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Hillary's 5 Problems

By   Follow Me on Twitter     Message Bob Burnett       (Page 1 of 2 pages)     Permalink    (# of views)   1 comment

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Since April, when Hillary Clinton announced her candidacy, I've expected her to be the 2016 Democratic presidential nominee. Only recently, given the strong showing of Bernie Sanders, have I doubted she might prevail. Meanwhile, the fierce competition for the Democratic nomination has revealed five problems with Hillary's campaign.

1. There's not a compelling narrative. I assume that Secretary Clinton is superbly qualified to be President and believe it would be a good thing for a woman to be elected to the oval office. Nonetheless, I've been disappointed in her campaign, particularly in the absence of a compelling narrative explaining why she should be elected. At the conclusion of the January 17th debate, Clinton offered, "I want to be a president who takes care of the big problems and the problems that are affecting the people of our country everyday."

This marshmallow statement contrasts with Sanders solid stance: "This campaign is about is creating a process for a political revolution" bringing tens of millions of people together to demand that we have a government that represents all of us."

It's a contrast in "elevator speeches." Bernie Sanders gets on board an elevator, introduces himself to a voter, and says, "I'm running for president to fix a broken system; to give power back to the people." Sanders leaves and Hillary Clinton gets on board, introduces herself, and says, what? "Vote for me because I' m the most qualified candidate." "I'd be for the first women president." ???

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As was the case in 2008, Clinton doesn't have a compelling elevator speech.

If Clinton wins the Democratic nomination, she's going to have to convince independent voters. (She has no chance to convert Republicans.) She'll have to develop a compelling narrative.

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2. Voters are angry and Hillary doesn't seem to get it. If everything in America was terrific, if everyone was happy, then Hillary Clinton would be the odds-on favorite to win the presidency (if she wins the Democratic nomination). But that's not the case.

64 percent of voters feel that America is on the wrong track. There's no agreement on whose fault this is: 84 percent of Democrats approve of the job Obama is doing, 86 percent of Republicans disapprove, and Independents aren't sure -- 42 percent approve of Obama and 44 percent disapprove.

Therefore, while Hillary Clinton may win the Democratic nomination by wrapping herself in the Obama administration this strategy won't work in the general election. In fact, most voters prefer an outsider candidate: Sander, Trump, or Cruz.

3. Voters don't find Hillary authentic. One of the reasons that Bernie Sanders did better than expected in Iowa and won New Hampshire is that those voters found him to be more compelling than Hillary Clinton in small gatherings. He appeared to be more authentic.

For the record, I've met Clinton and she seemed a smart, energetic, nice person. However, The New York Times reported that among New Hampshire voters who cared about honesty and trustworthiness, "91 percent chose Sanders and only 5 percent chose Hillary Clinton."

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4. Voters believe that Hillary Clinton got money from Wall Street to defend the interests of the one percent. Clinton has admitted that she received $675,000 from Wall Street speaking engagements. Given that most voters view Wall Street unfavorably and coupled with the fact that Clinton is seen as untrustworthy, this is a problem for Independent voters.

5. Secretary Clinton has a unique set of characteristics that Donald Trump can take advantage of. If Trump is the Republican nominee, he will no doubt wage a campaign against Clinton that's similar to the campaigns he's used to bring down his Republican opponents (Bush, Cruz, and Rubio). He will be negative and dramatically inaccurate.

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Bob Burnett is a Berkeley writer. In a previous life he was one of the executive founders of Cisco Systems.

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