Tuesday, May 20, 2008

'Clinton sees many reasons to stay in'

I suggest reading the entire article, here. My own experience of this whole Democratic primary process leads me to think that Democrats aren't yet ready to support a woman candidate for president, which I find anomalous. And the way some of the "liberal" blogs have vilified Hillary I find morally repugnant. (I was going to say "gang-raped.") (Oops, I said it.) Clearly, Hillary is the stronger candidate in this race.

Rebuffing associates who have suggested that she end her candidacy, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton has made it clear to her camp in recent days that she will stay in the race until June because she believes she can still be the nominee — and, barring that, so she can depart with some final goals accomplished.

Clinton has disagreed with suggestions, made directly to her by a few friends recently, that her continued candidacy was deepening splits within the Democratic Party and damaging Senator Barack Obama's chances of emerging as a formidable nominee. She has also disputed the notion that she was unintentionally fostering a racial divide with white voters in some states overwhelmingly supporting her.

Rather, in private conversations and in interviews, Clinton has begun asserting that she believes sexism, rather than racism, has cast a shadow over the primary fight, a point some of her supporters have made for months. Advisers say that continuing her candidacy is partly a means to show her supporters — especially young women — that she is not a quitter and will not be pushed around. . . .

And in her victory speech in Louisville, Kentucky, on Tuesday night, Hillary Clinton made a pointed appeal, telling her supporters she would keep campaigning until there was a Democratic nominee — "whoever she may be."

Clinton is also focused on some tangible goals by staying in the race: she believes that racking up more victories, delegates and votes will give her and her supporters more leverage this month at a Democratic National Committee rules meeting to advocate for seating the delegates from the unofficial primaries in Florida and Michigan. . . .

Clinton's advisers also say that her popularity could lead Obama to fold some of her policy positions — like universal health insurance — into his platform, though they discounted the notion that her staying in the race was part of a larger bargaining strategy.

While Clinton believes that winning the nomination is a long shot at this point, she is also staying in the race because, in her experience, electoral politics can be a chaotic and unpredictable enterprise, scandals can emerge from nowhere, and Obama's candidacy could still suffer a self-inflicted or unexpected wound. Picking up more primary votes and superdelegates could only strengthen her position if the party wants or needs to find an alternative to Obama. . . .

"Superdelegates who are committed to her are telling her to stay the course," said Harold Ickes, a senior adviser to Clinton. "And there are some uncommitted superdelegates who are for her but not ready to come out — and they want her to stay the course and see this through."

Ickes added, "And there are other uncommitted superdelegates who want to wait until June to judge the strongest candidate." . . .

[A]massing a strong popular vote, and going out on some high notes, would help Clinton emerge from the long nomination battle on better footing, aides say. And making herself an appealing vice-presidential prospect — or setting herself up to run again in 2012, if Obama should lose, or perhaps 2016 — is not altogether out of the question.

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