The Weekly Standard

Watch what happens if Hillary Clinton falls behind in the polls.

Jun 15, 2015 – Vol. 20 / No. 38 • By Fred Barnes

When a CNN poll last week showed Hillary Clinton leading Rand Paul by a single percentage point (48-47) and only three points ahead of Marco Rubio (49-46) and Scott Walker (49-46), it was mildly shocking. In April, her lead over the three Republican presidential candidates had been in double digits: Paul (58-39), Rubio (55-41), and Walker (59-37).

But wait. If the next CNN survey shows Clinton actually behind one or two or three of the GOP candidates, it won’t be just shocking. It will send Democrats into a near-panic over the possibility of losing the White House in 2016, even with their preferred candidate, Clinton, as nominee.

Such a poll result isn’t far-fetched as we watch Clinton’s campaign deteriorate. True, head-to-head matchups this early in the presidential cycle are almost never predictive. But in this case, it’s the psychological impact that matters.

That Clinton’s candidacy is in trouble is indisputable. She’s not threatened with losing the Democratic nomination—at least not yet. She has the well-financed Clinton machine and a national network of supporters on which she can rely. The campaigns of her Democratic opponents are small and weak in comparison.

But the rationale for her bid for the presidency, the strategy of her campaign, and the tactics she’s adopted—all have failed to stop her steady decline. The expectation of Clinton’s glide into the White House in 2016 is gone.

What is the rationale for her candidacy? President Obama had a big one in 2008. He would reform Washington, end polarization, promote bipartisanship, and bring about change. As a campaign message, it was appealing. As we now know, his real intentions were different. But Obama had a rationale for seeking the presidency. Clinton doesn’t.
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In place of a rationale, there’s an assumption that her prominence, her résumé, and the likelihood of her becoming the first woman president would make her a uniquely appealing candidate. They haven’t. She’s a terrible candidate. She has not only failed to attract big crowds. She’s having trouble raising big money from those described by Politico as “rich liberals.”

The old adage that opposites attract may apply in her marriage. Bill Clinton is charming, has wonderful political instincts, is a compelling speaker, and has a common touch. She lacks all four. Also, Bill is dynamic. She is lifeless as a candidate.

In early May, she published a piece in the Des Moines Register. It was uninspired. “Because this campaign isn’t going to be about me, it’s going to be about Iowans and people across our country who are ready for a better future,” she wrote. Not about her? Please.

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