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1  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Election What-ifs? / Re: 2004: Gore/Lieberman vs McCain/Hunter on: March 28, 2014, 03:20:10 pm
I wrote a timeline dealing with this scenario on AH.com. Basically, I think that Gore wouldn't have gotten as big a popularity boost as Bush post-9/11 for several reasons: 1) Bush wasn't blamed for the intelligence failures that allowed 9/11 to occur because he wasn't on the job very long. Gore was a part of Clinton's team, and wouldn't have received the same honeymoon. 2) Bush's personality was well suited to responding to an event like 9/11. Gore was viewed as more studious, patient, and reserved, traits which would not have had the same positive effect as Bush's. 3) In a somewhat unrelated note, assuming Gore does not invade Iraq, the neoconservatives along with many other members of the GOP will attack him for failing to pursue the War on Terror vigorously enough.

Taken together, along with Democratic fatigue and low turnout among liberals (due to Gore's ideology and a lack of fear of a McCain presidency), I see McCain narrowly defeating Gore. Then again, the election could very easily swing the other way with Gore winning narrowly.
2  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: You are George H.W Bush.... on: April 09, 2013, 03:02:59 pm
Kemp, because he provides cover on Bush's right-flank and experience on tax and poverty issues (two areas where Bush had significantly less)
3  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Election What-ifs? / Re: did Al Gore rise too quickly? on: February 21, 2013, 01:56:18 pm
No, Gore did not rise too quickly. He did everything needed to cement himself as the top Democrat when the time came to run. A sucessful career in the House in the Senate? Check. An "I told-you-so" campaign in 1988? Check. A role on the winning ticket in 1992? Check. A prominent Vice-Presidency which emphasized his moderate bonafides? Check. The execution of the 2000 campaign was all that held Al Gore back from becoming President of the United States.

1992 would have been another great oppurtunity for Gore. The DLC was becoming a major force in the Democratic Party, and Gore's views fit pretty well with the moderate wing of the party. But before we go crowning him, let's look at the negatives. Namely, Gore's no Clinton. He isn't nearly as charismatic as Bill and lacked the eventual President's strongest trait: Clinton could give the same speech to a crowd of white people as he could to black people (otherwise known as genuine empathy). Gore was much more stiff and tailored. He also lacks Clinton's need to be liked/loved. Gore is a much more privatve and family-oriented man, meaning he doesn't accept criticism very well. Bill did, making him an effective negotiator. I doubt a Gore presidency, if he were to win, would be nearly as sucessful as Clinton's was.
4  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Presidential Election Trends / Re: Would Clinton really have done that much better than Obama in Appalachia? on: November 29, 2012, 05:28:54 pm
2008? Yes. There are a few reasons. The first is cultural. Clinton spun a strong narrative in the primaries as a daughter of middle America. Obama was very much seen as a product of an elite Harvard-Chicago political system that greatly turns off Appalachian voters. The second is the Bill factor. Don't underestimate how popular he is in that area of the country. He symbolizes economic growth, as well as the ascension of the Southern culture to the highest office in the country. Hillary would benefit from that popularity, and she'd be wise enough to deploy Bill to those states. Third, Clinton's campaign was aimed at working class Americans. Obama's message of "Hope and Change" wasn't elitist, but it primarily appealed to outsiders (African-Americans, young people, more affluent voters) who haven't been targeted in recent elections. White-working class voters are part of Clinton's base, and she communicated directly to them.

With that all in mind, I see the 2008 election map turning out something like this:

Senator Hillary Clinton/Senator Evan Bayh (D): 360 EVs, 52% of the PV
Senator John McCain/Governor Tim Pawlenty (R): 178 EVs, 46% of the PV

Now here's how I see 2012 turning out. Let's assume Clinton pushes harder on the economy, but only gets a few elements of healthcare reform passed and takes a more hawkish tone on foreign policy. Also, let's assume she faces off against Mitt Romney in the election.

President Hillary Clinton/Vice-President Evan Bayh (D): 50% of the PV, 327 EVs
Governor Mitt Romney/Senator Rob Portman (R): 48% of the PV, 211 EVs
5  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Alternative Elections / Re: Cuomo vs. Bush vs. Perot 92 on: November 26, 2012, 10:50:08 pm
Cuomo would have won by a very narrow margin. It also depends on whether or not Perot stays in the race. He was polling strongly when he withdrew from the race. But assuming that he drops out, here's how I imagine the electoral map looking:

Mario Cuomo/Ann Richards (D): 40% of the PV, 301 Electoral Votes
George H.W. Bush/Dan Quayle (R): 40% of the PV, 237 Electoral Votes
H. Ross Perot/Andrew Stockdale (I): 20% of the PV
6  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: is Obama automatically obliged to support/campaign for Biden? on: October 15, 2012, 12:10:46 pm
Presidents rarely get too involved in the succession process. If there's an open primary, than Obama would do more harm than good if he intervened. That would be especially the case if both Biden AND Clinton run. Both are members of his cabinet, and both would be entitled some degree of support. Therefore, he probably wouldn't give support to either candidate to prevent any sort of blowback from the other.
7  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Election What-ifs? / Re: What if Al Gore had picked John Edwards to be his running mate in 2000 instead? on: September 18, 2012, 02:33:54 pm
Bob Shrum was one several top Gore adivers who suggested picking Edwards. They believed that the campaign lacked in enthusiasm. Edwards was seen as a "rock star" who could get out the vote among the Democratic base. Whether or not this is true, I don't think Edwards would have given Gore the bump necessary to help him win the election. He may have helped in the South, but not enough to swing any states. Also, Lieberman proved to be a major boost in Florida. So it's quite plausible that the results in Florida wouldn't have been as close as they were in real life. As far as the future goes, Edwards enters the 2004 Democratic primaries as an early fronturnner. There's a very good chance that he goes on to win the nomination with the added name recognition and fundraising that goes along with being the "next man up."
8  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Past Election What-ifs (US) / Re: 1968: Johnson vs. Nixon vs. Wallace. on: August 08, 2012, 09:00:52 pm
Johnson fares worse than Humphrey, due to voter anger and a decrease in support among white liberals combined with a lack of substantial gains among any other voter demographics.
9  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Election What-ifs? / Re: Madam President: Hillary Clinton in 2008 on: June 29, 2012, 03:41:29 pm
Her Time to Shine

A deafening roar rolled through the Pepsi Center as Senator Hillary Clinton took the stage. Chants of “Hill-a-ry! Hill-a-ry!” rang out as the Democratic nominee waved to the crowd. The eyes of the world were upon her. In that moment, every news network from CNN to Fox to Al-Jazeera was transfixed upon her face. She smiled from ear to ear and waved to her ravenous supporters. This was it. This was her moment. Her entire career had led up to this point. All of the trials and hardships of marriage and motherhood, much less being First Lady and Senator, were worth it. Every event in her life had prepared her for this. She earned it, and she was ready.

