May 9, 2006

Playing "Seek the Funding"

Hatched by Dafydd

Tom Bevan at RealClearPolitics blog has a post up that wonders whether Hillary can be stopped. He continues the back-and-forth about whether Hillary can even be nominated (which I don't think she can be), let alone win. But he ends with this puzzling bit:

Then again, Hillary's star power, fundraising, and organization are of a different order of magnitude than everyone else which is why she may end up being "unstoppable."

I've seen this before, many times. It seems an article of faith that if a candidate has enough money, she can win no matter whether the voters like her or despise her.

Why do people believe this? Where is the evidence? The best-funded candidate doesn't always win. Obviously, a candidate who hasn't enough money is at a huge disadvantage... but suppose a conservative candidate in a very conservative congressional district is prepared to spend $5 million, and his ultra-liberal opponent is prepared to spend $100 million, or a billion dollars, or ten billion. Does anybody really believe that the ultra-liberal would be able to buy the election, no matter how much he spent?

How would he buy votes? Would he literally offer $100,000 to every voter to come in, fill out an absentee ballot while the liberal watched, and hand it over for the liberal to mail? Obviously that would be against the law (vote buying is a felony).

How many hours of advertising could a single candidate buy before it begins to be self-defeating? All it takes is a single accusation of "he's trying to buy the election" to make every further expenditure by the liberal become another nail in his political coffin.

Back to the case at hand. Suppose Sen. Hillary is immensely well-heeled, and suppose she's really, really well-organized: how much would she have to spend to win Wyoming, or Texas, or South Carolina? Suppose she blankets the South with three times as many adverts as her Republican opponent, whether it's Sen. George Allen or even Gov. Tim Pawlenty or Mitt Romney... how much would she have to spend to win that region in 2008?

Even if George Soros signs his entire fortune over to Hillary, and she organizes with the zeal of Joe Hill, will that drag the Midwest back to the Democrats? How about the West, apart from the left coast?

Looking at the map of 2004, the closest states were Ohio (which went to Bush), and Minnesota, Michigan, and Wisconsin, which went for Kerry. Some of those states would probably vote for Hillary, the others for the Republican (though it's possible it would be a clean sweep for the GOP): but I can't see any that would be swayed by a huge campaign expenditure.

And any level of organization by Hillary would likely be matched, volunteer for volunteer, and even overmatched by the vigor of organization against her by Republicans. The states will split entirely on the preferences of the voters between Hillary (were she to be nominated) and the Republican, whoever that ends up being.

And those preferences will be affected by what Hillary says and what the Republican says, but not by the amount of money either spends: both their messages will get out loud and clear, and more millions won't make any difference.

But maybe Tom meant she would be unstoppable in the primaries -- though he was responding to a John Podhoretz book, and he clearly meant "unstoppable" on her route back to la Casa Blanca. But it's not even true in primaries: the most heavily funded candidate in 2004's Democratic primaries was Howard Dean -- and he couldn't even make it past Iowa and New Hampshire.

It's the message and personality of the nominee that matters, beyond an obvious funding floor. Clear that hurdle, and what changes votes is who he is and what he says. And Hillary is at a huge disadvantage in both arenas, as I think even Tom Bevan agrees.

Sen. Hillary Clinton - Unnatural Disaster

Sen. Hillary Clinton - Unnatural Disaster

I do not believe Hillary can be nominated. But even if she were, she would lose. The election would not be a landslide, not a blowout; but I cannot see her stealing any states that Bush won in 2004, though she could easily lose Kerry-won purple states by being generally perceived as screechy, condescending, and dishonest. All of the close states are exactly the sort of reserved, small-c conservative states that would be repelled by Hillary Clinton. While individual cities within those purple states (such as Detroit) would surely support her, the rest of the state would outvote them.

So the real question is not "is she unstoppable," but rather "isn't she unstartable?"

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, May 9, 2006, at the time of 5:10 PM

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The following hissed in response by: rightonq

Amen Brother! I have heard more and more pundits suggesting that Hillary will "cruise" to victory in the primaries and will be a force for the presidency.

I just posted about this again, but I believe that the Dems will recognize during the '08 primaries that she has no chance to win the presidency (polls will be clear evidence) and will help insure her defeat in the primaries.

