General Question

sands's avatar

Would choosing Hillary as VP have guaranteed a Democratic win?

Asked by sands (79points) September 13th, 2008

I thought Biden was a great choice myself but I have heard many say that Obama made a mistake in not choosing, or even vetting Hillary. This is a sincere, non-inflammatory question. No attacks on either party , myself or each other please.

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11 Answers

JackAdams's avatar

There’s no real way to tell, because pollsters often discover that those responding to survey questions, sometimes tell the pollsters what they think the pollsters wish to hear, and not what they truly believe.

janbb's avatar

I think that Clinton is potentially as polarizing a figure as Palin is for different reasons and that it could have really harmed the campaign. I don’t think that the most of the women who supported Clinton would now vote for McCain and I don’t think the women who are crazy about Palin would have voted for Obama. But who knows for sure?

PupnTaco's avatar

Honestly, I think Hillary Clinton carries too much baggage and antipathy to be “electable.”

But she’d make a great Supreme Court Justice. :)

SuperMouse's avatar

I would tend to agree with Dave. She brings way too much baggage.

I also think there are people out there who cannot stomach the nomination of a woman for vice president. I think that McCain’s blatant political pandering of the Palin pick say that three times fast! may come back to bite him in the bottom. Yes, I know there has been a bump, and the polls show a statistical dead heat, but I’ll stand by that statement.

No, I don’t think Hilary would have ensured Obama a win.

MarcIsMyHero's avatar

There are so many strong Hillary haters that would mobilize against Obama wih their votes if she were to be on the ticket… the key to picking a running mate is to have someone that broadens your voter appeal with a different base voting demographic. It also must be someone who is ready to step in as president if the need should arise is also key. The uber-conservatives would do every dirty trick in the book to keep Hill out of office, which would burn Obama. Biden does provide balance to Obama’s ticket.

dalepetrie's avatar

Well, first off, you have to realize that the election hasn’t been held yet. Realize that McCain should be expecting a convention bounce, having the RNC go last. Realize that the next time something big happens, good or bad, to either one of the campaigns (for example, let’s say Colin Powell endorses Obama, or Obama just comes off as the clear winner in the first debate), then you will see movement in the polls again. Until then you’ll see a slow “normalization” process, wherein McCain will have a national lead, whichwill little by little evaporate…today’s Newsweek poll has them tied. It does still feel like McCain is slightly ahead and has some momentum on his side, but that really honest is to be expected at this point. And yes, Sarah Palin has something to do with it.

Here’s what’s important for McCain if he wants to have ANY chance at winning this election. He basically had a problem going in from the time he got the nomination in that he did not inspire the base. But he also isn’t going to win the election if that’s ALL he can do. To win, a candidate needs to have most of their base, AND most of the independents/undecided. But McCain’s advantage is that even though he had to pretty much compromise his image as a “maverick” to sell himself to his own base, he knows that a slight majority of the undecideds are going to be what I’d call “low info” voters. Sure, there are a number of independents who really think it out, but to the extent that people really don’t pay a lot of attention to the details, those are all going to be people who just don’t have a firm/solid opinion…they are the ones who can make the polls move one direction or the other, and they are the ones who you can pretty much lie to their faces and they won’t notice, if you connect with them emotionally.

Enter McCain’s VP decision….Obama had a big lead…to be expected after his VP pick followed by his convention. McCain was however in need of a game changer. If he picked a pro choice running mate, he would have destroyed his chances with the base. If he’d picked a pro-lifer who wasn’t all that exciting, he wouldn’t have won over thinking independents, and he wouldn’t have had any sort of excitement to win over the low info undecideds. So, he needed someone who, regardless of any negatives they might have, would connect with voters on an emotional level. Picking a woman might have seemed lie an obvious play for Hillary voters, and certainly the fact that she made a reference to the 18 million cracks in the glass ceiling, was in retrospect nothing more than a highly effective ruse if you ask me.

What Palin did was to provide him with someone on the ticket who was extremely far right, that shored up the entire base, which not only helps him gain votes, but also gives them more motivation, gets people to open their pocketbooks to 527s and the Party, and gives them the onus to go on the offense, which is really where you want to be (when people go on the defense for too long they invariably lose).

So, Biden seemed a very wise choice, because he did help with Pennsylvania, he did help with people who were a bit afraid of Obama’s lack of international experience (and Palin helped shore up a lot of these voters for Obama as well). Biden didn’t excite the base, the base was already excited, and he didn’t do much for the “low info voters” Sure, he helped with a lot of the informed independents, but McCain was just cynical enough to realize that there are more low info independents than high info independents. What McCain did was exactly what he NEEDED to do….he shored up his base, and connected with low info independents, but he HAD to sacrifice the informed independents. That is how this election went from being about Obama’s experience to being, in the words of McCain’s chief strategist, about personalities.

So, let’s go back to 2 am on that Saturday morning in August when everyone’s cell phone went off…let’s say that name was Hillary Clinton. OK, what you would have had would have been a connection to “low info” independents…the same people Palin excites by and large. But, you would have done half of McCain’s job for him…you would have excited the Republican base. McCain then would not have had to have picked Palin, he could have picked someone like Tim Pawlenty. They wouldn’t have been able to hit the “change election rhetoric” too much, but they wouldn’t have sacrificed their “experience”’d have a one and a half term governor on the ticket, the base would be excited, and McCain would have pushed the fear button and made sure that we’d seen more 3 am ads. They have been building talking points against Hillary for 16 years, and those would have been used to divide and conquer, and the net result would be the same at this point. McCain would have a convention bounce, he’d have energized his base (or rather Obama would have done it for him), and he’d be connecting with low info independents/undecideds.

Essentially the rule of VP picks is “do no harm”, and it certainly seemed like Obama heeded this and McCain did not when he first picked Palin. But despite her appalling lack of experience and her high likelihood of having to assume the Presidency, and her completely out of touch, far right wing positions, here hockey-mom, mooseburger eating persona is capturing the imaginations of the people who just plain don’t realize (or don’t care) what’s at stake. The only thing Hillary would have done would have changed the race from Obama/Biden vs McCain/Palin to Obama/Clinton vs McCain/Pawlenty, McCain would still have a lead in the polls, he’d still have momentum on his side, and we’d still be waiting for the next game changing event.

MarcIsMyHero's avatar

@dalepetrie, great answer. said much more thoroughly than mine of course, but along the same lines. i didnt really consider the Pawlenty consequence. very interesting.

marinelife's avatar

No, not at all. I think the Republicans would have loved for Hilary to get the nomination or the VP slot just so they could roll out all of the old Clinton crap.

@dalepetrie Do you every write shorter answers?

dalepetrie's avatar

thanks, actually made myself laugh with that one.

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