It wasn’t supposed to be this way. Hillary Rodham Clinton has everything necessary to be the prohibitive favorite in the 2016 Democratic presidential race. She has all the credentials, all the money via fundraising, all the education, all the political resources, and the resume. In spite of all those things, Bernie Sanders isn’t in Hillary’s rear view mirror – he’s in her side view mirror. Bernie is running neck-and-neck with Hillary. Her endorsements, her commercials, her performances in the Democratic debates thus far, and her interviews with the media haven’t changed that. If Hillary is as smart as I think she is, she should consider herself on notice. Bern notice.
By the time you read this, Hillary will either have won or lost in Saturday’s Nevada Democratic primary. If she won, she will have bought herself a little breathing space from Bernie. But if she lost, HRC’s in trouble. Potentially big trouble.
Allegedly, Bernie Sanders is having a tough time connecting with African-American Democratic voters. Whether that statement is true or not depends on which polls you believe. Saturday’s result in Nevada will certainly shed some light on the matter.
The past is prologue. HRC was the clear favorite during her presidential run in 2008 – that is, unless she wasn’t. I wrote in this very same column in 2014 that Hillary wasn’t inevitable. President Barack Obama proved that. If you watch this race closely enough, you can see plenty of parallels. Actually, the 2016 race for Hillary is the 2008 race revisited. In 2008, Obama beat Hillary in the New Hampshire Democratic primary. Two weeks ago, Bernie beat Hilary in New Hampshire. In 2008, Hillary’s frustrations at not being able to propel herself far past Obama in the polls and in the primaries were visible. This year, Hillary’s frustrations at not being able to cool Bernie down are also visible. Clearly, she’s feeling the bern – and not in a good way.
Meanwhile, Bernie Sanders has been effective in exposing Hillary’s weaknesses. He’s right when he says that she doesn’t have a clear message. He’s right when he points out all the speaking fees HRC has earned from Wall Street over the past several years. He’s right when he calls her a member of an American political dynasty. Bernie is right when he brings up the fact that too many Americans question her trustworthiness.
Dear HRC… you’re being berned.
Personally, I like Bernie Sanders. Politically, I do not believe that he could beat Donald Trump head-to-head if he were the 2016 Democratic nominee for president. I’m really starting to wonder if Hillary could beat Donald Trump one-on-one. I wonder that because Hillary can be at times her own worst enemy – especially in presidential races.
I don’t get it. How could she not have learned the lessons of 2008? Can Hillary not see that Bernie Sanders and his campaign brain trust are coming after her the exact same way? Is she that arrogant? Or is she just slow to adapt?
The news gets worse. There are multiple media reports that Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts) might be interested in being Bernie Sanders’s running mate should he secure the Democratic nomination. If true, that would be devastating news to the Clinton camp. I had hoped that Senator Warren would run for president herself because she would have been a mortal threat to Hillary’s campaign. HRC would have realized with certainty that any mistakes made against Elizabeth Warren would have been politically fatal. Senator Warren and Senator Clinton do not get along. They are not friends. Therefore, there is virtually no chance of a Clinton-Warren ticket.
If Bernie is able to win votes from two of Hillary’s most treasured groups of supporters – women and African-Americans – that would be very grim news, indeed. Bernie Sanders is very popular with millenials and college students. Hillary is well aware of this fact. Bernie’s got energy and momentum. Hillary’s got… umm… can I get back to you on that?
Sometimes, being an American original can be a not-so-good thing. Everyone has bad days. Everyone makes mistakes – in words, in thoughts, and in actions. Everyone needs to course correct from time to time. All of these things make us human. Problems arise when someone – anyone – thinks their way is the only way. As a former First Lady, as a Senator, as the Secretary of State, and as a two-time candidate for the Oval Office, HRC has Frank Sinatra syndrome: she absolutely insists on doing things her way and her way only. That mindset has come back to bite her over and over and over again. Ask Jeb Bush about the consequences of inflexibility.
Bernie seems to be growing in confidence. Hillary seems to be growing in frustration.
What’s going to happen, you ask? I don’t know. No one knows. There are too many moving pieces and too many x-factors for anyone to know for sure. Just as Trump has been a game changer on the Republican side of the 2016 presidential race, Sanders has been a game changer on the Democratic side.
Hillary is officially on notice. If she doesn’t get it together pronto, she’s going to be burned (berned). Again.