Could the facade of inevitability that Hillary Clinton built up crack wide open?
First comes word that Clinton is almost even with Bernie Sanders nationwide, leading a mere 43% to 39%. (Hat tip: Push Junction.)
Add to that the fact that the most recent polls in Iowa show the race there tied after Hillary being up some 40 points a few points ago.
In New Hampshire, recent polls have Sanders up anywhere from 3 to 14 points.
And even though Clinton has raised more money, Sanders has done very well in fundraising, bringing in $33 million in the final quarter and $73 million for all of 2015. That’s not the fundraising total of someone running a token campaign. A huge number of Democrats (more than 2.3 million of them, a number which surpasses Obama’s 2011 reelection efforts) believe in Sanders enough to donate to his campaign.
Finally, Sanders just got endorsed by MoveOn.org. The irony here, of course, is that MoveOn was created entirely as a medium for attack proponents of Bill Clinton’s impeachment for lying under oath and obstruction of justice. Given their genesis as an extension of the Clintons, it’s a surprise that MoveOn has moved on from them.
Hillary’s campaign was always predicated on her supposed inevitability, her fundraising prowess, her supposed viability, and voter familiarity with her due to her extremely high profile. But with a myriad array of ongoing scandals dogging her (Benghazi, her email server, the Clinton Foundation “pay for play” donations, etc.), familiarity seems to have bred contempt among a large number of Democratic Party faithful.
And one additional scandal not her own, rape and sexual assault allegations against Bill Cosby, have brought renewed scrutiny to Bill Clinton’s serial sexual assault and rape allegations, bringing up Hillary’s complicity in smearing Bill’s accusers, as well as turning one of Hillary’s biggest potential assets (having the once-popular 42nd President campaign for her) into a potential liability.
Finally, 2016 is shaping up to be The Year of the Outsider, when voters on both sides of the political spectrum said “Enough!”, embracing the unscripted bluntness of Donald Trump over the poll-focused banalities so beloved by consultants and the chattering classes. Hillary proved less than overwhelmingly popular with Democratic Party voters in 2008, and there’s precious little reason to believe she’s gotten more popular since then. She’s not a bright fresh face, and she lacks both Obama’s personal magnetism and his unique appeal to both black voters and white liberal guilt.
If Democratic Party voters decide that Bernie Sanders is a viable candidate, then he’s a viable candidate for the nomination. It may simply come down to the fact that Democrats wish to cast their votes for a candidate without feeling they need to take a shower afterwards.