(AP/Pat Sullivan)

The Hillary bed-wetters: "Acela-corridor allies" are freaking out, because that's what useless people do

Clinton's campaign manager has released a memo telling grown adults not to "freak out" about a couple of news items


Jim Newell
August 14, 2015 5:30PM (UTC)

There is some group known as "Hillary elites," and, apparently, they are "freaking out." So Vox's Jonathan Allen informs us while sharing a memo that Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook has distributed to these "elite Acela-corridor allies."

The developments causing these slick train-riding Democrats "freak out" are threefold: her favorable and trustworthiness figures are dropping into dangerous territory, Bernie Sanders has just taken his first lead in a New Hampshire poll, and the FBI is now fiddling around with her email server searching for goodies. (Regardless of whether they find anything, the Clinton Rules ensure that she'll remain enshrouded in this particular "atmosphere of controversy," too, until the end of time.)

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And so Robby Mook scratched out this six-page document about how things are really Awesome for Clinton. It shockingly reads like something that the Clinton campaign expected to get leaked to the media. Take it away, Mook:

Winning a presidential campaign is never easy. It’s not supposed to be. But while the Republicans are mired in an increasingly bizarre and contentious primary, where even the would-be front runners are struggling to be heard, Hillary Clinton stands in a very strong position to win the Democratic primary and the general election. Despite an onslaught of attacks from the Republicans and an unprecedented level and tone of media scrutiny, Hillary leads all of her would-be Republican opponents in virtually every general election survey. Hillary for America has broken fundraising records, broken social media engagement records and - by a wide margin - we have the strongest ground organization ever assembled in the early states and around the country at this stage in a presidential campaign.

While we fully anticipate a competitive primary and general election, the reality is that the GOP brand continues to erode by the day. Last week’s GOP debate put a spotlight on the problem, leading The Washington Post to conclude that “much of the Republican field has now taken positions that are at odds with mainstream American opinion.” Poll after poll shows that the positions they hold are out-of-date and out-of-step with everyday families - and the nature of the GOP primary will only exacerbate the divide between the candidates and the general public, particularly key swing voters. Furthermore, many of the leading GOP candidates are relying heavily campaign field organization they control.

Mook is much more polite to these highball-swilling "Hillary elites" pissing their pants than he needs to be.

A couple of thoughts about "freaking out."

First, it is literally August 14, 2015, and the election is not until November 8, 2016, which is like a million years away. Hillary Clinton has placed second in one early state primary poll all year, and still remains the strongest non-incumbent frontrunner for a party's presidential nomination in recent history.

There's also no point to "freaking out." What good does it do prominent Hillary Clinton supporters to "freak out" about their candidate? People always ask, "should I freak out about this [troubling political development]?" No? Why would you do that? Just go take a walk outside or get an ice cream, Jesus.

Most of Mook's points are astute. Hillary Clinton may not win every single primary, but she doesn't need to. She just needs to win a majority of delegates and she's in a sensational position to do that. Mook notes -- and this is some real inside information, here! -- that the Republican candidates are not doing a very effective job of making inroads in "Obama coalition" demographics like African-Americans, Hispanics, young people, unmarried women, etc. And Mook also argues that Clinton is in the process of building the strongest data-gathering and ground games witnessed since... well, the last Obama campaign.

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Maybe the most interesting portion of the memo comes here, though:

Assuming the Democrats continue to win Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan (all of which they’ve won in every election since 1992), Democrats will need 23 out of the 85 electoral votes in remaining swing states Nevada, New Hampshire, Iowa, Colorado, Virginia, Ohio, and Florida. Minority voters represent key voting blocks [sic] in five of these states and the GOP is doing virtually nothing to appeal to these voters.

You hear this all the time: the "blue wall" that gives Democrats an electoral college advantage will ensure this victory. This is the most efficient and effective way for political operatives to get people to stop "freaking out" -- meaning it's probably also the least... useful. As Vox's Allen points, citing Nate Silver, the "blue wall" is one of those things that exists until it doesn't. If a Republican is leading in the popular vote, that will probably reflect in the electoral college. A lot of the "blue wall" states that propelled Obama to his victories could have swung a couple of points in the other direction, and there would no longer have been a "blue wall." To "assume" that the Democratic candidate wins Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan is a dangerous proposition. Of course Mook knows this and he's just trying to get stupid whiny-pants elites to shut up, which is understandable.

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Jim Newell

Jim Newell covers politics and media for Salon.

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