The Challenges Ahead for Hillary Clinton

22 Nov 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Clinton moves to end the primary quickly.

Hillary Rodham Clinton’s windfalls from Wall Street banks and other financial-services firms — $3 million in paid speeches and $17 million in campaign contributions over the years — are turning into a major vulnerability in the early nomination contests.

NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — Bernie Sanders acknowledged on Saturday that he’d lose the Democratic primary to Hillary Rodham Clinton if the election were held now. “We started way, way, way down,” the Vermont senator told reporters while campaigning in North Charleston, South Carolina. “I think you’re going to see us picking up a lot of steam here in South Carolina. … I will not deny, if the election were held today, we would lose.” Sanders said that he started his campaign with much lower name-recognition than front-runner Clinton and is still working to introduce himself to voters.NEW YORK – Until this past week, Bernie Sanders’s digital strategy – to convert the enthusiastic and curious into volunteers and eventually voters – played out in Twitter posts straight from his long, policy-driven speeches and videos explaining income and wealth inequality.From increased travel to the states voting in March to a reinvigorated push to reach $100 million in funds raised by year-end, the front-runner’s team is eager to capitalize on her recent climb in the polls to knock Bernie Sanders and Martin O’Malley out of the race quickly. Not since Richard Nixon in 1960 breezed to his appointment with destiny in Chicago has a presidential contender had so easy a time advancing to the finals in presidential politics. Sanders met with reporters before speaking at a rally organized by the South Carolina Democratic Party and afterward filed his paperwork as a candidate in the state’s primary.

Then he joined Snapchat, a company that claims to have an enviable share of America’s young likely voters in its audience, in a bet that the platform can help him further capitalize on his advantage with that demographic. Certainly, the Brooklyn-based campaign is still spending a considerable chunk of its time on Iowa and New Hampshire — and running a rotation of fresh ads across both states. Clinton has received millions of dollars from the kinds of executives he believes should be in jail. “People knew what they were doing back then, because of greed, and it caused me harm,” said Mr. At first glance, the irascible Sanders seems like a strange fit for the platform, where users can send photos and short videos to their friends that later evaporate. “What is this Snapshot thing and why do I only get 10 seconds?” Sanders tweeted on Monday to announce his new account.

Speaking to hundreds at the Charleston County Democratic Party’s Blue Jamboree — including many wearing T-shirts or toting signs supporting Sanders — Clinton suggested that Sanders’s health-care proposal would effectively raise taxes on the middle class and amount to a dismantling of President Obama’s signature health-care law — a notion that Sanders disputes. “You know the deck is rigged, but we’ve got to reshuffle that deck,” Clinton said, speaking to the growing concern within her party’s base that the political and economic systems are skewed to benefit the rich and powerful. “And make sure we are raising incomes for the middle class, not raising taxes on the middle class. He’s a late adopter: His Democratic rivals, Martin O’Malley and Hillary Clinton, have been on the platform for several weeks, as has every major Republican candidate except Jeb Bush, Donald Trump, and Rick Santorum. But there is some data to indicate that, while 2016 might not be the Snapchat election, it is, at least, a natural fit for a candidate such as Sanders.

Here are some of the challenges that may be keeping her advisers up at night — or should be: There’s little doubt right now that she’ll be the nominee, but it isn’t in her interest to permit a protracted struggle to develop against Sen. At a time liberals are ascendant in the party, many Democrats believe it’s bad enough that she merely “represented Wall Street as a senator from New York,” as Clinton reminded viewers in an October debate. Clinton’s stance highlights her focus on preserving President Obama’s health-care legacy, while Sanders has offered a proposal that seeks to make good on his promise of bringing a “political revolution.” The Clinton campaign said that in Iowa this weekend, Clinton will build on her previously announced plans and propose additional tax cuts for middle-class families.

He told reporters he remains confident of his chances despite Clinton’s 53-point lead over him among South Carolina Democrats in the RealClearPolitics average. But in campaign stops in Tennessee and South Carolina, she focused on health care and a plan to give middle-class families as much as $5,000 in tax credits for unexpected out-of-pocket health-care costs. After the Aug. 6 Republican debate, Snapchat said 18- to 24-year-olds were more likely to watch the platform’s five-minute “live story” of the debate than watch the debate live on television.