She can't win because conservatives hate her and will mobilize against her like no other potential candidate, because she is also hated by the far left and because she comes across as a bitch. Podhoretz says being a "bitch" is a "good" thing and necessary in a way - Bull Honky! Condi Rice is case and point - you don't have to be a bitch to be a successful, strong female politician.

So it won't matter how much money she raises - you are 100% correct (as if me saying so is a powerful affirmation)! Ultimately, I think a little worry is warranted, but I would worry much more about who the Republicans should nominate in '08 without regard for Hillary.

The above hissed in response by: rightonq [TypeKey Profile Page] at May 9, 2006 5:23 PM

The following hissed in response by: Kathy K

The Conservatives may hate Hillary. But not all who have been voting Republican do.

I could think of a number of Republican candidates that could motivate me to vote for her. And I'm not the only one. Also note that the candidates that could motivate me to vote for her, would also make her look a lot better to the far left - they don't actually hate her in CDS way that the right does (CDS being the right-wing version of BDS).

So, I agree with rightong - you really should worry about who the Republicans should nominate. Because the non-conservative sorts who have been voting Republican are pretty fed up. It's only because the Dems ran Kerry last time that you won.

The above hissed in response by: Kathy K [TypeKey Profile Page] at May 9, 2006 5:53 PM

The following hissed in response by: Papa Ray

The only thing that I am worried about is that she will NOT win the nomination.

Well, I'm also worried that McCain might win the nomination too.

Papa Ray

The above hissed in response by: Papa Ray [TypeKey Profile Page] at May 9, 2006 5:55 PM

The following hissed in response by: levi from queens

Unlike other dems -- say Howard Dean for example or John Murtha or (to a lesser extent) John Kerry, a Hillary presidency would be tolerable. She would prosecute the GWOT, perhaps well, perhaps less so given her contempt for the military. Her corruption is overwhelming. She is a great campaigner, and the one great virtue of her husband was that he listened very carefully to the electorate. Perhaps she would share that virtue.

The above hissed in response by: levi from queens [TypeKey Profile Page] at May 9, 2006 6:10 PM

The following hissed in response by: hunter

Fund raising is something one would think the MSM would learn about. They should think about former Presidents Connaly, Graham and Dean about how early success in fund raising really sets one up for inevitable success.
clinton is credited with stuff he never did. He ignored the xast majority of the people any time an extremist group in the DNC demanded it. Just think of the modest reforms of abortion he vetoed.
The more I think of Hillary, the more I see someone who is rootless and ruthless, but to such an extent that she is likely to implode rahter early and loudly.

The above hissed in response by: hunter [TypeKey Profile Page] at May 10, 2006 4:32 AM

The following hissed in response by: Big D

It's funny, there are so many things the Democrats must do to win, it really doesn't matter who their candidate is. For example, they need something like 80% of the black vote to win. Anyone else think that Condi or Powell can mess this up? Another statistic - In 2004 Bush (a relatively weak candidate) won 16 states by a > 20% margin. Kerry won just 3 states by > 20%. There are so many states where a Democrat will never win, that the remainder all become MUST win. A very tough situation.

It's a bummer when the only way you can win a race is for the other guy to trip just before he crosses the finish line. It could happen, but....

The above hissed in response by: Big D [TypeKey Profile Page] at May 10, 2006 11:01 AM

The following hissed in response by: Terrye

In truth I think the best thing Hillary has going for her is the sheer stupidity of some people on the right. I am talking about the folkds who would prefer to send a message than go vote. I have been voting Republican in spite of the fact that I am center right, vs. right right, and it seems that some Republicans are feeling a bit sullied by being associated with people like myself.

They want a real conservative in there. Of course a real conservative who would lay line mines at the Mexican border and shut down medicaid would get his ass kicked in a national election.

The above hissed in response by: Terrye [TypeKey Profile Page] at May 10, 2006 1:12 PM

The following hissed in response by: Dan Kauffman

Strongly Disapprove and Definitely Vote Against

it does seem to me that the catastrophic Non-approval rating for Bush of "Strongly Disapprove(e) 40%" bears a strong resemblance to the Non-approval rating of Hillary "Def(initely) Vote Against 39%" What do YOU think

The above hissed in response by: Dan Kauffman [TypeKey Profile Page] at May 10, 2006 7:29 PM

The following hissed in response by: Wave Maker

As long as there are pictures like that floating around, she'll never get elected.

The above hissed in response by: Wave Maker [TypeKey Profile Page] at May 11, 2006 6:21 AM

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