Christian Segers, Opinion Editor
Before the 2016 election cycle even began to turn its wheels, the Democratic nomination for the presidency was already awarded to Hillary Clinton, the wife of former president, Bill Clinton.
As Republican candidates began to fly out of the woodwork vying for the Republican White House bid, they began their preliminary strategies against the Clinton campaign. With early poll numbers indicating a landslide victory over even the closest Democrat competitor, numerous potential Democratic candidates decided to put the brakes on challenging the Clinton powerhouse. Then it happened.
On May 26, 2015, Sen. Bernie Sanders officially announced his candidacy on the Democrat ticket. A self-proclaimed socialist from Vermont, Sanders eagerly begin to chip away at the Clinton lead. By September, he had begun to close the gap. By November, the gap was marginal. Fast-forward to January 2016, just weeks away from the crucial Iowa caucus and Sanders commands the momentum of the party.
Although public relations practitioners for Clinton are eager to write off the emergence of Sanders as a cultural fad, there is cause for concern. In 2008, Clinton held the lead in all major Iowa Caucus polling, until the final week before the vote was to be held. When the smoke had finally settled, Clinton had lost her lead to not one, but two candidates.
According to The Washington Post, “The anti-Clinton vote in 2008 was still split between two people -- Barack Obama and John Edwards -- instead of just one.”
Consequently, Clinton’s 2008 campaign failed when there were two other viable options. However, in 2016, when there is only one candidate in the same polling stratosphere as Clinton, (O’Malley at this point remains a non-factor) she has still lost all but a marginal lead.
In 2008, Clinton was able to secure the nomination from the second open caucus of New Hampshire. Unfortunately, New Hampshire’s demographics favor Sanders. Additionally, New Hampshire happens to be on the doorstep of Sanders' home state, making it a virtual shoe-in against Clinton, according to several sources.
According to The Washington Post, “Voting changes polling.”
In other words, voters from surrounding states typically follow a similar voting pattern to that of surrounding states. Logic dictates that if states borderingIowa and New Hampshire fall to Sanders, then multiple other swing states might follow as well.
If Clinton still hopes to lock up the Democratic nomination, then it is imperative that she turn the ship around, or else Sen. Sanders is going to walk away with it like President Obama did in 2008.