   Senator Clinton arrived in Denver almost a week earlier. Walking off the campaign jet, Clinton joked “I already feel a mile high!” The media had fun with that. But there was something symbolic about quips like that. Something about Hillary had changed in the months after securing the Democratic nomination. She had relaxed, opened up, and learned to laugh a little. The first hurdle had been completed. Her opponents had taken their shots, as had the media, and she had survived. The Romney Campaign tried to tear her down by painting her as insistent, hard-headed, and uncompromising. Those were labels she was used to and more than prepared to deal with. Criticisms of her tenure as First Lady were also employed. Clinton shot back that “My experience in Washington has prepared me to be President of the United States. Sure, I made some mistakes as First Lady. But I’ve learned from them and ready to lead.” Meanwhile, Hillary attacked Romney as “another orthodox Republican who’ll do nothing for America’s middle class.” But for the most part, the Clinton Campaign remained focused on their candidate’s message and strengths. She focused on jobs and economic growth while deemphasizing liberal causes such as health care and the environment. There were obvious parallels between her husband’s unofficial theme in 1992 of “It’s the economy stupid!” and the Senator’s theme of “Solutions for America.”

   The Democratic National Convention opened on August 25th in Denver, Colorado. The location was strategically chosen as part of DNC Chairman Howard Dean’s “50 State Strategy.” This plan focused on competing in states that were traditionally Republican but had seen signs of becoming competitive. Colorado was a perfect example. It had voted for George W. Bush in 2000 and 2004, but had elected a Democrat to the Senate in 2004 and the Governor’s Mansion in 2006. Polls showed a tight race in Colorado, as they did nationally, and the Democrats hoped to capture both the state’s nine electoral votes and its open senate seat. Meanwhile, the Republican’s would hold their convention in the traditionally Democratic state of Minnesota in a similar attempt to steal once a safe state.

   “One Nation, One Party” was the first night’s theme. Former President Bill Clinton was the opening speaker. Clinton spoke of his deep love and trust of his wife, and spoke proudly of her accomplishments “as First Lady, as Senator from the great of New York, and as my wife and mother to Chelsea.” The Former Commander in Chief claimed that as President, Clinton would bring back “common sense economic and fiscal policies to a town sorely in need of them,” as well as address long awaited problems including health care reform and energy independence. Other speakers included former President Jimmy Carter, former Secretary of Defense and Senator William Cohen, and Senator Edward Kennedy (via satellite).

   The second night of the convention was centered on the economy and was titled “Renewing America’s Promise.” Senator Barbara Mikulski of Maryland delivered the prime-time address. In her speech, Mikulski focused on creating high-paying jobs and ensuring that “all Americans get a fair shot.” Her populist rhetoric played well to the Democratic base and fired up the crowd. Following Mikulski, Virginia Governor Mark Warner delivered the keynote address. Focusing on investing in education, technology, and alternative energy, Warner crafted a more moderate message intended to appeal to independents and Republicans. Following Warner was Congressman Dennis Kucinich, who delivered a damning attack on the Bush Administration. Repeating the refrain “Wake Up America!” Kucinich attacked Republican tax, economic, military, environmental, and trade policy before stating “if you think Mitt Romney will be any better, then you need to wake up!”

   Wednesday’s theme was “Securing Tomorrow.” Focused on national security, the speeches that night were delivered by many Democratic Party heavyweights. Indiana Senator and Vice-Presidential nominee Evan Bayh delivered a empowering speech in support of Hillary Clinton. Bayh reminded viewers that “We live in a dangerous world. The next President will be faced with crises that we cannot predict today. It is critical that we elect someone with the experience to lead, and the knowledge to make the right choices. Someone who will not make decisions based on ideology, but on fact and evidence. Someone who’s first priority will be protecting America and ensuring that our children and grandchildren have a safe future. That someone is Senator Hillary Clinton, and she is ready to lead.” Bayh was followed by Senators John Kerry and Joe Biden, both known for their knowledge of foreign policy. The final speech was delivered by Clinton’s former rival, Senator Barack Obama. Obama attacked the War in Iraq and said that “As President, Hillary Clinton will bring a swift end to the War in Iraq. She will remain vigilant in the War on Terror, and she will ensure that America will be safe long after she leaves office.” Obama’s speech, while not as well received as his keynote address four years earlier, was an important sign of party unity after a contentious primary battle. Obama also officially nominated Clinton for the Presidency, and saw that she received almost unanimous support.

   The final night of the convention was a tour de force of Democratic Party leaders. The opening speech was delivered by former Vice-President Al Gore. Focusing on Clinton’s years as First Lady, Gore claimed that “Hillary Clinton was Bill Clinton’s strongest and closest adviser. For every major decision, Hillary was there. When Bill was confronted with a Republican Congress and needed help, Hillary was there. When Newt Gingrich threatened to shut down the government, Hillary was there. When everyone said Bill Clinton would be a one-term President, Hillary was there. When a partisan witch hunt tried to throw her husband out of office, Hillary was there. In the darkest and most trying moments of his Presidency, Hillary Clinton was there to help her husband persevere and remained focused. She proved then that she knew how to lead, and I believe she has grown even stronger in the eight years since.” New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson and New York Senator Chuck Schumer joined in praising Clinton’s record as First Lady and Senator before the nominee took the stage. It was her shining moment. She had worked on her acceptance speech for months, and was as ready as she’d ever be.

   “For eight years, the American people have looked to the White House for leadership. They have not found it. The American people looked to Washington to defeat terrorism, create jobs, and ensure a sound fiscal future for the next generation. Instead they have found those who pass the blame, entrench themselves and allies, and do little for working Americans. I believe in an America where our elected officials work for the people, all of the people. As President of the United States, I promise that I will spend every day, every hour, and every minute working for YOU. I will fight to create jobs for every American willing to work. I will ensure that our first and foremost goal in foreign policy is to protect America and our freedoms. I will work to balance the budget fairly, not on the backs of senior citizens and the working families. America was founded on the promise of a government for and by the people, and I plan to keep that promise.”

10  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Election What-ifs? / Re: Madam President: Hillary Clinton in 2008 on: June 26, 2012, 12:20:46 pm
For those of you asking, here are the primary maps:

2008 Democratic Primaries and Caucuses

Dark Red: Clinton
Red: Obama
Pink: Edwards

2008 Republican Primaries and Caucuses

Dark Blue: Romney
Blue: McCain
Light Blue: Huckabee
11  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Election What-ifs? / Re: Madam President: Hillary Clinton in 2008 on: June 25, 2012, 03:07:08 pm
Long, Hot Summer

The long and hot summer months are where elections are won or lost. It is these crucial months that candidates and campaigns make their case to the voters, and where the decisions that most impact the November elections are made. Historically, general elections did not begin until after the nominating conventions in the middle of the summer. But with earlier and earlier primary schedules, the importance of the conventions has become less and less important. 2008 was the perfect example. Both parties’ nominations were wrapped up by March. Hillary Clinton and Mitt Romney began the grueling general election campaign while snow was still on the ground. Speeches, ads, and fundraising dominated both candidates’ calendars. Nonetheless, the summer months were crucial to the campaigns. As independent and swing voters began to tune in, the candidates’ began to rev into high gear.

