April 1, 2016

Hillary Clinton Doesn’t Have A Lock On The Empire State

After a string of primary losses, Hillary Clinton finds herself in the unexpected position of having to defend her “home state” of New York from what would be a devastating loss.

The New York Post reports:

“Clinton is preparing to spend far more time and cash in New York than she originally had budgeted, according to people close to the campaign, underscoring how concerned she is.”

Recent polling shows that Vermont Senator and Brooklyn native Bernie Sanders has closed the gap considerably on Clinton in New York.

New York’s Democratic Party Chair Bill Lipton credits momentum for Sanders “across all demographics,” as the reason why Sanders has been able to close the gap on Clinton in recent weeks.

The tightening of the race in New York has long time Clinton insider Douglas Schoen very concerned:

“Democratic analyst Douglas Schoen said the closer-than-expected results mirror a national trend.

 Sanders, he said, is connecting with the most liberal progressive voters, of whom there are many in New York. Bernie is also riding momentum from a wave of victories in Western states.

“There’s a segment of the Democratic primary vote in New York who are to the left of Hillary Clinton,” said Schoen, who helped run her 2000 Senate campaign and Bill Clinton’s presidential campaigns.”

Adding fuel to the fire is an extensive Politico report suggesting that Bill de Blasio, the New York City mayor and former Hillary Clinton campaign manager, might not be as devout a Clinton supporter as the campaign would like.

According to the report:

“He doesn’t hide his admiration for Sanders, whose personal beliefs seem to mirror de Blasio’s more than the candidate he ultimately endorsed. Speaking about the state of the Democratic race, de Blasio appeared to be threading the needle by embracing Clinton without alienating progressives standing with Sanders and his fight for economic inequality.

Some of his closest aides, sources said, thought the progressive mayor should have endorsed the Vermont senator in the primary, despite the sense of obligation to Clinton. “I’m not going to say I haven’t met Bernie supporters who have said you should be with us,” said de Blasio, who won the mayoralty in 2013 on a message of “a tale of two cities” and raising taxes on the wealthy. But he insisted that between Clinton and Sanders, there are “a lot of shared values in their vision.”

“I’m trying to live out my values,” he explained of his Clinton endorsement. “I have a long history with Hillary and a real belief that she’s put forward a real vision. I very consistently note Bernie has made tremendous contributions. What he’s doing is very helpful for this country and for the party.”

Making matters worse for Clinton’s campaign are the size of Sanders rallies in New York. Last night in the South Bronx thousands of Sanders supporters showed up, which drew the attention of reporters:

This morning Bloomberg’s John Heilemann said he doesn’t believe that Clinton has a “lock” on New York anymore.

An unexpected loss in New York would guarantee that Sanders stays in the race till the Democratic convention in July, which would be devastating to the Clinton campaign’s efforts to pivot to the general election.