Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Hillary Clinton Readies for Long Primary Fight Against Bernie Sanders

Hey, good.

She was supposed to be the inevitable nominee in '08 and look what happened. The alternative was probably worse back then, but at least this time around we know she can be beat.

At the New York Times, "Hillary Clinton Gets Set for a Long Slog Against Bernie Sanders":
Facing a tougher than expected challenge from Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, Hillary Clinton’s campaign is preparing for a primary fight that could stretch into late April or early May and require a sprawling field operation in states and territories from Pennsylvania to Guam.

With the Iowa caucuses in two weeks and Mr. Sanders’s insurgent candidacy chipping away at Mrs. Clinton’s once formidable lead there, Clinton aides are acknowledging that the road to the party’s July convention could be an expensive slog. “Remember, I campaigned all the way into June last time,” Mrs. Clinton told CNN last week.

Even though the Clinton team has sought to convey that it has built a national operation, the campaign has invested much of its resources in the Feb. 1 caucuses in Iowa, hoping that a victory there could marginalize Mr. Sanders and set Mrs. Clinton on the path to the nomination. As much as 90 percent of the campaign’s resources are now split between Iowa and the Brooklyn headquarters, according to an estimate provided by a person with direct knowledge of the spending. The campaign denied that figure.

The campaign boasted last June, when Mrs. Clinton held her kickoff event on Roosevelt Island in New York, that it had at least one paid staff member in all 50 states. But the effort did not last, and the staff members were soon let go or reassigned. (Mrs. Clinton’s campaign manager, Robby Mook, said they had been hired as temporary workers to sign up volunteers at the start of the campaign, an effort he said had paid off organizationally.)

The focus on Iowa, which still haunts Mrs. Clinton after the stinging upset by Barack Obama there in 2008, has been so intense that even organizers in New Hampshire, which holds its primary on Feb. 9, have complained to the campaign’s leadership that they feel neglected.

On a call with supporters last week, Mrs. Clinton’s aides laid out a scenario in which the race against Mr. Sanders stretched through April, a prospect that they said would require about $50 million for a national ground operation and other expenses.

“It’s not just a question of the first two states or the first four states,” Mr. Mook said in an interview at Sunday’s Democratic debate in Charleston, S.C. “We’re going to keep going into the map as long as it takes.”

For all its institutional advantages, the Clinton campaign lags behind the Sanders operation in deploying paid staff members: For example, Mr. Sanders has campaign workers installed in all 11 of the states that vote on Super Tuesday. Mrs. Clinton does not, and is relying on union volunteers and members of supportive organizations such as Planned Parenthood to help her.

“It would be good to have the momentum story the day after the caucus of ‘Oh, Bernie won,’ ” Mr. Sanders’s campaign manager, Jeff Weaver, said, “but it’s really about grinding out the delegates, grind, grind, grind, grind, grind.”