Just when I was hoping that Barack Obama’s midterm setback would lead to a surge of dumb speculation about a Hillary Clinton 2012 primary challenge, she goes and ruins everything by telling a television station in New Zealand that she won’t run even in 2016.
I wonder if she’ll reconsider this. Assuming she doesn’t, I think we ought to learn the lesson from 2008 that even though women face formidable barriers at earlier stages of the political process a credible woman candidate has a very good chance of winning a Democratic presidential nomination. Woman make up a clear majority of the electorate in Democratic primaries, but most Democratic politicians are men. Actual voting behavior indicated the existence of large gender gaps that basically left Hillary Clinton with the bigger half of the party. Barack Obama was able to overcome this because he appealed to African-American women and twentysomething women, but the list of people who could replicate that seems very short. What’s more, Obama had a great primary campaign issue in the form of the war.
The process through which a person comes to be deemed a viable presidential candidate is fairly mysterious, but my point is that if a few movers and shakers do find a woman governor, senator, or cabinet member to start coalescing around she’d have formidable advantages against a field of male opponents.