Something just struck me, in the middle of a conversation with a longtime colleague about the upcoming primaries…
After a period several months ago when it looked like Hillary Clinton was in real trouble, and Joe Biden was doing his Hamlet routine (to run… or not to run), the once and future front-runner regained control, and Joe stayed out. Consequently, since that point in the fall, we’ve been back to assuming Hillary is inevitable. Especially in South Carolina, where Democrats tend to be a bit less, you know, socialistic.
But consider this…
She and Bernie Sanders are pretty much neck-and-neck in both Iowa and New Hampshire at the moment. That kind of mo is very good for Sanders this late in the game, and horrible for Clinton.
It has people such as Chris Cillizza at The Fix saying:
Close your eyes for a minute and imagine it’s Feb. 10. In the past nine days, Sen. Bernie Sanders (Vt.) has beaten his Democratic presidential challenger Hillary Clinton in the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary. There won’t be another vote for 10 more days (Nevada), and then it’ll be another week until South Carolina, the last of the big four early states, votes.
That scenario would be a total nightmare for Clinton. Period. It’s also a lot more likely to go from fantasy to reality than most people — including most establishment Democrats — understand….
Which raises the question: Could Bernie Sanders come from way behind to win the South Carolina primary?
The temptation is to say NO WAY. Democrats here tend to love them some Clintons. (Except if they are named Dick Harpootlian, or James Smith, or… you know what? There were a bunch of people looking around for alternatives, up until the time Biden definitely said no.)
But think about eight years ago: South Carolina was Clinton country then, too. There were a lot of black Democrats who thought the idea of Barack Obama as nominee sounded good, but they didn’t believe in it as a real possibility.
Then he won Iowa. Which meant white folks would vote for him, despite many doubts before that.
But then Hillary won New Hampshire, barely, after much sweat and some tears.
And yet the Iowa result was enough to seal the deal for Obama, and he picked up the further momentum he needed right here in SC.
What if… and as Cillizza says, this is now less crazy than it may sound… Sanders won both Iowa and New Hampshire?
It… could… happen.
Sure, the dynamics would be different. That rush of good feeling about maybe nominating the first black president would be absent.
But it’s worth thinking about now…