The great irony of the Democratic primary is that Hillary seems to have won the battle but lost the war. Voters believe she has the best experience to become president but she still can’t get a majority to vote for her. People may respect her accomplishments, or have fond memories of her husband, but that doesn’t mean they like her. Lacking a clear message or rationale for her campaign, and the charm and personality to connect with voters, Hillary now seems intent on winning by going ugly.
Thanks largely to the inexperience of her chief rivals, Hillary has amazingly sold voters on the idea that eight ineffective and scandal plagued years in the White House and seven bland pork barrel years in the Senate make her the most qualified candidate.
Her veteran and dedicated campaign staff, and her ability to raise outrageous amounts of money, led most in the media to anoint her the frontrunner. And she rode her husband’s popularity and her celebrity status to large national leads.
The media, however, failed to consider a few crucial issues: voter’s dissatisfaction with the status quo and Hillary’s utter lack of a compelling message or winning personality.
Hillary’s strongest message has always been that she is the only one tough and tested enough to make it through both the primaries and the general election. Her “experience” argument really meant that she has been battling the “right-wing attack machine” for years and so would know how to fight back. She hoped to combine a liberal platform, strident promises to end the war she voted for, and a reputation as a fierce competitor to win over a liberal base leery of her perceived centrism and opportunism.
The problem, however, isn’t that voters don’t believe Hillary has enough experience; it is that she fails to inspire or excite them. Hillary spent months convincing people that she knew her way around Washington and only to find they were fed up with Washington.
This is where her experience has undermined her campaign. Over the years, Hillary’s privative, almost secretive, nature and introverted personality has been magnified by the perceived slights and scars of her many battles. Her highly competitive nature has led to an instinctive reaction to fight hard and do whatever it takes to win.
But there is a reason campaign managers and staff doesn’t run for office. You need an inspirational leader as candidate; someone to put meaning into the campaign. It is this meaning that Hillary lacks. She has no central reason for running or a clearly communicable theme to her campaign. Her campaign is nothing more than personal ambition writ large.
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