Even as she promises greater regulation of hedge funds and private equity firms, liberals deride her for refusing to reinstate the Glass-Steagall Act, a law that separated commercial and investment banks until its repeal under President Clinton. Two-thirds of 18- to 34-year-old Snapchat users are likely voters and about a third of all 18- to 34-year- old likely voters use the app, according to an online poll commissioned by Snapchat and conducted by Global Strategy Group and Public Opinion Strategies from Oct. 15-25. “Compared to other kinds of social media, Snapchat really gives a true behind-the-scenes look at campaigns and candidates, and those campaign and candidates who use Snapchat effectively have a different avenue to reaching these likely voters,” said Robert Blizzard, a partner at Public Opinion Strategies. Sanders has proposed implementing single-payer, universal health care, which his campaign said would save families roughly $5,000 annually and would make a tax credit such as the one proposed by Clinton unnecessary. Unlike network television, Snapchat’s debate live stories cover the entire night, from pre-debate rally to spin room, and offer more context and humor.

O’Malley’s insistence to reporters that his campaign had its best-ever fundraising week after the last debate only came after he was asked about the effort’s precarious financial state. And for many Democrats, her strong support from wealthy donors and a big-money super PAC undercuts her increasingly progressive rhetoric on free trade and other economic issues. And the candidate’s ever-sharpening barbs against Sanders (“I am not a former socialist”) and Clinton (“taking her orders from the big banks”) were met with light applause, not cheers.

In another clip, an enthusiastic Sanders supporter repeatedly screamed “Oh my God, oh my God” after the candidate touched her hand as he left the debate. With just days before the start of a traditionally slow political period that begins on Thanksgiving and can extend through December, strategists, donors and fundraisers close to Clinton’s team see few obvious stumbling blocks left for her in the March states.

Most opinion polls put Clinton well ahead of Sanders nationally and in Iowa, and they are running even in New Hampshire, but she fares worse than him on questions about taking on Wall Street and special interests. The campaign has been using its joint fundraising agreement with the Democratic National Committee and state parties to start spreading election-season cash and bolster local relationships: according to Federal Election Commission filings that landed on Friday, Team Clinton has sent funds to state parties in Florida, Pennsylvania, Wyoming, and Massachusetts. Even if Clinton sews up the nomination quickly, subdued enthusiasm among the party’s liberal base could complicate efforts to energize Democratic turnout for the general election. At the same time, Bill Clinton has been stepping up his own fundraising blitz for the campaign, scheduling at least 20 events this month, including eight in March states. In comparison, Clinton, who joined in early August, has been praised for her amusing account, which often features throwback photos of the candidate or images mocking her Republican opponents.

They declined to share specific findings from internal polls, but predicted the issue could resonate in Democratic contests in Iowa, Nevada, Ohio and Michigan, where many people have lost homes and businesses to bank foreclosures. I believe the United States should join the rest of the world with a Medicare-for-all, single-payer system.” During his remarks to the crowd, Sanders also reiterated his support for legislation pending in Congress that would mandate that employers provide three months of paid leave after a family has a child.

Kenneth Pennington, the Sanders campaign’s digital director, said Sanders is “uniquely positioned” to turn out young voters due to his early popularity with them. And Clinton’s team has also been rolling out “leadership councils” of influential locals, tapping their political networks on her behalf in the states that vote in March, a move that’s drawn attention for including nearly all Democratic officials in states like Alabama and most of the party leaders in Sanders’ Vermont and O’Malley’s Maryland. A national McClatchy-Marist poll released Nov. 13 found that while Clinton beat Sanders 57 percent to 39 percent, Sanders led among 18- to 29-year-olds 58 percent to 35 percent; he had a similar advantage among 18- to 34-year-olds in the latest Bloomberg Politics national poll published this week. “What we’re seeing in our rallies and in social media and in every metric that’s out there is that young people are, many of them for the first time in their lives, getting really excited about the senator’s candidacy,” Pennington said. “And it’s not because the senator is some cool hip guy, it’s just because his ideas are really appealing to millennials.” Sanders will likely use the account to focus on issues young voters care about, such as college costs, LGBT rights, and racial justice, Pennington said.

