By Eric Zuesse.
While all polls show that as a likely Presidential contender in 2016, Hillary Clinton’s support is wider than anyone else’s, the latest poll from Gallup shows that this extraordinarily wide support is also remarkably shallow, which means that if she were to become the Democratic nominee, the Republican who runs against her in the general election might easily drown her in a pit of negatives that the public doesn’t yet know about. Those negatives exist.
Their findings show that Ms. Clinton is, in the eyes of the American public, an unknown quantity, other than that she is female, that she has been First Lady, then Senator, and then Secretary of State. And, by the time of the end of Obama’s Presidency, her defending his record (of which she was a part) might only weaken her, but her suddenly criticizing it surely will weaken her.
Virtually nobody among the 1,024 voting-age Americans, whom they randomly sampled and asked open-ended questions, could think of any achievement by Ms. Clinton, despite her high visibility and her many years in the headlines.
A sub-head in Gallup’s report is “Democrats Focus on the Positives, Republicans on the Negatives.” Gallup observes: “Democrats are the most effusive in their responses, and talk in significant numbers about her experience and that she would further the Democratic agenda. Republicans have fewer positives to offer, but do mention that a Clinton presidency would represent a change from Obama, in addition to her being the first woman president. … The most frequently mentioned negative views of a Clinton presidency offered by Republicans include that she would be continuing Democratic control of the White House, that she is a Democrat in general, that she got elected in the first place, that she is not qualified, and that she is dishonest.”
In the general election, after the presidential primaries are over, only two candidates will be realistic prospects to become elected (unless the billionaire Michael Bloomberg runs separately on his own party-line; he would be able to self-finance): The Democrat and the Republican. The election will then no longer be primaries, within only one Party, but will instead now be across the whole electorate.
Hillary Clinton has already had decades in which to impress the American public, and has clearly failed to do so, other than that her gender is female, and that she has occupied high posts and achieved nothing with them. There exists considerable dirt on her that hasn’t been widely reported, and that is of a type to turn off independents and even many Democrats from voting for her, but the Republican Party has no reason to throw it at her unless and until she first becomes the Democratic nominee, at which time there will be plenty that Republican commercials will be able to say accurately about her record, without needing to resort to distortions (such as they widely had to do about Obama). She could then be a sitting duck for Republicans. She would certainly be an extremely vulnerable candidate in a general Presidential election, much easier to beat than she was in the 2008 Democratic primaries, when Obama had to fight hard in order to beat her among merely Democratic voters.
She could turn out to be the dream Democratic candidate for Republicans in the general election. Probably most Republican operatives are hoping that there won’t be any Democratic primaries, and that Ms. Clinton will win the nomination simply by default. Wall Street, which has backed her entire career, will then be split between her and the Republican nominee, but the Koch brothers and their friends will probably pour in around a billion dollars on the Republican side, against what would be a very vulnerable Democratic nominee.
Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.