Eight years later and it is déjà vu all over again for Hillary Clinton. Only this time it isn’t a young, charismatic Barack Obama creeping up on her inevitability; it is old, eccentric Bernie Sanders who came out of nowhere to come within 8 points of Clinton in a weekend Wisconsin straw poll:
Wisconsin Democrats might not be ready for Hillary Clinton, as Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) finished just 8 points behind Clinton in a new Badger State straw poll.
Clinton finished with 49 percent of voters at the state party convention, with Sanders in second place with 41 percent of the vote. …
The surprise showing is a boost for Sanders, who regularly polls about 40 percentage points behind Clinton in national poll and rarely finishes within striking distance to Clinton.
The left-wing Nation looked at the crowds Sanders has attracted and called the results of this straw poll “significant“:
Last week, in Minnesota, Sanders attracted thousands to a hastily scheduled town-hall meeting. The size of the crowd certainly suggested that the senator’s economic-populist message is getting through. At the same time, it offered an indication that Sanders has, through decades of work in Washington and travel around the country, forged a connection with the grassroots activists who are especially engaged with the nominating process in a state that will never get the attention accorded the first-caucus state of Iowa and the first-primary state of New Hampshire—but that will send a substantial bloc of delegates to the July 2016 Democratic National Convention. Now, in another state, Wisconsin, Sanders has gained another sign of unexpected and significant support.
It is doubtful Sanders could upset Clinton in a Democrat primary. What is not in doubt is that Democrats are looking for an alternative to Clinton, and are from falling into unified love for their likely nominee.
There is also the matter of the Clinton Foundation scandals, which loom large, even as Hillary successfully dodges a mainstream media that doesn’t appear all that interested in cornering her.
Clinton won’t, however, be able to dodge hundreds of millions of dollars in GOP campaign ads, and Democrats know in their hearts that the scandals are legitimate, easy for the public to understand, and in this age of New Media, out of the hands of Clinton’s allies in the mainstream media.
Democrats are worried, and sending a bat signal that they are open to an alternative.
Follow John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC