In my mail today:
Not that anyone cares what I think about it, but people who are calling for Hillary to drop out now (or soon) are mistaken, for a number of reasons, in no particular order:
- The extended primary battle between Hillary and Obama has been great for the party by objective measures. Democratic voter registration and primary turnout are at record levels. Whoever the nominee is, that bodes well for both the presidential race and for downticket races. Although some independents say they will flip and vote for McCain if their favored Democrat isn't the nominee, so what? We have months to change their minds and, if they are that fickle, we didn't really have their loyalty anyway.
- Although Obama is winning (and I think will win), it's not a blowout. People say, "She can't win", but the truth is, she's just unlikely to win. She has a big following. It's kind of stupid to say to someone with significant support, "Well, you still have an outside chance of winning, so go away."
- Legitimacy. The Florida and Michigan Democratic Parties really screwed up, putting us all in a bad position. They really acted badly, and they had to be punished. (See the video below to see how guilty they were in Florida.) Sometimes I think it would have been better if we had stripped them of half their delegates and allowed the candidates to campaign, but really, it probably wouldn't have mattered. They'd still be disingenuously yelling about disenfranchisement. But given the fact that they're willing to wreck the party in order to evade the consequences of their actions, we need to be scrupulous in every area we can. I'm angry at them and I am angry that Hillary has claimed multiple times that Obama doesn't "want people to keep voting", but I understand she's desperate. By Hillary staying in the race through the end of voting on June 3 and remaining open to fair resolutions to the Michigan and Florida messes, we suffer a little short-term pain for long-term gain.
- This is harder for me to substantiate, but I think the longer battle is actually a net positive for the Democrats in a couple of other, subjective ways. First of all, by not presenting a target for them to shoot at, we're throwing off the right-wing smear machine's timing. Clearly, they have nothing positive to run on, so the general election will be constant Republican slime, trying to drive up the Democratic candidate's negatives. Relatedly, as Obama and Hillary battle it out, they're actually inoculating each other by making milder versions of the same kinds of attacks that the Republicans would throw at them down the road. Having had them raised, how much of a factor could Rev. Wright or Tuzla be in September?
With regard to the nasty attacks, I think I agree with Josh Marshall here:
Hillary doesn't want to run for president in 2nd or 3rd gear. It's beneath her dignity. And I don't mean that sarcastically. It really is. She's a powerful United States senator, former First Lady, etc. She wants to win. And if she's still in it she wants to run full bore with the money you need to run a serious campaign, the crowds, poll numbers, etc. She's not some Huckabee figure who's going to hang around with little chance of winning
It really is all or nothing. You've got to convince your supporters, donors and to at least some degree the media that you're really in it, and in it with a shot. Otherwise you face the classic problem of a cascade failure. Poor fundraising generates bad press stories, which depress turnout at rallies, which create more bad press stories and eventually no press stories, etc. It's no different from the precarious position any campaign faces when the odds aren't looking good.
In other words, she has to keep pushing over the next nine weeks to stay in there. Lightning could strike, she could win 70% of the remaining delegates and then the nomination. Or Obama's lead might increase, and it's a different story. Put it this way: She can only drop out once. While she still has a chance, she'll put it off as long as she can. I think it's great.