There are still far too many people who believe they can win the Democratic presidential nomination, judging by the fact that 12 candidates were on stage in Ohio on Tuesday night and more than just those 12 are running for president.
I mean, if you didn’t cover this thing for a living and you chanced upon the Tuesday soiree wondering who Tom Steyer was — well, I guarantee that you weren’t alone.
That’s why there have been rumblings of additional candidates being added to the field. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s name has come up not infrequently, apparently because she wants to lose the presidency thrice. (America told her they didn’t want her but, nevertheless, she persisted.)
However, there’s another candidate who would take an instant lead in the New Hampshire primary race were she to run, at least judging by the results of one poll: Michelle Obama.
According to the Boston Herald, the former first lady would lead the field simply by announcing her candidacy.
“Today, the Democratic race is a statistical dead heat between Warren (25%), Biden (24%) and Sanders (22%),” Franklin Pierce University-Boston Herald pollster R. Kelly Myers said.
That would change dramatically if Michelle Obama were to enter the race.
“If Michelle Obama were to enter the race, it would change things dramatically,” Myers said.
“Twenty-six percent of Democrats would vote for her, making her the new frontrunner. Under this scenario, Obama (26%) would lead Warren (20%), (Biden (20%) and Sanders (15%).”
Equally curious is where her support would come from: “She would take away 4 points from Warren, 4 points from Biden and 7 points from Sanders,” Myers wrote.
We’ve been told over and over again that Michelle Obama has no intention of entering the field, including — obviously — by Michelle herself.
“There are so many ways to improve this country and build a better world, and I keep doing plenty of them, from working with young people to helping families lead healthier lives. But sitting behind the desk in the Oval Office will never be one of them,” the former first lady said in August.
“It’s just not for me.”
Assume it were, however. She’d still lose, at least in the general election.
Now, it’s possible she could defeat Trump in the swing state of New Hampshire, a state that Hillary Clinton won in 2016.
But she sure wouldn’t win an Electoral College majority.
Yes, Michelle Obama may be the most admired woman in the world.
That’s not actually me engaging in hyperbole; she really is. (Second and third were Oprah Winfrey and Angelina Jolie, so take that as you will.)
That popularity, however, doesn’t necessarily translate into her being a successful candidate for president.
She can’t run on her experience. When Hillary Clinton ran for Senate in 2000, she had already taken a significant part in White House policy-making, albeit with various levels of success.
Michelle Obama wouldn’t just be running for Senate, she’d be running for the presidency. She also didn’t take the same kind of active role that Hillary Clinton did when it came to her husband’s presidency.
But she could run as an outsider, just like Donald Trump did. An outsider who … spent eight years in the White House. It’s a bit difficult to run against the establishment when you’ve been part of it for a decade and a half, just like Michelle Obama has since her husband first got elected to the Senate.
So, she has to run on her husband’s record without having taken an active part in the policy-making discussions within his administration. How will that work out for Trump? Does she want to compare the Obama economy with the Trump economy? I wish her the best of luck with that one.
Unemployment — and particularly black unemployment — are down significantly under the current president. Is the Obama economy what she wants to run on?
Michelle Obama was the one who coined the phrase “when they go low, we go high.” Good luck with that in 2020, when calling the president a white supremacist and a stooge of Vladimir Putin is pretty much de rigueur among the Democrats.
Patriotism? That would pit Trump against a woman who said, during the 2008 primary season, “For the first time in my adult life, I am really proud of my country because it feels like hope is finally making a comeback.”
She was married to a politician who talked of “fundamentally transforming the United States.” (Try this with your spouse sometime: “I love you, honey. That’s why I want to fundamentally transform you.”) Is this what we want to go back to?
This is assuming, of course, that she can make it past the primary stage. Eleven of the 26 points she’s managed to accumulate in the FPU-Boston Herald poll come from supporters of Sanders and Warren.
It may seem amazing, but the Obama administration seems positively moderate when we compare it to what their visions for America would be. As for her showdown with Biden, the spectacle of the former president’s wife pitted against the former president’s vice president is probably one that the Democrats want to avoid.
The fact that Michelle Obama polls so high should be alarming to Democrats, though: It demonstrates no particular love for or confidence in any of the principals.
In every primary process, there’s always the prospect of some mystery candidate jumping in at the last minute to disrupt things. They usually don’t poll ahead in New Hampshire without any declared intention of running.
It’s probably just as well that she doesn’t seem as if she’s going to run. She may be the world’s most admired person, but she’d still get trounced.
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