As the Hillary Clinton campaign faces a continued barrage of bad news, her campaign appears to be fighting back. Amid ongoing revelations about her email scandal; polls showing her support decreasing while perceptions of her untrustworthiness increase; and the increasing likelihood of Vice President Joe Biden entering the race, Camp Clinton is doing all they can to project the candidate’s strength.
Today, at the Democrat National Committee meeting in Minneapolis — billed as part team building, part pep-rally — the campaign made what may be the most striking statement of strength yet. With the nominating convention nearly a year out still, Camp Clinton claimed today that Mrs. Clinton already has secured one-fifth of the pledges she needs to win the Democrat presidential nomination.
As Bloomberg Politics reports:
As Hillary Clinton’s campaign seeks to project dominance in a field that could soon include Vice President Joe Biden, her top advisers are touting a decisive edge on a little-discussed metric: superdelegate commitments.
At the Democratic National Committee meeting in Minneapolis, where she will speak Friday [today], senior Clinton campaign officials are claiming that she has already secured one-fifth of the pledges needed to win the Democratic presidential nomination. They come from current and former elected officials, committee officeholders, and other party dignitaries.
The campaign says that Clinton currently has about 130 superdelegates publicly backing her, but a person familiar with recent conversations in Minneapolis said that officials are telling supporters and the undecided in the last few days that private commitments increase that number to more than 440—about 20 percent of the number of delegates she would need to secure the nomination.
Clinton campaign aides at the DNC meeting are privately briefing uncommitted superdelegates there on their mounting totals as a way to coax them to get them aboard the Clinton train now.
Final numbers are still in flux, but current estimates peg the total number of delegates to next summer’s presidential nominating convention at about 4,491, meaning that a candidate would need 2,246 to win. The Clinton camp’s claim to more than 440 delegates means she’s already wrapped up the support of more than 60 percent of the approximately 713 superdelegates who, under party rules, are among those who cast votes for the nomination, along with delegates selected by rank-and-file voters in primaries and caucuses beginning next February. Delegate totals won’t be finalized until the DNC determines the number of bonus delegates awarded to states, a party official said.
While some of this early lead is reminiscent of 2008 — when, we all know, Barack Obama came up from behind and overtook Clinton — Mrs. Clinton is already ahead of her pace back then.
To be sure, Clinton had a superdelegate edge early against Barack Obama in 2008, and superdelegates are free to change their allegiance at any time between now and next summer’s convention. But Clinton is ahead of the pace she had eight years ago in securing these commitments, and her support from the core of the establishment represented by these superdelegates is arguably the most tangible evidence of the difficulty Biden would have overtaking her with a late-starting campaign.
Now, here’s the key point, as we all know:
Barring some major scandal or controversy, and given Hillary and Bill Clinton’s long-standing ties to Democratic Party elites, overcoming her superdelegate edge would be quite a challenge for Biden or the major candidates already competing against her for the nomination, including Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders.
Yeah, “barring some major scandal or controversy.” Ummm, Bloomberg Politics, have you heard about this tiny little email scandal following Hillary Clinton around?