She expected to be crowned. Instead, she’s limping to the finish line, hanging on by a thread — desperately fighting for her final chance at the White House.
The Democratic primary has been anything but a coronation for Hillary Clinton — a candidate plagued with a looming FBI investigation and high unfavorables, and painted as the ultimate insider by her undaunted primary opponent — which, in the end, she is.
Tuesday night, Clinton narrowly won the Kentucky primary by less than 2,000 votes after going all in, showing a real weakness in her campaign this late in the primary. The Clinton machine that was once revered by many as a strong force has now been relegated to a beatable operation, creating an unprecedented panic and disarray within the Democratic Party.
“The fear among the Clinton campaign is clearly that they’re going to go through the whole rest of the primary season … without Hillary Clinton winning much or anything.” — Larry Sabato
Her vulnerability extends far beyond Sanders though, as the FBI ramps up its investigation into her private email server. Clinton has consistently downplayed the situation, falsely claiming that the FBI investigation into her potentially criminal behavior is just a “security review.”
But last week Clinton was dealt a blow when FBI Director James Comey dismissed the notion that a “security review” was being conducted. “I’m not familiar with the term ‘security inquiry,'” Comey said. “We’re conducting an investigation. That’s what we do.”
All of this comes as the explosive documentary “Clinton Cash” is set to hit the big screen in the United States on July 24, just days before Clinton is expected to secure the nomination at the Democratic National Convention.
One thing has become clear throughout the Democratic primary, and that’s the fact that the Democratic Establishment has placed all of its bets on Clinton, even though momentum has been in Sanders’ favor. Now they’re paying for it as Sanders’ supporters are outraged by the “rigged” system. The Sanders campaign and his supporters have been able to reveal the unfairness within the Democratic Party with rules designed to keep outsider candidates like him out of the White House, while benefiting insider candidates like Clinton.
The 74-year-old socialist from Vermont unexpectedly challenged Clinton every step of the way in what has been a nasty primary of late. The attacks hurled by the Sanders campaign on Clinton could have a lasting impact on her campaign going forward and have created much welcome fodder for Republicans. He has also succeeded in taking away key demographics from her as well, something that will haunt Clinton in what is sure to be a contentious general election.
But with his wins, Sanders has been able to draw attention to Clinton’s weakness with white males and independents — something that has become clear from exit polling in the recent primaries. These are of course demographics that Donald Trump is expected to do well with in the general election, a bad sign for Clinton.
Sanders has exposed the lack of enthusiasm among Democrats for Clinton’s candidacy — as he is still attracting thousands to his campaign events even as funds and his likelihood to secure the nomination dwindle. He has been wildly popular with millennials and in particular young women, who Clinton can’t seem to win over with her “first female president” platform. Obama was able to attain a sweeping victory in 2008 because of the youth vote and the enthusiasm around his campaign — Clinton lacks both and Sanders is channeling much of that excitement.
“The fear among the Clinton campaign is clearly that they’re going to go through the whole rest of the primary season, which for the Democrats is through mid-June, without Hillary Clinton winning much or anything,” said Larry Sabato, director at the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia, in a “Fox & Friends” interview. The remaining states to hold Democratic primaries are North Dakota, California, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, and South Dakota on June 7.
Clinton has been deploying resources to the remaining primary states hoping to remain competitive with Sanders, because a string of losses leading up to her nomination would be just plain embarrassing. On Tuesday morning Clinton sent out an email to supporters entitled “Bernie’s team is all in on California,” proving that even she believes her primary battle is not over. “Hey from California, [name] — we’re just three weeks out from our big contest here, which means we’re pretty darn hard at work building a massive grassroots campaign,” Clinton said in the email. “Let’s acknowledge right up front that this primary is all but over (we do have a nearly insurmountable delegate and popular vote lead, after all).”
Clinton is going to head into the general election tattered and torn after a long and intense primary battle, thanks to Sanders who has exposed the weakness and vulnerability in her candidacy and the Clinton machine.