by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
If Hillary Clinton believes she can rely on the same electoral coalition that delivered victory for Barack Obama in the last two presidential races, she might be in for a rude awakening. So says Jonah Goldberg in his latest column posted at National Review Online.
Most political pros agree that Clinton will need a huge turnout from the Obama coalition to win. The bad news is that, so far, the Obama coalition is like a non-transferable, single-purpose coupon that can only be used to get Obama elected president. Clinton advocates insist we don’t know that yet, which is true. But all the evidence looks bad for Clinton.
After he was re-elected, Obama turned his campaign operation, Organizing for America, into a de facto personal political party with the sole aim of mobilizing his coalition to support his agenda. In the wake of the Sandy Hook school shooting, the newly renamed Organizing for Action made gun control a priority. Obama arguably set the bar for political success low, demanding a congressional vote on his proposals — not actual passage. He made this appeal the emotional centerpiece in his 2013 State of the Union address. Organizing for Action manned the phones, took to the Twitterverse, made a lot of noise on cable TV and . . . nothing happened.
The group’s other big priority: making Obamacare popular. That still hasn’t happened.
In every off-year and midterm election of his presidency, Obama tried very hard to rally his faithful for other candidates, including in the special election for the late Ted Kennedy’s Senate seat. Obama failed, often spectacularly. After losing the Senate in 2014, Obama petulantly said he heard the voters but added: “To the two-thirds of voters who chose not to participate in the process yesterday, I hear you, too.”
Whatever he meant by that, it was also an implicit concession that the Obama coalition isn’t a proletarian reserve army that can be mobilized at will, even by Obama.
The Clinton campaign has hired many of Obama’s consultants and gurus in the hopes that they can do for her what they allegedly did for him. They’ve even tried to replicate Obama’s signature “O” logo into an exciting “H,” which mostly looks like a road sign pointing to the next exit for a hospital.