First off, thanks to Matt for his hospitality. I’ll try and blog a bit about the exciting NBA playoffs, which seem to have started months ago and show no signs of ending (or, for that matter, fatigue). But Hendrik Hertzberg’s Comment in this week’s New Yorker is a good place to start, because it makes the connection between Hillary Clinton’s popular vote strategy, and the HBO movie ‘Recount,’ which premiered last night and was both diverting and unexceptional.
The problem with the Clinton strategy–and I don’t mean in political terms–is not that it shows her willingness to change positions in the name of political expediency. Rather, it’s that if the popular vote had been the metric all along, Obama would have used a different strategy that did not rely so heavily on caucus states and their (generally) small populations.
The strange thing about 2000 was that it was Bush who pursued a strategy that should have netted him a popular vote win; he spent many of the campaign’s last 72 hours in states like California and New Jersey, where he ended up getting destroyed. Meanwhile, Gore was working hard to win Florida and thus an electoral vote majority, but still managed to beat out Bush by half-a-million votes.
Incidentally, is there any doubt that if the Florida recount had gone the other way, Karl Rove would have been branded as a dope for allowing his candidate to spend time outside of Florida and Pennsylvania in that last week before the polls opened?