The Republican presidential race is taking up most of the oxygen in the media, but in case you need a reminder about what a weak candidate Hillary Clinton is, here is a quick summary of the doldrums plaguing the Empire. Despite the air of inevitability that continues to surround Clinton, her fundraising is weak, Democratic turnout and enthusiasm is low, her poll numbers are lousy, the investigation into her emails is smoldering and voters don’t see her as honest or authentic. Yet in spite of it all, Clinton continues her limp toward the nomination.
In February, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) outraised Clinton by $13.4 million, but that’s not the bad news for Clinton. According to OpenSecrets, 70 percent of the individual contributions to Sanders’s campaign come from small donors. Only 19 percent of Clinton’s individual contributions come from small donors, which indicates a big enthusiasm gap among Democratic contributors. If Clinton doesn’t knock Sanders out of the race soon, her money supply may run dry.
That lack of enthusiasm is also evident in the primaries so far. Democratic turnout is down almost 11 percent compared to 2008. And it’s under-reported that many of Clinton’s “big wins” have come in states where she won’t even try to be competitive in the general election. South Carolina? Clinton won’t step foot back in that state before the general election. In Mississippi, another “great victory” for Clinton? She won’t even fly over Mississippi anytime between now and November. Where she needs votes, turnout is low and often against her – as in Michigan – and there are indications that the votes against her represent a healthy share of skeptical or downright antagonistic voters in the Democratic party. The New York Times points out that “white men narrowly backed Hillary Clinton in her 2008 race for president, but they are resisting her candidacy this time around in major battleground states.” She lost the white male vote in Ohio, North Carolina, Florida, Illinois and Missouri. And young voters are affirmatively rejecting what she is selling. The Post’s Aaron Blake reports that Sanders has won more than 1.5 million votes from those under 30 – compared to a little more than 625,000 who cast votes for Clinton.
Clinton’s polling doesn’t bode well for her either. For all intents and purposes, Clinton is the incumbent candidate in this race. She is a member of the incumbent party, she has huge name ID and she has run for president before. And, as a loyal servant of the Obama administration, she is the manifestation of the status quo and a continuation of President Obama’s policies. But Clinton still doesn’t break the 50 percent mark in any of the RealClearPolitics general election head-to-head match-ups. Being below 50 percent at this stage is a bad sign for her — especially when Sanders is polling at 50 percent or more on average against both Trump and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.).
Then there’s the matter-of-fact notion that Clinton has broken the law, and the investigation is progressing not only against her, but also against some of her closest aides. There is nothing worse for a candidate than reading, “Former staffer agrees to an immunity deal.” Well, at least one of her own already has, and the gossip is that there may be more on the way. And her being investigated is not going to go away, even though according to Charles Gasparino, FBI chief James B. Comey is being “stonewalled” by “the political types in the Obama White House who view a Clinton presidency as a third Obama term.” The whole thing is taking a toll on Clinton. According to a Post/ABC News poll this month, 57 percent of voters don’t think she is honest or trustworthy.
Clinton is not going to become more honest. She’s not going to suddenly produce any enthusiasm. She’s not going to create an inspired platform of new ideas or fresh thinking. Her only chance at success appears to be if the Republicans hand her a gift. And, counting on your opponent to be responsible for your turnout and appeal is, at best, an unreliable proposition.