Atlantic Council Senior Adviser Harlan Ullman writes for the Daily Times on Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign:
Last Sunday, Hillary Clinton announced her candidacy for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination. The affair was low key relying on Twitter, Facebook and social media where a video was posted. The slogan “Ready for Hillary” is the current mantra along with “peace, progress and prosperity”. In 2008, it was “in for the win”, “ready for change, ready to lead” and then a batch of other lesser slogans. But slogans will not win the next presidential election. The profoundly crucial question is: what will it take to become the next president? Cynics, realists and professional politicians have a simple answer: 270 electoral votes. As most people may not know, the US still elects presidents in the Electoral College, not by popular vote, a constitutional fact that cost Al Gore the presidency in 2000.
Hillary therefore must have a two-pronged strategic approach. First, she must win the nomination. Second, she must win the Electoral College. For the moment, the Democratic field is rather empty. It was too in 2007 until a junior senator from Illinois emerged and Barack Obama surprised and outwitted his much-favoured opponent, Hillary. No Barack Obama is in view. Still, Hillary must have the ability to run a competent campaign, something she did not do in 2008. Regarding the general election, historically Democrats can rely on about 242 electoral votes. Twenty-eight more votes are needed which is far less than for Republicans. As minorities grow in number and women outnumber men, Hillary has electoral base advantages. Yet, the vital issues for Hillary are not strategic. Political, personal and policy issues will dominate her success or failure. Each is interconnected.