If this is literally all that the Democrats have to work with, then they’re in trouble:
Democrats have won the popular vote in five of the last six national elections and with 17 Republican candidates, and the specter of Donald trump looming above it all, it’s hard to believe that even a weakened Clinton would be unelectable.
Where to start? Well, let’s see…
- Who won the last four of six national elections? Democrats. Who won the last four of eight? Democrats. Who won the last five of ten? Democrats. Who won the last five of twelve? Democrats. And who won the last seven of fourteen? Yes, Democrats. Because we’ve been flipping the White House every eight years, as regularly as a metronome, for longer than I’ve been alive. You only talk about the popular vote when you don’t want to admit the inconvenient truth that is the previous sentence.
- There will not be 17 Republican candidates in the general election. For that matter, there will not be 17 candidates by November of this year – oh, some of those candidates may officially still be in the race, but they’re not going to have any impact on it.
- If your battle plan relies on the specific candidate who was ahead in August of 2015 still being relevant in, say, April of 2016… sure, OK. Whatever you say. Maybe this time it’ll be all different. Totally. All you need is the right Guy on Horseback, you know what I mean? (Spoiler warning: no, I do not know what you mean.)
Am I being too hard on Douglas Schoen, here? Probably, not that it’s really relevant. The man’s got his job to do, after all: which is to say, he has to help keep a defeat from turning into a rout. The brutal truth of the matter is that the Republican candidate will be functional, one way or the other. Hillary Clinton won’t be able to beat that candidate – at least, she’s never shown any signs of being a gifted campaigner before, and it’s a bit late for her to start learning how now – but if she can pull a Jon Corzine instead of a Creigh Deeds* she might be able to avoid leading the Democratic party into yet another rout. At this point, any further routs will start hitting bone.
Moe Lane (crosspost)
*The 2009 gubernatorial elections in New Jersey and Virginia were instructive. In Virginia, the Democratic party visibly gave up, a month out. In New Jersey, they fought it all the way down to the wire. And, as a result, the GOP did considerably better in down-ticket races in Virginia than they did in New Jersey.