When discussing Hillary Clinton’s email and server scandal, I dismissed arguments that the scandal in and of itself would sink Hillary’s impending campaign.
There are far too many powerful people invested in Hillary for President to let mere paranoid and obsessive control coupled with destruction of evidence stop Hillary. In fact, to Hillary’s core supporters, paranoid and obsessive control coupled with destruction of evidence is a feature, not a bug.
Rather, I argued that the damage from Emailgate (or is it Servergate or Deletegate?) was in shaping Hillary’s image for voters who never knew the Hillary older voters know:
While it’s way too early to assess the overall damage to Hillary Incorporated from the email, now document destruction, scandal, is does appear to be hurting Team Billary in ways that are hard to change: Public perception of a politician.
While Billary is dreadfully tiresome and transparently faux in its lack of transparency, to much of the electorate Billary is simply a nice old lady with a grandchild. Well, she does have a grandchild, but that’s about where the nice ends. And that unhappy end product of a secretive, controlling, fear-mongering, basically incompetent presidential candidate is coming into public view and that view may be hard to change.
And there seems to be dramatic movement in that direction, as Hillary’s favorability numbers have been dropping steadily.
You can see in this Huffington Post chart [Featured Image] that Hillary’s favorability has dropped dramatically, and is now positive (black line) by only 3%. And the trend is not good.
What is so surprising is that Hillary has been around for so long that you would think it nearly impossible to move her numbers much.
The reason Hillary is vulnerable on favorability is that the younger generation of voters don’t know the Hillary from the 1990s, the secretive control-freak of Hillarycare, the person who parlayed her husband’s political success into her own financial and law firm stardom, the Rose law firm record hider, the brutal White House bully of Travelgate, and so much more.
And of course, the original War on Women warrior who led the charge against Bill’s paramours.
The real Hillary, the one many of us remember, is nothing like the Hillary of the past few years, with the softened image of the doting grandmother and cell phone hipster:
Hillary has brought on Michelle Obama’s image consultant to remake Hillary. That Hillary needs an image consultant and a multitude of packagers and handlers, after all this time, shows how vulnerable she is.
Republicans need to focus like a laser on Hillary’s weakness, and right now.
The National Journal has an article arguing that the younger generation presents an opportunity for Hillary, In 90s Babies, Hillary Clinton Gets a Second Chance With Young Voters:
Republicans pounced on revelations that Hillary Clinton had used a personal email account as secretary of State not just to attack her aspirations to win the White House, but to evoke the worst aspects of the first time she resided there. Hoping to dredge up memories of the endless Whitewater-turned-Monica Lewinsky investigations of Bill Clinton’s presidency, GOP voices promised a 2016 run by the former First Lady would be plagued by the same problems that dinged her husband.
But the absolute youngest voters of the 2016 election don’t remember the “Clinton scandals” of the 1990s—they weren’t born yet. Even for slightly older voters, memories of the 1990s are dominated by lunch, recess, Nickelodeon, and the Spice Girls—a voter who will be 25 on Election Day was about 10 when Bill Clinton left office. Instead, their first memory of Hillary Clinton is not of the First Lady in a scandal-plagued White House. It’s of the woman who put “18 million cracks” in the presidential glass ceiling in 2008 and became a popular secretary of State shortly thereafter.
Among those young voters, Clinton and her team have a chance to define the 1990s and her role in it. As well as being a time of scandal, the Clinton White House era was also a period of great prosperity and relative peace, particularly compared to the turbulent decade that followed.
And if she succeeds in recrafting that image, Clinton can not only build on a traditional advantage in the Democratic election, she gets a second chance at a task on which she was thoroughly bested by then-candidate Obama in 2008: making a connection with the youngest segment of the electorate.
There’s another lesson in that National Journal quote: Hillary will exploit the mythology of Bill Clinton’s economic success and claim it as her own. The story almost never told is that Clinton inherited an economy bouncing back out of recession and left office with the high tech bubble already bursting. Moreover, the economic reforms of the Clinton era were driven by Republicans. Timing is everything, and Bill Clinton had impeccable political timing.
Show who the real Hillary Clinton is, and deflate they mythology of the Bill Clinton economy.
It will not be easy, but there is time before the voters start to focus on Hillary, particularly if there is no meaningful Democratic primary. There is time to shape how voters perceive Hillary.
All we need to do is get the truth out before Hillary’s image consultants and handlers rule the day.DONATE
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