HuffPost: 5 Things We’ve Learned About Hillary Clinton Since She Won the New York Primary
5 Things We’ve Learned About Hillary Clinton Since She Won the New York Primary
By Seth Abramson
Assistant Professor of English at University of New Hampshire; Series Co-Editor, Best American Experimental Writing
Last Tuesday, Hillary Clinton won her home state 58 percent to 42 percent.
The New York primary – which disallowed independents from voting; required prospective voters to register as Democrats six months before the election, at a time when few knew who Bernie Sanders was; saw a minimum of 126,000 voters accidentally purged from the voter rolls; is now under investigation by the State of New York; and already has led to the firing of at least one state elections official – was not only declared a decisive victory by Hillary Clinton, but also, per her staff, signaled the end of the Democratic primary race.
That Clinton’s home-state margin of victory was 56.5 points less than Sanders’ 72.5-point margin of victory in his own home state, Vermont, went unsaid. That she only netted 15 more delegates in New York than Sanders had netted in Vermont – out of the 4,051 pledged delegates to be awarded this election season – also went unsaid.
But since last Tuesday – since the Clinton camp-declared “end” of the Democratic primary – we’ve learned some things about Hillary Clinton that might give voters in Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Maryland, Rhode Island, and Delaware some pause as they head to the polls on April 26th.
Here are five things we now know about Clinton that we didn’t know a week ago:
1. Clinton is now statistically tied with Donald Trump in national polling, while Sanders beats Trump by 10 points.
Sanders supporters have been saying for months that Sanders always beats Trump in national polling – and, for that matter, all the GOP contenders – by far more than Clinton does. The Berners have pointed to studies showing that general election polling in April is, historically, as accurate as general election polling in August and, on average, only about five points off the final results. With this in mind, Sanders supporters have also observed that Sanders beats the GOP contenders by more in every November battleground state than does Clinton.
No one listens. The media scoffs; the Clinton campaign snickers.
Surely anybody could beat Trump, even a candidate, like Clinton, wildly unpopular among the independents who decide national elections?
The moment Trump and Clinton became seemingly inevitable after their respective New York wins, America saw a preview of what the rest of the election season will look like: a neck-and-neck race in which America stands under constant threat of a Trump presidency because of Democratic hubris. Ready for Hillary, America? Then you’re ready for this: Clinton, 46 percent; Trump, 43 percent; margin of error, 3.1 percent.
Oh, and the ugliest, least substantive general-election campaign in U.S. history.
During an appearance on The Nicole Sandler Show a few weeks back, I told Sandler that, in contemporary politics, non-incumbent Democrats win only in “movement” elections: 1992 (Bill Clinton) and 2008 (Barack Obama) being the two recent examples. I said that Republicans win when the Democrats nominate a somewhat stiff policy wonk who Democrats feel no great personal warmth for – Al Gore (2000) and John Kerry (2004) being our two recent exemplars.
So which type of candidate is Hillary Clinton?
Echoing the same reasoning I used a couple weeks ago, Vanity Fair now says Hillary Clinton is Al Gore.
And what did Gore do? Lose a close election to a veritable buffoon that, by all rights, he should have won – as his campaign followed hard on the heels of a popular Democratic administration that he was an integral part of.
As for our other present option – an Independent social democrat who beats his opponent in every state among voters under 45 – it sounds new. Or, newer. It also sounds, per the polling, a little like this: Sanders, 50 percent; Trump, 40 percent.
2. Charles Koch has revealed that Clinton is conservative enough that he might vote for her over any of the remaining Republicans.
For months, Sanders supporters tried to get anyone to look at Clinton’s record in government: voting for the Iraq War; soft on Wall Street; against a $15 minimum wage; willing to compromise with the Republicans on late-term abortions; in favor of every job-killing international trade deal of the last two decades; opposed to universal healthcare as a right rather than merely a privilege; silent on campaign finance reform; and so on. It’s a late-1970s moderate Republican record, Sanders supporters said.
The media scoffed; the Clinton campaign snickered.
Now that Clinton is, in the view of many media outlets, the presumptive Democratic nominee, the financiers of the far Right can come out and say it: #ImWithHer.
Here’s Charles Koch, polishing up his #ImWithHer yard sign for the fall.
It sort of puts into perspective Hillary’s late-winter gaffes – “I’m a moderate – no, a progressive!” – doesn’t it?
So with Clinton, America gets the moderate Republican candidate it’s been looking for. So says Charles Koch, who, last anyone checked, was the number-one enemy of progressivism in America.
