Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has a problem. It’s still a small problem, but it’s growing. Clinton is the front-runner, she has been since she announced her candidacy in April 2015. She has plenty of experience with politics and matters of state. 67-year-old Clinton served as First Lady beside her husband, Bill Clinton, during his two terms of office. She also served as the United States Senator from New York from 2001 to 2009, during which she campaigned for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination. Yet, coverage of Clinton’s presidential campaign is increasingly focused on when she will lose front runner status, and which of her fellow Democratic candidates will take it from her. So, when the polls say that if the primary ended tomorrow, Hillary would be the official Democratic nominee, what is the problem with Hillary Clinton?
Clinton’s early campaign has been dogged by the revelation that while she served as Secretary of State to the Obama Administration, she used a private email server. Yahoo! Politics reports that Clinton and her campaign insist that she did nothing wrong and has been as “transparent as possible” about her use of the private email server, but some voters remain unconvinced. And worse, the number of voters with questions about Clinton’s honesty has grown. Even Clinton admitted the email server candle has troubled her campaign in a September 27 appearance on NBC’s Meet the Press.
“It’s like a drip, drip, drip, and that’s why I said that there’s only so much that I can control. I can’t predict to you what the Republicans will come up with, what kind of charges or claims they might make. … I can only do the best I can to try to respond.”
In the wake of the scandal, Clinton’s once well cushioned lead has slowly disappeared. And a dark horse candidate is poised to claim the top spot.
According to a recent Huffington Post report, Clinton leads Bernie Sanders by 7 percentage points (Clinton’s 42 percent versus Sanders’ 35 percent). Yet, in July, Clinton led Sanders by 34 percentage points. Even worse, the poll Huffington Post references has a 6.1 percent margin of error. Meaning Clinton’s dwindling lead over Sanders could be more substantial, or it may have evaporated entirely.
A self-described socialist, Sanders’ candidacy seemed less of a sure things than Clinton’s. But Sanders seems to have struck a chord with younger voters who’ve grown tired of business as usual and are loath to accept the same dynasty style politics that led to George W. Bush’s presidency. Clinton’s email scandal also seems to help Sanders as much as it hurts her. According to a recent CNN/WMUR poll, 39 percent of voters in New Hampshire say they are less likely to vote for Clinton because of the email scandal. In New Hampshire, Bernie Sanders has a handy lead over Hillary Clinton in the polls.
There is good news for Hillary Clinton and the Democratic party, according to the CNN/WMUR polls, any of the top 3 Democratic candidates can beat Republican front-runner Donald Trump. The poll included Vice President Joe Biden, who is one of the top 3 Democratic candidates in polls, despite not officially declaring his candidacy.
These factors have Clinton on the defensive, an interesting position for the party front-runner. Deadline reports that Clinton will host a sold-out, $2,700 a ticket fundraiser in Hollywood over the weekend. While the fundraiser will no doubt add to Clinton’s war chest, it will also give the beleaguered candidate a chance to reassure the ever important Hollywood constituency. As one unidentified executive put it.
“This is Clinton territory, people know what they’ve signed up for. Yes, she needed to come out here to reassure some of the important relationships she has here. But Hillary has strong support and an agenda that is in sync with a lot of people out here. That’s not going to evaporate– not with the Republican camp so clearly divided.”
Hillary Clinton will have a chance to prove herself to voters during the first Democratic party candidates debate on October 13. The only question is, can her lead last that long?
[Photo by Scott Eisen / Getty Images]