Hillary Clinton’s collapse in the polls has been reported by the mainstream media, but reporters have mightily resisted making a narrative out of it. Her bad polls are reported as individual bits of news without any deeper connection or analysis.
The MSM eagerly leaks editorial comments and analysis into stories it wants to blend into some larger, politically useful Narrative, but with Clinton most of those little contextual nuggets have consisted of breezy assurances that she’s still heavily favored to win both the Democrat primary and 2016 presidential election. The Narrative says that she had a rough summer, but her campaign will finish analyzing her “challenges” and re-inventing her to perfection any day now.
One of the unspoken assumptions in this Narrative has been that Hillary’s email scandal will disappear at any moment. That’s probably a result of Clinton political operatives hounding mainstream media editors (to the extent those can be described as two separate groups) with talking-points memos that portray the email story as a big misunderstanding or Republican political hit. The media swallowed these memos without chewing, and pitched its coverage on the assumption that a big all-clear signal would be given by the Obama Administration in short order.
That didn’t happen, and now Clinton’s implosion has become too huge to ignore or downplay, since heavy hitters in the Democrat donor system are muttering about it, and perhaps asking their friends in major-media editorial departments why a polling slide of apocalyptic proportions hasn’t been reported as one of the biggest political stories in recent memory. That might be changing, if The Hill’s coverage of the latest Washington Post/ABC News poll is a leading indicator:
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is faltering in her bid for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination, a new national poll of Democratic-leaning voters shows.
Clinton’s support has fallen 21 points since July, from 63 to 42 percent, according to a Washington Post/ABC News poll released Monday, dropping below 50 percent for the first time.
Support for Clinton has particularly eroded among women, an integral demographic for her campaign, falling from 71 percent two months ago to 42 percent now.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who gained 10 percentage points since July, now stands at 24 percent support in the poll, while Vice President Joe Biden has gained 9 points amid increasing interest in a potential White House bid, putting him at 21 percent now.
Should Biden opt not to run, Clinton leads Sanders, 56 percent to 28 percent.
A majority of Americans, 55 percent, said they disapproved of the way Clinton has handled questions about her use of private email while serving as secretary of State. That includes a third of Democrats, 58 percent of independents and 83 percent of Republicans.
Fifty-one percent of Americans think Clinton broke government rules regarding private email, while nearly a third, 32 percent, say she didn’t. Nearly half of Americans, 49 percent, don’t consider her use of private email as a legitimate issue, while 44 percent do.
One of the Clinton talking points successfully sold to the mainstream media is that the email scandal is too complicated for many voters (by which they really mean the Democrat base) to understand.
Clinton’s team worked very hard to make the story look “complicated,” which you’ll notice is one of Hillary’s favorite new buzzwords, dropped every time she talks about the scandal. If only 32 percent think Clinton didn’t break the law, her efforts to blur the story with static about how it’s all so damn complicated have failed.
On the other hand, if 51 percent think she broke the law, and 49 percent don’t consider that a legitimate issue, the Democrat voter’s servile obedience to his political masters remains intact. An awful lot of those folks really do think their aristocratic rulers should be above the law. They think people like Clinton and Barack Obama are smart and wise enough to know when the law is a foolish impediment to Getting Things Done, and should be cast aside.
Clearly this is about more than just the email scandal. A 21-point drop in two months – more like 30 points among women – is astounding, one of the most incredible political stories ever told. It’s also difficult to explain as a brief but torrid love affair with the upstart candidacy of Bernie Sanders, or the same anti-establishment drive fueling the rise of Donald Trump and Ben Carson on the Republican side. Those might be significant factors, but the WaPo/ABC poll found the ultimate Establishment guy, and current non-candidate, Joe Biden gaining almost as much as Sanders while Clinton slid.
This is not to sell that rebellious spirit among voters short, or to deny Sanders the congratulations he deserves for building up an astounding double-digit lead over Clinton in Iowa and New Hampshire – he’s ahead by 22 points in the latter state, according to the latest survey. Again: how is this not the biggest story in politics, bigger even than Donald Trump swaggering into the lead over a huge Republican field in their wide-open primary?
Trump’s beating the cheese out of a donor-class favorite with very little appeal outside of elite circles, Jeb Bush. If you want to cut Bush some slack, you could say he has not yet been able to overcome some enormous handicaps he entered the race with, namely his last name and his amnesty-for-illegals foolishness – mountains that would be tough for any politician to climb.
But Bernie Sanders is slaying a dragon, running incredibly well against perhaps the most “inevitable” front-runner in decades – a candidate with insane amounts of money behind her, and a media almost entirely composed of her personal friends, donors, and even former employees. Sanders is doing this with virtually zero mainstream coverage of what he’s actually saying, because what he’s saying makes Barack Obama look horrible. It will be very difficult for the media to suppress the wounded-dragon Narrative for Hillary much longer. They’ll probably have some big news to fuss over on the Republican side after the upcoming debate, but it’s really no longer possible to pretend that the Democrat primary is a mere formality.
The bottom line is that Hillary Clinton is an awful candidate. Her email scandal isn’t an anomaly, it’s who she really is – everything wrong with her packaged in a story that isn’t really complicated at all.
If Sanders was a more believable national candidate with better MSM coverage, he’d be crushing her cost-to-coast right now. If Biden enters the race and gives panicked mainline Democrats and big left-wing donors a plausible lifeboat, the decks of the S.S. Clinton might clear in a hurry. The punch line will come when they see what kind of candidate Joe Biden is.