The Corner

JPOD ON HRC

Here’s a question that I hope JPod will take up on his new blog: Is Hillary helped or hurt by a large field of other Democratic presidential candidates?

There are a number of Democratic strategists who think that she’s not a good general election candidate, and so they’ve wondered about how to beat her in the primaries. There seem to be two theories, broadly speaking: 1) The single-candidate theory: If there’s only one other candidate, then this person can become the single alternative to Hillary and capture the votes of Democrats who may like her (as well as anti-HRC leftists who don’t) but are desperate to win in November 2008; 2) The large-field theory: If there are many candidates, then it’s possible to pull her down and appear to defeat her without doing so technically in the early primaries — i.e., if she is perceived to “underperform” in New Hampshire and Iowa, for instance, her stock drops and opportunities emerge for candidates such as Mark Warner. That’s sort of what happened to her husband in 1992; his #3 finish in New Hampshire was seen as a great personal triumph. There were of course many circumstances involved in making this so, but perhaps the phenomenon of a third-place finish being interpreted by the media as a victory can be repeated in some fashion.

Over to you, JPod. Can she be stopped — by Democrats? 

John J. Miller is the national correspondent for National Review and the director of the Dow Journalism Program at Hillsdale College. His new book is Reading Around: Journalism on Authors, Artists, and Ideas.

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