Last night’s CNN town hall meeting was hastily arranged by Debbie Wasserman-Schultz to prop up Hillary Clinton. If that was the DNC’s goal, it failed miserably. Bernie Sanders relentlessly attacked Mrs. Clinton throughout his time, painting Mrs. Clinton as a convenient progressive while casting himself as the consistent progressive.
CNN’s own article said Sen. Sanders “unloaded a withering attack on the former secretary of state”, criticizing Mrs. Clinton for only having progressives’ backs when it’s politically convenient. The clear message was that she isn’t the fighter she claims to be. The other takeaway from the withering attack was the inference that Sen. Sanders is the fighter that Mrs. Clinton claims to be.
During his attack on Mrs. Clinton, Sanders highlighted her indecision on the Keystone XL Pipeline project, saying “On day one, I said the Keystone Pipeline is a dumb idea. Why did it take Hillary Clinton such a long time before she came into opposition to the Keystone Pipeline?”
With less than a week before the Iowa Caucuses, the picture is clear. Mrs. Clinton wants to maintain the status quo. Sen. Sanders wants to lead an insurrection that will finish the things that President Obama didn’t finish.
When Sen. Sanders talks about Wall Street reform, he’s highlighting one of Mrs. Clinton’s vulnerabilities. His attack is that she can’t say she’s fought Wall Street while the Clinton Foundation is accepting tens of millions of dollars from Wall Street fat cats. Sen. Sanders’ attack on Wall Street greed includes the fact that he’s consistently fought Wall Street. It’s an appealing message.
The big picture takeaway from this hastily planned event is that Mrs. Clinton looks vulnerable. She’s in real danger of losing Iowa and New Hampshire. In fact, it’s now likely that she’ll lose both those states. The RealClearPolitics average of the latest 5 polls from Iowa shows Mrs. Clinton leading 46% to Sen. Sanders with 45.4%. That’s a virtual tie.
The trend in Iowa is even more troubling for Mrs. Clinton. Most of those polls were from almost a week ago. If there’s anything that Iowa caucus-goers are famous for, it’s that they’re notorious late deciders.
It’s worth noting that DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz has done everything in her power to hand the Democratic nomination to Hillary. Her problem is that she’s fighting for a candidate that isn’t appealing. While it’s still likely that Mrs. Clinton will win the nomination, she isn’t impressing people or building momentum for the general election.
The DNC’s infrastructure still heavily favors Mrs. Clinton. She’s gotten the vast majority of super-delegates. Further, the awarding of delegates isn’t just based on the percentage of the vote the candidates get.
Hypothetically speaking, let’s suppose that Mrs. Clinton and Sen. Sanders both get 50% of the vote in Mississippi. It isn’t automatic that they’ll both get 50% of Mississippi’s delegates. Again, hypothetically speaking, if Sen. Sanders got 90% of the vote in predominantly white districts and Mrs. Clinton won 90% of the vote in predominantly minority districts, Mrs. Clinton would win considerably more delegates because the DNC rewards presidential candidates winning minority districts.
That’s a big deal in the so-called SEC states like Mississippi, Arkansas, Alabama, Georgia, North and South Carolina and in Rust Belt states like Pennsylvania and Ohio.