But since last Tuesday — since the Clinton camp-declared "end" of the Democratic primary — we've learned some things about Hillary Clinton that might give voters in Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Maryland, Rhode Island, and Delaware some pause as they head to the polls on April 26th.
Here are five things we now know about Clinton that we didn't know a week ago:
1. Clinton is now statistically tied with Donald Trump in national polling, while Sanders beats Trump by 10 points.
Sanders supporters have been saying for months that Sanders always beats Trump in national polling — and, for that matter, all the GOP contenders — by far more than Clinton does. The Berners have pointed to studies showing that general election polling in April is, historically, as accurate as general election polling in August and, on average, only about five points off the final results. With this in mind, Sanders supporters have also observed that Sanders beats the GOP contenders by more in every November battleground state than does Clinton.
No one listens. The media scoffs; the Clinton campaign snickers.
Surely anybody could beat Trump, even a candidate, like Clinton, wildly unpopular among the independents who decide national elections?
The moment Trump and Clinton became seemingly inevitable after their respective New York wins, America saw a preview of what the rest of the election season will look like: a neck-and-neck race in which America stands under constant threat of a Trump presidency because of Democratic hubris. Ready for Hillary, America? Then you're ready for this: Clinton, 46 percent; Trump, 43 percent; margin of error, 3.1 percent.
Oh, and the ugliest, least substantive general-election campaign in U.S. history.
During an appearance on The Nicole Sandler Show a few weeks back, I told Sandler that, in contemporary politics, non-incumbent Democrats win only in "movement" elections: 1992 (Bill Clinton) and 2008 (Barack Obama) being the two recent examples. I said that Republicans win when the Democrats nominate a somewhat stiff policy wonk who Democrats feel no great personal warmth for — Al Gore (2000) and John Kerry (2004) being our two recent exemplars.
So which type of candidate is Hillary Clinton?
Echoing the same reasoning I used a couple weeks ago, Vanity Fair now says Hillary Clinton is Al Gore.
And what did Gore do? Lose a close election to a veritable buffoon that, by all rights, he should have won — as his campaign followed hard on the heels of a popular Democratic administration that he was an integral part of.
As for our other present option — an Independent social democrat who beats his opponent in every state among voters under 45 — it sounds new. Or, newer. It also sounds, per the polling, a little like this: Sanders, 50 percent; Trump, 40 percent.
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