   After winning the Republican Party’s nomination, Mitt Romney was faced with the difficult task of reconciling his moderate views with the GOP’s conservative ideology. It would prove to be a difficult and often frustrating task. Romney had already moved to the right on abortion, gun control, and gay marriage prior to his campaign for the Republican nomination. His views on foreign policy, the economy, and the budget were also in step with a majority of Republican voters. However, Romney maintained centrist views on several issues, most notably health care, the environment, and entitlements. The trick was marketing his views to the electorate at-large. This meant deemphasizing his right-ward shift on social issues while focusing on his centrist positions on other issues. Romney made the economy the center piece to his campaign, and argued that “President Hillary Clinton will mean a return of tax-and-spend liberalism. I promise right now that a President Romney will cut your taxes, cut spending, and get our economy moving forward.” Romney began a 50-state tour in April, emphasizing that “The President needs to represent every American, so I think it’s important that I campaign in every state.” The low-key campaign of the Republican nominee was intended to paint the picture of a typical American, not a wealthy corporate raider. Romney spent most of his time in the crucial swing states of the mid-West and emphasized his father’s role as Governor of Michigan and as an auto industry executive. A high-point in his campaign was a June trip to the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library to receive the endorsement of Nancy Reagan. This was an important win for the campaign, as Romney had struggled to evoke an image as the successor to Ronald Reagan’s legacy.

   While Romney looked to solidify his base and unite the Republican Party, Hillary Clinton attempted to soften her image among voters who saw her as too aggressive and uncompromising. Clinton campaigned with her husband, former President Bill Clinton, and other Democratic Party leaders in an attempt to portray a united Democratic Party. Senator Clinton also devoted a great deal of time to fundraising in an attempt to out-spend her wealthy opponent. Clinton’s base of support in the primaries, women and blue-collar Democrats, were also an important part of her general election coalition. Her opposition to NAFTA and support for “reinvigorating America’s middle class” became important elements of her general election campaign. Clinton also reached out to African-Americans and Hispanics, who represented a growing segment of the electorate. One of Clinton’s first post-primary interviews was with Oprah Winfrey, a prominent supporter of Barack Obama. Clinton appeared genuine and concerned about the state of America’s economy, and held back on criticizing her opponent. Her relatively positive campaign was meant to reflect her husband’s approach in 1992. Instead of attacking Romney, Clinton focused on the progressively worsening American economy and promised to “take action to stop the decline in our middle class, and to ensure that everyone gets a fair shot at the American dream.”

   Throughout the summer, polls showed a virtual tie between Clinton and Romney. Voters were split in a fashion similar to 2000 and 2004. Voters most concerned with the economy, health care, and the environment supported Clinton. Those focused on the debt, taxes, and foreign policy polled in favor of Romney. Despite the closeness of the race, the Clinton campaign remained optimistic. With the economy continuing to decline and the recent collapse of Bear Stearns, Romney was forced to deal with his own past as an entrepreneur. The Clinton campaign refused to go negative on Romney’s past, but that didn’t stop their surrogates in organized labor from going on the offensive. Romney countered by arguing that he was a “job-creator” who saved many profitable companies from bankruptcy. The war of words between Romney and organized labor allowed Clinton to rise above the battle and appear more Presidential. During July, she traveled to Iraq as part of a Congressional mission and congratulated General David Petraues for “turning around a war that looked like a lost cause.” The Romney campaign in turn jumped on Clinton for “admitting that she was wrong, dead wrong, about the surge. Now that we’re on our way to seeing a stable Iraq, Hillary Clinton wants us to forget what she said just a year ago.”

   The heat of the summer campaign manifested itself in media speculation over running-mates. Both campaigns had remained largely mum on the selection process and did their best to remain leak free. Romney tasked campaign manager Beth Myers to lead up the search committee, shifting day-to-day operations to former field director Josh Ginsberg. The Clinton campaign tasked deputy campaign manager Mike Henry to do the same. Both campaigns put a great deal of weight on the selection of a “VEEP,” largely due to their own candidates’ short comings. For Romney, the goal was to make a choice that appealed to Southerners, social conservatives, and Evangelicals. Clinton sought someone who could either energize the grassroots or help consolidate support among independents. The tough part was selecting which area to focus on.

   The Romney team initially came up with a long-list of potential choices that were presented to the presumptive nominee in mid-July. The initial list was heavy on Senators and military men, as the assumption was that Romney would want someone to complement his strengths as a Governor and businessman. However, several names were quickly eliminated by the upper echelon of the campaign. Examples included Senator Sam Brownback (“too out there on social issues”), Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson (“it’ll seem like we’re trying to simply counter Hillary”) and General Tommy Franks (“Pre-Pretaues equals too toxic”). After conversations with Romney, Myers presented a short-list of eight names that Romney would speak with, would be vetted, and then selected. This list included Senator John Thune, Governor Tim Pawlenty, Governor Mark Sanford, General James Jones, Governor Bobby Jindal, former Congressman Rob Portman, Governor Haley Barbour, and Governor Sarah Palin. The first step in the final process was to vet the potential selections. The “heavy-vetting” process was handled by a D.C. law firm over the course of two weeks. Governors Palin and Barbour were eliminated by this process. Palin was seen as too inexperienced on foreign policy issues, while Barbour’s background as a D.C. lobbyist was a major liability. The next step was for Romney to meet the remaining choices. This process eliminated General Jones and Governor Jindal, both of whom stated they had no interest in the number two spot at the time. This left Senator Thune, Congressman Portman, and Governors Pawlenty and Sanford. Romney admired each man, and was deeply divided over the choice. He eventually eliminated Portman because of his connections to the unpopular Bush Administration and Pawlenty because of his lack of charisma. The final selection was between Senator John Thune and Governor Mark Sanford. Both were strong conservatives who had won upset victories over Democratic incumbents. However, Thune was viewed as a Republican insider while Sanford had a record as a maverick. This drove Romney into finally selecting Sanford. With the unpopularity of the Washington establishment, Romney hoped the South Carolina Governor would provide the support necessary to win over independents and conservative Democrats.

   The VP selection process for the Clinton campaign was far shorter and more straightforward. Senator Clinton was involved in the process from day one and knew many of the potential nominees well. Her parameters for her running-mate were simple: they needed to provide geographic balance to the ticket, have a background of loyalty to the Clinton-wing of the Democratic Party, and they needed to have strong support either among the party’s base or among independents. he only exception to this was Senator Barack Obama, who quickly denied any interest (much to Clinton's relief). A long list was whittled down to a half-dozen names: Governor Bill Richardson of New Mexico, Senator Joe Biden of Delaware, Governor Ed Rendell of Pennsylvania, Senator Evan Bayh of Indiana, General Wesley Clark, Senator John Edwards, and Governor Ted Strickland of Ohio. Much like Romney, Clinton met with many of these candidates personally. Problematic tax returns eliminated Richardson, while rumors of infidelity knocked Edwards out of the running. Controversy over his role in the Yugoslavian conflict made Clark too much of a liability. Rendell’s big city politician feel was an issue, as was Strickland’s opposition to abortion, though these elements failed to eliminate either candidate outright. The favorites for the selection were Bayh and Rendell. Clinton called both for a second interview, before finally settling on Bayh due to his strong support in a traditionally Republican state and his centrist views. With this selection, both candidates had chosen running-mates. As the conventions neared, it was clear that both campaigns were prepared for a long and trying election.
12  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Election What-ifs? / Re: Madam President: Hillary Clinton in 2008 on: June 22, 2012, 02:06:15 pm
Super Tuesday
Super Tuesday. Those two words, largely a media creation, meant so much. They symbolized the single most important day of voting in the Presidential primaries. Created in 1988, Super Tuesday was designed to shorten the primary calendar and allow the frontrunner to quickly eliminate his or her rivals and consolidate support within the party. This plan had worked in 1992 and 2004 for the Democrats, and in 1988, 1996, and 2000 for the Republicans. Both parties hoped that 2008 would clear the field and allow their respective nominee to focus on what was sure to be a close general election. Whether or not that actually happened would prove to be more difficult.

