Because Hillary Clinton is white and no longer young, a strain of political thought holds that she might lack Barack Obama’s inherent appeal to new and minority voters and thus that she won’t be able to ride the Democratic party’s demographic advantages to easy victory in 2016.
political thought holds that she might lack Barack Obama’s inherent appeal to new and minority voters and thus that she won’t be able to ride the Democratic party’s demographic advantages to easy victory in 2016.
Writing for the Washington Examiner, Philip Klein ably sketches the nightmare scenario for liberals. “If Hillary’s performance among black voters retreats to more typical Democratic levels,” he writes, “it will hinder her efforts in swing states such as Ohio and Florida, where Democrats need to rack up huge margins in urban areas to make up for their weaknesses in other parts of the states. … It’s questionable that young voters will flock to vote at historically high levels for a 69-year-old white woman who has been a national political figure since before many of them were born.”
The nightmare for conservatives is a complementary scenario in which Clinton holds the Obama coalition together without issue and simultaneously increases Democratic margins among women and whites. In that world, she defeats her opponent by greater margins than Obama defeated John McCain and Mitt Romney. But there’s no reason to assume that outcome is any more likely than the one Klein alluded to. And there’s also no reason Democrats should tinker with a winning formula. If Clinton can turn out Obama’s voters, she will win.
The challenge, then, is to make sure Clinton’s age and ethnicity don’t discourage Obama’s youthful, diverse supporters from turning out in November 2016. Fortunately, there’s an easy way to make sure that doesn’t happen. Clinton simply has to select Barack Obama as her running mate.
LOL, you might be thinking. Obama can’t be the vice president. That would place him at the top of the line of succession, and the Constitution limits him to two terms. Clinton would end up in court before she ended up in the White House if she pulled something like that.
I’ll grant that if Democrats nominate Barack Obama to be their vice presidential candidate next year, it would be somewhat controversial. But here Democrats can borrow tactically from the literal-minded conservatives who have seized on syntactic oddities to unravel Obama’s domestic agenda. As a purely textual matter, the Constitution merely prohibits Obama from being elected to a third term. It doesn’t necessarily prohibit him from actually being president again, should Hillary Clinton no longer be able to serve. And were he on the ticket, Clinton’s potential liabilities with Obama loyalists would disappear.
As hot takes go, this one is significantly more piping than, say, the idea that Al Gore should challenge Hillary for the nomination. My guru for this argument is Cornell University law professor Michael Dorf, though others have examined the issue, as well.
There are three sections of the Constitution that prescribe limits on who can be president and vice president: Article II, the Twelfth Amendment and the Twenty-Second Amendment. While the former two limit who is “eligible” to serve—natural born citizens, 35 or older—the Twenty-Second Amendment begins “No person shall be elected to the office of the President more than twice.”