So why is Hillary Clinton embracing liberal positions at odds with previous ones on a range of issues, such as immigration, gay marriage, and criminal justice reform? The Post’s Anne Gearan gets more detail from Clinton advisers on this question than I’ve seen anywhere else.
The crux of the thinking is twofold: Clinton is making a bet on the coalition that powered Obama’s wins in the last two national elections, and she’s also gambling that some of these supposedly “left wing” positions on these issues are actually shared by the middle of the country:
The moves are part of a strategic conclusion by Clinton’s emerging campaign: that it can harness the same kind of young and diverse coalition as Barack Obama did in 2008 and 2012, bolstered by even stronger appeal among women.
Her approach — outlined in interviews with aides and advisers — is a bet that social and demographic shifts mean that no left-leaning position Clinton takes now would be likely to hurt her in making her case to moderate and independent voters in the general election next year.
The strategy relies on calculations about the 2016 landscape, including that up to 31 percent of the electorate will be Americans of color — a projection that may be overly optimistic for her campaign. It factors in that a majority of independent voters already support same-sex marriage and the pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants that Clinton endorsed this month.
As I’ve noted before, her positions on these issues are about the changing nature of the Democratic Party as much as anything else. Dems are more unified on immigration and gay marriage than ever before; her positions on those issues are mainstream Democratic ones, and aren’t the province of the “left wing” of the party, as some mistakenly claim. This is part and parcel of the Democratic embrace of its new coalition of millennials, minorities, and socially liberal college educated whites.