3. It turns out that neither Hillary nor her staff ever had any respect for Sanders, his supporters, or the causes he (and they) have championed.
How do we know? Well, a campaign’s press secretary is – by definition and responsibility – its mouthpiece. So when Jennifer Palmieri, Clinton’s mouthpiece, said publicly after the New York primary that Bernie Sanders and his campaign had been destructive to the Democratic Party and the nation, you know that’s exactly what Clinton thinks, too.
Had Clinton fired Palmieri or publicly admonished her, one might think differently.
Instead, silence – which, in politics, is assent.
4. Clinton has been paying millions of dollars to spread campaign propaganda illicitly, part of which effort was designed to play up the “Bernie Bro” meme.
If you like Putin’s PSYOPS and propaganda campaigns – all waged against his own people – you’re going to love what Clinton’s been feeding you via her just-revealed army of social media trolls.
If you were ever swayed by any pro-Clinton content you saw on social media, I’m sorry to hear it, as (a) it may well have been paid propaganda from Clinton operatives posing as regular voters, and (b) you can’t now take your Clinton vote back in Iowa, Massachusetts, Illinois, Nevada, Missouri, or any of the other states where a few more voters for Sanders would have won him the state and changed the dynamic of the Democratic race.
So, with that said, enjoy this read about the veritable army of “Hill Trolls” who’ve been infiltrating your social media feed for cold, hard cash for many months now.
Funny how this didn’t get revealed a month ago, isn’t it? Clinton being crowned the Democratic primary winner by the mainstream media does wonders for transparency in the national news, it seems.
5. There will be no attempt whatsoever to bring Sanders supporters back into the Democratic fold.
Sanders supporters knew Clinton was angry at them for voting for Bernie – they could tell by her comment saying that she “feels sorry for” young voters too misinformed to vote for her; or by Bill Clinton saying that Sanders voters are so unsophisticated that they just want to “shoot every third banker on Wall Street”; or by David Plouffe (a Clinton ally) saying that every person who donates money to Sanders is being taken in by an obvious “fraud”; or by the unnamed Clinton staffer so certain she or he was speaking in a tone and manner consistent with the view of the Clinton campaign that she or he told Politico that the Clinton campaign “kicked Bernie’s ass” in New York and that Sanders can “go fuck himself.”
And so on.
But who knew that, with almost twenty primaries and caucuses left, and more than 1,400 delegates left to be awarded, Clinton would start vetting potential Vice Presidential picks in full view of an electorate she says she’s still working hard to win over? And who knew that not only would Sanders not be considered for a unity ticket, but – apparently – her top picks for VP, Cory Booker and Julian Castro, are reliable Clintonites with no ties whatsoever to the Sanders campaign or the movement he heads? And who knew Elizabeth Warren would almost certainly be frozen out of the VP conversation due to her decision to stay neutral in the primary race rather than endorse Clinton?
Everyone who knows the Clintons, that is.
So, if you’re either a Sanders supporter, sympathetic to the Sanders campaign, or a Hillary voter desperately hoping she’ll do something to bring into the Democratic fold the 40 percent of Sanders voters who say they won’t vote for Hillary in the fall – all but ensuring a Trump presidency – here’s some news for you: the signals are now being sent that Sanders and his people will, by calculated design, get absolutely nothing.
Hillary lost in 2008 and received the second-most powerful position in the world.
Sanders will be ignored and shunned.
What lies behind this “strategy” for the fall election – if we can call it that – is the same hubris that permitted Secretary Clinton never to reveal her Wall Street transcripts, to condescend to millennials at every turn, to refuse to apologize for bad judgment in the whole email-server affair, to refuse to apologize for her 1994 crime bill vote, to try to get away with (during the Michigan debate) the lie that Sanders had opposed the auto bailout, and so on.
In other words, America is already seeing the Hillary Clinton they’ll get during the fall election campaign – and also, should Clinton somehow manage to squeak by Donald Trump in November, the sort of Nixonian White House we can expect in consequence.
And it isn’t pretty.
It may (or may not) be too late for voters in Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Maryland, Rhode Island, and Delaware to change the course of the Democratic Primary, but they can certainly send the message that they don’t like what the Clinton campaign has been showing America ever since it dropped the benign charade it’s been parading before American voters for months.
Seth Abramson is the Series Editor for Best American Experimental Writing (Wesleyan University) and the author, most recently, of DATA (BlazeVOX, 2016).