   On the Democratic side, Senator Hillary Clinton of New York had established herself as a strong frontrunner after victories in the primaries and caucuses leading up to Super Tuesday. She had only been defeated in Iowa and was quickly racking up support from crucial party leaders and interest groups. On February 4th, the Monday before the big day, Clinton received the endorsements of both of Massachusetts’ Senators; Ted Kennedy and John Kerry. A week earlier she received the public support of former Vice-President Al Gore on 60 Minutes. Clinton’s opponents, John Edwards and Barack Obama, were on the ropes. Edwards’ victory in Iowa had provided little momentum as he was promptly defeated by a wide margin in the following New Hampshire primary. It was Obama that had emerged as Clinton’s greatest threat for the nomination. His charisma, support among young people and African-Americans, and prolific fundraising ability made Obama a threat on Hillary’s left flank. Super Tuesday would prove to be an opportunity for Clinton to force the freshman Senator out of the race and look to consolidate support within her party.

   The situation for the Republicans was far more chaotic. The race for the GOP nomination had become a three-way fight. In the run-up to Super Tuesday, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney had emerged as the tenuous frontrunner. He had won six out of the first eight contests, and was well positioned financially. But Romney was not out of the woods yet. Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee had fashioned a strong campaign based around social conservatism. His warm attitude and positive disposition presented a strong contrast to Romney’s almost robotic delivery. Huckabee had stunned insiders and pundits by narrowly defeating Romney in the Iowa Caucuses, and had won a commanding victory in the South Carolina primary several weeks later.  He hoped to solidify his support among Evangelicals and southerners on Super Tuesday. Huckabee was joined in his attacks on Romney by Arizona Senator John McCain. A foreign policy specialist, McCain had focused his campaign on the War on Terror and deficit reduction. He painted Romney as a RINO (Republican in Name Only) who had provided little evidence in support of his conservative views. McCain had failed to win any primaries or caucuses and was campaigning on a shoestring budget. He hoped that Super Tuesday would be the breakthrough that he needed to keep his campaign alive.

   Both frontrunners hoped that Super Tuesday would act as a knockout blow to their opponents. But only would see their wish come true. With strong institutional support behind her, Hillary Clinton won a decisive victory. She defeated Obama and Edwards in all but two contests. Clinton narrowly defeated Obama in the crucial state of California, while also prevailing in many southern states that the polls had shown were quite close. The only states that she lost were Illinois and Kansas, two states that Obama could call home. Edwards finished in third place in most of the contests, only really competing in Tennessee and Oklahoma. His campaign was done for. Several days later he offered his endorsement to Senator Clinton stating “A year ago I set out to show that our nation had become two very different Americas. While I have not succeeded in winning the nomination of the Democratic Party, I believe that I have made millions of Americans aware of how the other half lives. I believe that Senator Clinton will carry on that cause, and I offer my strong support to her in the upcoming campaign.”

   Senator Obama was also dealt a heavy blow on Super Tuesday. His victories in Illinois and Kansas had been decisive, but he lacked the nationwide support to carry on his campaign. Nonetheless, Obama was not eager to go home just yet. He had raised millions of dollars and had tapped into a new generation of voters. Why should he give up now? Nonetheless, his advisers urged him not to prolong the race and make enemies out of crucial Democratic Party leaders. He would need their support if he was going to make a run in the future and could not afford to turn them against him. Reluctantly, Obama agreed to drop out and endorse Clinton. Instead of campaigning with her, Obama simply stated that he was suspending his campaign and would support Senator Clinton in November. He did so in an interview with one of his top supporters, Oprah Winfrey. Privately, Obama sought to take a break from politics and reassess his future. He would go on to campaign with Clinton in the summer and fall, but in the meantime would largely maintain a low profile in the Senate.

   The Republican primaries provided far less clarity. Romney’s weaknesses among social conservatives and Southerners was painfully clear, as Huckabee swept Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Missouri, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and West Virginia. Romney was able to pick up big wins in all the other contests besides Arizona (where McCain won easily and without contest), but was unable to clinch the nomination. McCain dropped out soon after, but failed to endorse Romney. Instead he simply stated that “I’ll support the Republican Nominee for President, whoever that may be.” The implicit undertone was that there was no guarantee Romney would actually win. The bigger boost for Romney’s campaign was that many conservative power-brokers saw Huckabee as a serious threat to the long term health of the Republican Party. Many began to endorse Romney simply to avoid the possibility of Huckabee on the top of the ticket. In turn, Romney began to shift right in an attempt to close the gap between himself as the former Baptist preacher.

   As Hillary Clinton consolidated her support within the Democratic Party, Romney and Huckabee went to war. Now that the race was one-on-one, both candidates had the freedom to directly target the other. Huckabee blasted Romney for being a “Johnny-come-lately conservative” who “has flipped-flopped on some of the most important issues in this election.” Romney fired back by calling  Huckabee a “tax-and-spender who sees the budget deficit and says ‘more please.’” The fierce war or words between the two campaigns deeply concerned many Republican leaders who believed that the drawn out contest was providing Democrats with ammunition for the November election. The first primaries after Super Tuesday would do little to assuage them. While Romney decisively won the Washington caucuses, he would be equally defeated in Kansas and Louisiana by Huckabee. Several days later, Romney would bounce back by sweeping the “Potomac Primaries” in D.C., Maryland, and Virginia. The win in the Commonwealth was particularly meaningful, as it was Romney’s first victory in Dixie since the Florida primary. Romney would continue to gain momentum with wins in Wisconsin and in the American territories abroad. The March 4th primaries in Ohio and Texas would prove crucial to deciding who would be the Republican nominee.

   The Huckabee campaign’s goal was to keep the final results close in the two delegate-heavy races. They had done so in Wisconsin and Virginia, but had been blown out otherwise. Their campaign had developed a regional dynamic and was too bound to the support of Evangelicals. Fiscal conservatives, war-hawks, and businessmen and women had yet to support his cause and had largely rallied to Romney. He was the safe choice and the better option in the general election. Yet Huckabee believed that he could take the race down to the wire if he avoided a blow-out loss in both primaries. He was confident he could win the upcoming races in Mississippi and Pennsylvania, yet his cause would appear hopeless if Romney walloped him in Ohio and Texas. Therefore Huckabee began an aggressive barnstorming campaign through both states. Meanwhile, Romney began to campaign as a frontrunner. He surrounded himself with prominent Republican officeholders and reiterated his support for traditional conservative views on the economy, taxes, and the deficit. By emphasizing these issues, he was able to avoid dealing with abortion, gay marriage, and other areas of weakness. Combined with an ad-blitz in these states, Romney was able to push Huckabee to the brink. The final results proved him right. Romney won a commanding victory in Ohio, while winning by eight points in Texas. These victories sealed it. It would be Mitt Romney vs. Hillary Clinton in November.
13  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Election What-ifs? / Re: Madam President: Hillary Clinton in 2008 on: June 18, 2012, 02:15:40 pm
   With Celine Dion’s “You and I” playing over the loud speakers, Hillary Clinton bounded onto the stage. The crowd greeted her with a roaring ovation and chants of “Hill-a-ry! Hill-a-ry! Hill-a-ry!” The victorious Senator shook the hands of the supporters lucky enough to get within arms-reach of the stage. An ear-to-ear smile covered her face. Finally, Clinton was handed a microphone and walked to the center of the stage. Flanked by former Governor and current Senate candidate Jeanne Shaheen and Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter, Clinton triumphantly proclaimed victory. “Less than a week ago, the media and my opponents said this campaign was dead in the water. But you never gave up. You didn’t quit on me and this campaign. And guess what? Because of your hard work, your sweat, your efforts, we did it! Now let’s finish what we started.”

