by Dick Morris | June 3, 2015 12:07 am
There’s a new kid in town and Hillary, quoting the pop song, is likely saying, “I don’t want to hear it.”
The Quinnipiac University Poll shows that his support among likely Democratic primary voters has ballooned from only 4 percent in March to 8 percent in April to 15 percent on May 28. Among “very liberal” Democrats, he draws 28 percent.
Hillary remains far ahead, but, at 57 percent (down from 61 percent in April) she is nearing 50 percent — the point at which a majority of Democratic primary voters do not want to vote for her.
And on the stump, Bernie is doing well. In Minneapolis on Sunday, he drew thousands and, according to The New York Times, got 240 people in Kensett, Iowa — population 256 — to come to the community center on Saturday.
Hearing footsteps, the county Democratic chairman texted Troy Price, Hillary’s Iowa political director, who replied, “objects in the rearview mirror are closer than they appear.”
The surest evidence that Sanders is closing in on Hillary is that Mother Jones dug up — with help from Hillary’s famous secret police? — a 1972 essay he wrote called “Man-and-Woman” whose rape fantasies echo “Fifty Shades of Grey.” Chuck Todd even asked Senator Sanders about it on “Meet the Press.”
The fact that Sanders is opening up space between himself and Hillary’s other challengers is partially because his challenge is based, not on Hillary’s obvious ethical problems, but on her questionable fealty to left-wing causes.
What are Democratic true believers to make of her encouragement of the Keystone Pipeline and to the close contacts between top Hillary aide Paul Elliott, the lead pro-pipeline lobbyist, and Clinton Chief of Staff Cheryl Mills, even as the State Department was preparing to approve the project?
And what of Hillary’s refusal to oppose Obama’s Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement and of her past support for NAFTA?
Sanders is determined to craft a genuine left-wing candidacy that urges higher taxes, single payer on health care and opposition to all free trade deals.
In primaries and, particularly in caucuses — like Iowa — true believers predominate and an ideological campaign against Hillary will attract a lot of support.
One can hammer on Hillary as daily ethics conflicts emerge, and her family’s business dealings come close to outright bribery. But left ideologues will put up with what they must to elect a compatriot president. But when the ideological bent of their candidate is questioned and the footprints of her husband’s triangulation become evident in her own policy positions, they will grow restive indeed.
And, when Sanders directly challenges her infidelity to liberalism in televised presidential debates, he will win adherents in droves.
Sanders, for his part, only needs to get close. If he demonstrates that Hillary’s candidacy has an element of vulnerability, he can smoke her out of hiding and make her face the media and the country. There, she will have to answer tough questions that will only make things worse for her.
Once she is no longer the inevitable candidate, her ethical problems will begin to grate on Democratic primary voters and her poll numbers will slip. Then doubts about her ability to win in November will erode her standing further.
Will 1968 be resurrected in 2016? Will Sanders play the Eugene McCarthy role as he comes so close to beating Hillary that a more electable candidate emerges? Will the role of Bobby Kennedy — entering the race late to exploit the frontrunner’s vulnerability — be played by Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren? Will the Obama administration, thought by many to be behind the avalanche of exposes on Hillary, encourage a rival candidate?
How Bill Clinton and Teneo Duped the State Department Ethics Dummies
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