If Hillary Clinton Wins The Democratic Nomination, The Netroots Are Backed Into A Corner – How Will They Respond?

Barry Casselman’s piece Sunday on Hillary Clinton and the netroots hits on some very salient points as we head past labor day, the traditional start of the presidential primary season. He, of course, covers the tired bits about her high negatives without mentioning the political reality that every presidential candidate has high unfavorable ratings as their party’s convention approaches. He dutifully covers her “mediocre speaking ability” even though the supposed superior rhetorical skills of her closest rival, Barack Obama, has won him exactly ZERO debates. Where Casselman scores, though, is his analysis of the relationship the leftwing netroots have with Sen. Clinton.

There is seemingly implacable opposition to her in the netroots and the left wing of her party, observes Casselman, but from her point of view she does not need the netroots at all. “This internet phenomenon on the left wing of the American politics has only been shown to be effective so far in raising money and in providing organizational support for candidates, neither of which she needs.” And here’s where it gets interesting. Should Clinton win her party’s nomination, and it is looking like she will more and more each day, the only thing Clinton will need from the netroots is additional GOTV efforts and, of course, their votes – neither of which they will withhold. Why? Because the netroots need a presidential victory to seal their status as a serious political movement.

So take all the “I will not vote for her under any circumstances” rhetoric that seeps from the blogosphere with a grain of salt. The netroots have looked forward to this presidential election for several years and they’re not about to let it get away. Like the rest of us Democrats, they will fight for Hillary Clinton in 2008. The have to. If they sit out this campaign as many have threatened and throw a winnable election to the GOP, it will be the death knell of their political movement.

And KOS, Arianna Huffington, David Sirota, and the rest know it.

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