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Thursday, May 23, 2024

We live in a world full of myths. Never mind the tales of wizarding, wand-wielding British schoolchildren or the large, bearded serial home invader who descends into our chimneys every Christmas Eve, hoarding our good cookies and seducing our children with presents crafted through elven labor. Those aren’t myths; they’re objectively true phenomena.

What we’re calling attention to is the tendency in our public discourse to accept certain ideas as fundamentally true, despite strong evidence to suggest otherwise. This is why we at the Alligator are launching this new editorial segment, “Myths Un-Mythed”: our attempt to rock the boat a little by challenging — or at least attempting to challenge — these loosely wound, superficial truths around us. So let’s jump right in: Hillary Clinton’s electability, or the notion that “Hillary would be more electable in the general election against the Republican nominee than would Bernie Sanders.”

Before you even consider our word on the issue, look to the numbers. Polling from RealClearPolitics, which averages a wide range of news-poll data, currently puts Bernie ahead of Trump in the general election by 10 points, whereas Clinton’s lead on Trump is 6 points, as of early March. The same data also currently puts her at losing to Kasich and just barely beating Cruz, whereas Bernie wins by much wider margins than does Clinton.

Numbers aside, however, what would a race between the two front-runners, Trump and Clinton, look like? Clinton should dominate, right? Well, before you automatically dismiss Trump, keep in mind the media has been consistently underestimating his chances ever since he announced his candidacy back in June 2015, yet look what he’s done to the country. To continue underestimating Trump’s chances now would be disingenuous.  

Moreover, according to Politico, Trump and his son not only donated to Clinton when she was senator of New York, but donated over $100,000 to the Clinton Foundation. Trump can easily use that against Clinton and dismiss her as bought-out and owned by him, shutting her down the exact way he shut down Rand Paul.

Also consider that we’re talking about Clinton vs. Republicans. They can surely dismiss Sanders as a communist, but none of these attacks measure up to the GOP’s resentment of Clinton. To our liberal viewers, grab some Krishna Lunch with your Republican friends and ask their opinions on Clinton — chances are, they’re not very good. And as some of our Alligator staffers can testify: Go to a Trump or Cruz rally, and you’ll find more “Hillary for prison” posters than you can count.

Even some Democrats and independents would take issue with Clinton in the general election. Say what you will about #BernieOrBust and others who refuse to vote for Clinton no matter what — we don’t condone this — but it’s sure to hurt Clinton’s chances at winning. 

All the while, Republican voters would consolidate against Clinton. Would this be enough to relinquish Clinton from a victory against Trump or whomever the GOP chooses at a contest convention? Maybe, maybe not, but a lot can happen between now and Nov. 8.

Again, our intention with this discussion isn’t to be alarmist, but rather to draw attention to how incorrect it is to assume Clinton is the undeniably “electable” Democratic candidate, especially when Sanders does significantly better than Clinton against all the proposed Republican candidates. So, the electability myth? Un-mythed.

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