This week’s column was originally slated to be a reflection upon the interactions of capitalism, consumption, and climate change. However, recent events have proven this to be a week where there are two very pressing issues in the presidential race. The first is the current state of Hillary’s campaign, and the second is the question of an upcoming debate before California — both of which have had massive and potentially game-changing developments in the last week.
A funny thing is happening to Hillary’s campaign. I’m admittedly guilty of having CNN on for background noise constantly. As much disdain as I have for the mainstream media and CNN’s penchant for describing any given thing as “breaking news”, it’s a nice source of subtle chatter. It might just be my perception (and the fortunate thing about a weekly op-ed is that I’m allowed to comment based off of my perception!), but the narrative seems to be shifting against her. She’s actually polling consistently worse against Trump in swing states, and it doesn’t seem to be getting better. Unbelievably, the establishment appears to be picking this up and absolutely running with it. There has been a colossal number of headlines about Hillary’s poor polling against Trump, the rigged nature of the election, ousting Debbie Wasserman Schultz. Most importantly, there is finally some real discussion about Sanders. While the mainstream media’s biases are still clear — they still, for example, present delegate counts including superdelegates — they have at least lifted their virtual embargo on anything Sanders-related.
To make matters worse for her campaign, the State Department yesterday announced that she “broke the rules” during her e-mail fiasco. Is it an indictment? No. But it is just another admission of guilt for the Clinton campaign after the discovery of her connections to the Panama Papers and the several voter purges during Democratic primaries. The ground appears to be crumbling beneath her feet.
The other noteworthy issue is the idea of a May debate in California. Clinton had agreed to debate Sanders in California in May long ago, but she has since rescinded her statement. This would seem to go against the philosophy of a woman that in 2008 said one should be prepared to debate “anytime and anywhere”, but I digress.
In response to her refusal to debate, Trump has offered to take her spot in a May debate against Sanders. The impact that would have against Clinton is tremendous, making her seem even more irrelevant and cowardly as well as legitimizing the idea of a Trump versus Sanders general election pair-up, which would actually be highly preferable if the Democrats want to win the election.
Trump has placed an artificial roadblock of raising $10 to $15 million dollars for charity in order for the debate to happen, but his willingness in the first place should provide hope to Sanders supporters everywhere.
This leaves the Clinton campaign in a very vulnerable position.
Hillary can either reverse her position on a debate, adding yet another item to the extensive list of affairs wherein she’s changed her view completely in response to the public.
Or, she can let the Trump and Sanders debate go forward and lose credibility for the only argument for presidency that she has: that she is the “only one electable enough to defeat Trump”.
For the first time in this campaign, Sanders supporters are seeing something beyond hope, something real and something tangible; for the first time, they’re seeing the formation of a new conclusion to the Democratic primaries, where the people’s candidate prevails and the establishment might at last fall.