   Clinton was right in her analysis of the media’s reaction to her distant third place finish in Iowa. Pundits on both sides of the aisle claimed that Hillary had been dealt a “deafening defeat” and that “her campaign is on the ropes.” Little notice was paid to Clinton’s still large lead in New Hampshire. Many liberal outlets began to proclaim Edwards the new frontrunner, despite his razor-thin margin of victory. Others called on progressives to throw their weight behind Obama. After all, if he could do so well in a predominately white and rural state, imagine what he could do in a New York or California? The Clinton campaign responded by sticking to the same old line: Iowa was just one contest, and they were prepared to go all the way.

   When Edwards and Obama arrived in New Hampshire, they found a state that might as well have been named “Hillaryland.” The Clinton campaign dominated the airwaves with advertisements proclaiming their candidate’s experience and knowledge of the issues. Mike Henry advised that the ads remain positive. There was no need to go negative, lest the campaign elevate one of their opponents to an even level with Hillary. The Senator had been spending a great deal of time in the state. She had racked up the endorsements of many local leaders and party officials, as well as Shaheen and Shea-Porter. Meanwhile, the Edwards campaign lacked any strong infrastructure in the state and relied upon momentum from Iowa to gain support. Obama was in a stronger position. He had received the endorsement of Congressman Paul Hodes and Governor John Lynch, and was a favorite among college students and more centrist Democrats. Polls showed that it was the Illinois Senator and not Edwards who had gained the most since Iowa. He trailed Clinton by less than ten points, and his frantic campaigning was beginning to make a mark. But time was not on his side. Clinton’s large lead in endorsements, organization, and time in the state proved too much for either of her main opponents to overcome. Hillary would win by a comfortable margin of 9 points, stripping the momentum that Obama and Edwards had picked up in Iowa. It was a decisive victory, and one which assured that Senator Clinton would remain the frontrunner for the Democratic nomination.

   The Republican contest proved much less decisive. In Iowa, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee had narrowly defeated Mitt Romney, the pre-election favorite. Huckabee had won over the support of the Evangelical and Christian conservative community, and had dealt Romney a serious blow. But Romney had come back, winning Wyoming and New Hampshire. The Granite State had proved to be a tough contest, as Romney dueled with Senator John McCain for support. McCain was popular among veterans, defense hawks, and fiscal conservatives, while Romney maintained support among rank-and-file conservatives, as well as many moderates. McCain’s personal popularity and history in the state (he defeated George Bush there in 2000) helped him fight against Romney’s massive monetary lead, but it was not enough. Romney’s victory, much like Clinton’s, put him back in the driver’s seat for his party’s nomination.

The results of the New Hampshire primaries left both parties divided. The frontrunners had prevailed, but there were still clear challengers to their nominations. Romney’s support was soft, especially among the Christian Right. Clinton had proved popular, but she still had major problems wooing over key elements of the Democratic Party’s left wing. Both candidates would need to overcome these weaknesses if they had any hope of presenting a united front in the general election. For Clinton, the key was to maintain here support among her base (women, working class voters, and fans of her husband) while wooing African-Americans, doves, and liberal critics of the past Clinton Administration. That would be challenging, but not impossible. To win the support of African-Americans, Hillary dispatched her husband. The former President emphasized his wife’s record on racial issues and pointed out that “tangible results are much more important than symbolism.” Clinton also turned the foreign policy issue against her opponents, claiming that “it’s easy for Senator Obama to claim that he was against the Iraq War from the start. He didn’t have to vote on the resolution, and he didn’t have any stake in the game.” Finally, she came out against the North American Free Trade Agreement, despite her husband’s major role in achieving ratification of the deal. Clinton’s “reverse triangulation” proved largely successful. She pulled off victories in Michigan (running against “uncommitted”) and in Nevada, once again defeating a divided opposition. The focus of the race then shifted to South Carolina, where Obama had campaigned heavily with the aid of Oprah Winfrey. Once again Clinton deployed her husband to the state, and focused on her strong record in attacking Obama. The results were close, but the presence of John Edwards on the left siphoned votes from the Illinois Senator. Clinton won narrowly by three percent, but Obama had once again proven his ability to draw voters.

Meanwhile, Mitt Romney faced a much more difficult predicament. In an attempt to win over social conservatives, Romney had publically come out against Roe vs. Wade and gay marriage. But he was still Mormon, a fact that rubbed many Evangelicals and Catholics the wrong way. He also had a well documented past as a social liberal. This had not been a problem when his main opponents were Rudy Giuliani and John McCain, but when facing a former Baptist minister, having a pro-choice history was a problem. Romney had bested McCain in Michigan and Nevada, but was forced to go toe-to-toe with Huckabee in Iowa. The bass-playing preacher called on voters to support his “values based, grassroots effort to change American politics for the better.” Romney chose to go on the offensive. He attacked Huckabee for “the sort of tax-and-spend policies I’d expect from Hillary Clinton, not a so-called Reagan Republican.” But his attacks fell on deaf ears. McCain emphasized defense issues in the veteran-heavy state and attacked both Romney and Huckabee for lacking a consistently conservative record. The final results were the worst-case scenario for Romney. Huckabee won by seven points over Huckabee, with former Senator Fred Thompson finishing in a close third. Romney finished in fourth place. He won just over 10 percent of the vote.

The results in South Carolina provided polar opposite reactions from the two parties. After some early doubts, Hillary Clinton had maintained her position as the frontrunner for the Democratic nomination. She began to pile up more and more endorsements and funds as her campaign planned to deliver a knockout punch in the Super Tuesday primaries. On the other hand, the Romney campaign desperately attempted to regroup after being routed by Huckabee. His campaign moved to Florida, a Southern state he was much stronger in. Using his sizeable financial edge, he managed to squeak out a victory over John McCain and company. Rudy Giuliani, who had hedged his campaign’s bets on the Sunshine State was knocked out, finishing in a distant third place. Moving on to Maine, Romney won decisively. But the underlying message of South Carolina was still clear: Romney was not the candidate the South wanted. To win the Republican nomination, and the Presidency, he would have to change their minds.
14  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Election What-ifs? / Re: Madam President: Hillary Clinton in 2008 on: June 15, 2012, 02:44:46 pm
Opening Salvos

Another debate. Another hour to talk about the minute differences between a half-dozen candidates who all pretty much believed the same things. Another hour of making the case that you, not anyone else, should represent the grand Democratic Party in November. It was understandable that the debates had becomes something of a running joke. Eighteen were scheduled before the first people even went to the polls. They began in April of 2007, a full year before many states held their primaries. Their appeal had worn off quickly.

