The 2012 Vote
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|Brent Budowsky||December 5th 2011|
President Obama has the extraordinary option of rekindling the historic spirit of his presidency and riding the sweeping tides of history for the advancement of women by naming Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as his vice presidential running mate in 2012.
Most likely, the final results of the 2012 election will be a close outcome for the presidency, control of the House and Senate and a Supreme Court that will almost certainly experience an earthshaking and generational swing decided by vacancies filled by the president elected in 2012.
This is not a moment for the president to balance niceties and nuances. It is a moment for the president to play to win. The best way to win is to run with the most popular political leader on the American stage, Secretary Clinton.
Shakespeare wrote that there is a tide in the affairs of men which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune. There is a sweeping tide of history which is the yearning for equality and the spirit of achievement by women in America and throughout the world. I have previously written that we have begun the Female Century.
Hillary Clinton as vice presidential nominee would electrify the Democratic vote from women and turn the gender gap into a gender canyon. Equally important, Hillary Clinton has great appeal to working-class voters of all races. She has great appeal, along with the president, to the second great demographic wave that is reshaping American politics: the surging Hispanic population.
Watch Texas, which will expand its presence in Congress after the census, in large measure due to dramatic growth among Hispanics. After successfully (and shamefully) gerrymandering Texas following the 2000 census, Republicans tried again to disenfranchise Hispanics with another gerrymander after the 2010 census. The GOP plan backfired.
When the dust settles in Texas, Democrats should gain between three and five new House seats from Texas alone. This materially increases the chances that Democrats regain control of the House.
Watch the underdog but potentially powerful Texas Senate campaign of retired Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, who is running for the seat being vacated by Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R). Sanchez and other Texas Democrats will increase Hispanic voter registration, organization and turnout. The general will add strong support from veterans and highly patriotic Texans.
In politics, demographics are destiny.
Democrats are on the right side of history and demographics with the advancement of women and the surge of Hispanic voters.
Watch Elizabeth Warren in Massachusetts. I have long argued that Warren will be one of the most powerful Democratic Senate candidates. She taps into the Female Century. She also taps into another sweeping trend: the backlash from countless workers, consumers, veterans and military families of the 99 percent who are fed up with being financially ripped off.
Watch North Dakota. Recently, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) mentioned to me that Democrats have a strong chance of taking North Dakota’s lone House seat. I checked. Reid is right. Former North Dakota Attorney General Heidi Heitkamp, another brilliant woman who is rising, has a good chance to win.
A brief word about Vice President Biden. He has earned another term. He is doing a spectacular job. He would make a great president, White House chief of staff or secretary of State. As JFK said: Life is unfair. As Don Corleone said: Nothing personal. This is business.
Obama can once again ride waves of history. The rise of women. The surge of Hispanics. The backlash of the 99 percent.
If Obama puts Clinton on the ticket, enthusiasm surges. Voters register. Organization mobilizes. Turnout soars. The base rallies. Main Street will be reassured.
Obama should swing for the seats of a Democratic president, Democratic Senate, Democratic House and more enlightened Supreme Court. Hillary Clinton can make the difference. This is business. Democrats must play to win.
Budowsky was an aide to former Sen. Lloyd Bentsen (D-Texas) and Rep. Bill Alexander (D-Ark.), then chief deputy majority whip of the House. He holds an LL.M. in international financial law from the London School of Economics. He can be read on The Hill’s Pundits Blog and reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Brent Budowsky wriyes for The Hill from where this article is adapted.