I mostly agree with this Roger Simon column arguing that Hillary Clinton’s recent victories are too little, too late for her to win the Democratic nomination. Her argument that she would have won if the rules were different strikes me as particularly bogus. But I stumbled over this line, in which Simon swats down a Clinton argument he finds unpersuasive: “That she continues to win white, working-class voters? Yawn.”
Yawn? That is her strongest argument, given that white working-class votes actually do count — this seems to come as a surprise to some people — and they live in the states that will likely decide this presidential election. The evidence is growing that many of these voters just plain don’t like Barack Obama. To see her win by 35 points in Kentucky and 41 points in West Virginia after Obama has more or less wrapped up the nomination, to watch her win Ohio and Pennsylvania after Obama’s February 11-state winning streak, to see such high numbers of Clinton voters telling exit pollsters they will vote for John McCain at this late a date — well, that ought to be a little unsettling for Democratic bigwigs. These voters seem to be hardening against the likely Democratic nominee and it will be difficult if not impossible to win the White House without them.
That said, it is an argument that probably won’t work. Hillary’s biggest wins have come too late. At this point, the only way she can win the nomination is through the massive intervention of superdelegates on her behalf. Party leaders would have to deny the nomination to an African American presidential candidate who has won the elected delegates and won the popular vote when you only count the states where he was actually on the ballot. Worse, they wold have to do so on the grounds that white working-class folks won’t vote for him. That would demoralize black voters, who are equally important to Democrats, and divide the party. But even if the Democrats are unlikely to be swayed by Hillary’s argument, they will worry that she is right. The white working-class voter argument doesn’t deserve a yawn. It is truly Hillary Clinton’s best argument.
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