Senator Hillary Clinton was used to debating. She had been doing it her entire life; with her friends, colleagues, rivals, and of course, Bill. This wasn’t her first rodeo, and she knew how the game was played. Be clear, succinct, and stay on point. Don’t let the moderator take you off message. Whatever you do, don’t say something stupid. A lot more potential voters watched the evening news than the debates, and a gaffe was a fast way to become the butt of a Jon Stewart gag.

It was no surprise that Hillary had been crowned the winner of the early debates. She was battle tested and knew what she was doing. The same couldn’t be said for her opponents. John Edwards stumbled over questions about his personal wealth and failed to bring back the focus to his anti-poverty message. Former Clinton Cabinet member Bill Richardson was uninspiring and boring. Joe Biden was his usual gregarious self, while the more liberal candidates (Chris Dodd, Dennis Kucinich, Mike Gravel) all failed to tie their ideology to a clear narrative. Barack Obama, the young and idealistic Senator from Illinois, was much more comfortable in front of a crowd than he was going toe to toe with his rivals. But he was getting better. Hillary knew that, and she knew that his personal appeal was a threat. That’s why she emphasized her experience and knowledge of the issues. She might not be the most charismatic or the youngest, but she knew what she was talking about and could more than hold her own against the Republican nominee in the fall.

Throughout 2007, the Clinton campaign had remained the gold standard by which all others were measured. They were professional, efficient, and smart. There was rarely an embarrassing leak or misjudged decision. Many of the campaign’s highest ranking members were veterans of “Hillaryland,” the Senator’s most reliable staffers. They included Evelyn Lieberman, Ann Lewis, Cheryl Mills, and most prominently, Patti Solis Doyle. As campaign manager, Doyle had effectively presented Hillary as the safe, consensus choice for the nomination. The candidate’s experience and knowledge of the issues were emphasized, while attacks on her rivals were minimized. But there were emerging cracks in the seemingly steadfast façade. An enthusiasm gap was beginning to grow between Senator Clinton and her two chief opponents, John Edwards and Barack Obama. Both candidates appeared youthful and energetic, inspiring their supporters. Meanwhile, Hillary inspired few. She was safe, but she was not exciting.

Clinton’s biggest advantage, her debating prowess, had actually been minimized by the sheer number of televised debates. As viewers grew bored and tired with the seemingly endless cascade of platitudes and arguments, they began to tune out. Instead of several debates that were few and far between, there seemed to be a contest once every two or three weeks. That meant each individual debate became less and less important. By December of 2007, it became painfully obvious that the national attention was more focused on the candidates and less on the debates. For Clinton, that was a problem. Obama and Edwards had proven their ability to draw supporters, and Clinton’s firewall of support among the establishment was beginning to teeter. While most of the major unions had abstained from endorsing anyone, many of the local branches in Iowa and New Hampshire had come out for Edwards. Meanwhile, African-American leaders no longer saw Senator Obama as a long-shot candidate. He was also proving to be an incredible fundraiser, pulling in millions of dollars a week. Polls also showed a tightening, especially in Iowa.

The Clinton campaign was faced with a difficult choice. Mike Henry, a top adviser to the campaign and veteran Democratic Party strategist, had long advocating pulling out of Iowa and focusing the campaign’s resources in other states. Henry had gone so far as to submit a memo in the summer of 2007 stating that by ignoring the Hawkeye State the caucuses would be made largely irrelevant. After all, if the national frontrunner ignored Iowa, the victor would gain little momentum. Then again, what would that say about Clinton if she retreated from the first contest? Initially the advice had been discarded as defeatist. But as the temperature dropped and the caucuses drew ever closer, many in the Clinton camp began to reconsider Henry’s advice. One adviser in particular agreed that Iowa would become irrelevant if Clinton shifted her resources to New Hampshire. That man had some experience in the matter, as he had largely ignored Iowa sixteen years earlier.

At a meeting held just before Christmas, the Clinton staff debated the campaign’s future plans in Iowa. Henry once again advocated pulling out of Iowa, while most of “Hillaryland” supported staying the course. Finally, “the boss” spoke up. Bill Clinton cleared his throat and made the case for a seismic shift in campaign strategy as only he could. In 1992 he had conceded Iowa to its Senator, Tom Harkin, and moved on to New Hampshire. His strong finish in the nation’s first primary had lead to the moniker “the comeback kid” and catapulted Clinton to frontrunner status. The former President argued that Edwards was essentially a favorite son in Iowa, as he had lived in the state for the last year. By leaving Iowa to him and Obama, Clinton argued that Hillary could rise above the two and win a landslide in New Hampshire. The Senator was reluctant. Giving up in Iowa would be seen as a defeat, and she and her staff would need to devote a good amount of time to spin it into something positive. But she saw the benefits of focusing on New Hampshire, and understood that Iowa was her weakest early state. Finally, after much debate and deliberation, she agreed to pull all ads and stop campaigning there after the holiday season.

Through the end of December and early January, Clinton shifted considerable resources away from Iowa and relocated them to New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada. The campaign dispatched Bill to Iowa to make the case that his wife was still the best candidate in the race, and that she was not ignoring them. Meanwhile, Edwards and Obama hammered away at each other in an attempt to win over Clinton supporters. Edwards’ populist message appealed to the same voters who had supported Dick Gephardt and Tom Harkin in the past, while Obama targeted college students, young people, and opponents of the Iraq War. Clinton surrogate Tom Vilsack (also the state’s governor) made a hard sell for Hillary, arguing that she was the only candidate who could unite the Democratic Party and win in November. When Iowans finally made the trek to their caucus sites, it was anybody’s game. Both the Edwards and Obama campaigns had taken a page from Jimmy Carter and put a great deal of time into understanding how the caucuses worked. They identified supporters in each precinct, and selected the most devoted to head up their efforts. The media swarmed the state, and tried their best to make heads or tails of an incredible close race. Finally, when the night was over, the result was clear: John Edwards, the man who became a household name after a surprise second-place finish in the caucuses four years earlier, had won by a nose. Campaigning at a diner in Concord, New Hampshire, Hillary Clinton breathed a sigh of relief.

John Edwards: 37%
Barack Obama: 36%
Hillary Clinton: 21%
Bill Richardson: 4%
Joe Biden: 2%
15  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Election What-ifs? / Madam President: Hillary Clinton in 2008 on: June 14, 2012, 03:48:08 pm
Madam President: Hillary Clinton in 2008

“Thirty seconds, Senator!” shouted the young producer. He was bespectacled, with spiked blonde hair. Probably about twenty-five years old, just a few years out of college and full of hope and idealism. The whole convention hall was full of kids just like him. They cheered for every speaker, even though they probably couldn’t name half of them. This was the first election for many, the first real one anyway. They had registered to vote when P. Diddy told them to four years earlier. Most voted for the loser, but many had sided with their parents and supported the President. Some of those former Republicans, especially women, were in the hall today. They were the key to victory, more so than in any election before this. If they showed up and voted right they could put one of their own in the White House.

   Hillary Clinton waited backstage. She wore a navy blue power suit. That had been the staple of her wardrobe for years, and it had come to define the image of “Hillary.” She was one of the few politicians in the country who was identifiable by her first name. Not even Reagan or Kennedy could lay claim to that. Then again, she was also one of the very few recognizable female politicians. Love her or hate her, people knew who Hillary was. And now, with the eyes of the nation fixed on Denver, Colorado, she waited to take one giant step towards the prize she craved most of all: The Presidency of the United States.

