President Trump was once a distant fiction that is fast becoming a possible reality. When your opponent has offended almost everyone except white males, you should be trouncing him. Worryingly, Clinton is not.
In May, Donald Trump closed the gap between Clinton from seven to two points, within the margin of error, according to the polls gathered by the Huffington Post. Unfavourable deficits for both candidates are at record highs. Trump is the most unfavourable in US history – negative 20 per cent – with Clinton the second most at negative 13 per cent.
In a CBS poll, both Clinton and Trump did terribly among the electorate. When asked if they thought the candidates were honest and trustworthy, 64 per cent said no for both Trump and Clinton. It is disastrous for the Clinton camp considering Trump contradicts himself within the same sentence, but it points to the underlying distrust that the American public have of the Clintons.
In short, Clinton is a bad general election candidate; decades of flip-flopping for political expedience and contradictions have been scrutinised this election season. Critics point to her opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership that she once called the “gold standard” of trade deals, or her sudden move to support marriage for same-sex couples in 2013, just as public opinion changed in favour on the matter.
Clinton is further damaged by an investigation that the FBI are conducting over her using an e-mail server inside her private residence to transmit classified information while acting as Secretary of State under the Obama administration, which Clinton tried to downplay as a “security inquiry”. Soon after, FBI Director James Comey said he was not familiar with the term “security inquiry”. Instead, he said, “We’re conducting an investigation. That’s what we do.”
While it would be unfair to pin her image problem with Republicans solely on her due to baseless Republican attacks that have haunted her for decades, much of her problem with progressives in the Democratic Party is her past dismissiveness to the movement. However, sensing the changing winds, Clinton now describes herself as a progressive, when earlier on the campaign trail she pled “guilty” to being “kinda moderate and centrist”. It did nothing to improve her image.
Meanwhile the forgotten candidate on the Democratic side, Bernie Sanders, beats Trump by 11 per cent in a poll-of-polls general election match up, a trouncing if those numbers were to become reality. Further, he maintains a positive 10 per cent favourable rating among the American electorate, significantly better than both Trump and Clinton, notably the only positive favourability rating of any of the remaining three. Unfortunately, the delegate difference between him and Clinton is almost impossible to overcome and it is extremely unlikely he’ll be the democratic nominee.
As Trump and Clinton look towards the general election, it is Trump who is dealing the first blow, with television adverts about Hillary Clinton’s treatment of alleged victims of Bill Clinton’s past sexual transgressions, contrasting with tweets she has posted about not silencing victims of sexual abuse. The ad is a clear attempt to sway female voters away from her, a demographic she performs well in. This below the belt politics is what Trump likes to play, and there will only be more of it.
A two-point lead isn’t great; Trump saw off 16 other candidates, it’s time to get worried, he could see off one more.