It’s pretty clear that after last night, it is Hillary Clinton’s primary to lose. Her ability to debate and control a narrative within that setting showed why she was such a pain to Barack Obama in 2008, and why she is still leading the Democratic pack in 2015. She also got a big boost from the second place candidate, Bernie Sanders, who was equally dismissive of the e-mail scandal as she was.
That is not to say she is still set to win the debate. Her numbers in general election polls have plummeted along with her favorability. The word association polls that have been run show “liar” and “untrustworthy” to be synonymous with her name. And, of course, the specter of Joe Biden lingers over the primary like the threat of a civil war.
Biden in particular is the wild card. By all accounts, he is definitely going to run, but he has waiting so long that it’s going to be an uphill struggle to get his name on every state primary ballot. That starts in November, which means roughly two weeks to raise the necessary money and lay out the necessary infrastructure, and it’s unclear whether or not that is humanly possible. He of all the candidates knows how vulnerable Hillary is on the e-mail issue. This isn’t just an investigation into her server. The FBI is investigating her. That is a world of difference, legally, and he knows it. And he can take advantage of that.
Jim Webb wants to represent a Democratic Party that no longer exists. Sure, it existed in years past, as evidenced by the election of JFK, but he can’t make any headway in a race to the left of the political aisle because he is a more centrist candidate. I think that in a different time, he would poll well against some of the Republicans in the race. Lincoln Chafee is a candidate who is clearly in the race, because he was on the stage, but that’s about it. Martin O’Malley showed that being the youngest face in a crowd of old, white candidates doesn’t mean much when your ideas are the same ones from Bernie Sanders’ youth. Sanders himself did well in correcting his increasing senility on the stage by shouting out left wing talking points whenever he started stuttering.
And that is another problem the party as a whole has. Erick Erickson is the one who put it best in this regard, when he said, “The danger here is that the American people saw just how out of touch the Democrats are. The Democrats, in playing to their crowd in the debate hall, went for the echo chamber… Hillary Clinton won the debate. She will win the Democratic nomination. And she will lose the general election because the Democratic echo chamber has completely drifted away from where the American people are.”
The Democrats are convinced the Republicans are too extreme in their views, however, they ignore the leftward drift of their own party. Hillary Clinton on more than one occasion talked about the people she talked to didn’t care about her emails, but reports have been out there that her campaign is carefully vetting who she talks to. She is living in the ultimate echo chamber, and it will cost her in the general election, when she has to get moderate voters to come to her side.
Joe Cunningham is a conservative commentator, Front Page Editor at RedState.com, contributor to The Hayride, and a teacher in south Louisiana. You can find him on Twitter at @JoePCunningham and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/jcunninghamwrites.