   The seeds of Hillary’s campaign were planted on November 2, 2004. That was the day that the Democrat’s hearts were broken when George W. Bush defeated John Kerry. Many couldn’t believe it. Bush, the man who had stolen the election four years earlier, had just been given a second term? How was that possible? But it happened. Yes, there were a few diehards who refused to accept that Republicans hadn’t fixed the vote in Ohio. But they were few and far between. Most Democrats just sank into a deep depression. How could it get any worse?

   But there was one liberal leader who didn’t sulk in the shame of defeat. She had stayed on the sidelines that election, not sticking her neck out too far for the Democratic nominee. Unlike Ted Kennedy or her husband, this Senator’s legacy hadn’t been defined yet. She didn’t want to be dragged down with a losing ticket. Instead she would bide her time and wait. She was getting good at that. So many of her friends and advisers had told her to run that year. They said that she would be the frontrunner for the nomination and would clear the field of other candidates. They told her she was the only one who could beat Bush, who could bring America back from the precipice of a Republican majority. But one person, her most important adviser told her to wait. There was some irony in that. Sixteen years earlier, Bill Clinton had been a hotshot young Governor on the radar screens of many Democratic Party activists. They thought he was the best choice to reset the Republican Revolution and take back the White House. But just as his campaign was about to gear up he pulled out. It was because of his wife. Unlike so many around him, Hillary knew that 1988 wasn’t going to be a Democratic year. The economy was doing fine, and Iran-Contra wasn’t big enough to sink Vice-President Bush. So Bill waited, and his patience paid off four years later. Now he told Hillary to wait. 2004 wasn’t her year.

   As Democrat’s around the country tried to regroup after a terrible election, Hillary Clinton began to gear up for the next one. 2008 promised to be a wide open election. The Republicans would lack the power of incumbency, as Vice-President Dick Cheney had always made it clear that he had no interest in sitting in the Oval Office. Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, the only other Cabinet member with any serious electoral appeal, was also sitting out despite the wishes of former Clinton pollster Dick Morris. The Republican field was likely to be as divided as ever. Meanwhile, Clinton was already the likely frontrunner for the nomination four years before the votes were cast. She would certainly face her fair share of opposition, especially from those who had never been close to the Clinton’s. But Hillary was the frontrunner, and she knew it.

   In the meantime, Clinton devoted her efforts to dueling the Bush Administration over Iraq, Social Security, and nominees to the High Court. Hillary crafted a strong voting record. She was reliably liberal on issues important to the Democratic base. Solidly pro-choice, pro-labor, and pro-entitlements, Hillary was unlikely to receive any serious challenges from the Party’s main special interest groups. She also spoke out in opposition to the growing federal budget deficit, and joined former rival Newt Gingrich in calling for greater innovation and cost-saving measures in the health care field. She joined many conservatives in a weekly prayer breakfast, and called for tougher ratings for violent video games. It was a meticulously planned strategy of triangulation. Clinton’s goal was to comfortably position herself as a favorite of the Democratic establishment, while still appealing to the crucial swing voters who had broken for Bush in 2000 and 2004.

   But there was one issue that remained a thorn in the side the Senator from New York. In the fall of 2002, Clinton joined many other Democrats in supporting a resolution allowing the President to invade Iraq. George Bush had heavily lobbied Congress for authorization, making the case that Saddam Hussein was developing nuclear weapons and that somebody had to stop him. When the United Nations refused to intervene, Bush claimed that it was up to America to do the world’s dirty work. The American people agreed with him, and it became a political liability to oppose the war. Many Democrats were unwilling to risk their political futures on legislation that was already going to pass, and supported the President. There was certainly an element of political pragmatism that went into Hillary’s vote to go to war. But she was also following her conscience. Her husband had paved an interventionist course in the 1990s, bombing Serbia into peace talks to end their ethnic cleansing policies. Now it was time to force Saddam Hussein out of Iraq, and the only way to do that was through a full-on invasion.

   But Hillary’s vote for the war was now proving to be a liability. As casualties mounted and the months of occupation turned into years, the American people grew sick of war. The Iraqi Government failed to effectively govern their nation, as the de-Baathification and disbanding of the military had whipped out the nation’s political infrastructure. A violent insurgency proved to be far more lethal than the organized Iraqi military and many American’s saw another Vietnam on the horizon. By 2006, all but a few Democrats had abandoned the President, and even several Republicans began to call for a timetable for withdrawal. Hillary was caught in a terribly awkward position. Reject the war that she had supported four years earlier? Or stand firm, much like the Iron Lady of Great Britain (Margaret Thatcher) so often had? In this case, politics trumped principles. Clinton joined the growing bandwagon of supporters of withdrawal and hounded the President over the war. Still, anti-war liberals saw her as a late comer to the cause. Her late apology about supporting the war hurt her, and many on the left would never forgive her.

   Being on the wrong side of Iraq did little to affect Clinton’s standing in the polls. She was the clear frontrunner for the Democratic nomination, and had built a solid lead in fundraising and potential endorsements. Despite high unfavorable ratings, Hillary was the mealticket whom many Democrats attached their hopes of victory to. 2008 would be her year, and she was prepared to go all the way. On January 20, 2007, she officially jumped into the race. She was “in. And I'm in to win."
16  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Election What-ifs? / Re: 2012 Candidates if John Kerry had won in 2004. on: June 03, 2012, 11:24:09 pm
If Kerry wins in 2004, he probably is defeated in 2008. That Republican President (IMO a conservative like George Allen, Bill Frist, or John McCain) would face a daunting reelection bid in 2012 against a wide Democratic field. Senator Hillary Clinton would be a logical frontrunner, but would be plagued by the same problems as she was in 2008. She would probably still underestimate her opposition and lack the passion of the liberal base. But without the Iraq War as a major issue, she still may be able to win the nomination. Obama would run. The Democratic leadership thought he was the best candidate to beat Hillary. He may retire from the Senate in 2010, or run for Governor. Edwards would also be a strong candidate due to four years as the Vice-President and the political popularity of economic populism. Other candidates could include Mark Warner, Ted Strickland, or Russ Feingold.
17  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Presidential Election Trends / Re: did the New Deal Coalition have a much shorter lifespan than commonly thought? on: May 17, 2012, 04:51:49 pm
It's certainly true that parts of the New Deal Coalition persisted long after 1968, even to this day (African-Americans, liberals, and labor unions). But on the whole, the coalition ceased to exist in 1968. A crucial cause for this was the Democratic Convention that year. The conflict between the liberal intellectuals and the more rank-and-file members of the Party (labor, urban bosses, working class whites). That split, followed by Nixon's support among many Democratic voters, broke the coalition (as did Wallace's surprisingly strong support). The nomination of George McGovern in 1972 and Jimmy Carter in 1976 offer further proof in claiming that the coalition died in '68. Reagan's ability to build upon Nixon's gains was most clearly illustrated by his landslide victory over a fairly mainstream New Dealer, Walter Mondale. Today's Democratic coalition, while still containing elements of the NDC, is quite different from that of the past. Even the makeup of organized labor is considerably different. The party today is more of a "rainbow coalition" than anything else, and is driven more by social rather than economic conditions.
18  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Presidential Election Trends / Re: did the New Deal Coalition have a much shorter lifespan than commonly thought? on: May 12, 2012, 01:12:21 am
The New Deal Coalition at its peak lasted from 1932 to 1938. It would have been unimaginable for it to remain unified for much longer, as there were several groups with opposing interests on important issues. The recession of the late 1930s along with the court packing fiasco played a role in the 1938 losses, along with the Republican gains in 1940 and 1944. However, the heart of the New Deal coalition existed until 1968. Unions, liberals, African-Americans, urban political machines, Catholics, and southerners still formed the base of the party until then. A political coalition does not need to remain dominant for it to still exist, and the Democratic Party was largely defined by this group for 36 years. Nixon's victory in 1968 broke the New Deal coalition, but it did not replicate its success. It was Reagan who filled the void and crafted the Republican coalition that still largely exists to this day (though its effectiveness is waning due to demographic shifts).
19  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2004 U.S. Presidential Election Results / Re: Why the Zell Miller transformation? on: May 01, 2012, 06:48:29 pm
Miller's record in the Senate was considerably more conservative than his fellow Southern Democrats. While much of this debate has been subjective, there are some fairly objective numbers that can be used to describe his ideology. The best two (in my opinion) are ACU (American Conservative Union) and ADA (Americans for Democratic Action) ratings. These basically paint a general picture on how members voted on the most important votes in any given year.

