Tuesday, June 19 , 2018, 3:21 am | Fair 57º


Susan Estrich: Crazy Days Loom for Hillary

Just when it seemed that things could not get crazier than they are on the Republican side, it now appears that Hillary Clinton is losing her lead in Iowa and New Hampshire.

No, update: has lost.

What once must have seemed like a brilliant idea to limit the number of debates now seems more like lost opportunities. Ah, hindsight.

What would happen if the Donald won on the Republican side and you had Bernie Sanders as the Democratic opponent? Bloomberg.

Not the television network but the billionaire trans-party former mayor of New York, Michael Bloomberg, who would run with his own money (the only way to do it quickly enough) and his own lawyers and most of the operatives in both parties.

But wait, forget about whether the Donald could win; everyone has been talking about that.

Could Bernie Sanders, a 73-year-old independent senator from New York, a dead-on impersonator of the brilliant Larry David (check it out on Saturday Night Live) actually win?

Yes, if you're asking about Iowa and New Hampshire. Not just that he could win; it looks like he very well might.

But no so fast to the nomination. After Iowa come Nevada and South Carolina. Then comes the onslaught: 14 states on one day, Super Duper Tuesday, often thought to be one of the worst or best ideas in politics. 

Iowa voters rarely predict winners. (President Huckabee, anyone?) In general, on the Democratic side, the most liberal candidate wins, because caucus-goers have to be enthusiasts and ideologues, and frankly, Clinton is not the most liberal candidate in this race.

She's the most electable, but caucus voters, particularly at this stage of the game, tend not to vote strategically.

As for New Hampshire, let me share one lesson I learned over the course of a few decades in politics. If you're running in New Hampshire, it is very good to be from the next state over.

To cite a few examples: Mike Dukakis (of Massachusetts); Paul Tsongas (of Massachusetts); and John Kerry (of Massachusetts).

Back in 2004, Howard Dean (of Vermont) was running strong in New Hampshire until he collapsed in Iowa. Once he did, he was toast in New Hampshire, where voters deserted him; they don't like throwing their votes away.

In 2008, they swung to Clinton's side against Barack Obama, after the press tanked her for getting teary eyed in a diner. This is not stuff you can easily predict.

But you very well can predict what will happen if Clinton loses both New Hampshire and Iowa. The chattering class will be chattering like crazy; they've already started.

Word will leak that Joe Biden is considering jumping in to save the party. Ditto for Andrew Cuomo.

Whispers will circulate about a "draft Elizabeth Warren" movement.

This is not 1968, when Gene McCarthy's strong showing in the race caused Lyndon B. Johnson to drop out and Bobby Kennedy and Hubert Humphrey to jump in, ultimately tearing the party apart.

In 1968, every state did not have a primary or caucus to select delegates who are effectively bound by the outcome. In 1968, you didn't have the brilliant/insane invention of Super Tuesday, with 13 states holding primaries and caucuses on March 1, including Alabama, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Virginia and Arkansas, and yes, Vermont.

Four more come over the next weekend, and then Michigan and Mississippi the next Tuesday, followed by Florida, Illinois, Missouri, North Carolina and Ohio on March 15. 

You get the picture.

Joe Biden, looking at this schedule months ago, concluded that it was too late to get in, even though Clinton was tripping over emails at the time.

Would it be easier now? Would it even be possible, given how many filing deadlines have passed and how many organizers Clinton has in almost every one of those states?

There are two ways to win a nomination. One, the way you always dream of, is winning Iowa and New Hampshire and everyone else effectively is dead. That is what the Clinton campaign actually thought they could do last time.

The other, the one I have to believe the Clinton campaign is prepared for, is by grinding it out. You win the states no one else can afford to really contest.

You score big among minority voters (not many in Iowa and New Hampshire), push your numbers among women and call in decades of chits (and good judgment) to win the support of all those super delegates who count in a grind.

By June 7, at least, you have a majority. That is what we may be looking at.

Susan Estrich is a best-selling author, the Robert Kingsley Professor of Law and Political Science at the USC Law Center and was campaign manager for 1988 Democratic presidential nominee Michael Dukakis. Click here to contact her or click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are her own.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Enter your email
Select your membership level

Payment Information

You are purchasing:

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >