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Hillary Clinton for Vice President?

hillary.jpgWill Hillary Clinton join Barack Obama as his vice presidential candidate? The answer, which should be simple, is in fact very complicated and is perhaps the most delicate decision that Obama will have to make before arriving at the White House–that is, if he does indeed win, which today is still far from clear. Convenience should solve the issue.

(From Santiago, Chile) WILL HILLARY CLINTON JOIN BARACK OBAMA as his vice presidential candidate? The answer, which should be simple, is in fact very complicated and is perhaps the most delicate decision that Obama will have to make before arriving at the White House–that is, if he does indeed win, which today is still far from clear.

“The lesson that the Obama campaign illustrated for politics and campaigns throughout the world is that elections are won only when votes are counted, not before” The U.S. presidential campaign has been, and continues to be, surprising. Three events that have occurred in this campaign have already been very notable. The first was Barack Obama’s win over Hillary for the Democratic nomination, because when the campaign began, few doubted that Hillary would be nominated with little effort.

Apparently, the Clinton campaign believed in itself, but perhaps too much. This is the only thing that explains the overconfidence (or perhaps arrogance) that led it to underestimate Obama’s success in the caucuses and party assembles, which he won easily, one after another. When the campaign was still in its early stages, Obama had gained a 146 delegate lead over his opponent, which the New York Senator was never able to overcome.

Not only does the Obama campaign deserve special recognition for its brilliant use of information technology, but also for the lesson that it illustrated for politics and campaigns throughout the world: elections are won only when votes are counted, not before.

A DOOR CLOSED FOR HILLARY, A WINDOW OPENED FOR McCAIN

The second surprise is that what seemed like a safe and peaceful routine election for the Democrats has become a free-for-all, in which today McCain has a real chance of winning, according to recent surveys.

“The Democratic primaries attracted a surprisingly large number of voters, enthused by the competition and level of the debate” Seeing that the real campaign for the White House has just begun and is totally different from the primaries, there is no doubt that, despite the unpopularity of the Bush Administration, the staunch liberalism at the core of the Democratic party has given birth to a real chance for someone who was not given great considerations at the beginning of the process, as in the case of Senator McCain. This just illustrates how political analysts have made just as many or more mistakes than meteorologists.

Thirdly, the Democratic primaries attracted a surprisingly large number of voters, enthused by the competition and level of the debate. This goes to show how well these elements work in any democracy.

“Hillary would not be a silent and docile companion in the White House. There is little doubt that she would continue working toward the presidency” Considering these three factors, will Hillary be the vice presidential candidate as most seem to desire?

In favor of this possibility is the huge media attention that it would draw. It is also a way to quickly unite the party, which has remained divided during these exhausting months. Hillary’s name on the ticket might also help sway that certain percentage of voters who supported her, but who would consider the possibility of voting for McCain in November. Not to mention the fact that about 18 million Americans voted for her, giving her 1826 delegates by the end of the campaign.

AN ADDITION OR A SUBTRACTION

One thing is certain, that Hillary would in no case be a silent and docile companion in the White House. She already has her own agenda, and there is little doubt that she would continue working toward the presidency. There are other themes as well that influence Obama’s decision.

“The vote of minorities is only significant when the group is highly concentrated. Therefore, the black vote, for example, in most states is usually not large enough to affect the outcome of the election” One of them is the question of whether Hillary’s presence will help him win the presidential election. Obama’s political advisors should be effectively weighing the pros and cons with calculators in hand, since it has always been thought that the vice presidential candidate can add the votes and states that the presidential candidate could not win alone. The classic example is a famous president who won by a very small margin: John F. Kennedy [1] defeated Richard Nixon [2] in 1960 thanks to the votes that his vice president Lyndon B. Johnson [3] bought him in the Southern states.

The reason is singular: in the American system, the popular vote will not directly count in November, nor will the proportional vote from the democratic primaries. What exists is the Electoral College, where, in direct relation with their populations, states send delegates to vote for their candidate. The idea is that the candidate who wins the popular vote of a particular state will carry all the electoral votes of that state.

“The United States has had a traditional division between Democratic and Republican states, with little change from one election to another” This has two effects; the first is that the vote of minorities is only significant when the group is highly concentrated (for example, Jews of New York and Cubans in Florida). Therefore, the black vote in most states is usually not large enough to affect the outcome of the election despite the fact that blacks almost always vote unanimously for one candidate, generally the democratic one.

The second effect is that, for decades, the United States has had a traditional division between the red and blue states, the Republicans and Democrats, respectively. There are few states that typically change from one election to another, and those are the ones that ultimately decide the outcome on Election Day.

BUT DOES IT ADD UP?

“It is doubtful that there would be a transfer of Republican votes at all, because on the Republican list of hated politicians, Clinton will probably remain in 1st place” Therefore, the question that must be asked of Obama and his advisors is how much Hillary will contribute to the campaign beyond the obvious issue of party unity. In other words, if Hispanics, women, and white blue-collar workers who voted for Clinton in the primary transfer their votes to McCain in enough numbers, this may put the traditionally democratic states in danger of going Republican.

Even more effort should be made to answer the question of whether or not Hillary will help Barack win Republican votes. The answer is probably no, because in general, the senator appeals to the same constituency as Obama. It is doubtful that there would be a transfer of Republican votes at all, because on the Republican list of hated politicians, Clinton will probably remain in 1st place.

“The term “suspension” is a legal term that permits her to once again resume fundraising, which is crucial for her : she finished her campaign with numbers in the red” The presence of Hillary could even help McCain gain the support of a very powerful and motivated electorate that has not yet given him its enthusiastic support. The support of the evangelicals that were so crucial to Bush’s election could make it possible to prevent the hypothetical Democratic team from making it to the White House.

Therefore, the decision is complicated and that which appears to be simple is not so. There are objective reasons that complicate the creation of an Obama-Hillary ticket, the most salient being that there is no evidence whatsoever that this alliance would provide Obama with the votes he needs to win.

AND WHAT ABOUT HILLARY?

The former democratic candidate has her own problems. For now, she has only suspended her campaign, which does not mean that she is thinking about returning, since her withdrawal is complete and total. The term suspension is a legal term that permits her to once again resume fundraising, which is crucial for her since the available information indicates that she finished her campaign 30 million dollars in debt.

In summary, if Hillary does become the vice-presidential candidate, will she patiently wait the four to eight years that Obama could be in the White House?

Or, on the other hand, if she declines the offer or is not considered, will she remain as a candidate from day one in the case that McCain retains the White House for the Republicans?

The latter would be nothing new, as it was shown in the case of John Kerry [4], Michael Dukakis [5], and many others, that the presidential candidate stops being the party leader on the day of the defeat.

As is apparent, the decision in relation to the vice-presidency is not at all easy for Obama, but it is equally difficult for Hillary. It seems it will be it will be decided by a single word, equally applicable to both: convenience.