Wednesday, January 06, 2016

Is a Bored Media Missing the Fact that Clinton Is Connecting with Voters?

Admittedly, with Donald Trump serving as a nonstop carnival barker and reality TV entertainer for whom facts simply do not matter, most of the air is being sucked out of the coverage of the 2016 presidential campaign coverage.  And some are rightly criticizing the media for the failure to (i) challenge Trump on his lies and (ii) provide more coverage of other, less truth challenged and neo-fascist candidates. A piece in The Daily Beast suggests that the media is missing the fact that Hillary Clinton is slowly and relentlessly connecting with voters and setting the ground work for the general election.  Here are some article excerpts:
As we go into the New Year mesmerized by Donald Trump and his politically incorrect rants, it’s worth noting that among all the candidates in both parties, the one with the best odds of becoming the next president is Hillary Clinton. With the Iowa caucuses just weeks away, don’t you think it’s time we paid attention to the multitude of policies, proposals and programs she has rolled out over the last seven months?

They may not lead the nightly news or go viral on social media, but they are breaking through with voters in Iowa and New Hampshire. There are two-dozen in all, fleshed out with fact sheets according to a tally provided by the Clinton campaign, and they range from national security to quality of life issues.

It’s a liberal’s wish list, but the problems Clinton tackles are universal, and there’s something for conservatives too in taking on student debt, lowering the price of prescription drugs, providing a tax credit for care giving, and, in the midst of the holidays, announcing an ambitious $2 billion plan to find a cure for Alzheimer’s by 2025.

If you hate government, and think it’s too intrusive, Clinton’s probably not your candidate. But if you’re caring for one of the 5 million Alzheimer’s sufferers in the country, or you or someone you know has been affected by the disease in some way, then you’re with Newt Gingrich, who tweeted his approval of the Clinton plan.

Or if your family or someone you know has been affected by addiction, Clinton was the first of the candidates in either party to realize how big a problem heroin and prescription drug abuse has become in New Hampshire, claiming so many young lives. 

The Clinton campaign has released two new ads related to Alzheimer’s, one about a New Hampshire librarian who cares for his 84-year-old mother and must take her to work with him because he can’t afford day care. The other features an Iowa woman, mother of five, whose husband passed away in May at age 53, after suffering from early-onset Alzheimer’s. In the ad, Clinton is visibly moved as she embraces the woman, then says she spoke with the four leading researchers “who are untangling the neurodegenerative diseases” and their excitement about more money for research as opposed to “some additional military asset,” Clinton says. “Just think of the lives it would save.”

In an election cycle that has been anything but conventional, Clinton is running a textbook campaign, methodically laying out her proposals from what she would do about ISIS and terrorism, down to her views on GMO’s (genetically modified organisms in our food). Clinton was asked about GMO’s at a recent Baltimore fundraiser. 

It’s almost comical how prepared Clinton is, especially when compared to Trump, who offers very little in the way of conventional policies. “She has a different electorate than he does,” says Matt Bennett with Third Way, a centrist Democratic group. While the Republicans are focused on style and rhetoric, the race between Clinton and Sanders is much more substantive, “and she’s got to make clear what she stands for. And because she is the favorite to become president, she is acting like a president.”

he campaign isn’t about Trump’s latest volley, says Bennett, “It’s about the lives of the voters who wake up in the middle of the night worrying. Some of them have all three stressors [college debt, addiction, Alzheimer’s] and almost everyone has one at least or knows someone with one, it’s a very smart strategy.”

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