Just when things were going smoothly for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the people started voting, and that’s when everyone began to notice that the wheels on her campaign car were wobbling.
The former US Secretary of State began 2016 with $100 million in her campaign coffers: a feat bested only by former Presidential candidate Jeb Bush who reached that unprecedented Presidential campaign fundraising mark much earlier. Jeb has since dropped out of the race. Is Secretary Clinton headed for the same ignominious fate?
Clinton held a substantial lead in every public and private poll. Not just the US, the entire world was treated to the prospect that Clinton had a commanding lead and it was only a matter of time before we would all be addressing her as “President Clinton.” In retrospect, this should be an abject lesson for candidates and public alike that polls are only as good as the questions asked and the internal valuations accorded to them. In other words, those polls, for which newspapers and Secretary Clinton, herself, paid hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars to produce, were not worth the paper the results were written on. As a candidate, myself, I understand how polls are used to sway the public and can easily be manipulated to produce the desired outcome.
And then, the people started to vote.
First, on February 1, 2016, there were the Iowa Caucuses. To this day, we the public, nor even the candidates themselves, know the raw vote totals for the Democratic Party Iowa Caucuses. However, what we do know is that at least six of the caucus meetings ended in ties, which led to coin tosses. The public has been told that Secretary Clinton won six coin tosses and is considered the ‘winner’ of the Iowa Caucuses. This is hardly a victory for a $100 million candidate. Her only solace must be that Jeb Bush did even worse on the Republican side!
On to New Hampshire.
So, on February 9, the New Hampshire Primary took place in which bona fide registered voters with verified names and addresses show up at authorized polling places and cast their votes. (I explain the differences between a caucus and a primary and the arcane U.S. election rules here.) Bernie Sanders won with 60 percent of the vote.
You would say, OK, New Hampshire is a small state right next to Sanders’s home state of Vermont, so that is to be expected. No big surprise there, huh? In the scheme of things, New Hampshire is a beauty pageant; it doesn’t really count for much, does it? Well, some would argue that New Hampshire CAN be a harbinger of the future.
On February 20, Secretary Clinton won the Nevada Caucus by a whopping five percentage points. The pundits wrote that these small states really didn’t mean anything. The primary winner would be determined by the big population states where, because of her strength with the Black and Latino vote, Secretary Clinton would pound Sanders, who by this time had proven himself to be very clumsy on the issues surrounding race and ethnicity in the US. The Jewish community in Israel and in the US claimed that he didn’t speak enough about being Jewish; Blacks in Vermont lamented that they were invisible to him throughout his entire political career. Sensing an opening, Secretary Clinton went in on the attack, touting her husband’s strong identification with the African-American community in the US. She would bankroll her Presidency on the currency of the Democratic Party’s non-White voters. And sure enough, when the voting came to the Southern part of the US, where the Black vote is strong, the former Secretary managed a resounding victory over Sanders in South Carolina. She was crowned by The Atlantic, “Barack Obama’s Heir.” CNN roared, “Exit Polls: Black Share of South Carolina Democratic Primary Increases Over 2008.” I will provide the translation for that in case you don’t grasp what that really means: even more White voters have abdicated the Democratic Party and its voters are primarily African-Americans, while the Democratic White vote in South Carolina has defected to the Republican Party.
Just as polls are not to be trusted in this campaign season, so too are the media.
Super Tuesday further solidified Clinton’s winning status as the vote-rich South turned out. Clinton won Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Massachusetts, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia. But, her victory wasn’t a sweep, because Sanders won Colorado, Minnesota, Oklahoma, and Vermont. And on March 8, Sanders scored an upset win over Clinton in the delegate-rich state of Michigan. The next big round of voting will take place in the follow-up to Super Tuesday, to be held on March 15 and will include Florida, Illinois, Missouri—states rich with the votes of people of color. New York- April 19 Primary, California and New Jersey – June 7. June 14 is the last big primary for the Democrats. So far, the pledged delegate count is 551 for Sanders and 766 for Clinton: hardly the slam dunk the polls suggested before US citizens actually started to vote.
So, maybe the drivers of the Clinton campaign car might have noticed a problem with one of the wheels, but could keep moving full steam ahead and limp into the winner’s circle by July, the time of the Democratic Party convention being held in Philadelphia. However, I know that, by this time, Clinton’s team is just hoping that the lugs that hold the wheels in place don’t come off the campaign car. And they are probably too afraid to look. Here’s why.
There are currently three investigations swirling around Secretary Clinton: one, around the dual roles of Huma Abedin at the Clinton Foundation while she was also employed by the Office of the Secretary of State; two, the Bill, Hillary, and Chelsea Clinton Foundation’s projects that might have proceeded without securing the required US government approval; and three, the Secretary’s handling of top secret and above top secret information on a private e-mail server rather than a secured government server. The Clinton Foundation has already had to amend its tax returns several times as a result of these investigations. Concurrently, Guccifer, an internationally renowned hacker, recently exposed that he would read Secretary Clinton’s e-mails and then go out and do his gardening. Indicted for his hacking role, he is now on his way to the US. And most recently, immunity was given to the information technology (IT) specialist who set up the Clinton server in a closet in her home bathroom. While CNN downplays the importance of the immunity grant, the UK’s Daily Mail claims a source close to the investigation says that the IT specialist is a “devastating” witness.
And on the policy questions, Secretary Clinton is still vulnerable on the Benghazi issue and has yet to be asked about her several Haiti scandals. Most recently, the murder of Honduran activist Berta Caceres highlights Clinton’s role in the overthrow of a democratically elected government in Honduras.
Most cars are equipped with five lugs on their wheels to keep them affixed to the axle. Some luxury models have six lugs. The only question for us is how many lugs are on the Clinton campaign car’s wheels. With five lugs/scandals/investigations already loose, it will only take one more loose lug—that is, scandal/investigation/indictment to send the Clinton campaign car reeling off the road.