Today, I gave a “hooray!” and an excited fist-pump in my classroom. Unfortunately, it wasn’t necessarily due to my student’s recent test grades! Though my AP Economics students did indeed do well on the semester’s first exam, at least on the multiple-choice portion that was just graded, the news that brought me elation came right after the final class of the day exited the room. As a devout politico, I immediately jumped online to check the news while packing up my things for the drive home.
Bernie Sanders was ahead in Iowa. His recent surge has remained strong, despite the best efforts of the Hillary Clinton campaign, the Democratic Party establishment, and the mainstream media to thwart it. Perhaps buoyed by a new, widely-praised TV ad, the independent U.S. Senator from Vermont is connecting with even more voters. Now less than two weeks away from the Iowa caucus, the first primary election of the 2016 presidential campaign, we are down to crunch time. Every political maneuver counts, and Bernie Sanders is playing the game like a pro. He is remaining true to his principles, making his campaign about the voters rather than himself, and not shying away from his progressive proposals.
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the ailing frontrunner, appears to be stumbling awkwardly as she attempts to prevent a repeat of the 2008 Democratic primaries, which saw rookie U.S. Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) score an upset victory and win the party’s presidential nomination. Avoiding the complacency that doomed her in ’08, Clinton is fighting back viciously in ’16. Though her campaign frequently complains that Bernie Sanders is “going negative” whenever he points out one of her many flip-flops or political liabilities, she appears to have no qualms about attacking Sanders herself.
Now, ironically, Clinton is accusing Bernie Sanders of being a Washington insider and establishment figure. You read that right: The Washington power player who has long argued that she is the “most experienced” candidate for president is now saying that Bernie Sanders’ time in Congress is a liability. “He’s been in Congress, he’s been elected to office a lot longer than I have,” Clinton told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer. Clinton also pointed out that she was only in the U.S. Senate for eight years compared to Sanders’ presence in Congress, both House and Senate, for twenty-five.
Clinton’s primary argument in the Democratic primaries has been that she is politically “experienced” and can “get things done.” Now, strangely, she appears to be flip-flopping and trying to portray Sanders’ greater experience in Congress as a negative. In making this argument, she had to awkwardly leave out the fact that her non-Senatorial political positions, First Lady and Secretary of State, were not elected offices. This flip-flop highlights, to Clinton’s detriment, the fact that Sanders has won a lot more elections.
It now appears crystal clear that candidate who can win elections and get things done is the candidate who has been winning elections since 1981.
Thanks for the flip-flops, Hillary!