2016 Democrats, Debates, Uncategorized

Debate Prep: Will Hillary Play with Fire?

December 19, 2015

Tonight’s previously uninteresting debate was livened yesterday with datagate or whatever it winds up being called. Unexpected variables often decide campaigns.  If Bernie Sanders does the highly improbable and wins the 2016 nomination, we’ll look back at the third debate as a crucial step.

Hillary has two choices this evening, a good one and a bad one.     At some point, the data issue will come up.  Either Bernie will reference it as an example of the DNC trying to shut down his movement, or he’ll get a moderator question about what his campaign was up to.

There is a solid chance Hillary will get a direct question about her thoughts on the breach of her campaign’s data analysis of likely voters.  One way or the other, she will wind up commenting during the debate, either in response to Bernie or a moderator or both.

Debbie Wasserman Schultz did a great job playing bad cop yesterday.  With or without direction from the Clinton campaign, she did their bidding, cracking down on Sanders verbally  in numerous interviews and physically by blocking his campaign from their own data.

This allowed Hillary to stay above the fray, issue a bland statement about this sorting out over time and let Wasserman Schultz take the hit.  Instead, campaign manager Robbie Mook threw kerosene on the fire.

His comments were determined to prevent Bernie from playing the victim.  Perhaps offended the same campaign that viewed (and possibly/likely downloaded) privileged information was attempting to use the fallout to rally the troops, Mook weighed in.

So he railed at the cost to Clinton of having privileged data raided.  You can see how the synapses were firing.  Sanders is considered the most trustworthy candidate in the race (on either side) by poll respondents.

If Hillary can show Sanders is just another politician, there’s no reason for primary voters to choose his movement over her experience, toughness and inevitability.

Why risk a voter choosing between their heart (Bernie) and their head (Hillary) if Clinton can have both?  While she’s clearly favored, bad dreams of 2008 must impact Team Clinton’s sleep every now and again.

New Hampshire is close, but if Hillary can win in Iowa by a decent margin as Al Gore did in 2000, this nomiation ends early like that contest.  Bill Bradley was the challenger from what is now the progressive side of the party.

For months, Bradley showed strong polling results in New Hampshire and counted on Independent voters to put him over the top, much as Bernie is.

Gore defeated him soundly in Iowa, some Independents opted for John McCain on the GOP side, and Bradley was never heard from again.  He lost New Hampshire narrowly, lost any momentum completely and Gore coasted.

As of a couple days ago, Bernie was sitting part way between Bradley and Obama in terms of Iowa position.  His numbers are ahead of where Bradley finished, but more of Hillary’s voters have their minds made up.

His funding and enthusiasm levels mirror Obama, but organization and ground game trail.  The current president had the benefit of more establishment support and a strong third candidate (John Edwards) to pull votes from Clinton.

The chance to push Bernie firmly on to the Bradley track (maybe with a dash of Howard Dean) proved irresistable.  Team Clinton didn’t want to risk the mathematical chance Sanders had to pull out a narrow Iowa win and make things way too interesting.

Understandable, but short-sighted and stupid.  The campaign apparently forgot who their candidate was.

Is any discussion of a data breach due to the shortcomings of a third-party provider in any way beneficial to Hillary Clinton?  The email thing had finally mostly gone away.

Everything fell in place.  Joe Biden opted out, reducing the odds of aggressive investigating and prosecution.  Kevin McCarthy opened his mouth and stuck a boot down his esophagus.  Hillary played rope-a-dope during her Benghazi hearing.

Well done guys, but you took advantage of some luck.  Bernie helped you out when he said he didn’t want to hear about “her damn emails.”

Two things make voters pick Hillary.  The first is when Republicans seem overly partisan and more interested in destroying her than fixing the country.  The second is when voters think she will do a better job executing the responsibilities of the presidency.

She doesn’t get votes because people trust her to do anything besides what is necessary to win.  The email scandal was a problem because the server decision looked incompetent.

Mainstream media like the New York Times and Washington Post covered it.  Republicans were not driving the story at first.  Though Hillary does have a core base of loyal support, it’s less than 50% of the party.

When she’s taking non-GOP heat, when she’s looking like a poor strategist, she loses support.  Enough of a decline to lose Iowa, especially if enough angry Berners brave the February Iowa cold.

Hillary can still neutralize this.  She can say it’s a minor issue.  While it’s unfortunate the Sanders campaign didn’t have control of personnel or proper procedures in place to ensure they stayed within the rules, there’s no way Bernie could possibly have known what these miscreants did on his behalf.

She’s sure Bernie won’t let it happen again, is glad his data access was quickly restored and is looking forward to keeping the campaign focused on the important issues facing the country and the need to prevent President Trump or any of his little GOP clones from ruining what President Obama has struggled to achieve against incredible opposition.

Something along those lines should end this diversion fairly quickly and make Sanders look whiny if he spends the debate complaining while she seems presidential.

It won’t in any way settle the anger of his troops, but in order to win Iowa, Bernie both needs large turnout and to flip a few Hillary leaners.  This blocks the second part.

If Hillary tries to act aggrieved, pushes or in any way magnifies the issue during the debate or immediate aftermath, she’s a worse candidate than I ever imagined (and I wrote thousands of words in September breaking down her historical inadequacy).

If she does anything other than play to wavering voters who might prefer someone who has run for president before and participated in administrations before, it’s political malpractice.

Just practice saying “I don’t want to hear about the damn voter data.”

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