Hillary’s Prospects Are Tied to Obama’s Popularity and Obama’s Electoral Strategy

In the summer and fall of 2016, “if Obama’s at 50 percent approval, the eventual Democratic nominee, whoever she might be, might be expected to earn just more than half of the popular vote. If Obama’s at 45 percent, Ambramowitz figures that Democrat is looking at just more than 49 percent of the vote.” — Philip Bump, The Fix, Washington Post, May 17, 2015.

Like Obama, Hillary Clinton is not planning to compete much in what used to be swing states like Kentucky, West Virginia, Tennessee, and Louisiana that went for Bill Clinton in the 1990s, and instead betting on the Obama coalition of young, nonwhite, female voters, according to a NYTimes analysis. Energizing those voters will be more important than winning undecideds. Obama’s, and Hillary’s base of support is in the Northeast, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, and the West Coast.

She does plan to compete in Colorado, Florida, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio and Wisconsin, which “will almost certainly determine both who wins the White House and which party controls the Senate.” “Must win” swing states include Pennsylvania.

My guess is that Hillary would have a good chance of taking Virginia, which used to be a solidly Republican state but is now a swing state that leans Democratic.

I’m less convinced she can take North Carolina, where Republicans dominate the legislature, hold the governorship, two Senate seats and a majority of House seats. Only if it’s a wave election might she have a chance of taking North Carolina.

Hillary might also compete in “historically Republican states like Arizona where the demographics increasingly favor Democrats.”


By emphatically staking out liberal positions on gay rights, immigration, criminal justice,voting rights and pay equity for women, Mrs. Clinton is showing core Democratic constituencies that she intends to give them a reason to support her.

The stoke-the-base approach is a hallmark of Mrs. Clinton’s young campaign manager, Mr. Mook. He used similar tactics to lift Gov. Terry McAuliffe of Virginia to victory in 2013, in a race both Clintons watched closely.

It is a starkly different style from that of Mrs. Clinton’s 2008 campaign, when she was often concerned about being seen as too liberal to appeal to centrists.

The report quotes Bill Clinton advisor James Carville about the differences between the 1992 campaign strategy of Bill Clinton and the 2016 campaign strategy of Hillary Clinton:

“The highest-premium voter in ’92 was a voter who would vote for one party some and for another party some,” Carville said. “Now the highest-premium voter is somebody with a high probability to vote for you and low probability to turn out. That’s the golden list. And that’s a humongous change in basic strategic doctrine.”

Likely Republican states are SC, GA, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Tennessee, Nebraska, Wyoming, Montana, Utah, Texas, Oklahoma, Alaska, North and South Dakota, Kansas and Indiana. West Virginia and Kentucky lean Republican as well.

The election will likely be won or lost in Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Nevada, Iowa, Wisconsin, Colorado, New Mexico, Arkansas, Missouri, North Carolina, Virginia, Arizona, Minnesota and Michigan.


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