Clinton landed in Charleston on Saturday after a Friday night rally in Tennessee — another March-voting state — and she was set to return to Iowa on Sunday before swinging through Nevada on Monday and Colorado — yet another March destination — on Tuesday. Sierra Smith, a 19-year-old sophomore journalism student at Baylor University in Waco, Texas, is just the sort of young voter the campaign hopes to reach. Finally, the campaign’s been launching some of its minority coalitions — African Americans for Hillary and Latinos for Hillary — in Georgia and Florida respectively.

By contrast, Sanders and O’Malley are increasingly bearing down on Iowa, recognizing that they both need disproportionately strong performances in the first-to-caucus state to keep the race alive. And some Democratic superdelegates, whose backing is crucial, said Clinton’s ties to big banks, and her invocation of 9/11 to defend her ties to Wall Street at the Nov. 14 debate, only made them further question her independence from the financial industry. “My parents had a saying in Spanish — ‘Dime con quién andas y te diré quién eres’ — which means, ‘Tell me who you’re hanging with and I’ll tell you who you are,’ ” said Alma Gonzalez, an uncommitted superdelegate from Florida. “A lot of my Democratic friends feel that way about Hillary and Wall Street. “Are the working people in this country going to be able to count on hard decisions being made by President Hillary Clinton with regard to her Wall Street chums?

She didn’t talk about either Sanders or O’Malley, even though both criticized her by name, the latter while some members of the thinning crowd chatted amongst themselves on the sidelines. “Whenever Republicans get into the White House, they mess it up!,” Clinton said, in a far more emphatic delivery of one of her standard lines. “They mess it up, folks.” She also mirrored an attack line she often uses in Iowa, going after South Carolina’s Republican governor Nikki Haley in an attempt to rile up local Democrats, much like she does with Iowa’s Terry Branstad. And she seized on the current discussion about national security by going even further against the GOP and gun control opponents: “The Republicans are blocking a vote to prevent people who are on the no-fly list from getting a gun,” she said, getting visibly angry. Otherwise she will face uncomfortable occasions to prove herself, unnecessary places to spend down her campaign treasury and unwanted challenges like the ones that follow . . . Then, when she was asked by a reporter to respond to O’Malley’s claim that she had “one foot stuck in the Cold War” after her Thursday address on combating the terrorist group known as ISIL or ISIS, Clinton shrugged off the slight.

Yet even though she has taken tough stands, such as chastising banks for widespread foreclosures in 2007 and 2008, some Democrats are skeptical that she would ever crack down on the executives in her social circles in Manhattan, the Hamptons and Washington, D.C. But this is a case where strength also may be a liability; her Republican rivals will pillory her for the Benghazi episode in particular and for her views on Libya in general.

Martin O’Malley of Maryland, have argued that big donors inevitably had influence with her, her campaign has pushed back against suggestions that the financial-services industry had bankrolled her campaign. Gonzalez, the Florida superdelegate, and some other undecided Democrats said they viewed Sanders as too hostile to banks and corporations and too divisive in his remarks about American wealth. Clinton speaking about the 2001 attacks would be for Dwight Eisenhower to have talked about Pearl Harbor in a year that would bring the Suez crisis and the revolution in Hungary. Sanders has been criticizing “the corrupt economy symbolized by Wall Street greed” for decades, she said. “He shows righteous indignation and speaks for the common woman and man in saying they have a right to be outraged at Wall Street,” Turner said. “He doesn’t just talk the talk.

His critique might be dismissed as the prattling of an inconsequential figure who gets attention only because he is the only person standing between her and a coronation for the presidential nomination. The party has all the demographic factors going for it — great appeal among youth and solid strength among blacks and Hispanics who are increasingly important factors in the American electorate, especially in the big states.

The governor of the biggest state is a Democrat who once was a big-city mayor (Oakland) and a state attorney general, and anyone with that profile ordinarily would be a strong vice-presidential candidate. The usual repository of running mates are the governors, where the Democrats have only 18, and the Senate, where the Democrats account for 46, including independents.

Turner, the former Ohio lawmaker, said the blocks of foreclosed homes in Cleveland were a painful reminder that banks prioritize their own corporate interests.

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