Bring on Bernie: As the email story unfolds, Hillary Clinton’s carefully crafted everything is winning over nobody.
When Bernie Sanders first announced that he was running for president I vacillated between excitement and dread. Excitement for the things he stands for and dread from the delivery. The Democratic party desperately needs a candidate capable of winning and can’t simply assume that voters will rely solely upon name recognition when they get to the polls in 2016. Yahoo writes that “More Americans distrust Hillary Clinton than trust her.” CNN reports that 55 percent of registered voters have an “unfavorable” view of the former Secretary of State. Building trust or increasing Clinton’s favorability rating among Americans will be difficult since only 1 percent of registered voters have “never heard of” Hillary Clinton. In addition, her emails are the subject of an ongoing controversy.
Democrats won’t stand a chance on November 8, 2016 if Clinton’s server is still being investigated by all five intelligence agencies. (As it stands: FBI, National Security Agency, CIA, Defense Intelligence Agency, and National Geospatial Agency.)
It’s crucial that the Democrats carry this next election, for most reasons that are obvious to most lefties, notwithstanding that by the middle of the next president’s term, 4 Supreme Court justices will be in their 80’s. The choices made then will have repercussions for decades to come.
And we have a major trust issue on our hands.
According to Quinnipiac University’s Swing State Polls in July and August, voters in Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Colorado, Iowa, and Virginia (and other key states) have an unfavorable view of Hillary Clinton and don’t find her trustworthy. Florida, Pennsylvania and Ohio total 67 electoral votes. You might think she’s qualified, found Quinnipiac University’s Swing State Poll on August 20th, but qualifications and campaign money won’t win a person’s trust.
Florida: Clinton gets a negative 37 – 55 percent favorability rating, and voters say 64 – 32 percent she is not honest and trustworthy.
Ohio: Voters give Clinton a negative 36 – 54 percent favorability rating and say 60 – 34 percent that she is not honest and trustworthy.
Pennsylvania: Voters give Clinton a negative 38 – 55 percent favorability rating and say 63 – 32 percent that she is not honest and trustworthy.
In Colorado, Iowa, and Virginia, Quinnipiac University’s July 22 Swing State Poll finds the same results pertaining to Clinton’s image:
Colorado: Voters say 62 – 34 percent that Hillary Clinton is not honest and trustworthy.
Iowa: Hillary Clinton is not honest and trustworthy, Iowa voters say 59 – 33 percent.
Virginia: Hillary Clinton is not honest and trustworthy, Virginia voters say 55 – 39 percent.
These three states total 28 electoral votes. Combine them with the 67 of Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, and you get 95 electoral votes. If 270 wins you the presidency, and voters in states totaling 95 electoral votes find Hillary Clinton “not honest and trustworthy” (and have an unfavorable view of her), then how on Earth is Hillary Clinton going to get Democrats to vote for her? Relying on voters to turn out simply because the alternative is horrifying is a huge bet – and a risky one.
In contrast, trust is the foundation of the Bernie Sanders campaign, primarily because Vermont’s Senator answers questions directly, never defends against scandal, and his supporters have no need to attack globally respected publications like The New York Times. Clinton and her supporters are at odds with the media and U.S. intelligence agencies. Because of this bizarre scenario. A scenario that the eventual GOP nominee can exploit.
When supporters of a potential Democratic nominee need to attack The New York Times, and when the “liberal media” is being accused of “baseless attacks” along with the GOP, the Democratic Party should reevaluate its meaning of “inevitability.”
The Clinton campaign’s defense of the scandal chose incredulity regarding the definition of “classified,” and its public and dramatic disdain of the media’s reporting are good reasons for Democrats to be concerned with a Clinton nomination. This divisiveness is beginning to look like a Nixonian plot. James Carville referred to it as a surreal “witch hunt” and David Brock condemned The New York Times. Both invoke and allude to salacious plots that seem to bolster the belief that others are out to undermine Clinton.
As the email story unfolds, the Clinton campaign and supporters continue to paint accusers in a negative light. While Richard Nixon once claimed, “the press is the enemy,” Hillary Clinton’s bid for the White House is seemingly riddled with adversaries never before faced by Democrats. The New York Times is now “the enemy;” the definition of classified information is now “the enemy;” the notion of a “double standard” is now “the enemy.”
Oddly enough, Bernie Sanders isn’t under investigation and is still drawing gigantic crowds everywhere he goes. He’s beginning to appear more on talk shows – last week alone he was on Colbert, Rachel Maddow, and a few others. Sanders is starting to make waves.
He recently spoke at Liberty University, a terrain considered by most Democrats as enemy territory and the place that Ted Cruz chose to announce his candidacy. It did not go the way most people thought it would, which is not well. As it happened, Sanders was amazingly well received at the Evangelical University founded by Jerry Falwell.
It could have been a disaster: A socialist Jew addressing a room full of Conservative Evangelical Christians. But instead of chaos he was met with hoots and standing ovations. In one case, a former alumni said the following in a 17 minute audio address, which I strongly suggest you take the time to listen to:
As I heard Bernie Sanders crying out to the religious leaders at Liberty University, in his hoarse voice, with his wild hair – this Jew – and he proclaimed justice over us, he called us to account, for being complicit with those who are wealthy and those who are powerful, and for abandoning the poor, the least of these, who Jesus said he had come to bring good news to. And in that moment something occurred to me. As I saw Bernie Sanders up there, as I watched him, I realized Bernie Sanders for president is good news for the poor. Bernie Sanders for president is Good News for the poor. Bernie Sanders is gospel for the poor. And Jesus said “I have come to bring gospel” – good news – “to the poor.”
And lightning hit my heart at that moment. And I realized that we are evangelical Christians. We believe the Bible. We believe in Jesus. We absolutely shun those who would attempt to find nuance and twisted and tortured interpretations of scripture that they would use to master all other broader interpretations, to find some kind of big message that they want to flout. We absolutely scorn such things, and yet somehow we commit to the mental gymnastics necessary that allows us to abandon the least of these, to abandon the poor, to abandon the immigrants, to abandon those who are in prison.
Sanders has reached millions of people with his message, and this one appearance is a small example of the support and passion he’s able to drum up. Hillary has been making the rounds, playing to small crowds in small venues with carefully crafted messages full of carefully crafted sound bites in a carefully crafted voice that is not supposed to offend nor alarm anybody. But voters see through the shallow and contrived message and juxtapose that with Bernie’s barking about change, and it wakes something up in them.
Ultimately, voters will decide who they want to see in the White House. From a Democrat’s perspective, however, can they afford to get behind someone riddled with scandal and who can’t seem to deliver a message without index cards or carefully chosen words? Or will they pick a candidate that will continue to fight for the least of us as he has for nearly 40 years?