The Power of the Narrative (Hillary is Toast)

Having made my disclaimer, I can now add my voice to those, like Yglesias that think this US primary campaign is being extended with the connivance of the mainstream media who clearly have a vested interest in its continuance, a protracted civil war in the Democrats and a competitive general election. In any case they resent the idea that they have been propping up a vacuous political discourse (the ‘old politics’).

Having read Nick Davies excellent book, Flat Earth News, listening to him talk on a couple of occasions, and made some of my own observations, I am highly sceptical of anything that appears in the mainstream media, especially received narratives. However, I do find it exceptional that the media plays along with the Clinton narrative that her place at the democratic primary table is justified by Barack Obama failing to win over Clinton’s core demographics in states like Ohio (where the party establishment is predominantly in the Clinton camp), declares that a 9.17% margin of victory (down from 20%) is the required double-digit victory to avoid retirement and proclaims that the momentum (something entirely determined by the MSM) is with Clinton. The reason of course that Clinton’s core demographics are not voting for Obama is because they can continue to vote for Hillary. There is no reason at all to think that these voters would prefer McCain over Obama in the general election, unless Clinton drives the party into a civil war, splitting the base, so letting McCain in. The logic is entirely nutty. To see this further it is worth looking at the trends in white and black voters as analysed by Charles Blow at the New York Times.

While Barack Obama’s negatives (the people that disapprove of him) have increased by 5% since January (and look as if they may continue to recover), his positives (the proportion of people that approve of him) have also increased by 5%—so no net change there then. Meanwhile Hillary Clinton’s negatives have taken a 17% hit since January (but are recovering) but her positives have declined by 36% and look to be in freefall. (It is well worth clicking though to see the unreduced graphic). These figures simply say that Hillary will be unviable in the general election as the Democratic nominee, and who believes that she is going to recover the situation by persuading the superdelegates to disregard Obama’s near-unassailable pledged-delegate lead and install her as the nominee?

That Hillary is Toast ought to be common sense. But the power of the narrative is too strong.

[See also Al Giordano’s commentary; h/t Andrew Sullivan.]

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2 responses to “The Power of the Narrative (Hillary is Toast)

  1. Well, Bill Clinton was the comeback kid. What did you expect from his wife? I think he married well, don’t you? ;)

    BTW, you should update your numbers with the recent poll data. I recommend http://www.usaelectionpolls.com/

  2. Hi daniel. For sure, her tenacity is impressive, and it is a comeback of sorts, but it doesn’t alter much–as Howard Dean says the result in November is likely to be determined by the loser of the Democratic primaries. For sure she should stay in the race, but certain options can only be mutually destructive (barring an unlikely implosion of the Obama candidacy). On this analysis the only way she can stop Obama becoming president, barring a big surprise, is to effectively sink the Democrats in November.

    By using more up-to-date polling, do you mean extending the NYT graphic to the right?

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