Former Hillary Clinton spokeshipster Howard Wolfson says Hillary Clinton totally would be president right now if the John Edwards scandal had gone public last year. "I believe we would have won Iowa, and Clinton today would therefore have been the nominee," he told ABC. And furthermore: Wolfson says the Clintons knew the story but didn't push it. "Any of the campaigns that would have tried to push that would have been burned by it." Ha. Bullshit. If they had the story, they would've planted it without getting their hands dirty. And furthermore, Edwards would've had to drop out right before Iowa, and not after. And furthermore, their Iowa ground game sucked and Obama's didn't. And frankly their campaign didn't kick into gear until they were losing and started taking shit seriously; being the frontrunner was a liability. But all that aside, playing alternative history is totally fun! So let's all pretend the Edwards revelations broke close enough to the Iowa caucus to force Edwards to drop out but not so far from them that everyone had already forgotten or stopped caring. What would our world look like now?
Would She Have Won Iowa? Look, Howard, we still think no. "By 55% to 33%, Iowans - who will take part in a Jan. 3 caucus that will be the first test for Democratic presidential candidates - said they favored 'new direction and new ideas' over 'strength and experience,'" Time said in November. The disillusioned Edwards voters may have been voting for the guy who talked like a radical populist outsider, not necessarily the White Guy. Edwards also apologized often and loudly for Iraq, while Hillary kept stumbling over it. STILL. Let's assume that enough Edwards voters would've switched to Hillary to give her that first important win. From then on out, things are very different!
New Hampshire It would've been a breeze. Hillary would've won easily, once again making her look like an unstoppable steamroller of inevitability. BUT! Her real-world New Hampshire win breathed new life into her "struggling" campaign. She had to cry and say she found her voice and suddenly everyone was nice to her. Would two wins in a row have made the press more interested in Obama?
South Carolina Here's the big question. Hillary was way ahead in the black vote until Iowa, when, some say, black voters suddenly realized the black candidate might have a chance and switched to Obama. But in this alternate universe, have they still stuck with Hillary? Maybe Bill's not so angry and crazy and therefore not saying questionable things about Obama's race, but maybe the press coverage is becoming as quietly racist as it was sexist in our universe. This is totally up in the air.
Super Duper Tuesday Hillary wins New York and California, just like now. The delegate count is perhaps as nutty as it was in real life, but Obama's camp would probably sound "desperate" if they brought that up. Now we're in a position not unlike the real one-the nation's racial fault lines exposed as commentators call on Obama to drop out, even though a win is still a statistical possibility. Obama maybe handles the situation with more grace and returns to the Senate to work on his 2016 campaign.
The Future Would Hillary be stronger against McCain? Her negatives are way higher than his, but she appeals to more of his base than Obama does. Obama has a better shot in some states than Hillary would, but he also may lose blue-collar white Democratic strongholds that Hillary proved adept at winning. But this is becoming a really lame and hedged "alternative history" so let's say Hillary would SWEEP MCCAIN in this future, while as we all know in the real world this election is still Obama's to lose. Then the reanimated Hitler would win the Olympics! The Confederate States of America would be so disappointed. Then Vice President Favre would get sacked by Speaker of the House Evil Spock and the world would learn to laugh again.
In conclusion, Howard Wolfson is a tool.