Putting a positive spin on Clinton’s falling numbers

By Dave Andrusko

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Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton

Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton

I was waiting in my car to meet my pastor for coffee when I heard Democratic shill MSNBC’s Chuck Todd interviewed on a local Virginia radio station. The immediate topic was pro-abortion Virginia Gov. (and Hillary Clinton confidant) Terry McAuliffe who, the Washington Post had reported in today’s newspaper, had been under federal investigation for more than a year.

According to the Post

CNN first reported the inquiry, saying that investigators are looking into a six-figure contribution that Chinese businessman Wang Wenliang made to McAuliffe’s campaign through his U.S. businesses.

But a federal official told The Washington Post federal investigators are looking broadly at donations to McAuliffe and at his personal finances.

I mention this for multiple reasons. Were this a Republican governor, the two local radio people interviewing Todd would have been on him/her with unparalleled ferocity. (By the way, Newsbusters pointed out that in breaking the news, CNBC’s chief Washington correspondent John Harwood “slipped and referred to McAuliffe as ‘the second consecutive Republican Governor to face a corruption investigation’ following predecessor and actual Republican Bob McDonnell.”)

Instead their tone was one of more sadness than anger/outrage. Todd’s voice was so quiet I thought his microphone was malfunctioning.

Todd had no choice but to bring up the obvious: McAuliffe’s long standing ties to the Clintons and the truth that Virginia is a swing state in the 2016 presidential election.

But it’s more than not-so-subtle media bias and the possible impact on the presidential election that attracts your attention. This was one of several stories in the Post and elsewhere where reporters were running interference for the former Secretary of State, or at least attempting to limit the damage.

For instance, there is another story in the Post about next month’s California presidential primary. As Abby Phillip and Anne Gearan write, while it is mathematically possible Clinton will have already achieved enough delegates to win the nomination before the June 7 primary,

losing one of the country’s most diverse and Democratic states to Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont would be such a damaging way to end this tumultuous primary season that Clinton is planning to spend millions there over the next two weeks.

This isn’t exactly what Clinton had hoped to be doing as her party’s July convention in Philadelphia approaches and Republicans ramp up for the general election.

And then what to do about the recent polls which show Mrs. Clinton’s support melting away? Nate Cohn dips into “Explaining Hillary Clinton’s Lost Ground in the Polls” in today’s New York Times.

In the end, don’t be overly worried, right? The party will consolidate around Mrs. Clinton as the nominee, correct?

Well… Cohn writes

But Mrs. Clinton nonetheless struggles because of her inability to consolidate the independent-leaning, young, liberal supporters of Mr. Sanders. The most recent wave of national surveys shows Mrs. Clinton winning just 55 to 72 percent of Sanders’s supporters. She’s faring far worse among young and liberal voters than one would expect.

And didn’t Obama experience a dip in the polls against GOP nominee John McCain and then regain the lead after he formally became the Democrats’ presidential nominee? In other words, won’t Sanders’ supporters come home? Cohn observes

Mrs. Clinton may find it not so easy to repeat Mr. Obama’s gains. There has been weakening in her support among Mr. Sanders’s supporters over the last month or so. In April, Mrs. Clinton held between 71 and 82 percent of Mr. Sanders’s supporters; today it’s between 55 and 72 percent.

Exactly what’s driving the shift is hard to say. What’s clear is that Mrs. Clinton’s challenge isn’t totally superficial. Just 20 percent of Mr. Sanders’s supporters have a favorable view of Mrs. Clinton in the most recent New York Times/CBS News survey, while 47 percent have an unfavorable one.

Of course, this wasn’t Cohn’s topic, but it is not just Clinton’s intra-party woes. Independents do not particularly like her, nor (overwhelmingly) do White males.

More to come.