The Corner

Step No. 1: Secure Your Left Flank?

I got an interesting e-mail today encouraging me to endorse Hillary early, for 2016:

Hillary Clinton has a big decision to make, and what we do today could impact her thinking entirely.

Hillary needs to know that if she decides to run for president, there will be an army of supporters behind her.

Will you pledge to support Hillary Clinton for president in 2016? . . .

Hillary had to give up her entire political operation when she became Secretary of State. That’s why we’re building a new grassroots organization that can propel her into the White House.

Nearly 500,000 people have already pledged their support for Hillary in 2016. That’s huge! But we need your help to continue growing.

What’s interesting to me about this e-mail is not the text – line-up-early boilerplate – but its provenance. This message was sent (by a group called Ready for Hillary) via The Nation magazine, which is not exactly a hotbed of Hillaryism: It came out early for Obama in 2008, and was less than restrained in some of its language about Hillary in that campaign. Hillary’s team is clearly internalizing the lesson of 2008: Don’t get outflanked to the left. I’m sure the recent media boomlet for Elizabeth Warren added some urgency to this particular effort. 

It’s ironic that people focus so much on the GOP’s dysfunctional beholdenness to extremism, when — in both 2008 and 2012 — GOP presidential-primary voters chose “electable” sober moderates over fire-breathing ideological crowd-pleasers. The Democrats, meanwhile, in 2008 chose the ideologue their hearts desired over the more qualified, more middle-of-the-road alternative . . . and ended up winning the whole shebang. Don’t get me wrong: I’m not saying that nominating a harder-right ticket in 2016 is necessarily a prescription for victory (what happens then will depend less on the identity of the GOP nominees than on how sick the electorate is of Obamacare and other aspects of the economic status quo). I just think it’s rather unfair for “movement conservatives,” who largely opposed the nomination of both McCain and Romney, to take the rap for the GOP defeats in 2008 and 2012.

Most Popular

Politics & Policy

The Origins of Progressive Agony

What has transformed the Democratic party into an anguished progressive movement that incorporates the tactics of the street, embraces maenadism, reverts to Sixties carnival barking, and is radicalized by a new young socialist movement? Even party chairman Tom Perez concedes that there are “no moderate ... Read More

How Will the Senate Races Break?

How will the Senate races break? We have less public polling to go on than in recent years, so answering that question is harder than ever. But the news is more optimistic for Republicans than it was a month ago.   Waves and Breakers Four years ago, I projected in mid September that if “historical ... Read More
PC Culture

Warren Is a Fraud

Senator Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) has been telling a story for years. It’s a deeply romantic story about her parents and their young love, fraught with the familial bigotry of an earlier time. Here’s how she told it this week in a video she released in preparation for her 2020 run: My daddy always said he ... Read More

Two Minnesota Republican Candidates Assaulted

Two Republican candidates for state office in Minnesota have been physically assaulted in recent days, leading prominent Republican lawmakers to caution their Democratic colleagues against employing inflammatory rhetoric. Republican state representative Sarah Anderson was punched in the arm last week after ... Read More
Law & the Courts

A Christian Man Receives Justice

A good man’s legal ordeal is at an end. Yesterday, my friends and former colleagues at the Alliance Defending Freedom announced that former Atlanta fire chief Kelvin Cochran had reached a $1.2 million settlement, ending a case he brought after the city fired him for writing -- and distributing to a select few ... Read More