May 10, 2016

Clinton Headed For Another Loss, Faces Troubling Lack Of Democratic Unity

May has not been kind to Hillary Clinton so far. She lost Indiana, and has been heckled and protested at numerous campaign stops.

Today is the West Virginia primary, where Clinton has been “haunted” by her past coal comments. Clinton’s likely loss in West Virginia is just one data point in a larger pattern of disappointment for the former Secretary of State.

Sanders’ continued strength has caused the Clinton campaign to have to continue to spend precious resources in the primary. Last night it was reported that after going off the air, the Clinton campaign is once again buying TV advertising before primary contests:

“The Clinton campaign is returning to the airwaves after a brief absence, buying roughly $175,000 worth of television advertising in Kentucky to air in the next week, according to two media buyers tracking the reservations.”

This news comes on the heels of a Wall Street Journal story on how Clinton is “forced to keep fighting for votes” in the primary, instead of pivoting to the general election:

“For Mrs. Clinton, the costs of the prolonged Democratic race are growing more evident. On Wednesday, she is scheduled to make a campaign stop in New Jersey, whose primary is set for June 7. New Jersey is a solid blue state in presidential elections, having voted for the Democratic nominee since 1992. From the standpoint of winning a general election, it would be more useful for Mrs. Clinton to spend time in traditional battleground states, one of her campaign fundraisers said Monday.”

The long Democratic primary has also kept the Party from uniting behind a candidate. With the California primary approaching in June, two of the biggest California Democratic Reps. Nancy Pelosi and Barbara Lee are both staying on the sidelines.

Pelosi and Lee’s reluctance is likely connected with the lack of enthusiasm Sanders supporters in California feel about voting for Clinton if she wins the nomination.

“At the Sacramento rally fewer than half of the 22 supporters spoken to by the Guardian said they would even consider voting for Clinton if Sanders was not the nominee. Several would write in Bernie Sanders instead – or vote Green, or simply not vote at all. Three indicated they would go as far as voting for Trump – and one said that faced with a choice of Clinton or Trump, he would move to Britain. Of those willing to back Clinton, none seemed particularly enthusiastic about the prospect.”

One Sanders supporter went as far as calling Clinton a “war criminal.” Sanders’ supporters refusing to back Clinton is not a phenomenon limited to the left coast. A new poll of Massachusetts Democrats found a significant portion of them would not vote for Clinton too:

“If the Democratic race remains relatively static and Clinton captures the nomination, just over half of Sanders’ Massachusetts followers would vote for her, while 8 percent said they would vote for the Republican nominee, 11 percent said they would consider a third-party candidate, and 7 percent would stay home.”