I’m at the DNC’s fall meeting in Vienna, VA, today. I’ll hear all the Democratic presidential candidates speak and then write something up for your consumption.
On the way here, though, I got into a conversation with my cabbie about politics. We saw Hillary Clinton signs lining the road up to the meeting’s venue. “I hate that woman,” he said. I laughed uncomfortably. “I don’t think she’ll win the nomination,” he said. “Too many people hate her. Even Democrats. But I think the Democrats are in a box. If they are against her, they look like they don’t like her because she’s a woman. And if they are against Obama, it looks like it’s because he’s black.”
I asked for a reciept. He reached for one. As he turned to hand it to me, he said, “And then there’s the fact that he’s a Muslim.”
I stopped. “No, he isn’t. He belongs to a Christian church in Chicago.” I explained that the media had investigated the rumor and proved it false. He didn’t looked convinced. “What’s with the funny name?” he asked. So that Muslim controversy still has legs.
But what I want to focus on is the hatred of Hillary. It is widespread and nasty, more than the media is usually willing to mention. So is she going to be a drag on the Democrats in down-ballot races? Will she hurt the Dems in Senate races, House races, local races? Democrats in conservative states say that she will, but it remains an open question.
Tom Schaller, writing in TNR, says that Hillary won’t be a “drag queen.”
Clinton’s down-ballot drag are overwrought. Though she could have a marginal effect on a few races here and there, our electoral system has become so shock-absorbent that presidential candidates barely have a down-ballet effect anymore. In 2004 George W. Bush posted what by today’s lights was a solid win, and yet what coattails did he have? The Republicans made no net gain among governors; they added four U.S. senators (their biggest achievement) and a mere four U.S. house seats; and they lost about five dozen state legislative seats overall and net control of four state legislative chambers.
He gets into the details of the polls and takes a look at some state races. If you’re an election geek, check it out.