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The Democratic Primaries: One Republican’s Perspective

So throngs of Democrats are off to the polls today to vote in the Potomac Primary (I like that better than Chesapeake Tuesday). At stake are the delegates from Virginia, Maryland and DC. Having been subjected to the water cooler chatter of all my left leaning colleagues, I thought I’d weigh in on their election.

(Note: I could care no less about the battle between Huckabee and McCain, so I have to get my electoral thrills vicariously through the Democrats.)

Our office is pretty evenly split as are most of the delegates in their race. The most interesting conversation, however, seems to boil down to a) experience and b) electability. The Hillary fans claim Obama doesn’t have enough juice to be the Pres – a few years in DC doesn’t qualify him to lead. The Obama folks claim (and I agree) that he has a much better chance against McCain.

The fact is, for all the “can a black man be president” chatter, there is very little corresponding “can Hillary be President” chatter. It strikes me as odd. A Gallup poll almost one year ago asked about a bunch of attributes (religion, gender, race, sexual preference, etc) and found that people were more accepting of the idea of a black President than a woman President. add to that the fact that half of the country would never vote for Hillary Clinton and the current lead Obama enjoys over McCain in a head-to-head, and you have the makings of a disastrous candidacy on your hands.

Looking at 2004, Kerry received 44% of the male vote to Bush’s 55. According to the Hill polling, 56 of men would absolutely not vote for her, so she starts with a larger gender gap with men. Bush got 48% of the female vote. 45% say they would never vote for Clinton. Would the remaining 55% vote as a single bloc? Maybe, maybe not.

Kerry carried 89% of Democrats versus Bush’s 93% of Republicans. Hillary already operates without the support of better than 20% of her party. Being below 80% as a candidate that people know A LOT about is bad news for her. She has to run a major public image campaign to even convince a large chunk of her own party.

Finally, Kerry won 47% of those over 65. Hillary, according to the polls, is viewed as acceptable by only 31%. That’s a huge problem given that these are reliable voters.

Hillary is, by most polling, likely to lose the Potomac Primary today. It is entirely probable that Barack will sweep the three states. Now say what you want about Illinois, Arkansas, or New York being her home. The reality is Hillary has lived for the past 15 years in Washington, DC. These are the people that know her best, and they aren’t pushing the button for her. Why would anyone believe the rest of the country will come November?

The Democratic Party, unless they want to hand the GOP a gift, should really take a good hard look at Hillary and honestly ask if she can be elected. Experience aside, can she actually win? The likely answer to that question is no.

Written by Michael Turk