After maintaining for months that Hillary Clinton would trounce Donald Trump in a general election matchup, Democratic insiders are starting to recognize the truth. According to a new story in the Washington Post, several strategists are fretting about Hillary’s ability to bring it home in November.
The Post spoke to more than a dozen Clinton allies to find deep strains of concern. While they all insisted that Hillary would beat Trump, they didn’t appear too confident. With poll numbers tightening between the two of them and with Hillary facing a primary challenger who stubbornly refuses to concede – and in fact, is in the midst of a significant winning streak – they see weaknesses in their candidate that could spell trouble.
“More than a dozen Clinton allies identified weaknesses in her candidacy that may erode her prospects of defeating Donald Trump, including poor showings with young women, untrustworthiness, unlikability and a lackluster style on the stump,” wrote the Post. “Supporters also worry that she is a conventional candidate in an unconventional election in which voters clearly favor renegades.”
In any other year, concerns of this magnitude would be enough to send Democrats into a full-scale panic. This year, of course, they’re hoping that the erratic and unpredictable nature of the Republican nominee will be enough to make up for their candidate’s flaws. But, even the most optimistic Democrat knows that if your only hope rests on the weaknesses of your challenger, you have a big problem on your hands.
And, as the story points out, there are more problems with Hillary than her flaws as a political candidate:
Among other potential problems identified by supporters: Clinton’s unpopularity with white men, questions about whether her family philanthropic foundation helped donors and friends, and lingering clouds from her tenure at the State Department, including her private email system, the Benghazi attacks in which four Americans were killed and her support for military intervention in Libya.
The media will of course do its part in helping Hillary downplay these highly-relevant concerns, but Trump is going to make them the centerpiece of his campaign. Additionally, he’s almost certainly going to use her husband’s relentless sexual predation against her. That’s bound to rally feminists behind Hillary, but if Trump can get the American people to understand the extent to which she helped Bill silence his victims, she may not have the sympathy they feel she deserves.
Neither Hillary nor Trump have officially secured their respective nominations, but already the narrative has changed from “she will certainly win” to “she will probably win.”
What will they be saying in November?