Here are Miller's ratings (ADA on the left, ACU on the right)
2001: 35/60
2002: 30 /54
2003: 10/75
2004: 15/96

Just from looking at that data, it's clear that Miller was one of the most conservative Democrats in the Senate (and one of the most conservative members of both parties in 2004). But let's compare his record to that of another Southern Democrat who retired in 2004, John Breaux. Once again, ADA is on the left, and ACU is on the right.

2001: 55/48
2002: 45/46
2003: 45/40
2004: 80/20

That appears to be pretty much the definition of moderate, minus 2004. Now let's compare Miller to his colleague's from Georgia: Max Cleland (2000-2002) and Saxby Chambliss (2003-2004)

2001: 85/36
2002: 65/16

2003: 5/85
2004: 5/96

Comparing Miller to his colleagues, it's clear that he leans much more towards the Republicans than either a very moderate Democrat (Breaux) or a center-left Democrat (Miller). He is far closer to the Republicans on a variety of issues, not just social. But let's go deeper down the rabbit hole. The last three Democrats (besides Miller) to represent Georgia in the United States Senate were Sam Nunn, Max Cleland,  and Wyche Fowler. Let's look at their lifetime ratings to see if Miller was indeed simply a Democrat whose party left him.

Sam Nunn: 45% lifetime rating from the ACU
Max Cleland: 14% lifetime rating from the ACU
Wyche Fowler: 21% lifetime rating from the ACU
Zell Miller: 71% lifetime rating from the ACU

Once again, Miller is far to the right of the average Democrat from Georgia, even going back to the 1970s. Then again, one could argue that none of those three Senators were the sort of "Dixiecrats" whom Miller claimed to be a fan of.  But Herman Talmadge certainly was. He was Governor of Georgia in the 1940s and 1950s, and served the state in the Senate from 1957-1981. He's about as much of a Dixiecrat as you can find. But take a look at his lifetime ACU rating:

Herman Talmadge: 57% lifetime ACU rating

Talmadge is even more liberal than Miller! Based on this data, it's clear that Miller is not a Democrat whose party left him. He was a Democrat who became more conservative following his intense 1994 reelection battle. I would argue that he saw an opportunity to move to the political right as America became more conservative, and thus compromised some of his values. An example of this is how he was once pro-choice, but became pro-life later on in his career and even spoke at the Evangelical "Justice Sunday II." This is not to criticize those who hold socially and economically conservative views. It is simply to say that Miller is incorrect in stating that he did not leave the Democratic Party, but that they left him. One simply has to look at who the Democrat's nominated in 1972, 1984, and 1988 to see that they did not become a liberal party in the 2000s.

The ultimate irony here is that in 1980, then-Lt. Governor Miller ran against Herman Talmadge in the Democratic Primary for the Senate that year, attacking Talmadge from the left and polling his strongest in Atlanta.
20  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Presidential Election Trends / Re: is the Democratic party becoming the party of John Lindsay? on: March 28, 2012, 09:19:16 pm
I think the OP was saying that the Democratic Party's support largely stems from the same coalition that supported John Lindsay.
21  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Who would you support in 2016 primary (Democrats) on: March 22, 2012, 12:33:44 pm
I'd have to support my Governor, Martin O'Malley. I've been following his political career since he ran for Mayor in 1999 (yes, I was young, but he seemed like a good guy). He has a lot of traits that make him an appealing candidate for President. It would be nice to see a big city mayor sitting in the Oval Office. There hasn't been a President since Johnson who put a major focus on America's cities. O'Malley's also done a good job as Governor of a Democratic, yet politically slow moving, state. Most importantly, he's a fighter. Watching him on MSNBC and following his Facebook statutes, it's clear to see that O'Malley will take on the Republicans on his own turf. Just look at his status from yesterday:

"Welcome to Maryland Mitt Romney. For your information, in our State, we don't try to take away women's health services. We work to expand them."

Now that's someone the Democrats could use at the top of the ticket!
22  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Politico: Biden may be laying groundwork for 2016 on: March 22, 2012, 12:28:59 pm
I think he's more focused on keeping his job than on running for President in four years. He has to prove to Obama that he's still a valuable asset. His recent pitbull mentality and frenetic campaigning have shown that while he lacks Hillary Clinton's political base, he is arguably a better campaigner. I've always been a fan of Biden, and would have a hard time opposing him if he ran in 2016, but I doubt that he's going to run.
23  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Presidential Election Trends / Re: White working class Democrats.... on: March 19, 2012, 12:04:52 pm
If Obama can do that, then why is he performing worse than ever with whites? Is it because he's black?

It's mostly the state of the economy and trouble getting his message across. His numbers will probably improve by Election Day.
24  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Opinion of the 2016 Democratic bench on: March 18, 2012, 06:45:54 pm
I think that Cuomo and O'Malley are the two strongest Democratic contenders. Both have strong fundraising bases, are personally charismatic, and have ties to the Democratic establishment. They have also been generally successful as Governors and have presented Democratic alternatives to Republican fiscal policies.
25  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Presidential Election Trends / Re: White working class Democrats.... on: March 18, 2012, 06:43:03 pm
I think a liberal like Ed Schultz could bring back the white working class into the Democratic party while still being a liberal. His rhetoric message of fighting for the working class was what brought these people into the party in the first place, so trying to bring them back in would be another nice fit for the Democratic coalition.

I think it's easy to say that the Democrats need to become the populist party if they want to win back the Rust Belt and the white working class. Personally, I disagree. Being the party of the economic past isn't going to work. Voters can generally see through that. They know that we can't go back to the 1950s. What the Democratic Party needs to do is embrace a forward thinking economic message, and then clearly and succinctly present it to the American heartland.  Bill Clinton did that in 1992 and 1996. He didn't retreat to the platitudes of the New Deal. He did it by talking about job creation and investment in growing areas of the economy. I think that white working class voters don't want to be pandered to. They want to see candidates that genuinely care about their economic situation, and present solutions that address their concerns. Obama can do that, and there are already many Democrats who are (Mark Warner and Bob Casey are good examples).
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