If not Obama, then McCain?

By Jennifer Parker

Jan 23, 2008 5:26pm

In an interview with the excellent David Brody of CBN, Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, says of Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-NY, "I have no doubt that once the nomination contest is over, I will get the people who voted for her. Now the question is can she get the people who voted for me?"

At The New Republican’s "The Plank," Jason Zengerle says: that the "Clintons’ strategy seems to be banking on the idea that even if they take the low road to winning the nomination, Hillary will still get Obama’s old supporters in the general election, because those voters will have nowhere else to go."

Zengerle doubts that many would vote for Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., assuming he’s the GOP nominee, despite Andrew Sullivan readers expressing such a sentiment but he asks "what if they just stayed home? It’s probably not an electability argument Obama can make too explicitly without sounding like a spoiler–I’m actually surprised he made it as explicitly as he did to Brody–but it’s something to think about."

I actually don’t find it beyond the realm of imagination that enough Obama supporters might vote for McCain to put him over the top in a McCain v Clinton showdown.

That’s not to say it would happen, but consider this –

1) McCain might have an easier time pivoting to the center after securing the nomination than Clinton might (and imagine if Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., were on the ticket.)

2) Despite his solid conservative voting record,  and his ardent support for the war in Iraq, McCain might at least make a "change" versus "more of the same" contest a wash given her time as First Lady, her partisanship, and the race she’s running against Obama.

How will Obama’s African-American supporters respond if this race continues to proceed the way it does? The university elites that former President Clinton derides? The independents and the swing voters who like Obama? Would they turn out for Clinton in November if McCain (and Mike Bloomberg) were on the ticket?

Just throwing it out there. What say you?

– jpt

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