Tuesday 27 September 2016

Clintons try to calm 'bedwetters' as Hillary maintains her lead

Niall O'Dowd

Published 26/08/2015 | 02:30

Hillary Clinton's dream scenario would be to go head-to-head with the over-exposed Donald Trump
Hillary Clinton's dream scenario would be to go head-to-head with the over-exposed Donald Trump

In private, the Clintons have a pet name for nervous ninnies within their campaign who over-react to every negative poll event, especially those carried out five months before a vote is cast.

  • Go To

Bill and Hillary call them the "bedwetters", unable to cope with even a smidgen of bad news from the trail. These days the bedwetters are more incontinent than usual.

In fact, some very nervous senior staff and donors have disturbing dreams as visions of Hillary-slayer Barack Obama appear in bad dreams like Halloween spooks. Are they to be denied again?

They should all relax. Here are the facts.

After a summer of plunging numbers and email accusations, Hillary still leads every Democrat and Republican in the race handsomely. She has massive leads in the Democratic primary, even as Bernie Sanders activates a traditional all-white liberal base. But Bernie has never built cross-alliances to black and Hispanic groups and has nowhere to go.

On the Republican side, Hillary leads Trump by six and Bush by 13, which could constitute massive landslides in a general election and the biggest Democratic margin of victory in decades.

The one worrying issue is if vice president Biden gets in the race. Unlike Sanders, he has deep ties to Blacks and Hispanics and to gay groups, who see him as the instigator within the White House of the legalisation of same-sex marriage.

In the first five early-voting Democratic primary states, he could win two of them. Wins are likely in South Carolina, almost an adopted state for him, where he has deep ties to the African American establishment, and Nevada, where powerful unions support him.

He also scores higher than Hillary in the trust issue. His meeting with senator Elizabeth Warren - the liberal conscience of the party and true darling of the left - could become an explosive development if she joined the ticket. Warren has pointedly refused to back Hillary to date.

Biden's problem, however, will be in building an organisation and raising money at warp speed, two areas where Hillary is well ahead with close to $100m (€87m).

So it is Biden, not Trump, that the Clinton people are concerned about.

The email issue still has the tendency to hurt Clinton. The media, ever fretting that they will miss a chance to take down the Clintons, are still probing and prodding.

This week, a 'Washington Post' reporter called after spending hours researching a dinner in Dublin that I attended in 2012 with Hillary Clinton on her farewell tour as Secretary of State. It was a small private affair organised by hotelier John Fitzpatrick and held at Residence on St Stephen's Green with about 20 present.

Her questions to me were: Who paid for the dinner? What was discussed? Were any favours looked for, especially via Huma Abedin, Hillary's right-hand person?

So what was a wonderful and low-key affair, with Irish-American friends of Hillary meeting and toasting her in Dublin on her last trip as Secretary of State, has suddenly become the focus of a 'Washington Post' investigation.

The journalist interviewing me was hell-bent on finding a connection between Abedin and some illegal activity at a time when she was working for Clinton and also consulting with the Teneo PR firm run by Irishman Declan Kelly.

It was a wild goose chase, but on a personal level the media obsession with trying to link Hillary to illegal activity either through sending classified emails or selling access to her as Secretary of State has reached ridiculous heights.

Donald Trump, of course, has stated that he sees criminal behaviour in the emails, even though it turns out several of them were already in the public domain before they were declared classified.

Multiply that inquiry about that Irish event by all the busy bees on other newspapers pursuing similar Hillary stories and past encounters with a peculiar ferocity reserved for the Clintons and you get some sense of the daily pressure.

Despite all this background noise, Hillary is holding up remarkably well in the polling.

The bizarre ascent of celebrity politician Trump has certainly helped. He is the shiny new toy for the media and everyone wants a piece of him, even though, as the 'New Yorker' pointed out this week, he is selling white power and verging on racism in his description of Hispanics.

Commentators talk endlessly about the lead he has opened up.

But consider this: in 2008, Rudy Giuliani - the saviour of New York on 9/11 - was even further ahead than Trump at this stage of the race. He won no delegates in the end and completely collapsed. Four years ago, congresswoman Michelle Bachmann and Texas governor Rick Perry were the early front-runners, but both collapsed abjectly once the swimsuit competition was over and the political quiz IQ section began.

Trump's fake populism, canned answers and insistence on hitting at the weakest in American society, the undocumented, will not play well in the long run, no matter how much money he spends.

There is not a Democrat or independent who will vote for him, and his rallies are notable for all the angry old white guys with nary a black or Hispanic face.

In the last five elections, the white vote has dropped by 9pc while the Hispanic vote has dramatically increased - the very constituency Trump is blaming most for America's ills. Once he moves outside his angry white guys cocoon, the numbers will start to change.

There are very few Americans who have not made up their mind about Trump, so his capacity to grow beyond his 25pc or so of Republican voters is hard to see.

Likewise, views on Hillary are set in stone (amazingly, 2pc professed to have never heard of her), and her slipping numbers at present are mainly due to no comparison between her and another candidate. Her campaign says three Hail Marys every night that it is Trump who emerges on the Republican side, but another delicious scenario is taking hold, one that would see the Grand Old Party (GOP) unable to decide even up to their convention who the winner is.

The winner must have 50pc of the votes going into that convention in Cleveland next July, and with 16 candidates still in, that's pretty important.

With Political Action Committee (PAC) money now allowed for candidates, that means outside groups can raise money but not share it directly with the candidate.

Take a candidate like former Texas governor Rick Perry, who has $17m raised by friends - he can continue zombie like in the race up to the convention, even though he hardly registers a blip in the polls.

So can many others who have nothing to lose by staying in, which enhances their prospect of TV commentary and book deals and keeping in front of the alluring bright lights in the big cities.

The biggest danger to Hillary right now comes from Joe Biden. Her dream scenario is facing the over-exposed Trump, who one of these days will self-inflate with all the hot air he has been spewing and float off into obscurity where he belongs. As for the Clintons, they have seen it all before. It is far from their first rodeo.

Irish Independent

Read More

Promoted articles

Don't Miss

Editor's Choice