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Post-Convention Electability

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Brad DeLong makes a stronger case for Sean Wilentz’s assertion that Hillary Clinton deserves the Democratic nomination than Wilentz managed, and as he says it remains highly unconvincing. Since I assume the only possible purpose of Wilentz pointing out that given some arbitrary, post hoc changes to the Democratic nominating process Clinton might have done better is to convince superdelegates to back Clinton, it’s worth making one additional point. Like DeLong, I disagree with the claim that Clinton is more electable, but given her potential strength in some important swing states it’s at least plausible enough to potentially justify a vote for her in the first instance. To make Clinton the nominee now, however, means that one has to argue that that she would be the most electable candidate after superdelegates awarded her the nomination over the pledged delegate and popular vote winner who also would have otherwise been the first African-American candidate for president. It’s quite obvious that Clinton would not be the most electable candidate under than scenario. Given that she has much less ability to enlarge the Democratic coalition, a Clinton candidacy with significant parts of the Democratic base demobilized because they think the nomination was stolen would be very poorly positioned in the general.

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