A summer of Clinton stumbles gives way to an uncertain fall for Democrats

30 Aug 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

‘When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race’.

MINNEAPOLIS — The Democratic Party, whose presidential race has been mostly overshadowed by Donald Trump and the Republicans, heads into the fall with its nomination contest far less certain than it once appeared and braced for a series of events that will have a significant effect on Hillary Rodham Clinton’s campaign. Hillary Clinton has spent years locking up support from the Democratic Party’s leadership, so rather than inheriting his party’s machine, Joe Biden would have to find a way to take it back.As Hillary Clinton’s campaign seeks to project dominance in a field that could soon include Vice President Joe Biden, her top advisers are touting a decisive edge on a little-discussed metric: superdelegate commitments. Clinton’s standing has been eroded both by her own shaky handling of the e-mail controversy and by the populist energy fueling the challenge of Sen. Clinton referred to certain Republican presidential hopefuls’ apparent views on “programmes and services to help women take care of themselves”.

In his place, backers greeted a curious few in a hotel suite 20 floors above the official gathering, handing out chocolate bars wrapped with a stylized photo of Biden behind the wheel of a convertible and an “I’m Ridin’ with Biden” label. At the Democratic National Committee meeting in Minneapolis, where Clinton spoke on Friday, senior Clinton campaign officials are claiming that she has already secured one-fifth of the pledges needed to win the Democratic presidential nomination.

Clinton said: “Now, extreme views about women, we expect that from some of the terrorist groups, we expect that from people who don’t want to live in a modern world, but it’s a little hard to take from Republicans who want to be the President of the United States. Her weakened position in the polls has stoked talk about a possible late entry from Vice President Biden, which could dramatically change the dynamic of the race. The campaign says that Clinton currently has about 130 superdelegates publicly backing her, but a person familiar with recent conversations in Minneapolis said that officials are telling supporters and the undecided in the last few days that private commitments increase that number to more than 440—about 20 percent of the number of delegates she would need to secure the nomination.

What can Clinton do to regain the trust of voters, generate genuine enthusiasm among grass-roots activists and reassure nervous Democrats that she will be a strong nominee atop the party’s ticket in November next year? Bush, who accordingly wants to “ban state funding for some rape crisis centres because they sometimes refer women to places that do offer abortions”.

Since the remarks were made, Bush retaliated on twitter stating that her “priorities” of defending Planned Parenthood over those who support pro-life were “totally wrong”: The Republican National Committee Press Secretary, Allison Moore said in a statement: “For Hilary Clinton to equate her political opponents to terrorists is a new low for her flailing campaign. Bernie Sanders, whose vibrant crowds and steady poll numbers make him Clinton’s strongest current challenger. “So she has a huge advantage.” Yet Biden’s supporters see an opening, due in no small part to Clinton’s inability to shake questions about her use of a personal email server while serving as secretary of state.

His candor, long history of fighting for Democratic causes and personal struggles — a widower at a young age now grieving over the recent death of his son Beau — make him an admired figure in the party. “He’s one of us. He gets it,” said Jon Cooper, a supporter who this summer began working with a group encouraging Biden to enter the race. “Everybody likes Joe Biden.” That group, a super PAC named Draft Biden, is a blend of Chicago-based fans of the vice president and political operatives with ties to his family. Campaign manager Robby Mook, chief administrative officer Charlie Baker, political director Amanda Renteria, and state campaigns and political engagement director Marlon Marshall are among the top Clinton aides in attendance. And can Democrats capitalize long-term on what they see as significant vulnerabilities that Trump and other Republican candidates have exposed in recent weeks, especially with women and Hispanic voters? “Every single day, another one of them says something outrageous or offensive to alienate key constituencies that matter,” DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz said. “It leaves me and my fellow Democrats not needing to say very much.” For all their glee at watching the Republicans, Democratic leaders are more inwardly focused today than they have been all year, with Clinton at the center of attention.

It sent five employees to the DNC meeting, emailing attendees and passing out fliers in hallways to invite people to their pro-Biden hotel suite. “I asked them, ‘What’s his path?'” said Mitchell Ceasar, a Florida attorney and party operative. To be sure, Clinton had a superdelegate edge early against Barack Obama in 2008, and superdelegates are free to change their allegiance at any time between now and next summer’s convention. While Biden has no campaign operation beyond the small Draft Biden group, Clinton has for months built a sprawling machine of hundreds of employees working out of her Brooklyn campaign headquarters and in dozens of offices across the country. Her version of Draft Biden, a since shuttered outside group called Ready for Hillary, spent years before Clinton got into the race amassing millions of email addresses of potential supporters.

While Clinton said earlier this week that Biden “should have the space and the opportunity to decide what he wants to do,” her campaign is at the same time flexing its muscles to stress the strength of her candidacy. The campaign this week unveiled its first endorsement from a sitting member of the Obama Cabinet, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, who just happens to be a former governor of Iowa and who spent Wednesday touring the state with Clinton.

Inside the Clinton team, there is an acknowledgment that the issue has been badly handled and that it has given rise to broader worries about her trustworthiness and sense of entitlement. “Stuff is coming in from outer space to us and that’s challenging, but I think what she did a few days ago was important in terms of acknowledging that people have questions,” said Robby Mook, Clinton’s campaign manager. “She’s taken responsibility for this, and I think at this point now we have a lot of supporters on Capitol Hill and our activists who are ready to really call this for what it is.” Still, a senior Democratic official said the e-mail story was “an absolutely self-inflicted wound.” Democrats are crying out, “Just talk to me, tell me what’s going on. While supporters say bigger checks have been rolling in recently, Clinton is a former first lady and senator from New York with a strong fundraising history. Barring some major scandal or controversy, and given Hillary and Bill Clinton’s long-standing ties to Democratic Party elites, overcoming her superdelegate edge would be quite a challenge for Biden or the major candidates already competing against her for the nomination, including Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders.

In their Minneapolis discussions intended to persuade additional uncommitted superdelegates to commit to Clinton, her team is taking care not to mention Biden, but the message is clear: Much of the party establishment is supporting Clinton and the math is in her favor. Clinton backers, who sported gold “H” lapel pins at the DNC meetings, were rewarded for their loyalty with invitations to private briefings from Clinton and top campaign officials. After Obama took the lead in overall delegates, his campaign began to make a comparable argument about the mathematical inevitability of his ultimate victory. Clinton talked for about 15 minutes, drawing cheers when she assured them, “I’m not a quitter.” Ed Cote, a Washington state Democratic leader and a Clinton admirer, said that event was a perfect example of why Biden would find himself in a tougher primary than a sitting vice president might expect. The attention to delegate counts, Clinton said Friday, was the “result of the lessons that I learned the last time –how important it is to be as well-organized and focused from the very beginning on delegates and those who are superdelegates.”

But there’s that side of her that needs to come across.” All the questions about Clinton would come into starker relief if Biden were to decide to run. For all of the surprise strength of the Sanders insurgency, however, even he acknowledged here that he still must convince Democrats that he can win a general election. “The issue of electability — Can we win this election?

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