So here’s the question. With the Democratic Convention in Denver this week, what are Hillary and her supporters going to do? The British press has been fearful in the last few weeks that much of the decline in Obama’s standing in the polls has been down to her vengeful supporters, many of whom are women who have said they will vote for McCain out of spite. But I don’t know – I don’t know whether that’s true for a start, nor whether if they’re saying that for the polls now, that it’s something they’ll actually do in November. McCain’s attack ad above presupposes that he has an unmatched opportunity, but I think everything’s really down to what Hillary, Bill and Obama have to say this week. Of course Obama could have put Hillary on the ticket, making this question largely academic, but Biden appears to be the first mainstream political effect of the Georgia/Russia War, and the accelerating need to neutralise McCain in foreign policy, as the Second Cold War has started to take hold. Even so, it’s worth remembering that Hillary wasn’t even a finalist for Obama’s Veep spot anyway – will her voters take that as a further signal to defect?
Surely, one would presume, Democrats will not be so easily fooled. But an NBC/ Wall Street last week found, stunningly, that of Hillary voters in the primaries, 27 per cent were undecided who to vote for in November, while 21 per cent claimed to have switched to McCain – that fierce pro-life advocate, self-confessed ignoramus on the economy, ardent supporter of every one of George W. Bush’s wars and, if his own words are any guide, not averse to a few more. Could the most diehard Hillary believer go quite that far to spite Obama? Joe Biden’s most important task will be to help make sure they do not, and prevent his running mate’s week in the limelight from being merely a prelude to disaster.
William Rees-Mogg whilst making what I believe to be a flawed overall assessment of the choice of Biden, suggests nonetheless that keeping Hillary off the ticket will prove to be fatal:
Senator Biden is no Hillary Clinton; he presents no threat though little promise to Mr Obama. In the primary elections, Mrs Clinton gained 18 million votes. Among women she had a devoted following – and who still believe she should have been the candidate. If she had been on the ticket, she would have brought a lot of votes with her, as did Johnson. In rejecting her as his running-mate, Mr Obama has taken the risk that his margin of victory might be wiped out.
I must confess I’m confused about this desperation to paint essentially millions of women as so irrational as to vote for a candidate who called his wife a c*nt, who is promising more wars, who rejects any same-sex union, who indeed admits he hasn’t a clue about economics and is much further to the right than the Idiot Bush on everything. Is it a cop out, or does this video by hillaryvotersformccain.com paint an accurate picture of them?
I personally think the video’s appalling, although much of their analysis on their website might be right. Some of Obama’s success in the primaries was indeed likely down to Republican voters having been told to pretend to switch, merely to get Hillary out of the process. The mainstream media has also done everything in its power to knock her out, and is now slowly working its magic (in the US) against Obama too – it’s highly unlikely that Rupert Murdoch is any more enthused about Barack Obama than he was about John Kerry. It may also be true that America simply won’t vote for a black president out of racism, but are these reasonable or rational grounds for voting McCain?
Where they fall down is in their assessment that their bloc voting for McCain will merely be going with the flow with an inevitable victory, which they won’t influence. This is also pretty insane:
And before you play the race card on me, know this: I would much rather have seen Jesse Jackson Jr. run for President instead of Barack Hussein Obama. Barrack Hussein Obama is half-African and half-American raised in Indonesia and Hawaii; Jesse Jackson Jr. is the descendant of generations of real black Americans. It was my deepest wish that Hillary picked him as her Vice Presidential pick, but now it seems as if that’s not going to be allowed to happen.
It’s also pretty racist on at least two grounds, and an admission that they would vote against Obama out of spite, in the misguided belief that McCain has the race already sewn up, thus allowing a clear shot for Hillary against him in 2012. Hillaryvoters4mccain.com however have a different analysis:
However again, their implicit analysis is flawed. Yes Hillary would likely have been an effective Commander-in-Chief – her authority and experience were indeed greater than Obama’s, but is her defeat at his hands a reason to vote for someone like McCain, a serial liar and warmonger?
I can’t see any other pertinent analysis as to why their votes should switch parties other than Obama’s being a less ‘safe’ Commander-in-Chief than Hillary. Surely a reasonable feminist analysis for November’s general election ought to be about who is most likely to bring about women’s equality. Are there enough women out there who think that McCain’s a necessary evil to endure for four years, while they wait for deliverance in 2012 from Hillary? Katha Pollitt thinks the bulk would not be feminist:
le Hillary Clinton voters who will go for John McCain in the general election, but I don’t think too many of them will be feminists. Because to vote for McCain, a feminist would have to be insane. Let me rephrase that: she would have to believe that the chief–indeed the only–goal of the women’s movement is to elect Clinton, not to promote women’s rights. A vote for McCain would be the ultimate face-spiting nose-cutoff. Take that, women’s equality!
Of course she’s right, and cites his utterly reprehensible record on women’s rights:
His record on contraception and sex education is just as bad. He voted against a 2005 budget amendment, sponsored by Senator Hillary Clinton, that would have allotted $100 million to reduce teen pregnancy by means of education and birth control. He voted to require parental consent for birth control for teenage girls and to abolish Title X, which funds birth control and gynecological care for the poor. He voted against requiring insurance companies to pay for prescription contraception, when they pay for other prescription drugs–like, um, Viagra. The beat goes on, and on.
He’ll do no damage in four years to women’s rights? It would indeed be literally insane for a feminist to vote for McCain. Want to see what he thinks of Ellen DeGeneres’ and Portia de Rossi’s plans to get married?
Ultimately I remain convinced that the real number of potential defectors is small, because the Hillary voting camp is so disparate:
Clinton reached out to a lot of disparate groups during her campaign. She morphed from the “inevitable” establishment candidate into a John Edwards populist over time. Only at the very end did she become a feminist icon. In fact, it was remarkable how little her gender really came into the campaign from the outset. Those “hardworking, white” voters who might switch to McCain–many of them men, actually–were a driving force behind her wins in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Indiana, and other states.
So don’t confuse Hillary’s feminist support with the support of “security moms,” suburban stockbrokers, and other Hillary voters who could vote for McCain.
I don’t think the media has paid terribly much attention to who the Hillary voters are who actually feel scorned enough to need to be reined in by her. The choice of Biden has already likely had a limited impact on their female number, but it’s likely that if the Obama/Biden ticket fails because of defecting Democratic voters, it’ll have been the inevitable result of a black man competing with a white woman at this point in history, and would be equally likely to have happened if Hillary were the nominee. But one of the earlier points is equally true – the primary results for both of them didn’t tell the whole story – where they both truly stand will only start to become apparent this week.