of being pres? after all, she's less divisive then someone who already won...

Posted by infrequent | August 30, 2007 3:37 PM

Hillary will win the nomination and become the next President. It doesn't matter if every Republican in the country votes against her. We have more money than they do and more voters then they do. The Democratic party will clobber the GOP next year. End of story.

Posted by Secret Squirrel | August 30, 2007 3:38 PM

Oh boy. It's a big mistake to assume the Dems are a lock for the next election. I think you guys are seriously underestimating the hold that racism and sexism has on a lot this country. And don't underestimate the Republicans' ability to fight. They've proven time and again they'll do ANYTHING to win.

Now's not the time to be cocky and now's not the time to ignore the truth about the viability of someone like Hillary actually winning a general election.

Posted by Ryan | August 30, 2007 4:04 PM

John Edwards = most electable? I wish.
Do you all pay attention to these three? One is clearly more liberal on most issues than the other two - and it's Edwards. He needs some serious enlightenment on gay marriage but we're working on that. Dude should not be President unless he changes his view on this. Outside of this issue, I love the guy. He's not pulling punches on the Republicans the way Hillary and Obama are. And I got to say it's good to see someone call the Republicans on the carpet. It's way past time.

Posted by call me a snot | August 30, 2007 4:09 PM

Please, please nominate John Edwards. An ambulance-chasing shyster who used junk science and channeled the spirits of dead little girls at trial to get bigger settlements would be as ripe a target as Hillary.

Posted by Brad | August 30, 2007 4:22 PM

@13 - Don't underestimate the animus that HRC will generate in the Republican base. Rove, Limbaugh, et al are completely fixated on her, and will stop at nothing to destroy her. I really hope the Dems take this chance to move past the Bush/Clinton echo chamber we've all been living in the past 15 - 20 years and nominate ANYONE but Hillary.

Posted by chris | August 30, 2007 5:00 PM

Hillary is her own wedge issue--especially if the GOP nominee is Guliani. That takes the abortion & gay marriage panic button OFF the table. So how do the GOP mobilize that base? The ANYONE BUT HILLARY panic button.

Think about it. If the nominee is Obama or Edwards VS Guliani most Christian Conservatives will stay home or maybe even consider the Dem nominee as they did with Jimmy Carter. If Hillary is the nominee they will come out in droves (like they did in 04) to elect anyone but Hillary.

Posted by jason | August 30, 2007 7:59 PM

I refuse to believe that Hillary is so divisive that she would pull enough people who hate her to the voting booth. The 2004 election had an inspiring 58% voter turnout. That's up from about a 50% average of the few elections before. 8% was all that an already completely failed administration managed to garner.

The type of people who hate Hillary enough to vote for anybody but her already vote in record numbers.

I'm not, by the way, dismissing 8% as an insignificant amount. But if voter turnout doesn't go down in 2008, I can guarantee that it won't be over 60%, whether the Democrats nominate Hillary or not.

Posted by Chris in Tampa | August 30, 2007 8:42 PM

@19: Believe it, Chris. Nominating Hillary is exactly what the conservatives want. They'll tear her apart while re-mobilizing their base. The Republicans may be reeling now but all they need is one thing to bring them back together again and that's exactly what Hillary would do. I couldn't believe the vitriol at first, either. But it's real and if she's nominated, the Dems lose. It's as simple as that.

Posted by Ryan | August 31, 2007 7:23 AM

People, both conservatives and liberals, underestimate Hillary Clinton. She's a formidable candidate and the fact that some people don't like her doesn't mean much. A lot of people hate Bill Clinton but he'd be elected if he could and did run. Hell, Reagan's corpse could probably get elected, and his name might as well be Hitler to liberals and not a few moderates.

Not only that, but no matter who the nominee is, the Republicans will demonize them, and Hillary's not much of a bigger target than the rest of them. I'm not an expert, and I could write the stereotype the Republicans would use for any of the Democrats.

Electability matters in that you want someone who is competitive against the Republican field, so someone like Kucinich is not a good choice. Any of the others except Gravel would do well against any of the Republicans, so the electability question is not particularly relevant. At this point, it's about who's the best candidate.

Right now, Edwards is ahead on policy, Obama is ahead on personality, and Clinton's got the most finely-honed political sense. I usually put policy first, so Edwards has the edge. If I'm going by gut emotion, Obama edges out Edwards. Hillary seems like the best candidate when I'm in a cynical, "realistic" mood.

Posted by Cascadian | August 31, 2007 3:50 PM

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