The Democratic party establishment and the head of the Democratic National Committee Debbie Wasserman-Schultz have been totally in the tank for Hillary Clinton and have tried as much as possible to ensure her a smooth path to her nomination by having as few debates as possible and scheduling them at times with low viewership, such as weekend evenings and during the holiday season, so that her opponents do not get much visibility. In fact today’s debate is not only on a Sunday, it is scheduled at the same time as an NFL playoff game and the popular PBS soap opera Downton Abbey.
But despite this effort to limit the public’s exposure to her opponents, Bernie Sanders is surging in the polls. While Clinton still has a large lead nationwide, Sanders has narrowed that gap to about 13% from nearly 30% just a month ago. In Iowa they are pretty much neck and neck and he is leading in New Hampshire. Clinton is clearly alarmed by this development and that her carefully cultivated aura of inevitability might be seriously dented and has started harshly attacking him, while simultaneously whining that he has ‘gone negative’ on her.
What seems to have happened is that her camp sees alarming signs that this year may see a replay of 2008 when she was overconfident and ended up coming in third in the Iowa caucuses behind Barack Obama and John Edwards. They have decided to start attacking Sanders now and we can expect to see her do more of it in tonight’s debate that takes place at 9:00pm ET on NBC TV stations and can also be seen online. Wasserman-Schultz’s strategy may backfire because Sanders is doing well despite her trying to depress viewership while Clinton’s attacks on Sanders will now not get the wider audience she seeks.
I will be watching the debate and will give my impressions tomorrow.
Here’s The Daily Show on the legend of the surging Sanders.
(This clip aired on January 12, 2016. To get suggestions on how to view clips of The Daily Show and The Nightly Show outside the US, please see this earlier post. If the videos autoplay, please see here for a diagnosis and possible solutions.)