@ Chronic

The Hillary Factor

In these days of rough-and-tumble politics, a good candidate may not be a good officeholder – or so it's often said. But what about the divide between a primary powerhouse and a general-election winner?

While it may seem the lock is in for Hillary Clinton to get the Democratic presidential nomination, her potential big campaign liabilities could soon make her a difficult sell in the primaries, warned her biographer, Carl Bern­stein. In his Nov. 4 appearance at the Texas Book Festival, Bernstein noted that for a political figure about whom so much has been written, little is really known about Clinton. Admittedly, he was shilling his work, A Woman in Charge, but his point – that between the loyalist hagiographies and the blood-craving attack pamphlets, her public image is a bundle of contradictory stereotypes – was well taken by the audience. Put simply, almost no one really knows her, but what they think they know, a lot of people don't like.

But Clinton isn't simply another candidate. If she got the presidential nod from the Dems, she would head up the ticket, and that could have a serious down-ballot effect. As one seasoned campaign veteran noted in conversation with Chronic, more than 50% of polled Texans would rather have anyone other than Hillary in the presidential race, and some Democratic candidates in close-run seats may start to feel the same way. To quote festival attendee Todd Gitlin, "You don't fight a political campaign with the candidate you want; you fight it with the candidate you've got." But as Bernstein pointed out, the Dems don't have a candidate yet.

Posted Monday, Nov. 5.

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Hillary Clinton, Carl Bern­stein, Texas Book Festival, A Woman In Charge, Todd Gitlin

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